Esfahan has an excellent reputation of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. One single argument is, aside from exquisite and really old mosques, its marvelous river bridges, and stately mansions its beautiful palaces located in Persian gardens.
Chehel Sotun Palace in a typical paradise imitating park uses clearly Achaemenid (550-330 BCE) elements of architecture, although the huge building was built during the reign of Shah Abbas II in the early 17th century. Especially the tall, but incredibly slender, wooden pillars carrying the porch remind of Persepolis, which will be the topic of a future posting. When entering the terrace of the palace, one will get an impression of royal life in the earlier of several high cultures in Iran. The Great Hall displays gorgeous frescos and the, for Esfahan, so immensely typical miniatures.
Another palace, albeit much smaller, is Hash Beshest (the ‘Eight Paradises’) in the vicinity of Chehel Sotun. And not to forget Ali-Qapoo, one of the key elements in Nagsh-e Jahan’s architecture. From its balcony, the Shah used to watch polo games on the gorgeous square.