Chehel Sotoun Palace
Chehel Sotoun is one of the royal gardens leftover from the Safavid era in the city of Isfahan, which is also known as the Chehel Sotoun Museum Garden. This garden is a small part of a large old garden called “Jahan Nama”, which Shah Abbas built the first center of Chehel Sotoun Palace by building a summerhouse in the middle of it. This historical heritage is one of the most famous and popular places of interest in Isfahan, which brings stunning beauty to tourists and visitors.
Chehel Sotoun palace is a monument in Isfahan. The Chehel Sotoun palace and its garden cover an area of approximately 67.000 sq.m that was built by Shah Abbas I. Shah Abbas I built a summerhouse in the middle of the garden, which formed the initial core of the palace, which included the middle hall of the forty-column palace and its four-cornered pavilions. During the reign of Shah Abbas II, the building was completed and general changes were made in the central building, including the Hall of Mirrors, the 20-column Hall, the two large north and south rooms, the Hall of Mirrors, the porches on either side of the Kingdom Hall and the large pool in front of the Hall that decorated with paintings, mirrors, and tiles on the walls and ceilings. Initially, there were paintings instead of mirrors, but after the palace caught fire, when cleaning the ceiling from soot, silver mirrors were used instead of mercury on part of the porch roof.
Magnificent and decorated ceiling with paintings, 20-column hall and mirrored ceiling, mirror hall and mirrored Shah Abbas II’s entrance.
The huge columns of the 20-column halls and the mirror hall, which each is made of the sycamore tree body.
Stone lions in the square of the central pool of the hall and engraved marble plinths, which represent the sculptural industry in the Safavid era.
The magnificent gold-plated decorations in the royal hall and the rooms on either side of the Hall of Mirrors and the large paintings in the royal hall describe the Safavid kings as follows:
- Welcoming Shah Abbas I to Vali Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Turkestan
- Shah Ismail I, in the battle of Chaldoran
- Shah Tahmaseb I, in the reception of Homayoun, King of India
- Shah Ismail I, in the war with the Uzbek Shibak Khan (Battle of Marv)
- Shah Abbas II, in welcoming Nader Mohammad Khan, Emir of Turkestan, into the Ashtarkhanian dynasty
- Nader Shah Afshar, in the Battle of Karnal, and a large painting painted during his reign.
There is a picture of Shah Abbas I with a special crown and other miniatures in the treasury room of Chehel Sotoun Palace, which was taken out from under the plaster in 1955 and 1956.
Scattered artworks from the Safavid era such as the entrance of “Ghotbia Mosque” and the portals of “Zavie Darb Kushk”, works of “Jubareh Mosque” or “Pir Pinehdooz” and “Aghasi Mosque” which are installed on the walls of the western and southern sides of the garden.
The porch of Chehel Sotoun Palace consists of two parts: one part which is based on 18 wooden and high columns; There are four columns in the middle of the palace, which are placed on four stone lions and their masonry is such that two lions are shown to human head. Water gushed from the mouths of these four lions and flowed into the marble pool of the hall. The other part, which is a little higher, forms the entrance of the hall and in some sources, it is called the Mirror Hall. This part is placed on two stands and is decorated with a large mirror all over it, in which small and well-patterned mirrors are used in a marquetry manner along with all bricks and tall mirrors. The ceiling of the hall is made of wooden frames with different geometric shapes. The symmetrical image of the marble pool in the middle of the porch can be seen in the ceiling decorations. This symmetry is very similar to the Ali Qapu Palace.