Ali Qapu is a grand palace in the western part of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, one of the main tourist attractions of Isfahan. The name of the palace means “imperial gate” – Ali Qapu stands in front of the two palaces of Safavid Era.
History of Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu palace was built between 1611 and 1629 as a part of Naqsh-e Jahan Square complex by the decision of Shah Abbas and under the guidance of architect Shaykh Bahai. Ali Qapu palace was meant to be a residence of the Shah and symbolize his power. Ali Qapu was built in several stages, and the initial structure was only two floors high. Now the building has six floors with lots of halls and huge balcony. The palace was pillaged and partly destructed during its history and restored by different rulers.
About Ali Qapu Palace
Several floors of the palace are designed for different purposes. The first floor was used as a chancellery. The third floor has a large hall which was used for Shah’s official receptions. The ceiling remains in its initial state with paintings of Reza Abbasi – the court painter of Shah Abbasi. The sixth floor is usually referred to as Music Hall. The interior of the room has not only decorative but also practical purpose – the shape of the walls contribute to acoustic properties. This hall was used for private parties and concerts of musical ensembles and singers. The balcony was built on one of the last stages. It is supported by 18 wooden columns and provides visitors with a spectacular view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Location of Ali Qapu Palace
Ali Qapu stands in the western part of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, which is located in the very center of Isfahan, surrounded by many other attractions. The north end if the square through Qeisarie Gate turns to the Imperial Bazaar – the main bazaar of Isfahan. On the south from the square there is majestic Shah’s Mosque located. In walking distance from the square there are Shah Historical Bath, Chehel Sotoon Palace and Hasht Behesht Palace. After 20 minutes’ walk you will reach Si-o-Se Bridge.
When to Visit Ali Qapu Palace
The opening hours of the palace are from 9.00 till 18.30. If you also want to visit mosques of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, mention that their working hours are based on the praying schedule. After visiting Ali Qapu take a walk around Naqsh-e Jahan Square to enjoy the view of the sunset light caressing the domes of the square.
How To Get To Ali Qapu
You can take a walk from Hasht Behesht Palace and Chehel Sotoun Palace, Si-o-Se-Pol, Bazaar or Historical Bath - all of them are located within walking distance of each other.
If you are staying far from city center or coming from airport or bus station, the closest metro station is Takhti. It is located in 20 minutes walking from the palace.
If you want to use the bus to get to the palace, choose a bus passing one of those two stops - Central Library and Khorshid Hospital.
If you are driving, there is a parking on Ostandari Street, next to the western wall of the square, and on the eastern side of Shah Mosque.
Ali Qapu Offices
Support is currently
Official support hours:
Sunday - Saturday / 9:00AM - 6:30PM (Asia/Tehran, GMT +3.5)