Hasht Behisht Palace
Address: south of the Chili Sutun palace, city center, Isfahan
Timings: 8am to 8pm
Tickets: IRR 3000
A rather impressive geometrical monument that sits majestically amidst the beautifully landscaped Bagh e Bulbul (Garden of the Nightingale), the Hasht Behisht displays subtle influences trickled down from contemporary Timurid architecture.
The pavilion was built by the Safavid Shah Suleyman in 1669, with the same intent in mind as the Chihil Sutun – a reception hall cum entertainment space for guests and foreign ambassadors.
The very name is taken from Timurid architecture, and translates literally to “eight paradises”. This is typically a 4-iwan plan around a central court, with enclosure on all 4 sides that protects the sanctity of the courtyard space within. The central space is covered by a dome, which contains detailed muqarnas in polychromatic schemes on the interior. A large chandelier hangs from the dome onto the central court, at the bottom of which is a grand fountain. The walls of the courtyard space were at some time ornamented with mural paintings and series of colored tile work, which have now been removed due to rapid degradation. However, the interior court still forms an alluring space that kindles meditation, intuition, and a general uplifting feeling as you tilt your neck here and there to take in all the visual delights that it has to offer.
When viewed from a distance, the rising slender columns on the exterior porch of the Hasht Behisht seem to trail off into infinity as they subtly merge into the line of trees in the backdrop.