About two hundred years ago, the name of Sa’dabad was not known by the Iranians and the people who traveled to Tehran, but this name is now very popular and this global reputation is due to what has happened in this region in the last two centuries.
The name of this region became popular for the first time when Nasereddin Shah chose to build his royal palace in this village.
Sa’dabad is located in north of Tehran, on the slopes of the Alborz mountains and in the foothills of Tochal.
This area is surrounded by the Alborz mountains, Golabdareh region, Tajrish and Velenjak.
Iranviva team has provided some articles for the people interested in traveling to Iran. In these articles we introduce you the historical, cultural and recreational sites in Iran. In this regard, we will now have a brief stroll to Sa’dabad complex.
A Brief History of Sa’dabad Complex
Sa’dabad was the kings’ summer residence during the Qajar period, but at the beginning of the Pahlavi era, the area was particularly appreciated.
After the attempted coup in 1920, when Reza Shah took over, the small gardens of this region were merged and this area was used as Reza Khan’s residence.
It is mentioned in Haj Aqa Reza Rafi’s diary, a diplomat and one of the Pahlavi attendants, that he has purchased eight thousand square meters of current Sa’dabad palace from Abu al-Fath, the Major Commander, for four hundred thousand tomans, to construct Reza Khan’s residence.
The Sa’dabad complex has been developed gradually by purchasing adjacent gardens and it is now a 110-hectare complex.
During the first Pahlavi period, the water of Darband River was used in Sa’dabad Palace, but after the expansion of the complex, twelve new subterranean canals were established in this complex.
Sa’dabad is famous for its palaces.
Today, most of these palaces are used as museums. Sa’dabad palaces are as follows:
- Ahmad Shahi Palace (under restoration)
- Shahvand Palace (The current Green Palace Museum, the first Pahlavi’s summer residence)
- White Palace (Mellat Palace Museum, the second Pahlavi’s summer residence)
- Special Palace (former Natural History Museum, currently used by the Presidential Administration)
- Asvad (Black) Palace (Modern Art Museum)
- Shams Palace (Royal Costume Museum)
- Ashraf Palace (Royal Dishes Museum)
- Gholam Reza Palace (Royal Weapons Museum)
- Mother Queen’s Palace (currently used by the Presidential Administration)
- Ahmad Reza Palace (currently used by the Presidential Administration)
- Abdolreza Building (Sa’dabad Administrative Affairs)
- Bahman Pahlavi (Gholam Reza’s son) Palace (Management Office)
- Shahram (Ashraf’s son) Palace (Military Museum)
- Farideh Diba Palace (currently used by the Presidential Administration)
- Reza Pahlavi (crown prince) Old palace (Behzad Museum)
- Reza Pahlavi (crown prince) new palace (former Dafineh Museum, currently used by the Presidential Administration)
- Farahnaz and Alireza (Mohammad Reza Shah’s children) Palace, (Mire’mad Calligraphy Museum)
- Leila Palace
A Short Trip to Sa’dabad Museum Complex
Sa’dabad complex, with intriguing artistic and cultural attractions, attracts people interested in history, culture and architecture, from all over the world.
The first thing that catches every visitor’s eyes in the complex is the extraordinary beauty of the plane trees. These trees give the area an indescribable beauty.
The lush green landscape, along with the cool breeze blowing, vitalizes us at every moment of our visit to the garden.
Due to the geographical location, the average temperature in this area is 9 to 12 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
Now it’s time to introduce each of these beautiful palaces in the complex so you will have more detailed information about traveling to Tehran and visiting the historic sites of this city.
We will start our visit to Sa’dabad complex from the entrance on Zaferanieh Avenue. After entering, we will realize the White Palace or Mellat Museum on the right.
Studying and learning more about the Sa’dabad palaces
Tehran Attractions, White Palace or Mellat Museum
The White Palace, also known as Ghasr-e-Shah, the Special Palace, and Mellat Museum, has an area of over 7,000 square meters and 61 sections. It is the largest palace in Sa’ad Abad complex.
