Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Abbasi Hotel – a live-in museum

I’m attending a conference in Esfahan this week. The conference organisers have put me up in the Abbasi Hotel, which must be one of the most beautiful hotels that I have ever stayed in.

The hotel was built in the early 18th century, and then renovated in 1967. A brochure on the hotel that I picked up described it as a ‘live-in museum’ which I thought was quite an apt description given the incredible amount of artwork – all painted by hand – on the walls and ceilings of the rooms and the public areas.

The picture below is of my room. I don’t know whether every room in the hotel is painted like this, but if they are, it must have taken thousands of man-hours to complete.


The hotel is built around a central courtyard which is landscaped in the style of the ancient Persian gardens, and around sunset it was an absolute delight to sit out in the cool evening air having tea and listening to the call to prayer from the nearby mosque. The first picture below was taken during the late afternoon, and the second picture after dark from where I was sitting having tea - you can see the traditional glasses in which the tea is served on the table. (I’ve uploaded these at only 400 pixels wide as these two pictures were taken with a pocket camera and the quality isn’t that good).



The rest of the pictures below were taken in the public areas of the hotel (the reception, restaurants and meeting rooms). If you are in Esfahan, and even if you are not staying at the Abbasi Hotel, it is worth visiting for a meal just to see the beautiful architecture and artwork. I took these with my Nikon, so if you click on any picture, it will bring up a larger size to enable you to appreciate the intricacy of the artwork better.







No comments: