Some of the palaces and buildings were introduced in the previous article about the Saa’d Abad Complex. In this article, we are going to introduce some other tourist attractions in this complex.
The Saa’d Abad area has been known differently in different historical periods of Qajar, Pahlavi, and Islamic Republic.
In the Qajar period, the area was very much appreciated for its beautiful gardens and its pleasant weather.
By the end of the Qajar period and the beginning of the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty, this region was well known for its enormous and numerous palaces.
It is now a place with various museums.
The names Saa’d Abad and Museum in Tehran are ingrained in the minds. We recommend you to visit this museum complex on your trip to Tehran.
Royal Dishes Museum (Ashraf Pahlavi Palace)
The Royal Dishes museum is in the northeast part of the Saa’d Abad complex.
This building, now used as a Museum, was originally the residence of Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The palace was built from 1936 to 1939 under the commands of Reza Shah. It was rebuilt in 1971 and has an area of 2,600 square meters with 1800 meters of infrastructure.
The interior was designed by French designers in French style under the commands of Ashraf Pahlavi.
The palace has been reused as a museum several times over the past years.
The latest change of use happened in 2010.
Among the works displayed in this museum are as follows:
- The memorial plate of the 2500-year celebration of the Persian Empire
- The China service made by the German company, Maison
- The silver bowl donated by Eisenhower
- Norblin samovar
- The dishes with Pahlavi sign on them, made by the Austrian company, Vina-Austria
- Qajar dishes with a viceroy mark on them
- China dishes designed by Salvador Dali
- Mahogany wood
- Ceramic dishes decorated with a golden ornament of Iris flowers, donated by the French bourbon house to the Qajar king
- The cutlery from Lebanon made by Alfred Haddad
- China service with the crown sign on them and the abbreviation of Farah Pahlavi’s name
Negarestan Palace Museum
Negarestan Palace Museum is another building located in the northeast of the Saa’d Abad complex, near the entrance from Darband.
Negarestan Palace Museum is used for holding exhibitions, conferences and craft museums. This Palace Museum hosts the art created by artists from all over the country. Tourists to Tehran who visit the Saa’d Abad complex, should visit this palace museum and enjoy the beauty of Iranian art.
Royal Weapons Museum
If we enter the Saa’d Abad complex from the northern side and from the entrance in Darband, we will see the Negarestan Palace Museum on the left and the Royal Weapons Museum on the right. This building was used by Gholam Reza, the brother of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, during the second Pahlavi period.
The museum includes more than 100 firearms most of which were donated to Pahlavi’s family and produced by the largest weapons manufacturers in the world.
Some of these weapons are the ones produced for the first time by some of the most famous factories.
Some examples of the weapons in this museum are as follows:
- Thompson machine gun
- PPSH 41 machine gun
- MP28 machine gun
- M3 machine gun
- Lee–Enfield rifle
- Colt model 1903, donated by Major General Jablonsky to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
- Heavy Maxim machine gun (60-bullets)
- Weatherby Mark 5
- Walter donated by Walter to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for the 2500-year celebration of the Persian Empire
- Madsen light machine gun
- G3 belonged to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
- Marlin Model Golden I39
Royal clothing Museum
After the Royal Weapons Museum, we reach the Royal Clothing Museum.
In the past, Shams Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza Shah’s sister, used the museum building as her summer residence.
The construction of this building began in 1935, under the commands of Reza Shah, and it was completed in 1939.
It is a two-story building and has an area of 2,600 square meters.
This building was used to store the precious dishes in 1963, when Shams Pahlavi moved to Morvarid (Pearl) Palace in Mehrshahr.
Since the Islamic Revolution, the use of this palace has been changed several times including:
Change to an Ethnographic Museum in 1994
Change to the Royal Clothing Museum in 2009
In this museum, we can mostly see the clothes of Farah Diba, Ashraf and Shams Pahlavi and Shahnaz, Mohammad Reza’s daughter.
Among the dresses you must see in this museum is Farah Diba’s wedding dress that was designed and made by the Christian Dior Institute in Paris in 1959.
