First visually speaking. You've all seen pictures from Imam Square, Blue Mosque or Si O Seh bridge. And as you guess, it is much more impressive live. And obviously, there are lots of tourists and travellers (more than 20 french speaking persons just here) we'll meet again later on our trip.
Esfahan is one of the major cities in Esfahan, the city is rich, and developped (as an important part of tourists coming here is iranian). People are also much more used to meet and deal with foreigners. Locals come to talk on "equal to equal" basis. And I wasn't expecting that at all. I mean to meet randomly so much cultivated and so well balanced people that just wanted to discuss and exchange ideas about different cultures.
From an old guy just passing by, who gave us a 5 minutes speech about ancient persian mythology, to a local textile salesman who closed his shop for 10 minutes in order to show us directions. From youngsters with strong opinions against their ismalic regime and our HC host, a syrian/iranian guy, english teacher, with whom we had great times talking freely about various topics from iranian economy, islamic revolutions from syrian point of view, which passport from iranian or syrian, girls ans boys in Iran, and much more. But don't get me wrong. I didn't mean I was before considering Iranian people as underdevelopped or so, neither as hypocrite perverses or mafiosis. Never (or at least very rarely) being considered as a walking wallet was nice.
Probably one of the (only???) benefits from the state-controlled egonomy and regime : a purchasing power "less inequally" shared. So we spent 5 days gazing in the Half of the World (the so-called Imam Square), the ity, from tea rooms to mosques, green parks and bazars, spending hours talking with random strangers.
Before going to Shiraz.