Siege of Isfahan (1387)

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Siege of Isfahan
Part of Timurid Wars

Timurid victory

  • Isfahan and nearby territories are annexed.
civilian defenders
Timurid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Zain al-Abidin Timur
Casualties and losses
70,000-200,000 civilians massacred[1][better source needed] unknown

The siege of Isfahan was a siege of the city of Isfahan by the army of Timur in 1387.


To annex the Muzaffarid kingdom Timur would have to capture its two main cities: Isfahan and Shiraz. When in 1387, Timur arrived with his army to Isfahan, It immediately surrendered and so he treated it with relative mercy as he normally did with cities that surrendered.


Soon after, Isfahan revolted against Timur's taxes by killing the tax collectors and some of Timur's soldiers. Timur laid siege to the city and recaptured it with little effort.

Massacre of citizens[edit]

After restoring his control over the city he ordered the massacre of the citizens who resisted; the death toll is reckoned to be at least 70,000.[2][3] An eye-witness counted more than 28 towers constructed of about 1,500 heads each. This has been described as a "systematic use of terror against integral element of Tamerlane's strategic element" which he viewed as preventing bloodshed by discouraging resistance. His massacres were selective and he spared those who were artistic and educated. This would later influence the next great Iranian conqueror: Nader Shah.[4]


After the massacre Isfahan remained loyal to Timur and so he went to capture Shiraz. Unlike the events which occurred after the Siege of Herat Timur did not destroy any of the buildings and architecture allowing it retain its importance and influence in Persia.


  1. ^ Chaliand, Gerard; Arnaud Blin (2007). The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to Al Qaeda. University of California Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-520-24709-3. isfahan Timur.
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia iranica, Volume 1. ISBN 978-0933273993. the 1387 siege of Isfahan under Timur's personal direction ended in the slaughter of some 70.000 denizens of the city
  3. ^ Christensen, Peter (1993). The Decline of Iranshahr. Museum Tusculanum Press. p. 148. ISBN 9788772892597. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  4. ^ Axworthy, Michael. The Sword of Persia.