Constructed around 1600 the Ali Qapu is often called the Safavid palace, but it was in fact the high door (qapu standing for door) into the royal compound, from where the shah and his court are said to have viewed parades and celebrations in the maydan.
We gained access to it from the back part of the building where the ticet office was located. In its courtyard two of us (Jean Pierre and Chantal made an acoustic experiment under the suggestion of our guide Massou) which consisted of talking into one corner of the room in a rather low voice and be heard in the other corner as if they were both talking to each other.
As we were not allowed to take any bags during the palace visit Philippe stayed down with everything we had bought over the course of the bazaar morning shopping whilst we made our way up onto the tala (verandah), not before having taken quite a few photographs of the outside.
The staircase was quite beautiful, particularly because the glazed brick decorating its steps changed on every floor.
The view from the talar, said to have been added in 1644, was majestic providing us with a real perspective of the size of the Royal square and some of the best images of the Masjed-e Iman.
It was richly decorated with an elaborate carved ceiling (in need of restoration), whose gilded layers have been lost over centuries, single cennar tree cut coulumns, said to have been encased in mirrored glass in the past and beautiful all paintings depicting Persian ladies, as well as naturalistic scenes with painted birds, which despite being damaged and faded overtime still kept their beauty.
(To be continued)