Ali Qapu Palace (Isfahan) | Things to do in Aali Qapu Palace

The Imperial Gate
aliqapu palace feature image2 - Ali Qapu Palace (Isfahan) | Things to do in Aali Qapu Palace
17 Dec

Ali Qapu Palace (Isfahan) | Things to do in Aali Qapu Palace

Take in the fabulous scenery of a stunning square from the terrace of the glamorous Ali Qapu Palace in Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan. Indeed, this attractive UNESCO-listed, six-story monument was built by decree of the Safavid king, Shah Abbas I, in the 16th century. In fact, he used the construction as his residence. Also, the king would invite his noble visitors and foreign ambassadors to this fascinating edifice to put his glory on display.

As the name of the palace suggests, the architecture of the construction showcases the authority and dignity of the Safavid Empire. Above all, the charming plasterwork and paintings adorning the ceilings and walls of the palace coupled with the mirrorwork decorate the palace appealingly. There is still more to it!

ali qapu - Ali Qapu Palace (Isfahan) | Things to do in Aali Qapu Palace

Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan – Aliqapu Palace

Why Visit Ali Qapu Palace?

  • Ali Qapu is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site
  • The Ali Qapu terrace provides a picture-perfect view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
  • Ali Qapu represents the lavish lifestyle of Shah Abbas.
  • The Music Hall displays matchless decorative and acoustic characteristics.
  • The marvelous wall paintings and inlay works decorate the palace.

The History of Ali Qapu Palace

Under the reign of the Safavid king, Shah Abbas I (1571 – 1629), the major architect, Sheikh Bahai designed the astonishing architecture of Ali Qapu. The construction of the building took several years. It was worth the time to create such a splendid monument, though. Shah Abbas’s successors made further additions to the palace.

In the first phase, the building consisted of only two floors. Subsequently, the number of floors rose to six. Yet, the structure was destroyed over time. Shah Sultan Hussain, repaired and restored the edifice. Invading Afghans, and later, Qajars imposed damages to the palace, too.

The architecture of Ali Qapu Palace Isfahan

In the middle of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square face west and observe the fascinating six-story Ali Qapu palace. After entering the palace, there are several narrow spiral staircases to climb. On the first floor, administrative offices stand. On the third floor, an impressive elevated veranda affords a wonderful perspective over the square. Also, eighteen wonderful columns support and decorate the veranda.

The sixth floor was the royal reception and banquet venue. Yet, the actual highlight of the Ali Qapu palace is the incredible Music Hall. The design of the carved stucco ceiling with rose-water shaker and vase motifs is extraordinary. In addition to the architectural features, they contributed to the acoustic quality of the room and turned the hall into a studio.

Ali Qapu abounds with elegant wall paintings by Reza Abbasi, the court painter of Shah Abbas I.  Indeed, his amazing paintings are rich in floral and faunal motifs.

Alighapo 1 - Ali Qapu Palace (Isfahan) | Things to do in Aali Qapu Palace

Music Hall – Ali Qapu Palace Architecture

The function of the Ali Qapu palace

In addition to its astonishing architecture, the name of the palace is also influential and well represents the function of the palace. But how did the palace get its name? The name consists of two parts: Ali and Qapu. Ali means great or imperial. Qapu, however, originates in Turkish and means gate.

The name Ali Qapu stands for the entrance gate to the royal precinct of the Safavid Empire. The royal realm was occupied by the Safavid palaces, which extended from Naqsh-e Jahan Square to Chahar Bagh Boulevard.

The Imperial gate ought to be splendid enough to impress the official visitors. This magnificent structure with its unparalleled architecture and embedded aesthetic patterns served this aim pretty well. The whole monument functioned as the reception and banquet complex of the royal family. The king and his royal guests observed the polo matches, horse racing, and military parades from the intriguing terrace of Ali Qapu.

More about Ali Qapu palace

Visit Hours of Ali Qapu

Visit Hours: In spring and summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In fall and autumn from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additional Information

    • Audio guides are available at the entrance of Ali Qapu Palace.
    • Only the columned terrace on the third floor and the music hall on the sixth floor are open to visitors.
    • The steep narrow stairs might pose difficulty, especially for elderly people to climb.

Nearby Attractions

In addition to Ali Qapu, Naqsh-e Jahan Square embraces three other tourist attractions. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the Grand Bazar, and Shah Mosque should be definitely on your must-visit list. Hash Behesht Palace and Chehel Sotun Palace are also close and worth visiting. Also, you can simply stroll along Chahar Bagh Boulevard.

Restaurants Near Aali Qapu Palace

Naqshe Jahan Restaurant

Sharzad Restaurant

Grilled Golestan

Shad Beryani

Hermes Café Restaurant

Like to check out Ali Qapu Palace?

Then book a place at either one of our multi-day Cultural Tours or our Walking Tour in Isfahan.

Go on a walking tour in Isfahan’s world-famous Naqsh-e Jahan Square & Jameh Mosque. Explore architecture & history…
1 Day

Aali Qapu Palace on Map


Keywords: ali ghapoo, safavid empire palace, ali qapu photos, alighapoo palace, aliqapu photos, ali qapu music hall

Zahra Soltani
Content Manager, International Relations Manager

To Zahra, introducing the beauties of Iran is a delight and an inherent mission! Beyond that, arts, culture, literature, mythology, and all the astonishing secrets of our marvelous universe set her soul on fire! This is what makes Zahra a filmophile, an insatiable reader, and a passionate writer.

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