|Zayanderud and Khajoo Bridge|
The Zayandeh-Rud, the lifeline of Esfahan, originates in the Zagros Mountains and flows southeast, where it dissipates in the saline of Gavkhuni Swamp. The main river of the central Iranian plateau, it waters, along with its tributaries, an area of 27,570 sqm. km that constitutes roughly one-seventh of Iran's territory. The river is about 270 km long, and its width varies from 10 to 800 meters. In Esfahan, it is 100 to 200 meters wide on average. During various historical periods, the Zayandeh-Rud was known under different names, among them Zandak-Rud ("the big river"), Zarin-Rud ("the golden river"), or Zendeh- Rud ("the live river"). Its present name, meaning "the life-giving river". best emphasizes the river's role in the very existence of Esfahan and the towns and villages situated in the fertile oasis watered by the river.
The Zayandeh-Rud flows through four distinctive areas. It starts in the mountainous districts in Chahar Mahal-a Bakhtiari province, streams rapidly through the hilly area of Faridan and Lar, waters the valley of Esfahan, and terminates in the arid districts in the east. The soil of the Esfahan valley is very firm; water cannot penetrate deeply and Soon returns to the river, thus preventing the river from drying up. Despite this, since ancient times, the water of the Zayandeh-Rud alone was not adequate for irrigation purposes. The first irrigation system on the Zayandeh - Rud is attributed to Ardashir Babakan. It is said to have been reorganized under the Seljuks. During this period, a first attempt was made to link up the river with the Karun, Iran's sole navigable River, an upper branch of which flows not far from the source of the Zayandeh-Rud, on the western slope of the Kuhrang range. Attempts - always unsuccessful - were taken under Shah Tahrnasb and his successors. When Esfahan became a capital, Shah Abbas I delegated Mohib Ali Beikollah to examine the possibilities of constructing a tunnel. When the first survey was completed, Shah Abbas appointed Imam Qoli Khan, a governor of Fars, Hossein Khan, a governor of Lorestan, and Jahangir Khan, a Bakhtiari chieftain, to head the construction.
In 1621, Shah Abbas personally inspected the site. His death, however, interrupted the work on the project. The work was resumed under Shah Abbas II when a French engineer was designated head of the tunnel's construction. Part of the work was done, but Shah Soleiman, who succeeded Shah Abbas II, ordered the work stopped, as the dam was going to threaten agricultural lands. The remains from the construction of this period can still be observed. The project was finally accomplished in 1948-1953 by a British firm, which built a tunnel over 2 km long, about 150 m deeper than the Safavid structure. The tunnel has made it possible to regulate the outflow of the Zayandeh-Rud, particularly in autumn and in the beginning of winter, since the waters of the Karun River have a more sustained flow. The completion of the Kuhrang Dam in 1971 diverted one of the Karun tributaries and made it empty into the Zayandeh-Rud.
Six principal sets of canals with 33 main branches and a host of secondary channels are believed to have been designed by Sheikh Bahai. Although some researchers deny
his participation in this project, the work is certainly that of a genius. The water was distributed among the towns and villages dependent on the Zayandeh-Rud according to the Jalali calendar. The use of water was limited during the second six months of the year, and 275 persons were desig¬nated as inspectors. They closed the sluices of the dams according to a detailed plan and controlled the provision of water to the neighboring villages. The system of canals (locally called madi) starts behind the first bridge on the Zayandeh-Rud, the Zamankan Bridge, from where one of the most beautiful views of the river provided After the Falavarjan Bridge, the Zayandeh-Rud turns almost ninety degrees and changes its direction from northeasterly to southeasterly.
It runs through Esfahan following west-easterly direction and turns southeast after the Shahrestan Bridge, beside which the Abshar Dam is located. One of the largest dams, the Zayandeh-Rud Dam, is situated about 80 km from the river's source. It creates a lake of about 56,000 sq. km.
Bridges on Zayandeh River in City of Esfahan:
Marnan Bridge Built in 1599 (pedestrian)
Vahid Bridge Built in 1976
Vahid Bridge II Built in 2007
Felezi Bridge Built in 1950s
Azar Bridge Built in 1976
Si-o-se Pol Built in 1632 (pedestrian)
Ferdosi Bridge Built in 1980s