Zinat al-Molk House, also referred to as Zinat al-Molk, owned by a person named Zinat al-Molk. She was the daughter of Habibollah Qavam (Qavam IV). The Qavam family so beloved in Shiraz that they served as governors and mayors at different times.
This house built for the Qavam family and features an underground passage leading to Qavam’s Orange Grove, located opposite the house. Zinat al-Molk House was a space for the female members of the family.
In 1911, during the Qajar dynasty’s reign, Ali Mohammad Khan Qavam al-Molk II started constructing this beautiful house, and finally, in 1923, Ali Mohammad Khan Qavam al-Molk III completed it.
Zinat al-Molk was a generous woman who always helped the others. Her house was always open to the public, quickly earning her popularity for her charitable work.
Besides her popularity, the house is one of the city’s finest, still retaining its grandeur and belonging to a wealthy, royal family.
Upon entering the house, you’ll notice exquisite tilework of a lion and sun, a famous symbol in Iran. Zinat al-Molk House has over 20 rooms, each adorned with beautiful paintings, various plasterworks, and glittering mirrors. Each room features unique decor, making it essential to explore them individually.
Besides the stunning designs in each room, the wooden ceilings might catch your attention. They display the most beautiful paintings of various birds and animals alongside colorful flowers—a design you might not see elsewhere. Also, check out the happiest room on the western side, adorned with mirrors that will take your breath away.
Architecture of Zinat al-Molk House
Interestingly, this house is located on the western side of Qavam’s Orange Grove. In fact, it’s just a lane away from Qavam House and connected by a secret underground pathway.
Like many other historic houses in Iran, upon entering, you’ll first come across a vestibule called “Hashti,” an octagonal space, an essential element in Iranian architecture, particularly for neighborly connections.
The Hashti allows residents to be aware of what’s happening in the alley and city and also made women feel comfortable in the courtyard, as nobody could see them through the door (a principle of privacy in Iranian architecture).
After passing the Hashti, you will greeted with two small mirror gardens and an eye-catching pool, decorated with flower pots, in a beautiful courtyard.
If you look closely at the front of the building, you’ll see seven-color tiles with paintings of the sun, two angels, and two lions on them. Around the courtyard are 20 interconnected rooms. The most beautiful part of this building is the mirror hall, located on the western side.
You can find breathtaking plasterworks and European-style paintings in this hall. The seven-color crescent-shaped tiles on the building’s front are especially beautiful and striking. These tiles feature paintings of the sun, two angels, two lions, along with a verse from the Holy Quran. The walls around the courtyard decorated with floral and bush motifs.
Besides the roofless ivan in the east of the courtyard, there are 20 interconnected rooms. So there’s no need to go to the courtyard to move from the northern rooms to the south. All rooms have wooden ceilings decorated with beautiful paintings of animals, birds, and flowers. The main hall of the building (also known as the Mirror Hall) is located on its western side. This hall is full of captivating paintings and mirrors across its walls and ceiling.
The paintings on the wooden ceilings, mirrored walls, stunning plasterworks, Orosi windows with colorful glasses, and every part of the house blend Iranian and European artistic styles, showcasing the influence of European architecture and art in the Qajar era. Opposite the Mirror Hall is a summer hall.
Another attraction of this house is the Orosi windows with colored glasses, reflecting sunlight on the walls, creating a beautiful and pleasant atmosphere. Although the house’s architecture utilizes Iranian and European art and architecture, it is predominantly Iranian.
Zinat al-Molk House Museum
The Zinat al-Molk House has a basement that covers the entire area of the house. It initially used as a storage space for food and weapons.
However, when Zinat al-Molk took full ownership, she dedicated the entire basement to charitable activities, assistance, and housing for the others and needy.
The house’s basement, now transformed into a museum, is one of its most attractive sections, introducing visitors to various aspects of Iran’s rich history.
Today, the Zinat al-Molk House Museum, resembling London’s Madame Tussauds, hosts numerous wax statues of some of the most famous poets and artists from Shiraz.
All these statues are made of wax. The northern hall and room on the second floor have been converted into a music hall, conference hall, and cinema for young artists.
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To visit the Zinat al-Molk House, you should head to Lotf Ali Khan Zand Street and walk a part of the way. If you’re using the metro, the nearest metro station is the Valiasr Station.