Monday, July 19, 2004 ESFAHAN : The city of Esfahan in Iran is a combination of modernity and tradition. "ESFAHAN : The city of Esfahan in Iran is a combination of modernity and tradition.

Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's recent visit to Iran uncovered some interesting sites during the trip.

The city of Esfahan is half an hour by flight from Tehran and about six hours by road.

Esfahan's monuments are among the most splendid of the Islamic world. The main monuments in the city are essentially the work of one man, Shah Abbas the Great, who rebuilt the city with large avenues and magnificent gardens.

Some of the mosques in Esfahan date back to the eight century and some of the most intricate works of Islam are inscribed on the walls and domes. The unique feature of this mosque is that it can amplify noises made inside it. Mr Goh said: 'Thank you for this wonderful visit, this is a beautiful mosque. I will now ask my friend here to say a prayer.' Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Community Development and Sports, said: 'May, by this visit, we cement the relationship between Singapore and Iran.'

Esfahan's population is not made up of Muslims alone. There is a sizeable Christian community too and the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour is one special building.

The domes are very much like those of the mosques. Younger generations of Esfahanians find the bridges, waterways and parks in the city the greatest draw.

The Singapore delegation learnt from their visit that people's lifestyles can still be modern even as they uphold Islamic principles. The Singapore delegation also had a chance to visit some of the historical cities.It is hoped visits like these will also spur Singaporeans to come and visit these places, better"


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