Ali Qapu Palace

Also known as: Alighapoo Palace


This glorious mansion in Isfahan is a phenomenal reflection of Iran's grandeur at the zenith of its power in the 17th century. It's also another testament to the sublime perfection of the noble Iranian art. The elevated structure meanwhile validates Isfahan's claim as the center of the lofty Islamic architecture.


Made to Impress

Built on the order of Shah Abbas the Great at the height of Safavid rule, the edifice was initially meant as a gateway into royal palaces before undergoing a major expansion. Ali Qapu Palace was where the shah would meet foreign dignitaries, with the imposing structure serving the purpose to impress and overwhelm the visitor.  



The six-story building is the entrance of a majestic square. Each story is accessible by a spiral staircase. Paintings by leading Persian miniaturist Reza Abbasi displaying flowers, animals, birds and figures decorate the rooms, corridors and stairways.


The Terrace

The most spectacular part of the palace is a terrace which grants an excellent view of the famous Naqsh-e Jahan Square. The shah used it to watch special occasions, including the game of chogan which two teams played on horsebacks to drive the ball to the goals with the use of mallets. The ceiling is a remarkable work of artistry, with intricate inlay and exposed wooden beams decorating it.


The Music Room

The sixth floor is the climax of the Iranian architecture with a stucco ceiling carved out with various images. The hollowed out shapes, including pots and vases, serve both to ornament the room and create acoustic properties which explains why it is called the Music Room. The rooms here were used for private parties and for the king's musicians.

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