Ali Qapu Palace is located in Isfahan facing Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. It was constructed at the end of the 16th century as a residence for Shah Abbas I.

This six-storey palace once served as a monumental gateway to the royal palaces. It also functioned as a reception pavilion for foreign dignitaries and embassies to the royal court.

According to, Ali Qapu Palace has six floors reached via a series of small spiraled staircase and low doors. The hallway on the first floor which overlooks the square served in summer as a throne room from where the ruler could watch the polo matches or review the changing of the guards (there is a magnificent view over the square overlooking the town and the surrounding mountains). The rooms lie vacant today but the walls and ceilings still bear some original but beautifully restored frescoes and glazed tile decoration.

The highlight of the palace is its elevated terrace, which features 18 slender columns. The terrace affords a wonderful perspective over the square and one of the best views of the Masjed-e Shah. The attractive wooden ceiling with intricate inlay work and exposed beams is currently undergoing heavy restoration.

Many of the valuable paintings and mosaics that once decorated the 52 small rooms, corridors and stairways were destroyed during the Qajar era. Fortunately, a few remain in the throne room off the terrace.

The upper floor, which is definitely worth a climb, leads to the music room. The stucco ceiling is riddled with shapes of vases and other household utensils cut to enhance the acoustics. This distinctive craftsmanship, considered by some to be one of the finest examples of secular Persian art, extends to the walls

source:English-language paper Iran Daily

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