Golestan Palace Complex - Tehran, Iran (Persia)

The Shah Abdul Azim Holy Shrine in Tehran made the small city a popular destination of the Safavid King who followed a sect of Islam that Abdul was a master of it. The Safavid king that paid regular visit to this Shrine began constructing temporary resident in the city for the time they spent there. From this time the city of Tehran becomes more and more important and commonly visited until it is officially selected as the capital by the first Qajar King, Agha Muhammad Khan. When Karim Khan the last Zand king died, Agha Muhammad khan ordered the Qajar tribes under his rule to move to Tehran and in doing so, he paved his way to Fars, the capital of Zand. After brutally killing Lotf Ali Khan, the heir to the throne, and all who supported him, and after suppressing all the riots, Agha Muhammad Khan went to Tehran, held his coronation ceremony and began living in the Palace that today is known as the Golestan Palace.

Golestan Palace Complex - Tehran, Iran (Persia)

Agha Muhammad Khan spent 15 years fighting different tribes and oppositions and 2 years as the King of Iran. In these long time of war, he was seldom in the capital, and therefore, the city did not change that much. However, when some of the generals murdered Agha Muhammad Khan, and Fath Ali Shah succeeded him Tehran and in particular Golestan Palace began growing and advancing. He wanted to boast the glory of his reign and therefore began building new palaces.

After brutally killing Lotf Ali Khan, Agha Muhammad Khan went to Tehran, held his coronation ceremony and began living in the Palace that today is known as the Golestan Palace.

There are two kings in the Qajar Dynasty that made the most changes in Golestan Palace, Fath Ali Shah and Naser Al Din Shah. The Reign of Naser Al din Shah, with king’s travel to Europe marks the beginning of a series of changes in Iran under a foreign influence, a change that Iranian weren’t ready for.

The palace remained untouched under the ruling of the last three Qajar kings, and when the government changed and the Pahlavi Dynasty took the power, Golestan Palace was used for receiving guests and the royal family were moved to Sa’d Abbad and later Niavaran Palace. Since the purpose of the building changed, new constructs were needed, and some of the older halls were destroyed. The most important of these destroyed palaces are the Fortifications, the Portal Entrance, the Tekieh Dolat, Golshan Garden, Andarouni (Harem) and Narenjestan.

There are two kings in the Qajar Dynasty that made the most changes in Golestan Palace, Fath Ali Shah and Naser Al Din Shah.

Among all the destroyed residence, Tekieh Dolat is perhaps the one that the history lovers are most interested in. This place was made at the same time with another equally magnificent building known as Shams Ol Imaret and both influenced with foreign style of architecture. Tekieh is a place where religious rites are performed and dedicated to one of Shiite imams, especially Imam Hossein. The increasing population of Tehran, and the popularity of the rituals caused many difficulties so the king ordered the construction of a building that could house a great number of people and didn’t disturb the process of ritual.

Golestan Palace Complex, Hall of Mirror - Tehran, Iran (Persia)

Golestan Palace Complex, Mirror Hall

This glorious building was built with 40-45 Hojreh (small room) that later increased to 70 – 80 Hojreh.  The architecture of the building is similar to that of London Albert Hall, and many believe it to be an imitation. Nevertheless, when the king’s first trip to Europe happened, Tekieh Dolat was finished and people held their rituals there, so the possibility of such influence is questionable. The building was an octagon from outside but a complete circle from inside and had four stories. Unfortunately, except some documents, a couple of black and white pictures and one colored painting of the building, nothing is remained of the beautiful Tekieh Dolat.

The architecture of the building is similar to that of London Albert Hall, and many believe it to be an imitation.

Today Golestan Palace Complex is a combination of several halls that have been turned into museums. The most famous of these buildings are The Marble Throne Iwan, Karim Khani Sanctuary, Reception Hall, Mirror Hall, Shams Ol Imaret, White Hall and Wind Catcher Palace. Among all the mentioned places, just the Marble Throne Iwan was considered a public place where commoners could come and see the royal family. It is also one of the oldest sections of this palace.

Golestan Palace Complex, Old Wind Catcher building interior view - Tehran, Iran (Persia)

Golestan Palace Complex, Old Wind Catcher Palace

The Marble Throne Hall is a combination of Iranian arts such as tiling, woodcarving, inlaying, and stone cutting with a marble throne placed in the center. The Marble Throne that is the highlight of Iwan was made by the order of Fath Ali Shah from 65 marble pieces and inspired by the mythical Solomon’s throne that was carried by demons and angles.

Golestan Palace Complex - Tehran, Iran (Persia)

Each of the halls and sections of this palace have a unique beauty. They saw the passage of many kings and ministers, treasons and murders. They were part of some of the most important historical incidents of Iran. They were the birth place and death bed of many important man and that’s were their significance lies. The buildings may not be centuries old but their names accompanies events like the Constitutional Revolution and they mark the beginning of modernization in Iran and was registered by UNESCO as part of their World Heritage list in 2013.