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Golestan Palace

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Golestan Palace Opening time

March 21 to September 22, Monday to Sunday, 9:00 to 18:00.

September 23 to march 20, Monday to Sunday 9:00 to 17:00

Closed on September 30, October 21, November 17,

Contact information:

Address: Arq Suquare, Panzdaeh Khordad, Tehran, Iran.

Zip Code: 1114943361

Mailbox:  4595-11365

Telephone: (+98) 21-33113335-8 / Fax: (+98) 21-33111811

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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.” Lonely planet

Golestan Palace pronounced "Kakheh Golestan" is the former royal Qajar complex in Iran's capital city.

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.

Halls and Buildings

In its present form, it comprises several different buildings and halls, including the following: the Imarat-i Takht-i Marmar, (also called the Marble Throne Building, Iwan-i Takht-i Marmar, or Iwan-i Marmar, 1759), the Khalvat-i Karim Khani (Karim Khani Palace, 1759), the Talar-i Almas (Diamond Hall, 1801), the Imarat-i Badgir (Wind-Tower Building, 1813), the Talar-i Aaj (Hall of Ivory, 1863), the Shams al-Imarat (Shams-ol Emareh, or Sun Building, 1866), the Talar-i Salam (Reception Hall, 1874), the Mouze-i Makhsous (Special Museum, 1874), the Talar-i Ayeneh (Hall of Mirrors, 1874), the Imarat-i Brelian (Talar-i Brelian, or Hall of Brilliant Diamonds, 1874), the Kakh-i Ab'yaz (White Palace, 1890), and the Chador Khaneh (Tent House).

Marble Throne Building (Imarat-i Takht-i Marmar)

Marble Throne Building or Dar-ul-Hokumeh was used for Shah's formal receptions, while Golestan Palace was used as the royal court's interior quarters for private meetings and nocturnal feasts.

The square shaped Golestan, surrounded by various buildings and halls, was divided into two parts with the construction of a long bifurcated building known as the exterior building at the time of Fath Ali Shah. This building, constructed on an East-West axis, was destroyed at the time Nassereddin Shah and the garden regained its integrity.

At first there were two large pools, one in front of Shams al-Imarat and Wind Tower Buildings and another in front of the Mirror Hall. Two pools were connected to each other by a long duct, along the exterior building.

The sensitivity of Iranian artists, aided by the skills of architecture, painting, stone carving, tile working, stucco, mirror work, enameling, wood working, and lattice work have created unforgettable masterpieces in the buildings among the old royal palaces.

Shah received people from various walks of life during official ceremonies on this throne veranda. In 1806, Fath Ali Shah ordered stone cravers from Isfahan to make a throne from the famous marble of Yazd. It was placed in the middle of the Iwan. It appears that Iwan, older than the other parts of Historical Arg, is a Zand period monument, built during the reign of Karim Khan.

The architecture and ornaments of this veranda were further modified during the reigns of Fath Ali Shah and Nassereddin Shah. The coronation of the Qajar kings, as well as various other official ceremonies, was performed from this Iwan. The last of these ceremonies was the Coronation of Reza Khan in 1925.

The first foundation of the Imarat-i Takht-i Marmar was laid by Karim Khan-i Zand in 1759. During the Qajar period, this building, which was also referred to as the Divan Khana and the Dar al-Hokouma, became the administrative center of the royal government. The Imarat-i Takht-i Marmar was used in royal ceremonies in celebrations such as Eids and Norouz, and the issuance of the king's decrees, as well as for receiving foreign ambassadors.

This two-story building is pierced by a splendid talar flanked by two side chambers. The talar faces the garden and is supported by two twisted marble columns with muqarnas capitals. These eight-meter tall columns were reputedly taken by Aqa Mohammad Khan in 1771 from Karim Khan-i Zand's Qasr-i Vakil in Shiraz. Other parts of this building, such as its carved yellow marble dados decorated with flowers, parrots and eagles, reportedly have the same origin. The side chambers of the talar, which have mezzanine levels, are open to both the garden and the talar.

