Ali Qapu Palace | The great quadrangle at the center of Esfahan

Ali Qapu

Ali Qapu | the great quadrangle at the center of Esfahan

On the western side of the square, a palace was built in 1597 at the site of another Timurid palace, called Ali Qapu. One of the outstanding features of the palace is that it gives a different view on its various facades. On the eastern view, it’s a two-story building, on the western view, it’s a five-story building, but in fact, it’s a six-story building. It’s about 38 meters high.

The first floor is covered by an eleven-meter height duplex which carries one of the most beautiful patterns of arabesque designs. The most surprising specification of this primary space is that if a person stands at one corner speaking through the wall, the other one standing at the opposite corner can hear him as if the walls amplify the voice.

There are two separate stairways to the top. The narrow spiral one with 94 steps to the sixth floor designed probably for security due to its small size. And the Royal stairway which leads to the third floor, the veranda.
Climbing up the Royal stairway, one reaches the second floor which is the pantry. After passing through three waiting rooms with 26 square-meter area, a fireplace with an internal orthogonal air duct, one reaches the most important floor, the veranda and the Throne Hall.

The veranda covers an area of 480 meters and the ceiling is supported by 18 columns made of one trunk of a plane tree. On the floor, between the pavement and the columns, there are some wooden tie systems to increase the stability of the structure in case of an earthquake.

At the entrance to the Throne Hall, there are two paintings on both sides. The one on the right represents Persian women costume and the one on the left represents European women costume. The Throne Hall is covered with a great number of arabesque designs.

From the third floor to the top, there are two narrow spiral stairways. The right one leads to the fourth floor, Haram Sara, a room for the king’s ladies. And the one on the left leads to the fifth floor, the king’s room. It is said that the ladies’ room is connected to the king’s room by a hallway called The Golden Hallway.

Climbing up only one more floor, one reaches the most beautiful floor of the palace which is called the Music Hall. The decorative elements are made of cast-in-situ plasterwork with different patterns of musical instruments.

In addition to its decorative function, its echo system also sounds very interesting to the visitors. Following the Honeycomb Spaces Theory in physics, if all the doors and the windows are closed and one starts playing music in the palace, it sounds as if an orchestra is playing.

The Palace is an encyclopaedia of the traditional paintings of arabesque designs and miniatures done by the famous master, Reza Abbasi and his students. Ali Qapu palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

* Written by Safoura Dehghani.


Official Website: N/A Entrance fee: 200.000  IRR
Wikipedia: Click here Name(s) in Persian: عالی قاپو
UNESCO Website: Click here Public transportation availability: Yes
Province: Isfahan Accommodation availability: Yes
Phone: +9831 2222173 Facilities: Yes
Working days: All days Restaurant & Cafe availability: Yes
Opening hours: 9:00 AM-4:30 PM Best time to visit: All Seasons

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