Ali Qapu
Esfahan, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

 

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11/2/2014

Ālī Qāpū (from Ottoman Turkish Âli Qapı - "High Porte") is a grand palace in Isfahan, Iran. It is located on the western side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square opposite to Sheikh lotf allah mosque, and had been originally designed as a vast portal. It is forty-eight meters high and there are seven floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor music room, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic.

Ālī Qāpū is rich in naturalistic wall paintings by Reza Abbassi, the court painter of Shah Abbas I, and his pupils. There are floral, animal, and bird motifs. The highly ornamented doors and windows of the palace have almost all been pillaged at times of social anarchy. Only one window on the third floor has escaped the ravages of time. Ālī Qāpū was repaired and restored substantially during the reign of Shah Sultan Hussein, the last Safavid ruler, but fell into a dreadful state of dilapidation again during the short reign of invading Afghans. under the Qajar Nasir al-Din shah's reign (1848–96), the Safavid cornices and floral tiles above the portal were replaced by tiles bearing inscriptions.

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