The original name of Ali Qapu palace is Ala Qapi. At first it had a simple form and over time during the reign of Shah Abbas, it got Multi-storey and during the reign of Shah Abbas II, the columnar portico has been added to it. This building is located on the western side of Naghsh-e Jahan Square, in front of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. It is 48 meters high and has 6 floors which are accessible by the spiral staircase. What led the Ali Qapu Palace to be included in the magnificent and highly significant monuments of the Safavid era are the miniatures that are the art of famous Safavid-era artist, Reza Abbasi, as well as the stucco art of the last floor of the palace which its hall is also called “music room” or “sound room”. Shah Abbas used to watch polo games and shows in Naghsh-e Jahan from Ali Qapu and he handled state affairs and issued the necessary laws. Another application of the palace was catering of Shah’s special guests.
History of Ali Qapu
The Ala Qapu was created during the reign of the Turkic-speaking, a government that even named army in Turkish such as Qara Quyunlu (the black sheep owners) and Aq Quyunlu (the white sheep owners) and Qezelbashha (in Turkish Qezel means red and Bash means head). There are some reliable documents that can be referred to in the authenticity of the name Ala Qapu, the book Khalse from Etemadosaltane page 229, and the Nasereddin Shah Khorasan travelogue book page 98, and Nasereddin Shah third abroad travelogue book page 48, which certainty the name Ala-Qapu is mentioned in them. Other examples of using the word Ala refer to Ghezel Ala (salmon fish) Ghezel in Turkish means red and Ala means colorful. Another example is the Aladagh Mountains in Zanjan and in Ahar, which means colorful mountains.
After the capital transition from Qazvin to Isfahan by Shah Abbas I, between years 1594 and 1598 this palace began to be built as the headquarters and government house of the Safavid monarchs. The palace was completed in five architectural phases and it got its completion in between 70 and 100 years in the time of the successors of Shah Abbas I, especially Shah Abbas II and Shah Soleiman.
The entrance to the palace is marble!
Nowadays the palace has three staircases, two symmetry spiral staircases in the western part of the building and a zig zag stairway which has in way rooms known as Royal staircase, built for ceremonial purposes.
Ali Qapu building with an elevation of about 48 meters to the bazaar floor, has been the tallest multi-story palace in Isfahan for decades. Due to architectural additions, it has different views on each side, so that from the front of the building, the Naghsh-e Jahan Square it is 2 floors, from the back is a five-story building, from the sides is a three-story building and counting the first floor it has totally six floors.
The external decorations are bricks at the entry (arched parts at the top of each entrance), seven-color tiles and arabesque lines, and interior decorations are beautiful floral, hunting ground, animals and birds on plaster (layering and colorful stucco art). Pictorial miniatures by Iranian are in Reza Abbasi’s art style and foreign (by European painters who were present at the Safavid court during the time of Shah Soleiman) are in European style by well-known painters such as Angel Volocar.
Ali Qapu palace has 50 rooms.
This palace was built during the Safavid period.
In Turkish Ali Qapu means “high port”.
This building is located in western side of Naghsh-e Jahan, in front of sheikh lotfollah mosque. It is built by the architect of the Safavid era Reza Abbasi.