Here I am spinning in the now dry, due to damming and farm irrigation, Zayandeh River in Isfahan, Iran. The swan boats, sleeping, waiting for the next waters to wake them up. The Si-o-se-pol bridge, longing for its purpose, appears in the background of my spin.
People have lived on the banks of the Zayandeh River for thousands of years. An ancient prehistoric culture, the Zayandeh River Civilization, flourished along the banks of the Zayandeh in the 6th Millennium BC.
Architecture of Isfahan
Zayandeh River crosses the city of Isfahan, a major cultural and economic center of Iran. In the 17th century, Shaikh Bahai (an influential scholar and adviser to the Safavid dynasty), designed and built a system of canals (Maadi), to distribute Zayandeh water to Isfahan’s suburbs. Water from the Zayandeh River helped the growth of the population and the economy, helped established Isfahanas a critical center, and gave a green landscape to Isfahan, a city in the middle of a desert.
The bridge is a magnificent piece of architecture. One should visit the bridge both in the day time and at night to truly appreciate the grandeur of its design. In the evening, locals will come out and sing under the bridge in the archways. The echoing sounds of their voices makes the experience even more special.
Siosepol, which means 33 Bridge in Persian, is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan and the longest bridge on the Zayandeh River — constructed during the Safavid period in 1632. It is one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. It is named 33 Bridge because of its 33 arches. The Architectural design of the bridge is a double-check arch bridge, which means for each large arch on the bottom, there are two smaller arches on the top.
Hidden Secret of the Si-o-se-pol Bridge
A hidden part of the bridge that most visitors won’t know about is the two stone lions. Stand on one side of the deck behind a lion and look on the opposite side, and you should see the eyes of the lion on the opposite side glow. It’s quite a surprise when you do see it!
Swan Boats – Zayandeh River Dried Up
There is a book shop on one side of the bridge and a place where you can buy tea and food. There is plenty of places to sit and drink your tea too. In the distance can be seen the beached swan boats harkening of what once was.