Chehel Sotoun Palace | Palace of 40 Pillars
Chehel Sotoun Palace is a historic royal Persian Garden in Isfahan city. Chehel Sotoun Isfahan was completed in the 17th century Safavid era, by the order of Shah Abbas II, for the purpose of receptions and leisure.
Also known as Chehel Sotoun garden, palace or Chehel Sotoon museum, it is one of the 9 Persian Gardens of Iran inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011. Hence, it counts as one of the top Isfahan tourist attractions.
Chehel Sotoun address and opening hours are included in the end.
Since the first kingdoms of the world, the powerful kings intended to show their power and greatness through building places designed and decorated with significant architecture and arts of their lands. An excellent sample of the famous Iranian gardens is Chehel sotoun UNESCO world heritage site.
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#1 Story Of the Name: Palace of 40 pillars !
The garden has tree entrance gates of which the oldest one is faced towards the east. Entering from the main gate, there is a large pool full of water at the front and the reflection of the building on the water seems like the pavilion has 40 pillars which in Persian language is known as Chehel Sotoun. Also the role of number 40 (Chehel) in Persian literature (showing plurality and large richness) may also be the reason to name the building.
Part of the palace is now used for keeping and showing Isfahan’s old works and pictures and is known as Chehel Sotoon Palace and museum, the second old palace–museum of Iran after Golestan palace.
#2 Chehel Sotoun History
The beautiful large garden with a space of 67 thousands square meter along with its building was built at the period of Shah Abbas the Great (Shah Abbas I of Persia) the 5th Safavid king of Iran, and completed by Shah Abbas II, the 7th Safavid king.
This palace was opened in 1056 AH, 1642 AD, with the presence of Shah Abbas II and foreign countries’ ambassadors. The garden was not dated since the excavations of 1948 in which two inscriptions were found; one, attributes the Chehel Sotoun hall to Shah Abbas II, the 7th Safavid king of Iran and specifies 1057 AH (Hijri lunar calendar) the year in which the building was finished. The other which is longer, mentions the repairs of Shah Soltan Hossein’s period.
#3 Chehel Sotoun Architecture
The building of the pavilion is a meter higher than the garden level. The garden has a little slope in order to make the water running easily in the rills. Also in Chehel Sotoun palace and many other iranian gardens , the passage to the pavilion is covered with beautiful trees and flowers.
Chehel Sotoun architecture is a mixture of Iranian and foreign architecture art.The works of paintings, Persian miniature and Aina-Kari (type of interior decoration in which small pieces of mirror are put together) has made there special and a must to see.
Shah Abbas the Great designed the building as a simple pavilion with small rooms around it (the middle hall and the chambers at four directions). This royal garden was used for receiving the guests of shah court in ceremonies and celebrations.
By the monarchy of Shah Abbas II, Chehel Sotoun building was expanded and halls and iwans were added to it including the Telar-e Ayeneh (Hall of Mirrors), Talar Hejdah Sotoun (hall of 18 columns), two great rooms at the south and north side of the Talar-e Ayeneh, iwans around the royal hall, the large pool in front of the hall and its embellishments of paintings , mirror work, wall and ceiling’s tile-work. These vast halls of the palace were used for official receiving in Shah Abbas II period.
The great main iwan, has octagonal columns made from plane-tree and pine tree. The four middle columns are placed on the four stone lions which water was pouring out from their mouth to the hall’s pool. The higher part is the entrance gate of the hall and is called Talare Aineh in some resources and it is covered with vast and elegant Aina-Kari.
#4 Chehel Sotoun Paintings
The central hall is covered with the paintings of historical events of various periods such as the battle of Chaldiran against the Ottaman Sultan Selim I. This hall has a painted dome with colorful gables and golden designs which is considered one of the artistic masterpieces of that time.
Chehel Sotoun Opening Hours
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM (on holidays, hours might differ)