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Monday, June 02, 2008

Ali Qapu Palace on Imam Khomeini Square, Esfahan






























Built in the 17th century, this six-storey palace commands a strategic view across the square. It was once renowned for its beautiful frescoes and one of the finest examples of Persian painting and arts during the Golden Age of Abbas Shah. Unfortunately, most of its murals and frescoes were destroyed by Islamist fundamentalists during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The fundamentalists regard these murals not as fine art but as pornography, a symbol of the aristocratic ruling class and an abhorrence of Allah's decree against idol worship and portrayal of human images.


The walls and ceilings of the palace are bare today, except for some colourful floral tiles on the staircase and a few faded frescoes of dancing girls that hinted at the exuberance of what used to exist. I was almost heart-broken when I saw what remained today. Ironically, on the outer walls of the palace are portraits of Supreme Khameini and Ayatollah Khomeini. I wonder whether the fundamentalists would regard these too to be graven images.

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