Within the building, two stories of rooms wrap the talar; an iwan niche is found in the center of the rear wall of the building. The walls and ceiling of the talar are decorated with mirror-work mosaics, colored glass lattice windows, marble carvings, and oil paintings of Fath Ali Shah, princes, foreign ambassadors and war scenes. Under Naser al-Din Shah, some alterations were made to the decoration of the talar's windows and to its mirror work; in addition, the façade of the two wings flanking the talar were covered with polychrome tileworks.

The talar of the Imarat-i Takht-i Marmar houses the royal throne. This marble throne (Takht-i Marmar) was built in 1806 by the order of Fath Ali Shah to replace the valuable Takht-i Tavous (Peacock Throne) in the talar. The marble throne, designed by the royal painter Mirza Baba Shirazi and built by the royal mason Mohammad Ebrahim Esfehani, is composed of sixty-five fine pieces of yellow marble from the province of Yazd. The body of the throne is carried on the shoulders of angels and demons carved in stone, and its steps are decorated with dragons and two lions.

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.

Hall of Ivory (Talar-i Aaj)

Hall of Ivory is located west of Brilliant Hall beyond Mirror Hall. It was built in Nassereddin Shah (Qajar) period. During the reign of Nassereddin Shah it was used for the safekeeping of gifts received from foreign countries. In Pahlavi period it was the venue of official parties and celebrations. Its interior has changed to a great extent and the summer chamber beneath it has been turned into an art gallery.

Dormitory Building

Between Brilliant Hall and the northeastern corner of Golestan Garden there was once a citrus plantation that was demolished early during the reign of Reza Khan. In 1959, a new dormitory and administrative building were constructed on this site, for the visit to Iran by Queen Elizabeth (Two). Thereafter this building was used to accommodate visiting heads of states. The last time it was used as such, was in 1979 during the visit by Chinese Head of State.

Hall of Brilliant Diamonds (Imarat-i Brelian or Talar-i Brelian)

There are several spectacularly beautiful halls and rooms to the east of Ivory Hall. The floors of these rooms are lower than those of the other halls. At the time of Nassereddin Shah most of the old buildings in Arg were destroyed and replaced. Crystal Building, was replaced by the current “Brilliant Building”. During Pahlavi period, it was used for official meetings with Foreign Heads of States and Major ceremonies.

Wind Tower Building (Imarat-i Badgir)

Wind Tower Building sits on the southern wing of Golestan Garden. Built during the reign of Fath Ali Shah, it was dramatically modified at the time of Nassereddin Shah. Under the hall there is a large summer chamber. Each corner bears a tall wind tower covered with blue, yellow and black glazed tiles and a golden cupola. Wind coming through these towers cools the summer chamber, hall and rooms.

Among the most beautiful buildings of the complex is the Imarat-i Badgir, built by Fath Ali Shah in 1813. Remarkable for its tile-decorated wind catchers, the current Imarat-i Badgir is the result of Naser al-Din Shah's major 1853 renovation and reconstruction. This building is comprised of a main talar and its adjoining rooms with four wind catchers at the corners of the building.

The interior walls and ceiling of the building's talar are decorated with mirror and tile work, glass and mirror paintings, and stucco carvings. The wind catchers are tiled in blue, yellow, and black. The Imarat-i Badgir also has a howz khaneh (pond house) in the basement, which worked with the four wind catchers to circulate and cool air by passing it over pools of water. The howz khaneh is now used as the Golestan Palace's photo gallery ("aks khaneh"). Photos from the Qajar period, many were taken by Naser al-Din Shah himself, are presented in this photo gallery.

Tent-House (Chador Khaneh)

Chador-Khaneh, or tent house, is located between Wind Tower Building and Diamond Hall. It was the place where royal tents, used during the kings' trips were stored. After restoration presently this building is used for holding temporary exhibition or for small gathering.

Reception Hall-Museum (Talar-i Salam)

Upon his return from Europe in 1869, after visiting several museum and art galleries, Nassereddin Shah decided to establish similar sites in his Arg. He had the exterior building destroyed and new ones built on the northwestern wing of Golestan Palace next to Ivory Hall. These buildings included Lobby, the Mirror Hall and Museum Room. Construction of Museum Room began in 1870 and ended in 1873. However it was not used until 1878, because of the multitude of ornaments to be completed.

This hall was intended to become a museum from the very beginning. Nevertheless, after the Peacock Throne was moved from the Mirror Hall to the museum, this hall became the venue of official court receptions and was thus named the Reception Hall. The most precious objects and works of art that were presented to the monarch of Persia, particularly the jewels, were kept in this hall.

In 1966, on the occasion of the Mohammad Reza Coronation, The decoration of this hall was modified to give it, its present shape.

Summer Chamber in the basement has been divided in two parts. The eastern part, called Special Hall, is dedicated to Qajar period fine arts. The western part, known as the Art Gallery, is the venue of an exhibition of Qajar period Persian paintings.

Rooms, themselves, with their high arches and ornate cravings and the numerous and large chandeliers are competitors for the eye of the beholder of the beauties that fill their spaces. Ceiling, floors and banisters also catch the eye of the visitor.

Karim Khan Veranda (Khalvat-i Karim Khani)

In the Northeastern corner of the Golestan Palace, next to Reception Hall, there is a building with columns in the form of a veranda. At its center is fountain, where water once flowed from a subterranean steam (Qanat).

Named after Karim Khan Zand, this building dates back to the Zand period. It was part of the interior of Karim Khan's residence. The building, is believed to have been constructed in 1759.

At the time of Nassereddin Shah a major part of this building was destroyed, when the reception hall was being constructed.

Although little of its splendor and beauty remains the artists' legacy can still be observed in the intricate work.

Diamond Hall (Talar-i Almas)

Diamond Hall is located on the southern wing of Golestan Palace, past the Wind Tower Building. It was constructed during the reign of Fath Ali Shah but its appearance and ornaments were modified at the time of Nassereddin Shah. It is called "Diamond Hall", because of its glittering mirror works.

The Talar-i Almas, which dates back to Fath Ali Shah, takes its name from the extensive mirror work in its main hall. It is composed of this main hall, side rooms, corridors, and a second floor. Three sides of the main hall contain three small iwans; each is elevated and ornamented with mirror muqarnas and stucco carvings. The north side of the hall is decorated with large wooden lattice windows with colored glass known as orosi.

White Palace (Kakh-i Ab'yaz )

Towards the end of the reign of Nassereddin Shah, the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid sent some precious gifts for the Shah of Iran. Whereas at that time almost all the royal palaces were decorated with various paintings and furniture, Shah decided to have a new palace constructed on the south-western wing of the Golestan area on the former site of the pavilion or Agha Mohammad Khan Tower to serve as a depository for the gifts.

The White building, with its 18th century European style stucco, was named the White Palace for the color of the stucco and the white marble stones that covered its hall and staircase.

From the very beginning White Palace became the Prime Minister's Office. Until 1954 Cabinet Meeting were held in Sultan Abulhamid Hall of this Palace. In 1965, the western wing and the ground floor of this building were modified, to make it suitable for Coronation of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. This building became "Anthropology Museum" in 1968 and displays some of the most ancient artifacts to be found in Iran.

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.

Tekie-i Dowlat

The Tekie-i Dowlat was the largest building in the Golestan Palace complex. Built between 1868 and 1873, it was demolished in 1946 by Reza Shah. This three-story theatrical building had a circular plan and measured 60 meters in diameter and 24 meters in height. There were three entrances to the building: the main entrance on the east for men, the women's entrance on the west, and the Shah's private entrance on the north, which was connected to the Golestan garden.

Its half-sphere dome was supported by eight beams, which could be draped with a membrane to provide shade. Each floor of the building consisted of twenty rooms, each 7.5 meters wide. The building was used for ta’zieh (Ta’zieh Performance In Iranian-Islamic Culture.


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