Party Like It's 1599
Isfahan. 1599. This is the time and place in which the House of the Lotus exists, for all time. Maybe a witch cursed us? We’re not sure why time doesn’t move here. Every new year, we start back at January 1, 1599. But this strange quirk in the space-time continuum does give us plenty of time to explore and discover all that Isfahan has to offer — or all it has to offer in 1599, at any rate.
Fortunately, 1599 is kind of a great time to be alive. Isfahan is in a state of monumental change. Shah ‘Abbas I is in the midst of a massive building project, having recently moved the capital from Qazvin, and the city is experiencing a population boom as a result. The Shah has begun to move the center of Isfahani life from the old maidan (town square) to a new one that he can stamp with his own image and identity.
The whole city is under construction all at once. There are garden retreats being built along Chahar Bagh Avenue by wealthy merchants and great amirs. Our beautiful home, The Lotus House , <link> is one of the new estates that sprawls across these decadently designed suburbs. If you know the right people, there are parties on the Chahar Bagh just about every night. And we know the right people.
There are hundreds of new caravanserai being constructed, where traders unload their caravans and sell goods. We, the citizens, benefit greatly from this influx of luxury goods from India and Europe. Bazaars are being expanded, bathhouses renovated, and mosques raised in the blink of an eye.
Almost overnight, Isfahan has became a cosmopolitan, international city. There are between 10,000 and 20,000 Indian merchants in the city, several hundred European visitors, and a large and growing body of ‘ulema (Islamic scholars) from Baghdad and the Levant. Our population is diverse, and the city is full of Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Turks, all living and working side by side.
It is a time of change, growth, and anticipation, when fortunes are made and lost in the blink of an eye. This is our world. We invite you to explore it with us. Oh, and the parties are seriously rockin’.
Sayyida Laila al-Sanna’ al-Andalusiyya
*Citations available upon request.