The palace consists of four floors: underground, first floor, second floor and an attic.
The first question asked by tourists is about the reason for naming this palace. Most of the palaces in Sa’dabad were named after Pahlavi families, but White Palace was named so because of its white exterior.
In this article, we try to familiarize you with the artistic features and the architecture of the palaces and invite you to travel to Tehran to visit and enjoy fascinating, wonderful and precious museums this complex has to offer.
The construction of this palace began in 1939 and ended in 1941 and it was restored in 1966 to 1970.
The architectural plan of the building was developed by great masters like Leon Tatavosian and the Russian Boris. Other masters such as Abdolkarim Sheikhan, Reza Mala’ekeh, Hossein Kashi and Gholamreza Pahlavan were employed in decorating the palace.
One of the major materials used in the construction of this palace is the marbles from Torbat Heydarieh mine. Spanish marbles have been also used for smaller parts of the building, including the bathroom.
The marble ornamentation of this palace was done by Architect Lorzadeh.
In 1948, after the unsuccessful assassination of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the palace was selected as his permanent residence until 1961.
Tehran Attractions, Artwork of the Mellat Museum
There are a number of artworks in the White Palace. Some of these artworks are the only examples. Some of them are as follows:
The largest and oldest silk tapestry from the seventeenth century
One of the greatest decorative ornamental plasterworks mixed with gold powder
The biggest collection of Rosenthal dishes and Moser crystals
The oil-color painting, La battaglia di Lutzen, by Aniello Falcone, the famous Italian artist in 17th-century
The Snooker table made in England, by the Cox & Yeman Factory, in the 19th Century
Bed sets and curtains produced by Christopher Dior
Golden-silver palm tree made by Sheikh Zehron
China vase with golden flowers by Jane Hutcheson manufactured by Gorham in the twentieth century
Silk Embroidery wall tableaus, known as SU art
Bronze patina statue, titled Kabayle au Retour de la Chasse (Kabyle coming back from the hunt), by the German sculptor, Arthur Waagen (1833-1833)
Tehran Attractions, Museum of Nations Arts
Museum of Nations Arts is a part behind the Mellat museum.
The Museum of Nations Arts was originally a greenhouse, but after the changes during the reconstruction, it was used as Farah Diba Museum.
After the second Pahlavi period and the changes occurred in Sa’dabad complex, the museum has been used as an Art Museum. The works of some contemporary artists such as Sohrab Sepehri, Leili Matin Daftari, Iran Doroudi, Faramarz Pilaram, Hossein Zende Roodi, Behjat Sadr, Massoud Arabshahi, Masoumeh Seyhoun and Parviz Tanavoli are being displayed in this museum now. There are also works by some foreign artists in this museum such as Bernard Buffet, Fernando Lege, César Baldaccini and French Marc Chagall, Austrian Herbert Bayer, Mac-Avoy and American Jacob Agama.
There is Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s private cinema in a part of Mellat Museum.
We can continue our visit to this complex after visiting the White Palace and Mellat Museum.
Tehran Attractions, Strolling around the Black Palace and the Museum of Fine Arts
After leaving Mellat museum, a black building will catch your eyes. This building is known as the Black Palace for its black marbles from Vali Abad mines.
The Black Palace was founded in the last years of the First Pahlavi regime, in 1940. At the end of the first Pahlavi reign and with the exile of Reza Shah, the building of this palace was abandoned.
During 1963 and 1964, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ordered to continue the construction process of the building and used it as the Ministry of the Imperial Court in 1967.
After the end of the second Pahlavi reign, in 1982, the building was used as a museum.
Tehran Attractions, A brief walk in the Imperial Guard building
There is a small building at a little distance from the Black Place and the White House.
The building has an area of 480 square meters and is one of the oldest buildings in the complex.
In the first Pahlavi reign, when Sa’dabad was less wide than it is today, the building was used as a guardhouse.
