About Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan
One of the main tourist attractions of Isfahan that will definitely catch everyone’s eyes in Naghshe Jahan Square is Ali Qapu Palace. No trip to Isfahan is complete without visiting this historical palace which like many other tourist attractions in Isfahan dates back to the Safavid Era. It is one of the first buildings constructed in the city under the rule of Shah Abbas I.
Brief History about Ali Qapu Palace
As mentioned earlier, Ali Qapu construction dates back to Shah Abbas I reign in the early 17th century. However, it changed several times. What we can see today as Ali Qapu Palace has been built in 5 phases. Therefore, the complete construction of this palace almost took 70 to 100 years.
At first, Ali Qapu was just a gate or entrance to the other palaces. The palaces of that time were the royal buildings which were located in the gardens and only the kings could live in them. However, since there were also places to host the royal guests, the entrance should be so magnificent to keep this place so modern and spectacular. It was how the Ali Qapu Palace born at first place.
After a while
After a while, Shah Abbas decided to expand this place. Since the city became more important and crowded, it was necessary to make this place, which was also the seat of the government, more unique. Therefore, it was the time when Ali Qapu Palace became more like a building as the first floors added to it. At this time, Ali Qapu Palace had four and a half floors and turned into a royal building which had a great view of the square. Then a balcony added to this building. It was a place for the king and his hosts to sit and see the ceremonies which took place in the square. The next step was adding the last floor which is called the Music Amphitheater or the Music Hall. And finally, the 18 columns added to the balcony which is supporting the wooden high ceiling of this place.
However, many reconstructions took place after this stage, but no other change added to this building and it is how the Ali Qapu facelifted through the time.
What Does Ali Qapu Palace Mean?
The name has a Turkish origin. Qapu in the Turkish language means “Gate” or “entrance” and Ali or Ala means “Colorful”. As it was the gate to the palace complex and it had great decoration and paintings, this name had been chosen for this place. Moreover, it’s been said that Shah Abbas I had brought the main door of this palace from Najaf and Ali ibn Abi Talib tomb. Therefore, it was very important and honourable for them. Hence, it might also mean the “Great Gate” too.
Ali Qapu Architecture
When we’re talking about the Ali Qapu Palace, we definitely are talking about a masterpiece. This palace has great features that not only make this place so unique but also has a great impact on the view of Naghshe Jahan Square.
Since the Ali Qapu Palace has been built through different stages, it is obvious that it might have different faces. And it actually has. Ali Qapu Palace has a different view from each side. If you see the palace from Naghshe Jahan Square, you might consider it as a 2-storey building with a huge balcony. But when you see it from behind or west side, you can see a 5-storey building and on the other side, this palace has 3 floors.
Importance of Ali Qapu Palace
One of the main reasons that make this place a tourist attraction is its history. Because it belongs to the time that there were no other buildings in this square. And it was also one of the first buildings that constructed in this city to make it, which was the capital of Iran in that time, more modern and unique. Therefore, it is important as a historical attraction in Isfahan.
Moreover, it is so artistic. From the entrance to the last floor of the building have been decorated with great paintings and carvings. The Music Hall is one of the most magnificent rooms in this building. All the paintings and tiling on the stairs, ceilings, walls and the floors are so unique and artistic which have been painted by Reza Abbasi, the court painter of Shah Abbas I. Therefore, it can be also one of the most artistic tourist attractions in Isfahan.
Places nearby Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu Palace is located in Naghshe Jahan Square, which is also a tourist attraction in Isfahan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore, it is very close to many other attractions such as Sheykh Lotfollah Mosque and Imam Mosque. There are all located in the same square and you can easily walk to visit them too. Moreover, this palace is just 600 meters away from Chehel Sotoon Palace. It will only take 5 minutes to get there on foot. There are great café and restaurant near this palace around the square which are among the best restaurants in Isfahan. The Hasht Behesht Hotel is just 650 meters away and reachable on foot in 8 minutes. The Safir Hotel and the Abbasi Hotel are among the other best hotels in Isfahan which are very close to Ali Qapu Palace.
How to get to Ali Qapu Palace
Most of the great hotels in Isfahan are close to Naghshe Jahan Square and its attractions. Therefore, most of the time it is easy for tourists to walk to this place. However, it will also be easy to get there by bus or taxi from any other parts of the city.