With enchanting, elegant monuments and bridges, blue-tiled domes and Naqshejahan Square, the second-largest city square in the world, Isfahan speaks of a noble past. Shah Abbas 'the Great', King of the Safavid dynasty, decided to move the capital from Qasvin to Isfahan in 1590, acknowledging the city's prominent location at the intersection of important east-west and north-south trade routes.
Shah Abbas actually rerouted a part of the fabled Silk Road from China, ensuring that this refined city would always be at the centre, the epitome, of Persian elegance. The Imperial Family moved there, followed by artisans and craftsmen, and very soon construction started on many new mosques, bridges and civic buildings, an artistic renaissance. Everything centred around a magnificent city square, the Naqshejahan (the 'Design of the World'), incorporating all facets of their civic life and culture in one grand location, including the Imperial Palace itself.
The rugs made in this place of beauty reflect their source. 'Exquisite' is the most popular auctioneer word when describing them. Knotted on a base of silk or fine cotton, the rugs can show an antique Vase pattern, Shah Abbas flowers, the Tree of Life or very detailed pictures. If there is a central medallion, the most popular circular or otherwise, it is usually surrounded by an elegantly sculpted field decorated with intricately purling vines, palmettes and floral motifs. Such beauty!