Gallery Virtual Tour Movie Description

Chehel Sotun Palace

The visitor's attention is at first drawn to the garden with a 110-metre long pool on the eastern side. On the four corners of the pool, four statues of angels (guardian's symbol) and lions (power symbol) remain from Sarpushideh Palace of Safavid era.

Chehel Sotun Palace itself is seen at the end of the pool, in the western third of the garden and is one of three which has survived from the Safavid era. This palace consists of the Columned Hall, the Mirror Hall and the Throne Hall. This palace was built by the order of Shah Abbas II to receive foreign guests and ambassadors.

Chehel Sotun Palace (meaning Forty-Column Palace) has twenty columns each made of a single plane tree trunk, 12.8 meters high. The reason for naming the palace "Forty Columns" is that number forty has numerous meanings in all religions: in Judaism, David and Solomon ruled for forty years, Moses was appointed messenger at the age of forty, and stayed in Sinai mount for forty years. Forty is also a symbol of chastisement and examination: the Jews were wondered in the deserts for forty years as a punishment. Jesus overcame a temptation lasting forty days (Gospel of Matthew) and he ascended from his grave after forty hours. Allegiance with Noah was 40 days after the flood. Buddha and Mohammad both became messengers at the age of forty. Forty has also been used to suggest infinity and abundance. Jean Jacques Rousseau's opinion about the figure forty is "Forty is a number of completeness and I think the age of 40 is the perfect age for a politician".

The palace is 57.5 meters long and 37 meters wide and there is a one-meter-wide aqueduct close to the palace that runs all around it. At the midpoint of each side of this aqueduct is a small pool and fountain, which would have helped in cooling the palace during the summer. The wooden ceiling of the Columned Hall is a double-layer with fifty small-latticed windows installed around it for ventilation.

Chehel Sotun Palace Has 18 columns in the veranda and two more in the eastern side of the Mirror Hall (Talar-e Aeineh) The Mirror Hall is located behind the columned veranda and is made of wood, plaster and mirror work combined in great harmony. The mirrors are Venetian and their production dates back to the 16th century. Immediately behind the Mirror Hall is the glorious high-ceilinged Reception Hall. The main decorative feature of this vast hall is the extraordinary frescoes. The eastern and western walls of this hall are decorated with six large paintings. The two central ones belong to Qajarid era (19th century), and are painted over the original 17th century Safavid frescos.

The western wall paintings from right to left are as follows, the first painting is a reception ceremony honouring Vali Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Turkistan who was welcomed by Shah Abbas I in 1611. The next painting is of the Ghahveh-Khaneie genre depicting the historical Chaldoran battle that occurred in West Azerbaijan province of Iran in 1514, which lead to the first defeat of the Safavid dynasty. Although outnumbered the Ottoman army was equipped with firearms and defeated the Safavid troops. This battle is of high importance because of the bravery shown by the Iranian army.

The last fresco displays the reception ceremony for Humayun, the temporarily deposed King of India in the time of Shah Tahmasb 1543. Humayun was restored to his kingdom with the assistance of the Safavid state. Opposite this painting on the eastern wall, is a painting of the battle between Esmaeil, the Safavid Shah and Sheibak Khan the Uzbek, who was defeated. In the middle of the same wall, a painting depicts the battle between Nadir Shah, the Afsharid and the Gurkanid, Mohammad Shah (the Gurkanid dynasty were the Indian successors of Tamerlane). This took place in 1736 and the Iranian army entered New Delhi victoriously. This painting is also in the Ghahveh-Khaneie style. The last painting shows Nader Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Turkistan attending the court of Shah Abbas II. The decline in the standard of art from the frescos of the Safavids to the Qajarid eras is obvious. The style, clothes, musical instruments and battle scenes in the frescos of the Safavid era, all attract the viewer to the world of imagination in such a way that one hears a piece of music or feels the brave combat of warriors in a battle. On the contrary, the frescos of the Qajarid era are quite boring and contain no artistic highpoints. The remaining spaces of the hall are filled with various paintings such as arabesque (Iranesque), birds and animals or in the lower parts show various banquets, worthy of hours of examination.


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