What is the importance of Isfahan? A look at erstwhile Safavid capital amid alleged Israeli attack

Isfahan hosts an Iranian military airbase, located near a nuclear enrichment site

Isfahan Representational image | Creative Commons

Iran's air defence systems were activated on Friday morning after three small drones were sighted over Isfahan, a city of historic and strategic importance.

Top Iranian officials said the air defence batteries detected a suspicious object, adding that there was no damage. One of the officials told Reuters that Iran has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel.

In January 2023, Iranian army's military factory in Isfahan was attacked by quadcopters. Iran had arrested four people in connection with the incident and executed one of them earlier this year. They were accused of working for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

Why is Isfahan important?

Isfahan province is home to an Iranian military airbase housing multiple squadrons of f-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft.

The city also houses important sites including military research and development facilities and bases.

The nearby city of Natanz hosts one of the country's nuclear enrichment sites. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that there is no damage to Iranian nuclear sites in the latest attack.

Isfahan, which was once the capital of Persia during the Safavid era (1501-1736), is also home to several cultural sites. The Naghsh-e-Jahan square in the city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace and Holy Savior Cathedral Isfahan are the other historically important buildings in the city. Just two weeks ago, archaeologists had unearthed centuries-old structures from the Safavid period in Isfahan.


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