Hasht Behesht Palace Isfahan
– Location: Isfahan, Iran
– Age: Safavid Era
– Years of Construction: 1660-1669 (Late 17th Century)
– Built: by order of Suleiman I, the eighth king of Iran’s Safavid Empire
– Visiting hours: Everyday, from 9:00 AM, till 4:00 PM.
– Address: Hasht Behesht Garden, Bagh-e Goldaste Street, Chahar Bagh e Abbasi Street, Isfahan, Iran
The royal palace of Hasht Behesht, which was known as the most remarkable palace of the world in Safavid Era – was built in 1080 Lunar, by the order of Suleiman I, the eighth king of Iran’s Safavid Empire near the Nightingale Garden (Bagh-e Bolbol). The mansion locating in this palace was first a part of Naghshe Jahan Garden. This two-storey building with its beautiful arches and various decorations is one of the glorious examples of Safavid architecture. This palace was for the king’s eight mistresses, with 4 of them living on the ground floor and 4 others on the first floor.
The palace has been called “Eight to Eight” and “Eight in Heaven” since the very beginning of its construction.
Its architectural style is classical Iranian whereby the plan is divided into 8 chambers surrounding a central room. The eight divisions and octagonal forms of such structures represent the eight levels of paradise in Islam. Despite its modest size (it occupies about 700 sq. m and rises 14 m high), the palace has a rather complicated plan.
The central part of the palace is made of four sides (Safeh) and its porch faces north. The roof over this four-sided building is covered with well-designed and vivid-color plasterwork.
The rooms in the first floor of the mansion have decoratives as plasterwork and paintings. On the second floor, there are a series of porches, rooms, arches and windows which add beauty to the mansion. This floor is divided into numerous corridors and rooms, each with its own decoration. In some of them, there were several water ponds and wall heaters. The walls are also covered with mirror-work. The ceilings of the palace are also covered with excellent mosaics.
What is prominent in the mansion is the connection between its different parts. This connection has given the building a remarkable unity despite the whole diversity. This mansion has four different façades that despite their similarities are all different.
The magnificent tiling of Hasht Behesht Palace includes different kinds of birds, reptiles, and predators paintings on. In the middle of the hall, there is a marble pool called “The Pearl Pool”. The design of the pool is in such way that the water seeps through its holes like pearl.
In its heyday, the palace featured the most exquisite decorations: gilded mosaics and mirror-work, calligraphic friezes and brocade panels, marble slabs and stucco moldings.
At the end of the Qajar period, the Hasht Behesht mansion was privately owned and stripped of its precious ornaments of the Safavid era, so that today nothing much is remained from all the splendor of the palace and the splendid view of the garden, water ponds and waterfronts. However its historic mansion is still a valuable and interesting monument around which a park has been built after Iran Islamic Revolution, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Isfahan. Hasht Behesht Palace was listed under No. 227 in Iran’s National Heritage.