If you are enthusiastic to visit a bunch of Qajar historic constructions in historic heart of Tehran, you are in the right place. Qajar buildings surround you in Golestan palace, the only UNESCO world heritage site of Iran’s capital metropolis. The Palace dates back to Safavid era while main and recent additions and expansions went on in Qajar era. Golestan palace bears a rich testimony of the architecture and art during Qajar era. The architecture artistically inspired by European origins as the first example of combined Persian and European style. The influence was so high that became Iranian art and architecture characteristic in late 19th and 20th century.
Golestan palace was not only the Governing base of the Qajar kings, but also was residential palace of Qajar family.
If you head clockwise around the courtyard, these monuments show up respectively.
Takht-e Marmar (Marble Throne Verandah):
Skillfully carved marvel, designed by intricate engravings is the first thing you face as soon as entering the courtyard. Locating on a high open-fronted, mirror-walled Iwan; before a rectangular pond dotted by small fountains, Iranian artists built Takht-e Marmar in 1800. It functioned in ceremonial occasions.
Khalvate-e Karim Khani (Karim Khan Nook):
It served as the residence of Karim khan Zand in Tehran. Where a cruel story of what the Qajar founder did to Zand king’s body, reveals brutal story of power game among Kings even after their death. There you can see the Shah Abass head stone relocated from the grave itself to be preserved.
Main palace including 3 Halls, Talar-e Salam (Reception Hall), Talar-e Ayeneh (Mirror Hall) and Talar-e Berelian (Brilliant hall):
As obvious as the name is these halls are the most important part of the complex. Reception hall was a greeting hall where the king has greeted foreign dignitaries came to Iran. Golestan palace also functioned as the coronation of Mohammad Reza Shah in 1967 (25 years after he came to power) and royal weddings.
Just a few steps away from Reception hall, Mirror hall hosts one of the most beautiful paintings of Iran popular painter Kamal ol molk. Decorated with Long windows opening to a large, lush and rambling garden with many trees, it is considered the most beautiful part of the palace. Brilliant hall is a masterpiece. Mirror and glass as well as stunning chandeliers cover walls from all sides.
Negar Khaneh (Iranian Painting Gallery):
Home of mostly black and white photos of Qajar kings and common Iranians life in 19th century.
Howze Khaneh (Pool Room):
A small place with a small pool and a fountain in the center which houses a number of European royals to their Qajar counterparts.
Shams-Al Emareh (Edifice of the Sun):
It used to be Tehran’s first multi-story building from top of which the king could have a panoramic view to Tehran.
Emarat-e Badgir (Wind tower): The name is derived from 3 soaring wind towers rising above the building. They work as air condition. It’s Cross plan and colorful glasses of the windows are unique among the buildings.
Aks Khaneh (Historic Photograph Gallery): A valuable collection of historic photos
Talar-e Almas (Diamond Hall) in Golestan palace
Abyaz Palace: It now is a museum, house the traditional ethnic costumes.
Royal Museum (also called the Special Museum)
Although some noticeably stunning buildings such as Harem (domestic spaces for King’s wives) and Tekyeh (a place to morn and watch Taziye in Holy ceremonies) were demolished to the ground. We only can find them in black and white photos, the other remaining are still a masterpiece.
How long does it take?
Half day tour is enough to visit the whole Golestan palace.