Hossein Behzad Museum
Meanwhile visiting the Saa’d Abad palace and the great museums of Tehran, after the Royal Costume Museum, we will reach the Hossein Behzad Museum.
This museum is located in a building dating back to the Qajar period. The museum’s building is known as the Karbasi palace and Vali’ahd palace.
During the first Pahlavi period, this building was used as Reza Shah’s office and his resting place. In the second Pahlavi period, this building was the summer residence of Reza Pahlavi, son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The building, as a museum, was opened in 1994.
Master Hossein Behzad
Master Hossein Behzad was a prominent Iranian artists and miniaturists. Hossein Behzad was born in an artist family in Ruband Duzan in Tehran in 1894.
His grandfather, Mirza Lotfollah, was one of the greatest painters in Shiraz and he was the preacher of the Vakil mosque in Shiraz.
His father Mirza Fazlullah Isfahani was also a painter and a pen-holder designer.
From the very childhood, at the age of six, Hossein Behzad taught painting with Master Mullah Ali, the pen-holder designer, who was a friend of his father’s. Hossein Behzad lost his father and his teacher because of cholera. He decided to study under Hassan PeikarNegar (portraitist), one of Master Mullah Ali’s great students, and continue painting.
After suffering from life problems and poverty in his childhood and adolescence, at the age of 18, Master Behzad managed to rent a small shop in Tootoon Foroushan (Tobacco sellers) alley in the market.
He was so successful in his work that he copied and sold works of great painters such as Master Kamal al-Din Behzad.
The copies were so precise that it was very difficult to distinguish the original works from the copy ones.
Master Behzad went to France in 1935 and stayed there for thirteen months in order to study the great masters’ works in Louvre, Guimet and Versailles museums.
The result of the studies was a development in the spirit of miniature art. “My study in various Iranian painting styles allowed me to develop a style that meets both the Iranian art and the modern art features.” he says.
André Malraux, a French novelist, art theorist and Minister of Cultural Affairs, in 1955, says: “Behzad’s works gave a new reputation to the Iranian miniature.”
Jean Cocteau, a French genius, visual artist and critic, says: “There is no doubt that in the world of miniature in our century, there is only one master in drawing and painting, and he is an Iranian artist, Hossein Behzad.”
A military exhibition was held since the Qajar period to portray the historical development of military equipment.
This military exhibition firstly was opened as a museum by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in Imam Ali Officers’ University of Tehran in 1961 and then in 1983 it was moved to the northern Tehran in Saa’d Abad Palace.
Entering the northern entrance, the entrance in Darband, and going towards the south of Saa’d Abad, we can see the military museum on the right after the Master Behzad Museum.
This museum was built in 1938, under the commands of Reza Shah for Taj al-Moluk, Mohammad Reza’s mother and Reza Shah’s second wife.
It is a two-and-a-half storey building and has an area of 3000 square meters. The reconstruction was completed in 1972 and 1973, and then was gifted to Shahram, the son of Ashraf.
You can see the historical development of various types of weapons, military uniforms, etc. in this place.
Water supply technique is a technique the origin of which goes back to this land.
Water supply technique has long existed in this land. This technique in Iran dates back to more than 6,000 years ago, when the Aryans had not yet traveled to this land. The documents found in an excavation in Kashan Sialk Hills, is the evidence for this claim.
The water museum, a part of Saa’d Abad complex palaces, has three sections. The first one has a total area of 200 meters, the second one has an area of 70 meters and the open space has an area of 2,400 square meters.
Green Palace Museum
Now it’s time to visit one of the most beautiful palaces in Tehran, the Green Palace. The green palace, also known as Shahvand Palace, the Presidential Palace and Reza Shah Palace, is a building on the northwest side of Saa’d Abad complex.
The green palace with 1372 square meters of infrastructure (with the exception of the basement) has two floors. The previous building of the green palace was an incomplete building site owned by Alikhan. As the Minister of War, Reza Shah bought the garden land and the building for 7000 tomans and constructed the current palace.
The building of the Green Palace began in 1922 and was operated in 1928. Reza Shah’s office and his place of rest was on the ground floor, and the warehouse was in the basement.
