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Golestan Palace Sections

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Golestan Palace Sections

At present, Golestan Palace complex in Tehran consists of eight key palace structures. Mostly used as museums and the eponymous gardens, a green shared the center of the complex, surrounded by an outer wall with gates.

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Ayvan Takht Marmar

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The spectacular terrace known as Ayvan Takht Marmar (The Marble Throne Terrace) is one of the most important parts of Golestan Palace. Regarding its historical, political and social significance.

It was built in 1806 to the order of Fatḥ ʿAlī ShāhQājār (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 renowned Takht Marmar (Marmar Throne) is located in the center of this Ayvan. It is shaped as a walled platform. Made of 65 large and small size famous, yellow marbles of Yazd province.

It was designed by Mirza Baba Naghash Bashi (head painter) of the Qājār court. Modeled after Persepolis where the legs are made in human shapes.

The architectural details and other ornaments of the terrace were completed during the reigns of Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāh and Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh(r.1848-1896).

Coronations of Qājār kings, and formal court ceremonies were held on this terrace (ayvan). The last coronation to be held at Takht Marmar was the coronation of, Reza Khan Pahlavi in 1925.

Khalvat Karim Khani

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It is located after in the east part of Ayvan Takht Marmar and its attachments and dating back to 1759. It is a semi-open structure. Which is, in fact, a small remaining fraction of the interior residence of Karim Khan Zand.

It is a terrace with four entrances of which one faces the south and three the east. There are vaults with stone columns around this space. With a sitting lion engraved to the side of each column. Each of the vaults has three arches. And the one in middle is wider and higher than the side arches.

There is an octagonal pond in the center of this space through which the water from Qanat used to flow into a smaller octagonal pond. There is also a ditch in the west of the pond which takes water to the lower pond.

Ornamentations of this structure include stone reliefs and tile work. With a variety of arabesque, geometrical patterns, floral patterns, animal patterns, and scenery.

In some parts, the animals are demonstrated defeating other animals, for example, there is a scene from a lion defeating a deer above the Sultan’s portrait. Which is probably a simile of the Sultan’s victory over his enemies.

Today, Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh’s marble gravestone and Fat′h-Ali Shah’s marble summer throne, are kept in this building. Which, according to the documents, was once located in different areas including the front of the exit structure and the ponds.

Talar Salam

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Covering an area of 877 m2, Talar Salam (Reception Hall) is to the west of the edifice. It is considered to be one of the most magnificent halls of the ensemble.

Talar Salam was originally designed to be a museum. After the Takht Tavoos (Iranian’s famous Jeweled Peacock Throne) was moved to the Royal jewels collection at the Central Bank. This hall was designated to hold special receptions in the presence of the king. Hence the name Talar Salam.

Tourists and envoys from European courts received in the Arg during the reign of Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh, spoke of this outstanding hall comparing it to its European counterparts.

The ornaments include exquisite mirror works and Stucco work in sky blue and white. There are floor-to-ceiling windows along the south side. Which let the daylight in with the ceiling made of groined vaults.

Both the ceiling and walls are decorated with plaster molding with the western wall fully covered with mirror work of arabesque and geometrical patterns. The floors are covered with multi-color tiles and large-scale carpets of magnificent patterns.

During the reign of Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh, this hall was used to exhibit Iranian and European paintings alongside gifts presented to the Iranian court. Royal jewels were also exhibited inside glass cases. These jewels are now housed at theRoyal Jewels Museum of the Central Bank.

Having functioned as a venue for ceremonies, it is also referred to as the Coronation hall (Talar Taj Gozaari). Where five Qājār kings plus Pahlavi II were crowned.

Talar Aaj

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Believed to be the oldest structure of the edifice, Talar Aaj (Hall of Ivory) is located along the eastern wing, opposite of Talar Salam.

Covering an area of 325 m, this Talar was mainly used for dinner or lunch feasts. Thus it is also called Sofreh Khaneh.

It has four entrances: the main entrance is in the west, two entrances are along the east side. That led to Sharbat Khaneh (the Butlery), a staircase to Emarat Berelian (Brilliant Building) and Hoz Khaneh. Two other entrances along the north side and to Talar Zoruf.

Changes have been made to this hall, and now there is Talar Chahar Sotun to its south with white and blue Stucco works. Which was once a part of the terrace.

Along the south wing, this space has large windows towards Golestan Palace. This room is also decorated with mirror and Stucco works. Stucco works of geometric and arabesque patterns, paintings of Qājār kings, two large tapestries depicting the coronation of the goddess of agriculture and the goddess of Venus (goddess of love).

