Castles

Chehel Sotoun

Chehel Sotoun (also Chihil Sutun or Chehel Sotoon; Persian: چهل ستون‎, literally: “Forty Columns”) is a pavilion in the middle of a park at the far end of a long pool, in Isfahan, Iran, built by Shah Abbas II to be used for his entertainment and receptions. In this palace, Shah Abbas II and his successors would receive dignitaries and ambassadors, either on the terrace or in one of the stately reception halls.

As with Ali Qapu, the palace contains many frescoes and paintings on ceramic. Many of the ceramic panels have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the west. They depict specific historical scenes such as the infamous Battle of Chaldiran against the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, the reception of an Uzbek King in 1646, when the palace had just been completed

About Isfahan
Chehel Sotoun

welcome extended to the Mughal Emperor, Humayun who took refuge in Iran in 1544; the battle of Taher-Abad in 1510 where the Safavid Shah Ismail I vanquished and killed the Uzbek King. A more recent painting depicts Nader Shah's victory against the Indian Army at Karnal in 1739. There are also less historical, but even more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.The Chehel Sotoun Palace is among the 9 Iranian Gardens which are collectively registered as one of the Iran’s 23 registered World Heritage Sites under the name of the Persian Garden.

Castles

Falak-ol-Aflak

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle (in Persian: دژ شاپورخواست‎ Dež-e Shāpūr-Khwāst, in ancient times known as Dežbār as well as Shāpūr-Khwāst) is a castle situated on the top of a large hill with the same name within the city of Khorramabad, the regional capital of Lorestan province, Iran. This gigantic structure was built during the Sassanid era (224–651)

The Khoramabad River runs past the eastern and south-western side of the Falak-ol-Aflak hill providing the fortress some natural protection on those sides. Today, the western and northern sides of the hill are bordered by the residential districts of Khorramabad.

About Khorramabad
Falak-ol-Aflak

Under the Pahlavi dynasty, after being used as a prison until 1968, it was transformed into a museum complex.

Castles

Arg-e Karimkhan

The Karim Khan Castle (Persian: ارگ کریم خان‎ Arg-e Karim Khan) is a citadel located in the downtown Shiraz, southern Iran. It was built as part of a complex during the Zand dynasty and is named after Karim Khan, and served as his living quarters. In shape it resembles a medieval fortress.

At times, the citadel was used as a prison. Today, it is a museum operated by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.Karim Khan Castle is also known as Arge Karim Khan, Arge Karim Khani, Karim khans' castle or citadel of Karim Khan.

About Shiraz
Arg-e Karimkhan

Arg-e-Karim Khan was built in 1180 AH (1766-7). Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of the time and bought the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the castle of Karim Khan, which was quickly constructed. During the Zand dynasty it was used by the king as living quarters. During the Qajar period it was used as the governor's seat.

Castles

Hegmataneh Hill

The view of distant mountains from the top of this low, open hill is pleasantly rewarding, especially in the late afternoon, but it's what lies below that excites archaeologists: an ancient Median and Achaemenid city. Small sections have been excavated over the last century, most extensively in the 1990s. You can wander above several shed-covered trenches on wobbly plank scaffolding. There's a smart museum nearby, as well as two Armenian churches, now part of Hamadan University.

The ancient walls’ gold and silver coatings are long gone and it’s hard to envisage the lumpy remnants as having once constituted one of the world’s great cities. The museum tries to fill the mental gap, showcasing archaeological finds such as large amphorae, Seljuk fountains, Achaemenid pillar bases and Parthian coffins.

About Hamedan
Hegmataneh Hill

The main site entrance is to the north, but there's a handy 'back-door' staircase from the city bus terminal behind the bazaar that climbs directly to the churches.

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