Chehel Sotoun (Forty Pillars) Palace

Right above Si-o-se-Pol Bridge stands still on its twenty ribbed pillars, one of the most beautiful palaces of Iran. The name of this palace and its surrounding garden has been inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. A wide pool lays in front of its elegant terrace and doubles the pillars by granting them a clear reflection. That’s one reason it was called the Forty Pillars Palace, while another reason is assumed to be the use of forty as the symbol of multiplicity in Persian culture. The combination of the serenity provided by the lovely garden surrounding the pool and the grandeur provided by the interior design, miniature paintings, unique Persian mirror work, and ceramics has made this place appealing to the eyes of both local and foreign tourists.

Alongside its historical value, this superb garden was built by Shah Abbas II in the way that it would be just absorbing as the Garden of Eden. For Iranians, it’s a traditional way of designing gardens based on what they believe in Sufism, and that has been the key to the reputation of Persian Gardens for centuries. At the heart of this magical garden, you find a shining get that calls for you even more by its shimmering reflection in the long rectangular pool. The pavilion is in symmetrical harmony with the surrounding garden, and the serenity of the garden flows all over the place, even in the halls of the pavilion.

The inner halls of the pavilion are each one a treasure to the eyes. There are lovely paintings on the upper recessed part of the walls of the Great Hall (or Throne Hall) telling you the great stories of court life and the most significant battles of the Safavid Era. Still, it’s not only the stories, or the concept behind them that impress the viewer, but it’s the style and the delicate ways in which these frescoes and miniatures were formed. You’d be spellbound as these paintings draw your eyes further on to the intricate patterns of Khatam interlacing under the domed ceiling of the hall.

All these features make this structure a significant treasure lying in Isfahan, which resisted the hard times of history and survived to tell the stories carved in it. The strength and grandeur, the most critical elements in the architecture of this pavilion, have been the pillars of this building since 1647.

Mitra Gholami
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