The fireplaces along the north side which are in turn decorated with vases, bowls, and other precious objects. It was once decorated with the gifts presented to Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh by the European monarchs.

Among the Golestan Palace collection, a watercolor by Mahmoud Khan Malek-olShoara, shows the exterior view of this hall during the Qājār period.

Talar Ayineh

Located to the west of the Talar Salam, Talar Ayineh (Hall of Mirrors) is the most famous of the Palace halls. It was built simultaneously with Talar Salam between 1874 and 1877.

This relatively small hall is famous for its extraordinary mirror work designed by Haj Abdoul Hossein Memar bashi (Sanie-ol-Molk) with Yahaya Khan Moetamed-ol-Molk, the Minister of Architecture, acting as consultant to the designer.

It has two entrances along the north side and a window in the center. Once home to Takht Tavoos (the Peacock Throne) and Taj Kaviani (the Kavianid Crown), the hall has tall windows enjoying a particular splendor due to the reflection of sunshine in the mirrors and magnificent ornamentation.

Owing much of its reputation to its ornamentation, yet another reason for the hall’s fame is Mirza Mohammad Khan Kamal-ol Molk’s depiction of the place in his painting created in 1891. The painting is now on display the Golestan Palace.

Talar Zoruf

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Located to the north, Talar Zoruf is among the changes and additions made to Golestan Palace during the Pahlavids.

The hall was then used as a showroom to display all chinaware presented to Qājār s as gifts by the European kings.

Among the rare, exquisite chinaware put on display here, some are the most exceptional:

    • China set depicting Napoleonic wars, gift of Napoleon I;
    • China set presented by King Nicolas I;
    • China set decorated with precious gems and jewels presented by Queen Victoria
    • China set presented by King Wilhelm to the Iranian crown prince;
    • China set made of Malachite stone presented by Alexander III.

There are two staircases in the west end of this hall. One leading to the upper level of Berelian Building and the other, which has 14 steps and has an elevation of about two meters, leads to the eastern chamber of Berelian Building.

Emarat Berelian

Located to the east of Talar-e Aaj, it covers an area of 650 m 2 and is stretched along east-west direction. It was used for formal meetings with delegates and heads of foreign countries and formal ceremonies from the rule of Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh to the time of the Pahlavids’.

Emarat Brelian has five rooms or halls separated from one another by door-windows.

Now covered with mirror and glass, the doors were originally sash windows with colored glass, and have preserved their original frames and overall shapes.

The most outstanding decorative elements of this building the unique mirror works with geometric and floral patterns. It is also decorated with Stucco work on the ceiling, stone engravings around fireplace, and relief tiles.

Kakh Elizabeth

Covering an approximate area of 570 m2, the three-story building of Kakh-e Elizabeth (Elizabeth’s Palace) also called Khabgah (bedroom), is the most recent addition to the Palace. Which replaced Narenjestan building on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Iran in the early years of Reza Shah’s rule.

It once served as the residence for heads of states and officials including Queen Elizabeth and Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle before the Islamic revolution.

Currently, the management, the manuscript library, the documents library and the album library of Golestan Palace are located in this building.

Shams-ol-Emareh

Covering an area of nearly 664 m2 in five floors, now serving as a museum, Shams-ol-Emareh (Edifce of the Sun) is the most outstanding and the tallest edifice built in the government citadel.

It is also the first entertainment tower in Tehran and is considered to be the first building here where modern materials such as cast iron are used in the columns and handrails.

The idea of building a tall structure came to Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh before his first European travle and from pictorial images of European buildings.

The Monarch wanted a structure from which he could have panoramic views of the city. Shams-ol Emareh has 96 steps from the ground to the top, and its height is 25 m, which comes to a total of 30 considering the height of pavilions.

The high ceilings and the symmetry of the structure are remarkable. The structural system is comprised of bearing walls with brick arches, trusses, and wooden and cast iron columns.

The plinths and steps are made of marble. The roof is a gable. And the banisters and some of the columns are made of cast iron.

Wooden capitals follow the Safavid style, while the cast iron ones are decorated with Corinthian capitals. This is the first extrovert structure in Tehran with the view of the outer space and the enclosure of the palace. Which is at the same time open to the sight of the observers from the outside.

The facade is completely covered with multi-colored tiles of arabesques, floral patterns and lion and sun motif. The materials used in this building mainly include adobe, thatch, brick, and lime mortar.

Decorative elements are created using Stucco works, mirror works, tile works, stone engravings, and painting on stones. Motifs employed are arabesque, latticeworks, and Muqarnas.

Shams-ol Emareh is unique in the Iranian architecture regarding its plan, facade, interior arrangement, mirror works, paintings, and the Stucco work of its plinths, walls and ceilings.

