Hasht Behesht, which means “Eight Heavens” or “Eight Paradise Gardens” in Persian, is a charming palace in the city of Isfahan, built by order of Suleiman I, the eighth Shah of the Safavid Empire. This is one of the two surviving pavilions in Isfahan of the Safavid era. The palace was built in 1669 in the Nightingale Garden, now located on the famous Charbah street, still surrounded by a green park. An outstanding distinction of the palace is its design – the building is constructed so that the entrance to the garden is possible from any side of the palace. The name of the palace was chosen for a reason – it perfectly described the beauty of the palace. In this dry city on the edge of the desert, with long hot summers, the palace embodied an oasis with ponds, fountains and a charming garden – like a small symbol of the promised paradise.
Hasht Behesht Palace has a unique design: the building has an open layout, due to which there is a free circulation of air that provides a pleasant coolness even on hottest days. Despite its rather modest size (an area of 700 sq. m. and 14 m in height), the palace has a complex plan. Hasht Behesht is built in the shape of an octagon. On each floor there are four residential blocks consisting of different rooms and two staircases connecting the floors. During its heyday, the palace had the most exquisite decorations: wall paintings, gilded mosaics and mirrors, marble slabs and stucco. Today, little remains of the famous splendor of the palace. Most of the original decorations were blemished during the reign of Zel al-Sultan, who re-decorated the palace to his own taste. One of the distinctive features of the palace are the pools and fountains, which give a special charm to the whole complex.