This 14th Century (C.E.) bridge to the East of Isfahan is one of the oldest in Iran. It connects the village of Shahrestan on the north side with the agricultural area on the southern bank. The construction clearly derives from Roman prototypes and the huge piers were designed to defend its pontoons from the torrent of the Zayandeh. The large prows are repeated on the down-stream side of the bridge where their object is to reduced the eddies which might otherwise erode the masonry.
Following the Roman model there are secondary water channels set into the piers. These expand with the curvature of the main arches and can therefore carry off a greater volume of water. Because of the risk of damage as high volumes of water poured through the narrower sections, additional venting channels run from the secondary channels back into the main channels, where, because of their greater width, the water level was likely to be less.
The bridge was the scene of the assassination of Al-Rashid Bellah, one of the Abbasid Caliphs, who was killed by Ismailis here in 1138. It is possible that the shrine in the village of Shahrestan, known as that of Shahzadeh Hosein may actually hold the remains of the unfortunate Caliph.
Last Updated November 30, 1998