Designed by Moayer-ol-Mamalek, construction on the Shams-ol-Emareh began in 1865 and was completed two years later. The architect was Master Ali Mohammad Kashi.

The building has two identical towers. The exterior views have multiple arches, intricate tile work, and ornate windows. This building is a fusion of Persian and European architecture.

Emarat Badgir

Located to the south of Golestan Palace and spreading over an area of 786 m2, Emarat Badgir (Wind Catchers
Building) was constructed during the reign of Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāhin 1813.

The building underwent major renovations, including structural changes, during the reign of Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh. A watercolor rendering by Mahmood Khan Malekol-Shoara depicts the original structure prior to renovations.

The building is comprised of Talar Shahneshin (King’s Hall), two lateral chambers, two vestibules, the Hoz Khaneh and four Badgirs (wind catchers). All decorated with multi-color tiles (blue, yellow, black with golden knobs).

Building’s facade is mainly decorated with tile work, fresco, and a combination of mirror work, stucco work and stone engraving.

The banisters of the central terrace and roof lights of the Hoz Khaneh in the lower level are made of engraved solid marble enjoying floral motifs.

Small terraces on the side of the main terrace which serve as the entrance to the chambers are all decorated with painted arabesques, for the major part in golden color on a background of bright or red.

In the center of chamber walls, there is a painting of a flower vase inside an oval-shaped frame. The central room boasts the finest stained glass window in Golestan Palace.

The building is named after the wind catchers or Badgirs which are remarkable structures serving as the building’s cooling system during hot days.

Talar Almas

Covering an area of 200 m, the 200-year-old Talar Almas (Hall of Diamonds) is located in the southern wing of Golestan Palace next to Emarat Badgir and Chador Khaneh.

It is called Hall of Diamonds because of the exceptional mirror work inside the building. The construction of this hall dates to the time of Fatḥ ʿAlī Shāh (circa1806).
Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh renovated this hall 
changing its appearance and replacing the hall’s Oval arches with Roman ones. He also ordered the walls covered with wallpapers imported from Europe.

Chador Khaneh

Located between the Emarat Badgir and Almas Hall, the Chador Khaneh (House of Tents) was used as a warehouse for royal tents.

The Qājār tribe loved the great outdoors and made several royal camping trips each year. These trips were grand affairs with multitudes of servants and attendants – in addition to all royal necessities.

Many tents were needed to accommodate the entourage. Thus, a need for a House of Tents. The Chador Khaneh has undergone major renovations and is now used as a meeting and lecture hall.

Kakh Abyaz

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Completed in 1883, the Abyaz (White) Palace covers an area of about 1191m in the south of Golestan Palace. Made of white stones, the edifice enjoys a gable roof and European- style decoration.

The façade is decorated with Stucco works shaped like the human head, arabesques and floral patterns inspired by the European neoclassical school. The entrance is in the east, below a terrace with two pairs of double columns.

Unlike other palaces of the ensemble and unlike the tradition of Iranian architecture, Kakh Abyaz does not have a symmetric design. And the larger part of the spaces and rooms are along the south side. The Palace now houses one of the most interesting ethnological museums in Iran with a colorful exhibition of traditional Iranian costumes and folk arts.

Hoz Khaneh

Works of European painters presented to the Qājār court are housed in the Hoz Khaneh (Hoz means pond, thus the name Hoz Khaneh) was used as a summer chamber during the Qājār era.

A special cooling system pumped water from a subterranean system of streams (qanats) – in this case, the king’s qanat – into small ponds inside the chambers. 

The system was designed to pass through as many summer rooms as was necessary. The water was then channeled outside to irrigate the royal gardens. Due to the harmful effects of humidity, this system is no longer in use.

Aks Khaneh

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The Aks Khaneh (House of Photographs) is a large summer chamber under the Badgir. As with the Hoz Khaneh, this room was cooled using a cooling system that pumped water from a subterranean stream (qanat) into a small pond. Due to the harmful effects of humidity, this system is no longer in use.

This room has undergone major renovations and is now used as an exhibition space for photographs of the Qājār period.

Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh took an interest in photography not long after the invention of the camera. In fact, he was an avid photographer. Aks Khaneh houses some photographs taken by Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh and some photographs captioned by him.

Negar Khaneh

Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh was very impressed by the exhibition of artifacts and valuable objects at European museums during his second European tour around 1872.

He arrived back in Tehran and intended to build a museum to exhibit paintings, royal jewels, and other royal artifacts. The original collection of the museum is now scattered among Tehran’s many museums. However, the paintings of the royal court are now kept at the Golestan Palace. With the European paintings housed in the Hoz Khaneh and the works of Iranian painters housed in the Negar Khaneh (the Gallery).

