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Kamal al-molk House

Hasht Behesht palace

Shah Suleiman the Safavid constructed this palace in 1669 in the Bolbol (meaning nightingale) Garden. There were some monuments bearing the same name, in Tabriz and Qazvin the other capitals of the Safavid era. No traces have been left of these, but the Hasht Behesht of Esfahan remains as a work of inspiration.

The palace is of two storeys and founded on an octagonal base 130 centimetres high. The palace itself is about 14 meters high and is surrounded by four glorious Iwans at the four corners allowing enough light for the inner part of the palace. The central part of the monument has plaster pendentives vaults decorated with frescos and is opened to the four Iwans from the four corners in such a way that the inner part of the monument has a cross-shaped plan. The four sides are designed with different constructional units. Thus including the upper storey there are eight individual patterns. Each of the units has been arranged with separate architectural design and a different inner space, the architect has thus converted the monument into a small labyrinth. On the second floor is a tiny chamber worthy of special mention. Each section of it has been allocated a specific decoration. The Northern Iwan of the palace benefits from a shallow marble pond that is known as the Morvarid (pearl) Pond. The Southern Iwan also has a waterfall process. Built into the rim of the Iwan is a pipe connected to a copper reservoir on the upper floor, which empties into the small lower pond like a waterfall. The rooms of the palace are fully decorated with frescos and mirror work most of which were damaged during the Qajarid era (19th century). Hasht Behest palace has an octagonal plan and great efforts have been made to employ patterns and symbols derived from the number "Eight", in view of the name of the palace. There are eight constructional sections, the central pond is octagonal, the floor has been covered with octagonal bricks and also the outer shell is octagonal, all inspired by this number. In the outer side of the palace, there is much interesting tile work in spandrels, some of which refer to exemplary stories, some containing epic and national symbols, some scenes of the hunting of animals and birds and some show mythical animals such as the phoenix.



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