Day two in Esfahan started early with a simple (but kind of different) breakfast at the hotel. Kind of different? Well, yes, for I had never tried rose and carrot jams before this :-)
After breakfast I headed to Hasht Behesht (Eight Paradises) Palace which is located not that far from the hotel. The palace was built in the middle of 17th century, in an area called Bagh-e Bolbol (Nightingale Garden), which was part of the imperial residential complex of Safavid Dynasty.
Hasht Behesht conveys the meaning of entrance gate of Paradise, which is reflected in its design especially if you refer to the first photo above. According to a signboard at the palace, the "name was chosen to attribute the elegances of this Palace to supernatural and supersecular aspects". Not quite sure though what they actually mean by 'supernatural' and 'supersecular' aspects but I sure love the palace's design which offers a "simple" exterior but with intricate interior design, especially of its ceilings and the inside of the domes.
The inside of the dome that is located right above the main open concourse area of the palace.
The view looking out of Eight Paradises Palace. While visitors have to pay for a ticket to enter the palace, entrance to the park is free. At the time of my visit, it was filled families just walking around and youths playing some games.
A sure safe and beautiful haven from the hustle and bustle of the city.
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Leaving Hasht Behesht Palace, I walked around and tried to find my way around to Chehelsotoon Museum. There's a goverment building complex across the road from the park, which I thought I have to walk by to get to the museum. I had noticed that most of government and public buildings in Tehran and Esfahan would have their fence dotted with (sign? notice?) boards "printed" with short verses from the Holy Quran. I suppose they are put there to serve as reminders to the public in general - not that I have seen any of the general public stopping to read each of these.
Being a tourist however, I did stop and read some of them 0:-) Did in fact take quite a few photos, two of which are shown below.
As you would have known if you had read my Iran series from the beginning, no one is supposed to take a photo of any government building. So it was only to be expected that just a few minutes after I took the above photos, I was called by a security guy in a military dress and beckoned to follow him into a security booth located at the entrance to the compound.
There were 3 guys in the booth and one of them asked me a few questions in English and then asked to see my camera. He browsed through the photos. Smiling, he said, "No problem, it's okay", and continued to explain his finding to his colleagues that I was just taking photos of the verses from the Quran. After thanking the guys, I was escorted out of the compound, but not before asking for direction to Chehelsotoon Museum, of which they happily obliged.