Hasht Behesht Palace – Isfahan
Hasht Behesht is a historical palace in Isfahan built during the Safavid era. This palace has two floors and is placed in the middle of a magnificent garden.
The History of Hasht Behesht Palace in Isfahan
Hasht Behesht palace which is credited as the most beautiful palace in the country was built by Shah Abbas Safavid near the “Bulbul” Garden (the nightingale garden). The great garden surrounding the palace is, in fact, a part of the original “Naghsh-e Jahan” garden established by Shah Esma’el I. After his death, during the time of Shah Abbas I, the majestic garden was divided into small pieces.
The garden of Hasht Behesht palace later on expanded during the time of Shah Abbas II and Shah Soleiman. According to few historians, this palace was dedicated to eight women of Shah’s Harem, four of which resided on the first floor and the other four were on the upper floor.
The architecture of Hasht Behesht Palace Isfahan
The Hasht Behesht palace is a great example of architectural eminence during the Safavid era. This palace was called Hasht Behesht from the very beginning, which means “Eight Heavens”.
In spite of the modest size of the palace, it has quite a complicated design that is highly symmetrical. The palace is a “Chahar Taq”, which is an architectural design that was mostly practised in the late Sassanid era.
The rising wooden columns on the open-sided terraces of the palace are almost as tall as the soaring trees still growing inside the garden.
Inside the palace, there are four rooms each at a corner of the rectangular plan in two levels. The centre of the palace rises as high as two floors and is crowned with a dome and a gleaming skylight.
The Hasht Behesht palace was originally decorated with fascinating mosaics, mirror works, plaster decorations, and different types of floral paintings. The ceiling of the palace was also decorated with different plaster ornaments.
Fathali Shah Qajar renovated Hasht Behesht palace in the 19th century and let his son, Zele Sultan reside in it. This man did not pay attention to the beautiful palace and did not maintain the ornamentations of the palace. Moreover, unfortunately, most of the palace’s glory was lost during this time.
The palace has been renovated recently, and layers of plaster had to be removed from the walls, so the original layers were revealed. The surviving ornaments are mostly on the second floor of the palace and are of flowers and women.
Hasht Behesht Palace Of Today’s Isfahan
Today, the Hasht Behesht palace and its amazing garden are open to the public. The park is a popular meeting place for retired Esfahani men and provides an inviting serenity that offers a moment of calmness in the busy city Isfahan is today.
To arrive at this beautiful garden and take delight in the graceful palace, take a stroll down Chahar Bagh e Abbasi St. in Isfahan any day from 9am-4pm. Be sure to bring a book or your computer to enjoy the serenity in the garden for a while.
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