The siege of Isfahan was a six-month-long siege of Isfahan, the capital of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, by the Hotaki-led Afghan army. It lasted from March to October 1722 and resulted in the city's fall and the beginning of the end of the Safavid dynasty.

Hotaki Safavid War
Part of Naderian Wars
Isfahan to the south side
An illustration of Isfahan from the south
Date8 March – 23 October 1722
Isfahan, Central Persia

Decisive Hotaki Afghan victory

  • Fall of the Safavid capital
Hotaki Dynasty Safavid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Mahmud Hotaki Shah Sultan Hussein (POW)
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown


The Iranian Safavid Empire, once a powerful empire, had been in decline since the late 17th century. This was brought about by the lack of interest in ruling by many of the Shahs of that period, royal intrigues, civil unrest, especially among many of its subjects, and recurrent wars with their Ottoman arch rivals.

The Safavids, at that time being strongly in favor of Shia Islam, heavily oppressed the Sunni Pashtuns in what is now Afghanistan. Making use of the opportunity provided by the Safavid decline, the Pashtuns led by Mir Wais Hotak had rebelled against the Persian overlordship and killed their Georgian governor, Gurgin Khan. A series of ensuing punitive campaigns sent by the Safavid government were defeated and the Pashtun army was then on march into Persia proper, advancing the Safavid capital of Isfahan.


Isfahan was besieged by the Afghan forces led by Shah Mahmud Hotaki after their decisive victory over the Safavid army at the battle of Gulnabad, close to Isfahan, on 8 March 1722. After the battle, the Safavid forces fell back in disarray to Isfahan. The Afghans lacked artillery to breach the city walls and blockaded Isfahan in order to bend Shah Sultan Husayn Safavi, and the city's defenders into surrender. Ill-organized Safavid efforts to relieve the siege failed and the shah's disillusioned Georgian vassal, Vakhtang VI of Kartli, refused to come to the Safavid aid. Shah Husayn's son, Tahmasp, and some 600 soldiers fled their way out of the city. The famine soon prevailed and the shah capitulated on 23 October, abdicating in favor of Mahmud, who triumphantly entered the city on 25 October 1722.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Lang, David Marshall (1952). "Georgia and the Fall of the Ṣafavī Dynasty". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 14 (3): 537–538. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00088492.
  2. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011). "Isfahan, siege of". In Mikaberidze, Alexander (ed.). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia. Volume 1. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 426–427. ISBN 1598843370.
  3. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2009). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. anta Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. pp. 726–727. ISBN 1851096728.