Exploring Tehran’s Golestan Palace

I have always been fascinated by Iran. Their history, the culture & people and landscapes. For one reason or the other I waited and waited and in 2016 I finally decided to travel there with my friend Milo.

Tehran, with all its fumes, was certainly not the nicest place we did visit but the people… the people we met were the most welcoming and friendly of any country I have visited. They were interested, educated, super-helpful to an extend that we thought ‘this cannot be real’.

If I recall correctly on our second day in Tehran we wanted to go to the Golestan Palace from our hotel by taxi. It was easy to get the attention of a taxi driver and he immediately pulled over. Before one hops into the cab, you first talk to the driver via the passenger window to tell where you need to go and agree on a price. In our case, the driver did not speak English and we thought that he did not have a clue what our destination was. Obviously we did not have any idea how to pronounce it correctly in Farsi and we thought that he did not understand our map either.

Soon a man approached us and asked in perfect English if he could be of assistance. We thanked him and told him where we wanted to go and so he asked the driver in Farsi if he could drive us to the Palace. But then the driver explained that this was not a problem for him at all but he had tried to explain us that it would not make sense because of heavy traffic and it was much more convenient for us to take the metro (which was apperantly right behind us). We laughed and thanked the driver whilst the other gentleman took us to the metro entrance as he refused to simply give us directions.

He walked us to the ticket boot and bought us two tickets, -try to refuse a gift :-), ain’t going to happen in Iran-, and two for himself and his friend. We then though, still being naive I guess, that we would end up in some tourist gift shop but none of that at all. They took us to the right platform, helped us to transfer to the right train at another station and then simply thanked us for visiting their country leaving us behind feeling completely embarrased with our prejudice thoughts.

Any this would happen a few more times over the next days leaving us with an awkward feeling of how the world (the West) portraits Iran whilst the people were genuinely nice and friendly and their hospitality comes second to none.

I have finally started to edit my pictures so here is a first post with images from the Golestan Palace, the Palace of Flowers.

The complex of Golestan Palace consists of various structures, including palaces, museums, and halls. Almost all of this complex was built during the 200-year ruling of the Qajar kings and it is one the oldest of all historic monuments in the capitol of the Islamic Republic. Since mid-2013 the palace is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The palaces were used for many different occasions such as coronations and other important celebrations.

The rooms are decorated with woodwork containing tiny pieces of bone and precious metals, called Khātam. Khātam is an ancient Persian technique of inlaying and the geometric patterns are insane. The ‘average’ quality Khātam contains 60 pieces per square centimeter.

The above images show the the Marble Throne. The throne is made of over sixty pieces of yellow marble from the Yazd province and it is amazing as the pieces are translucent. It is a masterpiece and in a way it has real character because the faces are so well done.

The rest of the room is decorated with inlayed glass and pieces of mirror. Lots of pieces of mirror :-).

Out first serious bit of tile work :-), much more to follow. The above building was a part of the interior residence of the Zand’s and also has a small marble throne inside the terrace. It is much smaller than the Takht-e-Marmar above and ornamentation is much more basic but the colours and patterns are like nothing else.

Since it was spring, the temperature was pleasant and hanging around in the gardens enjoying the scenery was great. Catching a bit of sun before seeing the last buildings of the Golestan complex.

These last images are from the Emarat Badgir, the Building of the Wind Towers. These towers were constructed to allow the cooling wind to move through the structure. Again the decoration was fantastic and I remember it was the first time that we both would have a sore neck from looking up to see ceilings the whole day.

If you are planning to visit Tehran you have to stop by for a visit. I would suggest to at least spend four hours at the palace. There are many more structures to see but some cannot be photographed.

More info: www.golestanpalace.ir

If you enjoyed this article or the photos, please hit those little 👏 below (you can “clap” multiple times!) and share the story with your friends. You can find an overview of my articles here.

Like what you read? Give Sander van Dijk a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.