It is the most beautiful of all historical bridges in Esfahan. It is named after a neighbouring district, but an various periods it was also known as the Royal, the Zoroastrian, the Hassan Abad, or the Baba Rokn od-Din Bridge. It is a magnificent structure, measuring 132 m (436 ft) long and 12 m (39 ft) wide. The original Construction probably took place during the reign of the Timurid sovereign, Hassan Beik, one of the successors of Tamerlane in the 15th century. However the present structure is a restoration of 1650, dating from the rule of Shah Abbas II. The bridge was repaired in 1873, as its inspiration suggests. The bridge also acted as a dam; sluice gates between the piers closed the canals, raising the water level upstream so that large reserves could be collected for irrigating the surrounding fields and gardens. The river flooded to form a large lake on the west side of the bridge, in front of the royal palaces. During the Safavid period, the court and its nobles gathered there to watch spectacular pyrotechnic shows and water competitions. Water also served more prosaic, but not less important service, washing away excesses of lime from the soil, and making it suitable for cultivating the renowned melons of Esfahan. The dam is still used to raise the level of the river sufficiently to fill irrigation canals (madi) on either side of the river.
Khaju Bridge has aroused the admiration of travellers since the 17th century. Its story recesses, arcades and galleries, its stone steps with the water cascading over them, its splendid tile-work, arcades of the upper booths and lower spans made the Khaju Bridge outstanding among all the bridges in Esfahan. Some of its most fascinating features are the pavilions called “Prince’s Parlors”, lavishly decorated with brightly coloured faience.
In words of Upham Pope and Jean Chardin, Khaju bridge is “the culminating monument of Persian bridge architecture and one of the most interesting bridges extant…where the whole has rhythm and dignity and combines in the happiest consistency, utility, beauty, and recreation
The five secrets of Khaju Bridge:
1. The secret of candles in the Piers: When you look at the piers of the bridge with a proper degree (27 from south) you find a candle between piers. At sunrise and sunset, the piers are so fascinating because the sun play the role of fire in the candle. This fascinating secret is designed by the architecture and it is not accidentally.
2. If you look at the Khaju Bridge from the sky, you can find an eagle. The design of the Bridge looks like an eagle.
3. At the entrance of the bridge, the columns made from stone were used as solar watches.
4. The secret of echo under the piers of the Bridge.
5. The secret of reflection of moon light in the eyes of stone lions in Khaju Bridge.
By: Seyed Mohammad Emami