Although most tourists avoid including Tehran for more than 1 or 2 days in their itinerates, this city can be a great destination for those who visit Iran. Tehran, which houses the best museums in Iran, would be a wonderful place for enabling visitors to grasp the whole concept of Iran and its rich history within just a few days.
Some might be interested in comprehending Iran through visiting the pre-historical, ancient excavations, whereas others may prefer to know more about the contemporary history of Iran. In both cases, Tehran can offer you a lot. The other point is that while Tehran might seem like a crowded capital with annoying traffic at its first impression, it was, in fact, one of the best cities of Iran in the past regarding the weather and climate.
Located at the foot of 3900 m Tochal mountain, the northern part of the capital has the best climate and view. That’s the reason why Qajar dynasty selected Shemiranat gardens for building one of its most beautiful palaces as summer residence here. Sahebqaranie was the name given to this Palace. Later and during the reign of Pahlavi dynasty, another palace was built in this garden and was named Niavaran (The garden was located close to a canebrake (Neyzar in Farsi) and people called it Ney Avaran, which was changed to Niavaran overtime).
Sahebqaranie Palace, Photo@apochi.com
This newly built palace became the main residence of Mohammad Reza Shah’s imperial family. Mohammad Reza Shah along with the former queen, Farah and their 4 children lived here until their last moments in Iran before leaving the country forever. Today, you can see the children’s rooms and other parts in its original shape, as if they have frozen in time. The building was built by Mohsen Foroughi, the famous Iranian architect and one of the founders and pioneers of modern architecture in Iran.
Children's room in Niavaran Palace.Photo by marmusa@Flickr.com
The main complex consists of several buildings and museums. Sahebqaranie is the oldest palace and Ahmad Shahi pavilion is the last building constructed during the Qajar era. By the order of Mohammad Reza Shah, all the other outlying buildings of Sahebqaranie were destroyed and to the north of this Palace, the new structures were built.
Ahmad Shahi Pavilion in autumn. Photo by German Vogel@Flickr.com
Although all the buildings and museums of Niavaran complex are worth visiting, perhaps the most astonishing one would be the Niavaran palace itself. The quadrangular design of the palace and its interior design are inspired by Iranian archeology performed with the help of modern technologies. The unique design of the floor, covered with black stone and the silver aluminum sliding roof, has created a beautiful contrast which adds to the beauty of the palace.
Private Cinema in Niavaran PalaceAs well as visiting different parts of the building, the halls and the private rooms, you’ll also visit some collections gathered by the imperial family, such as Farah’s clothes collection or some antique collections gifted to Shah and his family from all around the world. A private library, private cinema and the collection of cars are the other parts of this complex that you mustn’t miss while visiting Niavaran palace.
Private Cinema in Niavaran Palace
Farah's Clothes Collection. Photo@wikimedia.com
The amazing library of the palace consists of around 23,000,000 books (mostly in Persian and French languages) and especially many books related to philosophy. The building is designed by bronze and glass and the structure is lit well by 300 cylinders that supply the needed lighting of the reading room, audio-visual room and the main library. In the basement of this private library, there is a special place for storing paintings and other artifacts.
The private library of Niavaran Palace. Photo@tagino.ir
Another interesting part of this complex is the Jahan-Nama museum, which is, in fact, the private art collection of former queen, Farah Diba. This amazing collection showcases historic and artistic works from all around the world, just as its name represents (Jahan-Nama in Farsi means where the world is represented). As well as the works of some Iranian contemporary artists, you can see works by some of the greatest Western artists such as Georges Braque, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Diego Giacometti and Marc Chagall in this museum.
The garden itself is a recreational site, where you can spend a few hours there. While enjoying the beautiful view of the trees and ponds and smelling the fresh mountain breeze, you can also visit the inscriptions garden-museum of the complex, located in the eastern part of the garden.
Museum Garden of Niavaran Complex. Photo@irna.ir
The price of the entrance ticket for visiting the whole complex is 690,000 Rials (69000 Tomans) for foreigners and you can visit the palace from 9-18 p.m during the first six months of the year and 8-16 p.m in the second half of the year.