Kalat refers to a fortified place usually on top of a mountain. The Kalat region some 150 kilometers from Mashhad is famous as the land of impenetrable castles. Khorshid Palace (the Sun Palace), dating back to 1740, is a highlight in the region. Great Persian ruler Nader Shah Afshar ordered the construction of the palace which is an architectural masterpiece.
During his Indian conquests, it was not only loads of diamonds, gold, and pearls that Nader Shah brought to Iran from India, but also proficient architectures. These architectures are the ones who designed and constructed Khorshid Palace.
This palace is in the center of an enormous garden which stretches 168 meters long and 122 meters wide. The garden features 8 pools with connecting streams and fountains. The entrance to this beautiful palace is a 20-meter high octagon leading to a very big hall. The decorations in the central hall of the second floor and rooms surrounding it resemble the Safavid era architecture. All twelve rooms in the palace display brilliant and dazzling plaster-work and frescoes depicting various scenes. There are also 65 stone blocks with carvings of birds and fruits. Some believe Indian artists made the carvings as fruits like banana and pineapple are not native to Iran.
There is a belief that the subterranean part of the three-story palace once hid Nader Shah’s treasures, while others believe it served as a prison. Khorshid Palace is currently a museum of anthropology. There is also an underground ethnology museum which graphically depicts village life in Razavi Khorasan Province. If you are planning to spend some time in Mashhad then Khorshid Palace is certainly worth a visit.