Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cehelsotoon (Pavilion of Forty Columns) – Isfahan, Iran

View of Cehelsotoon from the entrance

Cehelsotoon Palace is the largest building in the palace precinct set in a walled garden. The palace was built in 1647 by Abbas II (1642-1666) during the Safavid period and reconstructed in 1706 after it was damaged in a fire. In front of the palace is a long reflecting pool. The front section known as the talar has 20 columns made of cypress wood supporting the flat wooden roof. The palace probably got its name from the reflection of the 20 columns in the long pool, which made up a total of forty columns….but some disagreed with this interpretation. 

Regardless how the name is interpreted, this building is  impressive especially with the tall slender columns and extensive use of small pieces of glasses on the entrance (iwan) deflecting the lights.  It is almost similar to the ceiling decoration in the shrine of Imam Reza’s brother in Shiraz but of course the décor in the shrine is in a more grandeur scale. Most of the interior surfaces in Cehelsotoon are painted with murals of scenes taken from the Persian literature. Some of the murals are faintly visible and hence cameras with flashes are not allowed to protect the paintings.

After touring the palace, we strolled around the walled garden within the palace compound. The garden is not too big but it gives a sense of tranquility walking among the tall pine trees and shades; the soft music on air gives a relaxing ambience. Several trunks of very old trees are exhibited in the garden. It is so huge that you can walk through the hollow trunks.

The entrance
The back door of the palace
Tall cypress columns supporting the flat roof
Beautiful Talar
A closer view
Intricate wood carving
Shimmering pieces of glasses on the iwan (entrance)
The garden and Cehelsotoon
The entrance - view from Cehelsotoon
The entrance building and its reflection
The walled garden of Cehelsotoon
Old tree trunk

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