Meant to show the evolution of painting in Iran during the Qājār era, the works of Iranian painters are exhibited in two sections. Located in the southern part of the Negar Khaneh are the works of early Qājār masters such as Mirza Baba, Mehr Ali Afshar, Ali Akbar Khan Mozaien-olDouleh, Aboul Hassan Sani (Sanie-olMolk) who was Kamal-ol-Molk’s uncle.

The northern Negar Khaneh, was the seat of the Royal Guard during the time of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The northern hall underwent substantial renovations in 1995. And now houses the works of later masters of the Qājār era such as Mahmoud Khan Saba (Malek-ol-Shoara), Mohammad Gafari Kashani (Kamal-ol-Molk), Mehri, Mosa Momayez.

Mouze Makhsous

Being under Talar Salam, the Mouze Makhsus (special museum) was built by Mohamad Ebrahim Khan Memar Bashi.

In Nasser-ed-Din shah’s period, this building was used as a warehouse to store the china and silverware presented to Qājār kings as gifts and was then turned into a museum during the Pahlavi period to display such rare gifts.

Among the precious treasures of the museum are Shah Esmail Safavid’s Helmet, Nader Shah’s bow, and arrows, Armband of Fath Ali Shah, the collection of Qājār seals and Aga Mohamad khan’s crown.

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Persian Gardens

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Persian Gardens

Culture and identity in a society can be represented in the architecture and the meanings that comes with it.

In this sense, the architecture and design are the interfaces for transferring meaning and identity to the nation
and future generations.

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Persian gardens have been evolved through the history of the Persian Empire in regard to the culture and beliefs of the society.

Persian gardens are not only about geometries and shapes; but also manifest different design elements, each representing a specific symbol and its significance among the society.

The earliest evidence of Persian gardens was recorded in 600 B.C. at the Palace area in Pasargadae and dates back to the final years of the reign of Cyrus the Great (559-30 B.C.).

The garden was based on the Zoroastrian division of the universe into four parts, four seasons or the four elements; water, wind, soil, and fire (Karimi-Hakkak 1998).

A mystical feeling for flowers and a love of gardens are integral parts of ancient Persian gardens. The Persian garden is a manifestation of supreme values and concepts and is well-known as a bridge connecting the two worlds of matter and meaning.

The philosophical design concept of Persian gardens is believed to be rooted in the four sacred elements of water, wind, fire, and soil.

The geometrical design of Persian gardens has been reflected in Persian carpets, potteries, and visual arts. The other distinctive feature of Persian gardens.

Which contributes to the introspective characteristics of ancient Persian people, is the wide application of thick brick walls, which surround the entire rectangular plan of the garden.

Other traits of Persian gardens include the application of perpendicular angles and straight lines, ponds and pools to supply the water and highlight the scenic landscape view.

Simultaneous use of evergreen and deciduous trees, planting of various types of plants and consideration of focal a pavilion known as Kooshk.

The purpose of designing gardens in Persia was not only limited to providing green spaces for the inhabitants, but also creating the opportunity for further interaction between the human and nature.

As well as creating various ranges of functions (Gharipour 2011) and promoting Persian culture via various design elements (Müller-Wille 2001).

In fact, Persian gardens are not only about beautiful geometries and shapes; but they manifest different design elements, each representing a specific symbol.

For instance, Shahzadeh-Mahan Garden, Fin Garden, and Chehel Sotun Garden, all of which are located in semi-desert and desert lowland zones near to the vast deserts of Iran: the Dasht-e Kavir and the Dasht-e Lut.

Persian gardens were designed with a sacred geometry representing and illustrating a union of the mortal/material world and the eternal universe (Khansari et al. 1998).

Therefore, the geometric structure can be considered as one of the most prominent features of Persian gardens.

The initial structure of Persian gardens was based on a geometrical quadripartite division with a pavilion in its intersection.

The general idea of this formation was based on the pre-Islamic Iranian division of the earth into four quarters, which may have been inspired by the geometrical motifs of Mesopotamia and Sindh Valley civilizations (Massoudi 2009).

During the Islamic period, the geometric quartered pattern of Persian gardens became more reinforced by the belief of four heavenly streams; as it was similar to the image of the heaven in the Quran (Mansouri 2011).

Therefore, the general pattern of most Persian gardens consisted of a rectangular space which is quartered by intersecting streams and pathways.

The common irrigation system of the time has been known as another effective factor in the formation of geometric garden structure besides the impact of Persian beliefs and morals (Naghizadeh 2013).

The structure and spirit of Persian gardens have been registered in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

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