33-arch bridge in Isfahan, Iran

The majestic 33-arch bridge in the Iranian city of Isfahan dates back to the reign of the Safavids and is considered an architectural masterpiece and landmark of Isfahan.

The 33-arch bridge in the Iranian city of Isfahan in the centre of the country dates from the time of the Safavids, who ruled for a good 200 years from the beginning of the 16th century. It connects Isfahan with the Armenian quarter of Julfa on the south bank of the Zavendah Rud River and is considered a masterpiece of Safavid bridge building in all of Iran.


The 33-arch bridge is called "Si-o-se Pol" in the local language ("Si-o-se" means 33) and is one of the three bridges spanning the Zavendah Rud, along with the Pol-e Shahrestan and the Pol-e Khaju. In 1602, it was commissioned by Shah Abbas I and built of stone piers and brick by an Iranian with Georgian roots named Allahverdi Khan Undiladze. This is the reason why the bridge is also known outside Iran as the Allahverdi Khan Bridge.

As the name suggests, the bridge consists of arcade-like arches that are lined up along a chain of a total of 33 aqueduct-like round arches. With a length of just under 300 metres and a width of just under 15 metres, it is the longest bridge in the city and is considered a landmark of Isfahan.

On both sides, wide stairways invite you to enter the promenades that run to the left and right of the majestic bridge.

Tea House of the 33 Arch Bridge

A larger arch at the end of the bridge houses a teahouse from which you can enjoy the view over the river with a relaxing cup of tea or a shisha. Originally, one could admire elaborate frescoes in this teahouse, but they were removed due to their alleged obscenity. The upper "floor" of the bridge is reserved for pedestrians only.

The 33-arch bridge when the Zavenda Rud is dried up, Isfahan, Iran - © Anna Azimi / Shutterstock
© Anna Azimi / Shutterstock

Bridge over land

Both the view and the sight of the 33-arch bridge are particularly bizarre during the hot summer months. Time and again, the Zavendah Rud dries up to the last drop. The elaborate arches then seem to span senselessly over the broad, vegetated plain of the dust-dry riverbed.

If the river has enough water, the 33-arch bridge can also be admired from a romantic ride in one of the swan-shaped boats.