Chehel Sotoun

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Coordinates: 32°39′27.12″N 51°40′20.69″E / 32.6575333°N 51.6724139°E / 32.6575333; 51.6724139

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Persian gardens
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Chehel Sotoon.jpg
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Reference 1372
UNESCO region Asia and Australasia
Inscription history
Inscription 2011 (35th Session)

Chehel Sotoun (also Chihil Sutun or Chehel Sotoon; Persian: چهل ستون‎, literally: “Forty Columns”) is a pavilion in the middle of a park at the far end of a long pool, in Isfahan, Iran, built by Shah Abbas II to be used for his entertainment and receptions. In this palace, Shah Abbas II and his successors would receive dignitaries and ambassadors, either on the terrace or in one of the stately reception halls.

The name, meaning "Forty Columns" in Persian, was inspired by the twenty slender wooden columns supporting the entrance pavilion, which, when reflected in the waters of the fountain, are said to appear to be forty.[1]

The most startling feature of the pavilion is the brilliantly painted interior, which in contrast to general Islamic design features a multitude of human figures, including several scenes of battle and audiences held by the Shah with rulers bordering the eastern portion of the empire.[2]

Some of the scenes depicted in these frescos include the reception of Mughal Emperor Humayun (1508-1556) by Tahmasp I (1514-1576), the battle of Shah Ismail I (1487-1524) and Ottoman Selim I (1465-1520) at Chaldoran,[3] Shah Abbas I receiving Vali Muhammad Khan (reign 1605–1611) from the Khanate of Bukhara, Shah Abbas II receiving Nadir Muhammad Khan (reign 1642–1645) from the Khanate of Bukhara, the Battle of Karnal and the victory of Nader Shah Afshar (1688-1747) over Muhammad Shah Rangeela (1702-1748), and the battle and victory of Shah Ismail I over Muhammad Shaybani Khan (1451-1510). The scenes of Karnal and Chaldoran are believed to have been added to the building in the Qajar era (1785 -1925). The works of Dutch painters such as Philips Angel van Leiden (1618-1664) can be seen in parts of the palace. [4]

There are also less historical, but even more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.

The frescoes and paintings in Chehel Sotoun palace are on ceramic panels, many of which have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the West. [5]

The Chehel Sotoun Palace is located in one of the gardens among the 9 Iranian Gardens which are collectively registered as one of the Iran’s 17 registered World Heritage Sites under the name of the Persian Garden. [6]

Inside the museum





  1. ^ Landor, Arnold Henry Savage (1902). Across Coveted Lands. London: MacMillan and Co., Limited. p. 323. 
  2. ^ "Chehel Sotoun, Esfahan, Iran". Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  3. ^ "کاخ چهل ستون". Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  4. ^ "Chehel Sotun". Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  5. ^ "Chehel Sotun Palace". Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  6. ^ ", Iran's Tourism Guide"
  7. ^ Honarfar, Lotfollah (1966). A Treasure of the Historical Monuments of Isfahan; Honarfar L. Isfahan: Saghafi. 

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