Isfahan Palace of Chehel sutun

Written by Super User. Posted in Isfahan Historical Sites

Palace of Chehel sutun

The Esfahan palaces, particularly those that have survived, are exceedingly modest in comparison to the royal halls of the Sassanians or Mongols. The chehel sutun palace, inside a garden with an area of 67000 square meters, was built as an official court and a reception hall by shah Abbas II (1647AD). Nowadays it is located to the south of Sepah street and continues the old Talar, or columnar porch. At its simplest it is only a roof- high porch constituting the façade. When attached to a royal building. It provides a huge outdoor reception haa, and it susceptible to lavish embellishments that have include mirror plated columns, panels and stalactites, and polychrome mosaic ceilings.

The name means the Forty columns, although there are actually 18. A reflecting pool (110 X 16 m) is provided to see the other18. A more mundane explanation is that 40 was once used synonymously with many in Persian, and still is in some quarter.

In 1721 bishop Barnabas of Esfahan  described the Chehel sutun talar as follows: ‘the palace where the King held his reception is not a room or recovered hall. But a very large open porch, handsome and more majestic than that of St Peter’s though not so big. It is completely full of large and small mirrors, marvelously interlaced, and some picture with fine frames. There are in it 24 {actually 18} columns.. covered with small pieces of looking-glass like the whole porch….’’It must be added that each column is made out of a single tall plane trunk covered with a thin layer of painted wood, adorned with glass and painting.

Walls of the main hall of chehel sutun are decorate with six remarkable wall paintings, four of which belong to the Safavid period, as follows, starting from the western wing, opposite the main gate:

1. The scene of reception in honor of Vali Mohammad Khan the King of Tutkistan in 1611, by Shah Abbas 1;

2. Battle of Chaldoran a against the Ottomans in 1514 in which the Iranians fought without fire-arms under Shah Ismail 1;

3.Shah tahmasb 1, grandfather of Shah Abbas 1, receiving King Humayun of India;

4. Shah Ismail 1 fighting against Sheibak khan the uzbek;

5. Shah Abbas II entertaining Nader Mohammad Khan, king of Turkistan;

6. The sixth large painting. Which is more recent, depicts Nader Shah’s victory against the indian army in 1747. At Karnal.

some of the other smaller painting are in celebration of the joy of living, still others from Safavid and Qajar periods depict foreign personalities. In the chambers along the ivan, too there are paintings and superb ornamental designs.

The paintings of the Chehel sutun palace have been created in mainly two style:1) Iranian style, or magnification with scenes of miniatures used until then in decorating books; and 2) Foreign or European style, which became prevalent because of Iran’s connections with Europe. The paintings of the main hall are in the first style, while those of the northern colonnade are in the latter.


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