Dominating the city is the Royal Palace. Towering more than 48m high and stretched across seven floors, this early 17th-century masterpiece is famous for its music room and wall paintings by Reza Abbassi. The city also boasts several other palaces, all of which date from the 1600s. Talar Ashraf is a charming and well-maintained palace, while the Hasht Behesht or Palace of the Eight Paradises was reportedly built to house the King’s Harem in the latter half of the 17th century. Chehel Sotoun, or the Palace of 40 Columns, is actually smaller than you might expect, and in fact hosts only 20 columns, which reflect on the palace’s pool, hence the name.
A trip to Isfahan also gives you the opportunity to explore the city’s mosques, all of which embrace the rich artistic culture of the region. One of the true masterpieces of the city and in fact the whole region is the Imam Mosque, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fabulous example of the tilemaker’s art. Alternatively, the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is an exceptional example of early 17th-century architecture, and was the private mosque attached to the Royal Palace via an underground tunnel.
Gardens are prominent in Persian design and culture, and a visit to Isfahan will introduce you to one of the most beautiful in Iran. The Flowers Garden should be visited in spring, when it is in full bloom, although at other times of the year other aspects of the garden come to the fore such as the secret waterfalls, and the cactus garden.