Historical Places in Tehran

Historical Places in Tehran

Golestan palace

The glories and excesses of the Qajar rulers are played out across this complex of grand buildings decorated with beautifully painted tiles and set around an elegant garden that’s worth visiting in its own right

Sa’d abAd museum complex

Sprawling across the foothills of Darband, this estate was a summer home to royals since the Qajar dynasty, although it was the Pahlavis who expanded it to the site you see today. Covering 110 hectares and comprising 18 separate buildings, it will take you a good three hours to see everything. For a glimpse into the luxurious life of the shahs, don’t miss the extravagant 54-room White Palace, built in the 1930s. The more classical-looking Green Palace dates from the end of the Qajar erea Other highlights include the eclectic Nations Art Museum, found in the basement of the White Palace, and the well-curated Fine Art Museum. And for those whose tastes run to particular subjects, there are exhibitions covering royal vehicles, military paraphernalia, royal costumes and even royal tableware. The museum-complex grounds are also a pleasant place for strolling. All tickets must be bought at either the front gate near Tajrish or at the northern entrance from Darband; entering from the north makes sense if you’ve previously spent the morning and had lunch in Darband. Ask at either ticket office for the useful English map. There’s a minibus (IR10,000) that shuttles regularly from the front gate, pausing at the White Palace on the way up to the Green Palace, then back again. For refreshments, there are two pleasant but unexceptional cafes inside the grounds. To get to the front gate, walk or take a taxi (IR80,000) 1.5km northwest from Tajrish Sq, beginning on Ja’fari St and turning left and right (ask anyone for ‘Musee Sa’d Abad’). Or go to Darband and enter from there.

Niyavaran Cultural-Historic Complex

In the Alborz foothills is the palace where Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family spent most of the last 10 years of royal rule. It’s set in 5 hectares of landscaped gardens and has six separate museums, the best of which is the elegant 1960s Niyavaran Palace, with its clean lines, opulent interior and sublime carpets. Tickets must be bought before entering at the main gate. There’s also a pleasant cafe with outdoor seating. Apart from the Niyavaran Palace, you can also explore the Sahebgharanieh Palace, where the shah kept his office; the Ahmad Shahi Pavilion, Reza Pahlavi’s residence when he was crown prince; and the Automobile Museum, which houses a small collection of stately vehicles. Note that at the time of writing, the Sahebgharianieh Palace was closed for renovations. Farah Diba’s tasteful touch is also evident in a number of the museums, including the art-filled Jahan-Nama Museum & Gallery, and the Imperial Library Museum, once her exclusive domain. To get here, take a shuttle taxi or bus east of Tajrish Sq, and ask to be dropped at Shahid Bahonar Sq, near the museum entrance.

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