Mongol Timurid and Turkman Rulers in Esfahan

When the Mongol hordes swept through Iran, a great battle was fought outside Esfahan in 1228, and the city was captured. At that time, Esfahan lost a significant part of its population, along with its importance as a first city of Iran. Its buildings, however, were spared, and the city continued to enjoy reasonable prosperity. Under Oljeitu, the Il-Khanid ruler, many great structures were built in the city.

The Mongols' short rule in Esfahan was followed by that of the Injuid and Mo-zaffarid princes. These, however, were soon extinguished by Tamerlane's attack. Tamerlane's invasion of Esfahan in 1387 led to more than 70,000 deaths. The city streets were filled with the heads of the dead, heaped up into pyramids. In spite of everything, none of Esfahan's principal buildings was destroyed, and some further construction, though very sparse, was undertaken. Craftsmen are known to have left Esfahan and other western towns to work for Tamerlane at Samarqand. For the visitor to Esfahan this is a misfortune, because in the late 14th and early 15th centuries the Timurid renaissance produced some of the finest of all Islamic buildings. By the middle of the 15th century, the Timurids had lost their grip on most of Iran proper, where events were chiefly influenced by the rivalry of two Turkman tribes - Qara-Quyunlu (the Black Sheep) and Aq-Quyunlu (the White Sheep). First the Black Sheep occupied Esfahan, but they were soon overthrown by the White Sheep, led by Uzun Hasan. This shortlived dynasty did not even survive through the 15th century. In 1499, Ismail, whose mother was Uzun Hasan's daughter, seized the reins of government

The Sareban Minaret is one of the most important Seljuk monuments in Esfahan.
Seljuk Architecture

The Dar al-Ziyafeh Minarets are among the most splendid architectural achievements of the Il-Khanid period.

The Dar al-Ziyafeh Minarets are among the most splendid architectural achievements of the Il-Khanid period.

Hossein Behzad
Miniature by modern miniaturist Hossein Behzad shows Shah Abbas the Great.

and founded the Safavid dynasty, and in so doing inaugurated the era of Esfahan's greatest splendor.

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