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Chehel Sotoon Palace

This palace was built primarily during the reign of Shah Abbas I, with a "U-shaped" plan, comprised of the thron, hall and flanking rooms in the north and the southern part of the eastern side, it was expanded to the present form towards west during the reign of Shah Abbas II in 1057 A.D. This palace was opened by the presence of officers and the great men from Iran and other countries as a palace of ceremonies. Among the annexations of this building in Shah Abbas II era, we can point to places such as; southern and northern angles saloons, veranda, Talar Aeineh (saloon) with 20 pillars and a long swimming pool on eastern angle and in front of columned veranda. The most important features of Chehel sotoon palace are the beautiful paintings of an artist in Safavid era called "Reza Abbasi" who has decorated the walls of saloons in Iranian miniature style. Each of this painting expresses the historical events in Safavid and Afsharieh era. For instance we can point to reception meeting of Homayoon the king of India by Shah Tahmaseb as host, and the Chaldoran battle between Shah Smail and Sultan Salim Khan the Turkish emperor, the Reception meeting of Turkistan ruler named "Vali Mohammad Khan" by Shah Abbas as a host, the Reception meeting of Turkistan ruler named "Nader Mohammad Khan by Shah Abbas II as host, the Kornal battle between Nader Shah Afshar and Mohammad Shah Gurkani the king of India and the battle between Shah Smail I and Sheibak Khan Ozbak.

It is considerable that two pictures about Chaldoran and Kornal battles are the annexation of this building after Safavid periods. According to existing documents, these pictures have been drawn by "Agha Sadegh" the painter. There are also some paintings in one part of the palace which are belonged to "Anzhel and Loogar from Netherlands who had come to Iran and Isfahan in the period of Shah Abbas II.
There are also some paintings about imaginative characters which have been drown for decorating the building in lower part of the walls in main saloon.
The etymology of this building to Chehel sotoon (fourty columns) is that in Iranian culture, the number 40 indicates the sense of infinity and richness and some believe that the number 20 plus reflections of 20 columns on the surface of the pool, summing up the numerical denomination of  40 columns of palace.
The Chehel sotoon palace involved serious damages in the period of Zeleh Sultan the son of Naseredin Shah Ghajar in Isfahan, so that most decorations especially in columned saloon were damaged.
This palace was changed into museum in 1327 solo by the support of officials and the efforts of whom loved culture. At present some parts of survived monuments which are belonged to different historical periods particularly Safavid era have exposed to common people.

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