Free Walking Tour
Almost all around the world you may find some concepts as free services given to people in a freelance manner. Actually, almost everyone knows that the term “free” in such cases eventually means “tip-based”; meaning that one can get a lighter version of services -with a relatively good quality- that is normally charged for by companies and agencies, but doesn’t have to pay the full price for that. The only thing they pay is just some small tips for the time and energy that is put into it. So, there is no definite price, nor any strong claim; but it is going to be as much as the client wishes after taking the service based mostly on the quality of the service provided and the amount of time and energy spent as well.
One of the most common things coming up in the tourism industry recently is “Free Walking Tours”. The attitude behind these kinds of tours is to provide a quick introduction to the city mostly for the foreigners. Normally, people traveling other places on a vacation, by the time they arrive there they have already spent a long time on the way and they are somehow tired before getting to accommodate. On the other hand, they may not have the time much longer than a couple of days to explore around the city and find their own taste of attractions; so, they might not like to lose the arrival day, whether it is going to be half a day, an afternoon, a night or even a whole day. Thus, what day they can do is to check-in for the accommodation, leave their luggage, have a short rest and then go around to have a glimpse of the city and check what it really has to offer, find their taste and then plan for the following days. So, what if there be a local guide to accompany them for a couple of hours throughout the city to give them a quick introduction to the highlights of attractions, recreational places, foods, shops or even some advice on the things to do in the city based on their personality and taste.
Free Walking Tour in Esfahan
During the last couple of centuries, Esfahan has always been one of the most important touristic destinations in Iran because of its remarkable geographical, architectural and historical backgrounds. From the old times of the great Persian Empire until the present time, Esfahan has always had a central location in the country. Thus, having the mixture of all surrounding mountain and desert areas, it has a temperate climate. Also, because of its strategic location, it has been always in attention for business, territorial and military purposes.
Most of the remaining visiting sites and monuments in Esfahan date back to the Safavid dynasty that ruled around 400 years ago in Iran and capitalized Esfahan then. As far as they dominated Shi’ite Islam for almost 200 years and that Esfahan was their capital, they made deep and fundamental changes in the city’s social and environmental infrastructures. What you may feel in older parts of the city is definitely Islamic domination, especially in architecture.
Esfahan is located (literally) ON a river –not along the river– called Zayandeh Roud (i.e. Life-giving River). It means that the river runs through the city and divides the city into two parts, northern and southern. The city has several historical parts such as the Jewish neighborhood (Joubareh), Armenian Quarter (Jolfa), the royal complex, the historical bridges, bazaar, and some pre-Islamic sites as well. But the most important part, that somehow introduces Esfahan, is the central complex and its surroundings that include Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Shah (Imam) mosque, Sheikh-Lotfollah mosque, Ali-Qapu palace, Chehelsotoun palace, and the grand bazaar. Since these are so close and located within the walking distance from each other, they can be visited one after another in a short time, let say one day (providing that you are not an architecture or history researcher!!!)
Tourists who visit Esfahan mostly spend 2 to 4 days to go around the city. So, most of them spend a full day in the central complex, one day to see Jolfa and the bridges, and a couple of days to go around the city and visit other places.
With regard to the very central location of Mahbibi Hostel, its proximity to the central complex, and the importance of the central complex in Esfahan as well, we have decided to cover the whole central area in our Free Walking Tour. The Free Walking Tour we provide for the tourists in Mahbibi Hostel is somehow different from all those in other cities and maybe even in the world, for it covers almost all aspects of the city in terms of history and architecture. It is going to be a relatively long and unabridged tour covering almost all historical and architectural details of the sites. Normally it takes around 5 hours including some recreational stops on the way, but may vary to go further depending on the group and their attitudes, maybe even up to 9 hours. On this tour, we are going to visit Naqshe-Jahan square Shah (Imam) mosque, Sheikh-Lotfollah mosque, Ali-Qapu palace, Chehelsotoun Palace, the grand bazaar, and also some workshops of unique handicrafts in Esfahan.
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