Golestan Palace Museum compound is one of the important historical and cultural monuments of Iran, which is situated in Central Tehran, covering an area of 5.5 hectares. This complex dates back to four centuries ago and displays an important phase of Iran’s history. In fact, this complex is a reminder of Tehran’s historical citadel.
Tehran’s historical citadel dates back to Safavid era and the rule of Safavid King, Shah Tahmasb the First. It was reconstructed throughout the period of reign of Karim Khan Zand, and turned into the place of residence of Qajarid kings and courtiers, later on. The Qajarid King, Naser Ed-Din Shah, made some changes in Golestan compound. Throughout the Pahlavi regime, Golestan Palace was used as the venue of official ceremonies and the place of residence of foreign presidents and especial guests. Nonetheless, parts of Golestan Palace were destroyed for baseless reasons during this period of time.
Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Golestan compound turned into a museum, and was put on public display.
The rare historical and cultural works and items which have been gathered at Golestan historical and cultural compound are rather unique. More than 80,000 historical items, 500,000 papers of historical documents, coupled with 50,000 photos dating back to the Qajarid era exist in Golestan Palace Museum complex. In this complex, in addition to maintenance of valuable documents, photos, and items; there are beautiful historical monuments with unique architectural styles.
The delicate soul of the Iranian artists, upon the usage of the arts of architecture, painting, stone cutting, tile work, plasterworks, decoration with cut pieces of mirror, marquetry, and parquetry, has created a beautiful building in the middle of these royal palaces which is one of a kind, capturing the attention of all viewers. This building, known as “Ayvaan-e Takht-e Marmar”, belongs to the Zandieh era, and was constructed upon the order of Karim Khan Zand in the year 1760 AD.
“Talar-e Ayeneh”, in this compound, is the outcome of years of hard work of Iranian artists, who have placed small pieces of mirror in geometrical shapes on the ceiling and walls of this hall. The popularity of this hall is mainly due to its decorations and the well-known painting of the Qajarid era Painter, Kamal Ul-Mulk, in this hall, which has been drawn in the year 1309 AH. Next to the walls of this hall, “Talar-e Salam” is located. Upon entry to Talar-e Salam, the chandeliers and decorated arches of this venue meet the eye.
The arches of this hall have been skillfully decorated with beautiful plasterworks by the expert Asadollah Qazvini. Around this hall, the gifts of foreign leaders to Qajarid kings are on display, which were presented to these kings in return for the pillage of the wealth of this land.
Talar-e Salam was allocated for especial ceremonies. The basement of this hall is currently divided into two sections. The eastern section is allocated for display of delicate arts which were common in the Qajarid era, and its western section is for the manifestation of the paintings of Iranian painters, who lived in the Qajarid era.
The best known building of the Golestan Palace complex is Shams ul-Emareh. It is one of the first multistory buildings which have been constructed in Tehran, and had been used as a vantage point for viewing the city. The importance of this building is mainly due to its height, decorations, and design. One of the features of this building is its watch tower. Currently, in the first floor of this building, a permanent exhibition of handwritten and artistic books is underway.
The treasury of books in Golestan Palace is one of the most accredited and globally known centers for maintenance of handwritten and artistic books. This collection partly presents Iran’s written cultural heritage.
Following the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, efforts were made to prepare microfilms on handwritten books, which were completed in the year 1998 AD. Up to now, a number of the handwritten volumes of books in this library have been printed and published.
Abyaz Palace is one of the other beautiful palaces present in Golestan Palace compound, which has currently turned into a museum of anthropology. This museum displays the items of urban dwellers and villagers. Iran Museum of Anthropology was founded in the year 1935 AD, displaying items belonging to residents of different cities of Iran in the Qajarid and contemporary eras. In the year 1968 AD, the museum of anthropology was transferred from its previous venue to Abyaz Palace in Golestan Palace compound. This museum is one of the oldest museums of anthropology in Iran. The ground floor of this museum is the venue of the administrative office, while on the first floor of this museum, the clothes of men and women in the Qajarid era are on display.
In the waning years of rule of Qajarid King, Naser Ed-Din Shah, the Ottoman King, Shah Sultan Abdul-Hamid, presented a number of valuable items to this Qajarid king. Meanwhile, Naser Ed-Din Shah decided to construct a new building, which later came to be known as Abyaz Palace, in the southwestern corner of Golestan Palace compound, to display the gifts which were presented by the Ottoman king. This building’s façade was similar to that of 18th Century AD European palaces. Upon the very construction of Abyaz Palace, it was used as a venue for Cabinet meetings. The Abyaz Palace turned into a museum of anthropology in the year 1968 AD.