Ali Qapu Palace or Kakh-e Ali Qapu is one of the Iran World Heritage Sites registered in UNESCO list with Naqsh-e Jahan Square; the second big square in the world. It is located on the western side of square. Ali Qapu palace belongs to the Safavid era and is considered as one of the masterpieces of Iranian architecture. This Palace built in six floor and was the highest building in the city at the same time. Many tourists come to Iran to visit this monument, we will be further acquainted with it.
History of Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu palace was built in the 10th century AH as the entrance and gate of the Safavid royal palaces with simple architecture in five phase. The construction began from the time of Shah Abbas I and completed in Shah Abbas II and Shah (king) Soleyman age. This gate joined Naqsh-e Jahan square to seat of government, Timurid hall, Chehel Sotoun, Rakib Khaneh mansion etc.
The great gate of Ali Qapu was built at the same time with the kingdom palaces built. The palaces were among the gardens, and the king and courtiers used it for official ceremonial purposes. These palaces also had a complete space for the king to live in. The early building of Ali Qapu was in the rectangular cube shape and two stories. At that time, the bazaar was one story and the Ali Qapu height was double namely 13 meters.
With the population increase and the importance of the headquarters, Ali Qapu gate was extended. The third, fourth stories and fifth mid-story were added. At this stage, it became a ceremonial building with Naqsh-e Jahan square perspective.
Various sections were added to the palace and the most important is the music hall, whose decorations are one of the most outstanding of Iranian architecture.
Later, the parade of soldiers, Chogan and other ceremonies was held in Naqsh-e Jahan square, so a porch was built toward square on the third story, which the king and his entourage watched them therefrom.
At the end, the 18th column was added in the porch and roofed with wood. The water supply system and other facilities was provided to meet the needs.
After the Safavid era and the transfer of the capital from Isfahan, the attention of the palace was diminished and damaged by Afghans attacks in Iran. Nevertheless, the beauty of the palace is still alive and was repaired some parts.
Architecture of Ali Qapu Palace
Due to the extensions of different floors and sections, Ali Qapu Palace (Kakh-e Qapu) has a varied landscape so that the number of floors seems different from each side. In general, the mansion has six floors Included respectively: Entrance, Water System Floor, columned porch, Nesting Rooms, Shah (king) bedroom(Probably) and Music Hall
Ali Qapu Palace has the three stairways which two northwest and southwest stairways are symmetry and spiral. The number of steps is 114 to the roof and the height of the stairway is relatively high, so it may be difficult for the elderly to visit all the palace floors. However, this is possible on the floors that went out of the stairs and went to the western balconies of the building for rest. Other palace stairway is king stairway that makes it easier to access the above floors. The stairway are ornament with beautiful tiles and paintings, which paintings remained in some parts unfortunately.
Ornamenting in Ali Qapu Palace
What distinguishes Ali Qapu palace is its unique interior ornament. Patterns such as shrubbery, hunting grounds, animals, birds, etc, including Koshte Bori (an Iranian plaster) and Layeh Chini (a kind of painting), Tong Bori (Exterior decoration in the form of bottles, pots and other containers) and Moqarnas (A kind of aesthetic ornamentation), Minature, tiles, gilding.