About Chehel Sotoon Isfahan
It seems that in Isfahan each tourist attraction has a number in its name, such as Sio Se Pol which means 33 bridges (spans) and what we are going to mention now, Chehel Sotoon which means 40 columns. However, this historical pavilion in Isfahan actually has 20 wooden columns, but the reflection of these columns in the water pool in front of the building makes it 40 columns. That’s the reason why it is called Chehel Sotoon.
Moreover, the number 40 also has a great impact in the Persian language. When someone wants to show the multiplicity of something, they put this number before it. For example, you might have heard about Chehel Cheragh (40 lights) which doesn’t consist of 40 lights but this number just shows that this light is so big or its lights are numerous.
Brief History about Chehel Sotoon Isfahan
Chehel Sotoon is one of the main tourist attractions in Isfahan which dates back to the 17th century (during the Safavid era). The construction of the building started during the reign of Shah Abbas I, who ruled Iran for 42 years. But it completed in the reign of second Shah Abbas.
First of all, when Shah Abbas I became the king of Iran, he makes Isfahan his capital. At that time, Isfahan was a desert city. Therefore, he decided to make it more like a city. Then, he ordered to make a street which is still called by its old name, Chaharbagh. And he also ordered to make gardens and green environment in the city to make it shine more. Among the things he decided to build in this city, we can mention the Chehel Sotoon and Ali Qapu, which are both the king palaces.
The Chehel Sotoon Garden, which spans over 67000 square meters, has been made the way that it completes the other gardens around. It had access to all the gardens around. Moreover, it was connected to other palaces of Isfahan, such as the Hasht Behesht Palace and the Ali Qapu Palace. It means that, during that time, Chehel Sotoon had a great role in the city.
At first, the building wasn’t going to be a palace. Shah Abbas just wanted a place near his official palace (Ali Qapu) where he could rest away from all the commotions of the kingdom. But very soon, the building became as important as the official palace. And after a while, it became a place to host the political figures of other countries. It has been mentioned that he also celebrated the 23rd year of his reign in this palace. Therefore, all and all say that the small home became a big and important palace in this city.
What to See in Chehel Sotoon
Chehel Sotoon is so historical and old; therefore, you can walk in history when you step inside this palace. The first thing that may catch the eyes of the tourists is the beautiful paintings all around the palace. However, they have damaged during the time, but they are still breathtaking and spectacular. Each picture is telling a story which might date back to the Safavid era. The story of each picture has been written on its board, so you can better imagine the time when the king was living in the palace.
But it’s not just the painting which makes this palace a great tourist attraction in Isfahan, the colourful mirrors which can be seen in different rooms are the other eye-catching art in this palace.
What even makes the Chehel Sotoon Palace more important and popular is that it is one of 9 Iranian Gardens which are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Places nearby Chehel Sotoon Isfahan
The palace is located almost in the centre of the city, which makes it so close to many other tourist attractions of Isfahan such as the Hasht Behesht Palace and Naghshe Jahan Square, which is another tourist attraction in Isfahan which has been listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It will only take 5 minutes to walk to this square and visit all other tourist attractions located in this place. The Museum of Natural History and Wildlife is also another attraction which is located almost inside the walls of Chehel Sotoon area.
There are great cafes and restaurants around this place too. So you can easily take your time visiting this palace and then rest yourself in a café. The distance of this place to the Abbasi Hotel Isfahan, which is one of the greatest and most popular hotels in Isfahan, is 1.3 km. It will only take 15 minutes to get there on foot. The Hasht Behesht Hotel is another hotel which is very close to this attraction. It is just 1.1 km and can be reached in 10 minutes on foot.
How to get to Chehel Sotoon Isfahan
Chehel Sotoon is located in Ostandari Street. Although there is no bus stop exactly in this street, the tourists can either walk to this attraction (if they are staying in any hotels in this area) or take a bus to Municipal bus station or Imam Hossein bus station. Either of these locations is just 6 minutes away from the entrance of the Chehel Sotoon Palace.