Chehel Sotoun

February 11, 2019

The royal Safavid palace, Chehel Sotoun in Iran’s central city of Isfahan is admired by many tourists around the world. At over 67,000 square meters, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was built at the reign of Shah Abbas I and perfected when Shah Abbas II was the king.

When Shah Abbas I selected Isfahan as his stately seat in 1599, he was committed to develop the city. Building long streets and extensive gardens were on his agenda; thereby he accomplished many remarkable artistic architectures with the assistance of Sheikh Bahai, the genius, well-gifted scientist. Chehel Sotoun, 40-columned, mansion in fact contains 20 slender wooden pillars which are doubled when their image is reflected on the waters of the forward-facing fountains.

Of early buildings with all-encompassing ornamental artworks, the palace features sumptuous mirror work, wall paintings, and Muqarnas. All doors and windows are elegantly inlaid. Elaborate Muqarnas, decoration of vaults, is seen on ceilings.

Combining western, Chinese as well as Iranian architectures, the majestic estate carries a main iwan, 3 m long and 17 m wide, facing eastwards. The opposite pool, 110 m long and 16 m wide, have indeed completed the elegance and grace of the site.  The finely-proportioned pool with a dark-colored bottom appears very deep and the image created on the waters ‘surface displays a noticeable symmetry similar to that of Ali Qapu.

The central hall, allocated for foreign states’ guests in the past, is an exhibit of fine fresco paintings which depict the historical events such as Shah Tahmasp receiving Humayun, Indian king, Karnal combat against Muhammad Shah Gurkani, as well as the battle of Chaldiran. Great works by the celebrated Iranian artist, Reza Abbasi, are admirable.

Must-see things here are visiting Talar-e Ayeneh, the royal hall with decorative gildings and paintings, the stone lions, and the museum.

Nightly views are preferred thanks to fantastic illuminations all around the building.

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