With the start of the second Pahlavi regime and the expansion of the space of the complex, the building was used as the Imperial Guard building.
As the name suggests, the Imperial Guard building was used to provide safety for Sa’dabad complex and the people living there.
Tehran Attractions, The Museum of Royal Albums
After the end of the second Pahlavi reign, the building was used as administrative office until the building use was changed to the Museum of Royal Albums in 1433.
The Museum of Royal Albums has four sections and five galleries, including:
First Pahlavi Gallery, Second Pahlavi Gallery, Seals and Documents Gallery, and the Exhibition venue
The albums in this museum tell the stories of both the Pahlavi family and the historical and political events of Iran from 1921 to 1978.
The first Pahlavi Gallery includes photos and documents related to the period of Sardar Sepahi (Commander-in-Chief of the Army), from Reza Shah’s coronation to his exile.
Among the photo albums of this collection are the albums of Reza Shah’s trip to Turkey and the construction process of Reza Shah’s tomb.
The photo album of the trip to Turkey has 53 pieces of photo.
The photo album of the construction process of Reza Shah’s tomb contains 257 photographs produced by a student within two years.
The second Pahlavi Gallery contains 21 photo albums, most of which are as follows:
The photo album of MohammadReza Pahlavi and Fawzia’s wedding in 1938
The photo album of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Soraya Esfandiari’s visit to the Mercedes-Benz factory in Germany in 1953
After visiting the Imperial Guard building and the Museum of Royal Albums, we continue northward to the Royal Kitchen.
Tehran Attractions, Royal Kitchen
The Iranviva team is with you to introduce you Sa’dabad Complex.
Now, we will go to the royal kitchen of Sa’dabad Palace with you.
The royal kitchen is 800 square meters and has two floors (ground floor and underground) for providing food for the White Palace or Mellat Museum.
In this kitchen, special meals for Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Farah Diba and their children were cooked. The food for other palaces was provided in other kitchens of the palace.
During the First Pahlavi period, the fuel used for cooking was coal and in the Second Pahlavi period they used gasoline as the fuel for cooking.
Since the 1960s, the kitchen equipment became more modern in this kitchen and the liquid gas was used as the fuel.
After visiting the Royal Kitchen, we continue northward to the Museum of Master Mahmoud Farshchian.
Tehran Attractions, The Museum of Master Mahmoud Farshchian
In this part, we will see a building that was the residence of Reza Shah and his fourth wife, Queen Ismat. In the second Pahlavi period, this building was used as the residence of Mohammad Reza Shah’s Brother.
Comparing the residence buildings of the first and second Pahlavi, one can well understand the differences between the father and the son’s attitudes. This difference also reflects the development of the technology and luxuries in a short time span.
The building, with an area of over 600 square meters, became the Museum of Mahmoud Farshchian in 2002, with about 50 pieces of work displayed in the museum.
Master Mahmoud Farshchian
Mahmoud Farshchian, the greatest Iranian contemporary painter, was born in Isfahan, in 1929. His talent was discovered in his childhood by Master Mirza Aqa Emami who owned a painting workshop in Isfahan.
Master Mahmoud Farshchian went to the Isfahan Fine Arts School in 1945. In this school, he learned and studied painting under Master Isa Bahadori.
Master Farschian’s ingenuity is evident in making an art paint brush from a white cat fur and a pigeon’s feather. The brush he invented in his youth is used today in delicate paintings.
The thirst for learning painting and the mystery of painting led him to travel to Europe and America. Master Farshchian studied Western artworks and he could create his own painting style using modern and classical features.
Visiting this colorful and lively museum will vitalize us and give us new energy.
In this museum, we can see and feel a mixture of the rich literature, religious symbols and modern features of this country.
There is a tennis court near the museum.
We can continue northward to the Royal Dishes Museum.
Need more information about Sadabad museum , please read this article.
Need more information about Tehran Grand Bazaar , please read this article.