Located on the western side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square opposite to Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, built by the decree of Shah Abbas the Great in the early seventeenth century, Ali Qapu Palace ̶̶ this celebrated seat of the Safavid capital ̶̶ is one of the most charming of Isfahan’s architectural treasures.
Ali Qapu (literally means “Magnificent Gate”) is a pavilion that marks the entrance to the vast royal residential quarter of the Safavid king where the king used to entertain noble visitors and foreign ambassadors.
The palace is stretched from the Naqhsh-e-Jahan Square to the Chahar Bagh Boulevard and it is where the Nowruz (New Year's Day) was celebrated for the first time.
This wonderful six-story edifice has a large and massive rectangular structure fronted with a wide terrace whose ceiling is inlaid and supported by wooden columns.
In addition to having a look at the abundant naturalistic wall paintings, one can pass through the spiral staircases, getting to the sixth floor with the largest rooms used for holding royal reception and banquets, particularly the plasterwork-decorated music room with its deep circular niches in the walls for having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic, and enjoy this architectural masterpiece.
On the upper floor one thing that is definitely worth the climb is the elevated terrace, which features 18 slender columns. This highlight of the palace offers a wonderful perspective over the square and one of the best views of the Imam Mosque. Here on this terrace, the Safavid ruler used to watch polo, maneuvers and the horse-racing down on the Naghsh-e Jahan Square.
On the whole, this breath-taking palace is an unforgettable and must-see destination in tourists’ itineraries.