The Zayanderud and it’s Many Bridges

DSC01900The Zayanderud (Zayandeh River) is the largest river in the central plateau of Iran. It crosses directly through the city of Isfahan. In 2010, the river dried out completely after several years of draught. Today the river flows with water once again, however the city continues to close and open the dam throughout the year depending on water shortages throughout the districts. The water that forms the river originates from the inside of the Zagros Mountains and flows 400 kilometers. The 400 km of river is spanned by may historical bridges that were built in the Safavid era. The Zayanderud is the reason for the prosperity of the central Iranian provinces of Isfahan and Yazd. Two of the most famous bridges on the Zayanderud are the Siosepol (33 Bridge) and Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge).
DSC01901 Women wearing head-to-toe hijab are having kayaking practice on the Zayanderud. They are padding upstream while simultaneously passing a volleyball back and forth. It is great to see that despite the suppression of women from participating in sports, they continue to do so.

Khaju Bridge:

The Khaju bridg was built by the Safavid king, Shah Abbas II, around 1650. The bridge serves both as a pedestrian bridge and as a dam. Furthermore, the bridge has multiple rooms on the inside which used to serve as meeting rooms and now serve as tea houses and restaurants. In the center of the structure, a pavilion exists which Shah Abbas would have once sat, today there are remnants of a stone seat.




The Khaju bridge has 24 arches. The pass way of the bridge is made of bricks and stones with 21 larger and 26 smaller inlet and outlet channels.






Siosepol, which means 33 Bridge in Persian, is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan and the longest bridge on the Zayandeh River. It was 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.


The bridge was constructed specifically to serve as a pedestrian bridge and still serves the same purpose today.


Swan Paddle Boats 🙂

One of the best parts about the Zayandeh River are the swan paddle boats that I have always loved to ride since I was a child. The river and its paddle boats bring back memories from when I was around five years old. No matter how old I get, I will never get tired of them. Now that I’m older, the older cousins take the younger cousins out on the river so they can make the same memories :).

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 Siosepol (33 Bridge) at night:

At night, every single one of the arches of the Siosepol lights up and it’s a truly beautiful site.



7 thoughts on “The Zayanderud and it’s Many Bridges

  1. Beautiful picture and description. The river is however completely dried out since 2010. Somehow the water was streaming through it again for a while, but then it was gone again. Do you have any actual information how the river is today? Is still dry?


      • That’s terrific! I plan to travel to Iran next year, and Isfahan is certainly in the list of my destinations. I was planning the itinerary and wondering if I should make 3 nights Shiraz and 4 nights Isfahan, or the other way around. If the river is still dried out, I think I would make 4 nights Shiraz. But let’s hope the water stays until next year 🙂


      • Hi, there is definitely a lot to see in both cities. I think maybe a little bit more to see in Shiraz. Are you also going to Persepolis/Pasargad? That is a 2 hour drive from Shiraz so that would be an entire day trip.


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