Chehel Sotoun palace: a former home of opulence

November 9, 2016 - 18:10

TEHRAN - Chehel Sotoun, located in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, is a surviving 17th-century palace, which used to be part of the royal precinct that stretched between Naqsh-e Jahan (Imam) Sq. and Chahar Bagh Abbasi St.

The Safavid-era palace was built as a pleasure pavilion and reception hall midst of a large park, itself an exemplar of the Persian Garden which has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The name of the palace, which literally means “Forty Columns”, derives from the illusion that the twenty columns of the front portico are doubled by the reflecting pool to the south.

The palace is entered via an elegant terrace that connects a pattern of Persian garden to an interior of elaborate design and splendor.

Chehel Sotoun boasts eye-catching frescos that depict multitudes of human figures, royal meetings, and battle scenes amongst them: the reception of an Uzbek King in 1646 and the infamous Battle of Chaldiran against the Ottoman Sultan Selim I.

Based on historical records, the building was initially constructed in the mid-17th century and rebuilt in 1706 following a raging fire.

Here is a select of comments that visitors to the palace have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:


A little oasis of peace and quiet with its own absorbing history and its part in them. Relaxing and recommended. (Ray C. from the UK, visited October 2016)

“Palace, garden, nice wall paintings”

Huge and beautiful garden surrounding this palace. The palace itself is not that big. But the highlight are the six big paintings on the inside walls. The colors and the details really standout. (Chai T. from Thailand; visited October 2016)

“A highlight in Isfahan”

Among all the attractions in Isfahan, Chehel Sotun is my number 2 favor after masjed-e sheikh lotfollah.

The palace is wonderfully designed, although the 20 slim columns on the terrace and the rectangular pond in front of them are both elegant, I think the real gem are the exquisite mirror works at the ceilings and the interesting and well preserved / restored frescos inside the main hall.

I am not a garden person but I found the garden there very pleasant. Well worth a leisurely stroll. (Pchu from Australia, visited September 2016)

“We Were Blown Away”

This attraction exceeded our expectations! The palace was stunning and the wall paintings were exquisite. It is definitely a must see if you visit Isfahan. The gardens were also lovely and provided a nice relief from the busy city traffic. A tip – don’t buy the postcards sold within the premises. The same postcards are sold just at the gates for half of the price! (Eileen S. from Malaysia, visited October 2016)

An undated photo above depicts majestic frescos that enriches interior atmosphere of the Chehel Sotoun, a Safavid-era palace located in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.