Hasht Behesht Palace, a historical masterpiece in Isfahan, epitomizes the artistic and architectural prowess of the Safavid era. Constructed in the 17th century, this palace, whose name translates to “Eight Paradises,” is celebrated for its stunning design and intricate decorations.
While less famous than its counterpart on Naqshe Jahan, Hasht Behesht is one of the rare remains of the once glorious Chaharbagh area.
Hasht Behehst in an octagonal pavilion, built in the 17th century at the heart of the city, in the middle of a large garden, now turned into a public park.
It used to be one of the private residences of the Safavid King, Suleiman I. Later, it became the first modern school of Isfahan.
While only a portion of the original pavilion remains nowadays, this two-floor mansion is a beautiful example of Persian architecture and art, and a must-see for visitors coming to Isfahan.
A Brief History
The construction of Hasht Behesht Palace in Isfahan ordered in 1669 by Suleiman I, the eighth king of the Safavid Empire, as a private residence.
During that era and since the first Safavid king Shah Abbas, the area of Chaharbagh Street, close to Naqshe Jahan Square, went into many construction projects to be divided into several gardens with several palaces and mansions.
Hasht Behesht was one of these mansions, and with Chehel Sotoon Palace, it has become the only remaining of these historical buildings.
While more modest than Ali Qapu or Chehel Sotoon, Hasht Behesht is no less a masterpiece and described by many 18th and 19th-century European travellers fascinated by the beauty of the palace.
Jane Dieulafoy, a French archaeologist, explorer, novelist, feminist and journalist, also wrote about Hasht Behesht in her travelogue. At that time, the palace turned into the first modern school of Isfahan, called Madresse Homayooni (His Majesty’s School).
When the Qajar Dynasty came into power, the palace handed over by Naser al-Din Shah to a new owner, Banu Azmi Iftikhar al-Dowlat.
She took care of the place without making any major changes until her death.
Under the ownership of her heirs, general changes made to the palace and the garden, and many of the beautiful decorations, such as paintings and mirror-work, covered with plaster.
Finally, in 1964, Hasht Behehst Garden and Palace handed over to the Ministry of Culture and Arts and became a national historical building.
Architecture of Hasht Behesht in Isfahan
The architecture of Hasht Behesht Palace in Isfahan follows the traditional Persian plan called “Hasht Behesht”, which consists of a central room surrounded by eight (“hasht” in Persian) chambers.
The eight-division and octagonal form is a common pattern of Persian and Muslim architecture, as it represents the eight levels of paradise in Islam.The name of this palace, Hasht Behesht, directly refers to this as it translates to Eight Paradises.
While the main plan of the building is based on an octagonal structure, there are numerous other reminders of the number eight in the architecture of the palace.
As mentioned, Hasht Behesht Palace has two floors; it measures 30 meters long and 26 meters wide. It built two meters higher than the garden level and accessed by two entrances with two short staircases (10 stairs). Its porch held by two high wooden columns that connect it to the main hall.
This main hall is an octagonal room, beautifully decorated with painting and gliding, glass and mirror works, like it’s the case for the other rooms of the palace.
At the center of the hall is a pond with a fountain, an octagonal basin with a diameter of 3.3 meters.
The hall also has four porticoes with eight windows overlooking the garden.
The rooms located on the first floor richly decorated with paintings and stucco. On the second floor, rooms likely decorated and connected with a series of corridors, arches, and windows. There are also water tanks and fireplaces in several of these rooms.
Access to Hasht Behesht Palace in Isfahan
Hasht Behesht Palace is located in Shahid Rajaei Park, on Bagh Goldaste Street, in the city center of Isfahan. It is located a short distance from Naqshe Jahan Square and Si-o-Se Pol. Given its central location, Hasht Behesht reached easily by all means of transportation such as buses, taxis, and even the metro. The nearest metro station to Hasht Behesht is Imam Hossein Square, located just a few minutes away by walk.
Visit Time for Hasht Behesht
Hasht Behesht Garden is open every day from 9 AM to 5:30 PM. There is no entrance fee to visit the garden and admire the palace from outside.
As Hasht Behesht Garden fully renovated, the interior of the palace is unfortunately not accessible to visitors, but a lot appreciated from the outside.
Hasht Behesht Palace is located in the lively area of Chaharbagh Avenue. It is near Chehel Sotoon Palace and at a short distance of Naqshe Jahan Square on one side, and Si-o-Se Pol Bridge on the other side.
You can find plenty of accommodation near Hasht Behesht, independently of your budget. Here are some of our recommendations for hostels in Isfahan near Hasht Behesht:
- Ghasr Monshi Hotel
- Abbasi Hotel
- Keryas Hotel
- Isfahan Traditional Hotel
- Parsian Kowsar Hotel
- Aseman Hotel
Book Isfahan Hotels
Nearby Restaurants to Hasht Behesht Palace
Eating out near Hasht Behesht Palace is easy as Isfahan’s city center has plenty of restaurants and cafes to eat traditional Persian food or street food.
Make sure to order Biryani in one of them, a typical Isfahani meat dish. Here are some of our recommendations near Hasht Behesht Palace:
- Azadegan Tea House and Restaurant
- Emarat Namakdan Cafe
- Meydoon Cafe
- Sogoli Cafe and Restaurant