The Golestan Palace (literally the Palace of Flowers) is a must-see attraction in the Iranian capital Tehran. The former royal palace, which belonged to the Qajar dynasty, showcases the glory and wealth of the Iranian rulers. It is next to Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and lies in a lush garden worth visiting in its own right.
The famous palace dates back to the reign of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1848-96). Once there was a Safavid-era citadel on the site of the Golestan Palace but nothing has remained of that citadel. There are several buildings in the complex, each exhibiting different historical aspects of the Qajar period. You can also see dazzling decorations including beautifully painted tiles everywhere in the historical palace complex.
Overlooking the central fountain pool is the exquisitely mirrored, open-fronted Ivan-e Takht-e Marmar audience hall. It boasts a sumptuous throne supported by human figures, all carved out of alabaster and built at the order of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. Marmar hall used to host ceremonial events such as the coronation of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925.
Next to the Marmar Hall you will find Khalvat-e Karim Khani. The building is what has remained of Karim Khan Zand’s residence in Tehran. The pillared building features a marble fountain pool with a Shah Qanat (underground canal) previously bubbling out of it. After the Islamic revolution in 1979, the grave stone of Nasser al-Din Shah featuring his gisant was removed from his tomb in Ray and brought here. While not as magnificent as the one in the Marmar Hall, you will see another throne of Fath Ali Shah in Khalvat-e Karim Khani.
Furthermore, there is the Negar Khane art museum. It displays a collection of Qajar-era artworks. Stunning paintings by famous painters such as Kamal al-Mulk and Mosavar al-Mulk are on display in the gallery.
Among other highlights of the palace is the Talar-e Ayneh (Mirror Hall) with exquisite mirror-work and 30 windows facing the garden. The hall became famous through Kamal al-Mulk’s well-known painting of it ‘Talar-e Ayneh. The enchanting artwork took the famous Iranian painter 5 years to complete. Wax figures of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and Kamal al-Mulk are also on display in the hall.
Shams-ol Emareh, Qajar’s royal symbolic mansion, Talar-e Almas (Diamond Hall), Emarat-e Badgir (pavilion of wind towers), Aks Khaneh (Historic Photograph Gallery), Talar-e Almas (Diamond Hall) and Ethnography Museum near the main entrance are also other parts of the complex you can explore to get the best out of your visit.