A peaceful haven in the middle of Tehran, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Golestan Palace (the Palace of Flowers) is the oldest historical attraction in Tehran and refers to a collection of buildings that were once held within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s historic citadel (Arg). The citadel was constructed during the Safavid era and was further developed from 1750-1779 when the Qajar dynasty elected Tehran as the new capital of the land. The Qajar dynasty presided over the Golestan Palace’s golden age, establishing its court and official residence there (1794 – 1925).

After the ascension of the Pahlavi dynasty (1925 – 1979) the palace was used for official ceremonies, with the most notable being the Napoleon-like self coronation of Reza Khan in the Takht-e Marmar and the coronation of the final shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the Museum Hall in 1941.

I was amazed with the beauty of this Qajar palace! The paintings, ethnological museum and precious objects were fabulous, but it was the mirror-work which caught my eye most of all.

Masoud_Ryt | Tripadvisor

All About Golestan Palace Museum

The Palace is all that remains of Tehran’s Historical Citadel (Arg) which once glittered like a jewel. This historical Arg was built at the time of Shah Tahmasb I in Safavid period. It was reconstructed at the time of Karim Khan Zand and was chosen as the venue of the royal court and residence at the time of Qajar Kings. Nassereddin Shah introduced many modifications in Golestan Palace buildings during his reign. The Royal Court and Residence occupied more than one third of Arg, like traditional Iranian houses, had two interior and exterior quarters. The exterior quarters consisted of the administrative section of the royal court and a square shaped garden known as Golestan (rose garden). These two parts were separated by several buildings, that were destroyed in Pahlavi period.

The interior quarters were located east of the administrative section to the north of Golestan. It was a large courtyard including the residences of the Shah’s women, with a huge dormitory in the middle that in fact contained “Harem sari “. These buildings were destroyed in the Pahlavi period and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance was built in their place. During the Pahlavi era (1925-1979) Golestan Palace was used for formal royal receptions and the Pahlavi dynasty built their own palace at Niavaran. The most important ceremonies held in the Palace during the Pahlavi era were the coronation of Reza Khan (r. 1925-1941) in Takht-i Marmar and the coronation of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (r. 1941-deposed 1979) in the Museum Hall. In between 1925 and 1945 a large portion of the buildings of the palace were destroyed on the orders of Reza Shah who believed that the centuries old Qajar palace should not hinder the growth of a modern city. In the place of the old buildings modern 1950s and 1960s style commercial buildings were erected.

In its present state, Golestan Palace is the result of roughly 400 years construction and renovations. The buildings at the contemporary location each have a unique history. On October 11, 2005 the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran submitted the palace to the UNESCO for inclusion into the World Heritage List in 2007. Golestan Palace is currently operated by the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.

Some Important Parts of Golestan Palace

Hall of Mirrors (Talar-i Ayeneh)

Hall of Mirrors is located west of the Reception Hall and over the frontispiece and stone Iwan in front of lobby of the palace. It is one of the most famous hall of Golestan Palace. It was built simultaneously with Reception Hall between 1874 and 1877. This hall was dedicated to the Peacock Throne and the Kianid Crown when the objects in the old museum were taken to the new museum; and owes much of its fame to its ornamentation and even to the portrayal of it in a painting created by Mirza Mohammad Khan Kamalolmolk in 1891. The painting is now on display the Golestan Palace.

Shams al-Imarat (Shams-ol Emareh, or Sun Building)

This building is the most outstanding one in Golestan Palace and the finest on its eastern wing. Before his trip to Europe, Nassereddin Shah (that inspired by the pictures, he had seen of European Buildings) decided to construct a European Style Building in his Capital, so he could watch city’s panoramic view from its balcony. The Shams al-Imarat, the tallest building in the Golestan Palace, was designed as a private residence by Moayer al-Mamaalek. Built by the architect Ustad Mohammad-Ali Kashi from 1865 to 1867, the building fuses Persian and European architecture into a five-storey structure with two flanking towers topped with a turret. Between the two towers are two sets of rooms with a third clock tower centered above them. The building was used as the Shah’s observatory for viewing Tehran and its surroundings. The exterior of the building is decorated with polychrome tiles and arches and pierced by wooden lattice windows with colorful stained glass. On the first floor, the main talar of the building faces west to the garden. This talar and its adjoining rooms are decorated with mirror-work mosaics and carved stucco.

Takht-e-Marmar

The spectacular terrace known as Takht-e-Marmar (Marble Throne) was built in 1806 by order of Fath Ali Shah Qajar (r. 1797-1834).  Adorned by paintings, marble-carvings, tile-work, stucco, mirrors, enamel, woodcarvings, and lattice windows; the throne embodies the finest of Iranian architecture. The Marble Throne is one of the oldest buildings of the historic Arg.  The existing throne, which is situated in the middle of the terrace (iwan), is made of the famous yellow marble of Yazd province. The throne is made of sixty-five pieces of marble and was designed by Mirza Baba Naghash Bashi (head painter) of the Qajar court.  Mohammad Ebrahim, the Royal Mason, oversaw the construction and several celebrated masters of the time worked on the execution of this masterpiece.  The architectural details and other ornaments of the terrace (iwan) were completed during the reigns of Fath Ali Shah and Nasser – ol- Din Shah (r. 1848-1896).

Coronations of Qajar kings, and formal court ceremonies were held on this terrace (iwan). The last coronation to be held at Takht-e-Marmar was the coronation of, the self-proclaimed King, Reza Khan Pahlavi in 1925.

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