Best time to goSpring time: 8:30 to 19:00 Summer time: 8:30 to 13:30 and 15:30 to 20:00 Autumn: 8:30 to 17:30 Winter: 8:30 to 18:30
Chehel Sotoun (literally translated: Forty Columns) is a palace in the middle of 67000 square-meter garden of Jahan-Nama at the far end of a long pool, in Isfahan. The palace was built by the order of by Shah Abbas II as his leisure the palace was specially used for tor receive high ranking guests like Iranian and foreign politicians.
You can see 20 beautiful slender columns plus 20 columns reflected in the water of the fountain in the middle of a well maintained garden which is registered as one of the World Heritage Persian Gardens. The elegant palace of the 40 columns has superb fresco's and mural paintings on ceramic.
The palace opens to an elegant terrace with the spectacular view of the fountain and garden. If the pool is full of water, you can see 20 reflected columns in the fountain. There are four stone lions at every corners of the central fountain, the hall and marble and vaulted cornices around it.
Portrait of the sovereign in the royal hall, the Mirror Hall, the portrait of Shah Abbas I wearing his royal crown and the miniatures of the treasury room are the must sees of the palace.
The building used to be a royal pavilion for kings’ receptions and balls. An inscription on the structure shows the decoration and frescoes were finished in 1647. Two large historical frescoes date back to late Zand dynasty. The building is now used as the museum Persian painting and ceramics.
It makes it even more interesting to visit Chehel Sotun if you know the palace had been severely damaged since it was built. At the time of Afghans’ occupation of the town, the interior of the the mural paintings and walls of the palace were covered with a thick coat of whitewash. It is not yet known if the wall were coated to protect the mural paintings form any possible vandalism or to demoralize the value of the paintings. Whatever was the reason behind it, the mural paintings are now extensively restored under the aegis of the Institute Italian Per il Medio Oriente.