Ali Qapu Palace | A Picturesque Exposure

Ali Qapu Palace is a 17th century (Safavid era) residential palace on the western side of Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan city. Construction of the 6-floored Ali Qapu palace began in 1597 by the order of Shah Abbas I, when Isfahan was chosen as the capital of the empire. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage site: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the palace is one of the top Isfahan attractions.

Ali Qapu Palace history unfold many cultural architectural mysteries. For instance, Ali Qapu Palace architecture reveals the climax of art back in the days. If you are wondering when was Ali Qapu built keep reading this post. We have also included the information regarding Ali Qapu Palace fresco and Ali Qapu Palace music room which are the most astonishing details of this palace.

Many international travelers enthusiastically step into the Naqsh-e Jahan Square to have a glance at the Palace. Many more eagerly ascend the hundred steps to capture a dazzling perspective of the square in their mind.

ali qapu palace


If you are planning to visit Iran, we, as an iran tour and travel agency, invite you to take a look at our Iran tours as well:

>> Iran Tours 2020 & 2021 (Click Here)


#1 Ali Qapu Palace History

History of Ali Qapu Palace  is one of 100 years of Safavid kings (16th to mid-18th Century) being devoted patrons of art.

  • “Qapu” is a Turkish word meaning ” the magnificent door”; and the name Ali refers to the Holy Imam Ali of the Shia religion which was the official religion of the country of Iran during the Safavid era. Imam Ali was also the most respected Imam for the king Shah Abbas I.
  • Another reading of the name implies that the word “Ali” is from Arabic Aali, “Imperial or Great”.
Ali Qapu Palace

Fresco Decoration on Ali Qapu Portico


#2 When was Ali Qapu built?

The question of when was Ali Qapu built requires a rather long answer as a result of its rich nature, however, we tell you the main highlighted events while it was being built.

According to the reliable historic sources , this edifice was built by decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early 17th  century.

  • The king Shah Abbas celebrated, for the first time, the Nowruz (New Year’s Day) of 1006 AH / 1597 C.E. in this place.
  • The Palace, one can say, was built during five stages in the course of almost a hundred years:
  1. Building an entrance
  2. Expanding the building
  3. Constructing the Ali Qapu Palace music room
  4. Adding the terrace
  5. The final changes
Ali Qapu Palace - Entrance

Intricate Fresco on Ali Qapu Portal Entrance


#3 Ali Qapu Palace Architecture

Ali Qapu Palace Architecture : First things first, let us begin by mentioning that Ali Qapu Palace is located on the western side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square opposite Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, and had been originally designed as a vast portal.

 #1 Interesting facts

  • Different views : You can see a 2-storey building from Naqsh-e Jahan Square and eastern side while from the back and western side the building looks like having 5 flats; and from the two other sides the Palace is rather a 3-storey edifice.
Ali Qapu Palace

Front View of Ali Qapu

  • The spiral staircase design with its tile decorations
ali qapu palace - tilework

Tile Decoration of Ali Qapu staircase

  • The Terrace : the attractive wooden ceiling with intricate inlay work and exposed beams has been painstakingly restored and now the attention is turning towards the walls. Moreover, as mentioned previously, the panoramic view of the square is rather an astonishing scenery that is only visible from the Ali Qapu terrace.
ali qapu palace - Portico

Ali Qapu Portico with a view of Shah Mosque


 # 2 Ali Qapu Palace Fresco

The enthusiasm of the Safavid kings toward painting is an undeniable fact. Generally, there are two kinds of Ali Qapu Palace fresco works:

1.The decorative fresco

ali qapu palace

Fresco Paintings cover Ali Qapu’s walls

2. The miniature fresco

 ali qapu palace fresco

Miniature Paintings on Ali Qapu Porch


# 4 Ali Qapu Palace Music Room

Finally, the highlight of the Ali Qapu Palace music room. The stucco ceiling is stenciled with the vases’ and rose-water shakers’ shapes to enhance the acoustics.

Such a distinctive craftsmanship of the music room is considered by some scholars and historians to be one of the finest examples of secular Persian art, extending to the walls creating a mosaic of shadows.

ali qapu palace music room

Ali Qapu Music Room Acoustics


#5 Why Visit Ali Qapu?

  • It is one of the most beautiful sites of the Safavid Dynasty.
  • It is located in the UNESCO site of Naqsh-e Jahan.
  • The eventful history of Ali Qapu
  • It has unique fresco and miniature works.
  • The music room on the 6th floor is considered an architectural masterpiece.
  • An exclusive panoramic view of the square
  • Not suitable for people with disabilities or have trouble going up the stairs; almost a hundred steps!
ali qapu palace

View of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque from Ali Qapu Portico


Ali Qapu Opening Hours and Address

Ali Qapu Opening Hours are 9 am to 7 pm, Everyday


Rate this post


I had never loved my country more before I serendipitously found myself in tourism and took a sharp turn from my soulless job to give in to the magic of my home, Iran!

1 Comment · July 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Thanks for the informative account! can one visit the whole square and its monuments in a day?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *