The Qaysariyyah Portal served as a main entrance (sardar) to the Bazaar of Isfahan, as well as a musician's gallery for ceremonial celebrations (naqqara-khanah). It is located on the north end of the city's main square (Maydan-i Imam) and serves as one of the square's main portals, and is mirrored on the southern end by the monumental portal to the Shah Mosque. The Qaysariyyah Portal takes the form of a monumental iwan flanked by galleries. The upper portions of the side and back walls of the iwan were covered with wall paintings, which included hunt scenes.
The portal gives access to the portion of the Bazaar known as the Royal Bazaar (the Bazar-i Qaysariyyah), constructed during the reign of Shah Abbas I between 1617 and 1619. The Royal Mint (zarb-khanah) and the Royal Caravanserai are also . Beyond these begins the major artery of the bazaar, which is a non-linear, two kilometer long street that links the old city, the Friday mosque and the old square (maydan), with Shah Abbas' new square (Maydan-i Imam) to its southwest. Mosques, hammams and khans are located off this main street, much of which is lit by circular openings cut into the brick vaults, creating shafts of light dotting the passage at certain times of the day. The largest of the vaults crowns the Qaysariyyah Portal. The bazaar splits into various smaller bazaars towards the older section to the north, where each alley is dedicated to a specific trade. It was built and expanded over many centuries beginning as early as the 10th century.
Amirshahi, A. "Bazaars." In The Splendor of Iran. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions, II, 2001. 252-256.
Blair, Sheila S. and Jonathan M. Bloom. The Art and Architecture of Islam. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994. 185.
Blunt, Wilfrid. Isfahan: Pearl of Asia. London: Elek Books, 1966. 83-84.
Gaube, Heinz and Eugin Wirth. Der Bazar von Isfahan. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert, 1978. Cat. No. 78 (p. 139).
Michell, George. Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978. 92-93, 100.