Rare green marbles, from Khamseh mine in Zanjan and Khorasan, were used in the construction of this palace. The palace is named such because of the green stones used in the exterior of the building. The construction mortar used in this building is lead. Lead protects the stones from the damage caused by expansion and contraction.
The architect of this building is Mirza Jafar Kashi. The illuminated manuscripts decorating the walls of this building were done by Hossein Taherzadeh Behzad and the Khatams in this beautiful palace are the group work of Master Sani Hatam.
Due to the overwhelming beauty and scenic view of this palace, it has long been used as the residence of foreign guests.
One of the most splendid parts of the Green Palace is the Mirror Hall. Among the Mirror Hall features, are the following:
Flowers made from gypsum decorating the mirrors
A 70-meter Mashhad carpet by Abdolhamid Amoo Oghli
The silk carpet pattern matching with the ceiling
Sculptures and Furniture from the Louis XVI period
Console Tables from the Napoleon period
Handmade tapestry sofa from the Qajar period
The middle table made in France in the eighteenth century
Studying and learning more about the Saa’d Abad palaces
Omidvar Brothers Museum
In the northwest part of the complex, there is a four-room building with a red brick facade, which was built during the Qajar period and was a rest house and a carriage house. The building was restored and renovated in 2002 and opened as a museum in 2003.
The building was not very important and there is no special architecture, but now it’s one of the most-visited museums in the complex!
The Omidvar Brothers museum is of a great important for the objects it displays.
Issa was born in 1929, and Abdullah was born in 1932, in Doulab district, southeast of Tehran. Omidvar brothers are the first Iranian tourists, the first Asian travelers to the Antarctica, and the first Asian travelers to the both poles.
In 1954, Omidvar Brothers, very much interested in tourism and traveling over the world, left Iran on two “matchless 500-cc” motorcycles and with $ 90 in cash, with the purpose of knowing the unknowns and discovering the secrets of the various tribes around the world.
Omidvar brothers traveled to Afghanistan from Iran and then traveled across Pakistan, India, Tibet, Southeast Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, Alaska, North America, South America, the Atlantic Ocean, and Europe, and returned to Iran after seven years travelling around the four continents.
The two brothers could support their travel costs by writing articles, selling goods and holding conferences and lectures.
Omidvar brothers couldn’t stand staying for more than three months, and their interest in discovering unknowns made them to set off another journey.
This time the brothers continued their journey with Citroen 2-cylinder van.
Their second trip was to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and then to the Africa continent, and after three years they returned to their homeland.
The results and achievements of the two brothers’ 10-year journey to the five continents are displayed in Omidvar Brothers museum to the tourists and enthusiasts.
Ahmad Shahi Palace
Ahmad Shahi palace or castle is beside the main palace and near the Saheb-Qaraniyeh palace. There is no comprehensive information about the construction time and the architect of this building. But, since this palace was the residence of Ahmad Shah Qajar, it can be assumed that its construction time is definitely more than 100 years ago.
The building, with a brick facade, has been built in two floors with an area of 800 square meters.
There is a marble pond on the first floor. There are also 2 aisles and 6 rooms on this floor.
On the second floor, there is a central hall used as the music hall.
This building was not considerable during Reza Shah Period, and that’s why there is no accurate and comprehensive information about it.
In the 1960s, before Mohammad Reza moved to the Niavaran Palace, he used this palace as his office, and after his residence in Niavaran, this building was designed and renovated by the French designers of Saheb-Qaraniyeh and became the residence of Reza Pahlavi.
Master MirEmad Calligraphy Museum
After Ahmad Shahi castle, on the way to the exit gate on Zaferanieh Avenue, there is MirEmad Museum.
In the second Pahlavi era, the building of this museum belonged to Farahnaz and Alireza Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza’s children. There is no comprehensive information about the construction time and the architect of this two-storey building.
This building was left unused for a long time after the revolution, and then in 1997 it was opened as a museum of Calligraphy. Ten centuries of calligraphy works of this land have been exhibited in this museum for the enthusiasts.
Royal Car Museum
Now it’s time to visit the last and one of the most attractive museums in Saa’d Abad complex.
Car has always been very attractive to Iranians, and the Iranians’ interest can be visible in this complex. The cars in this place are very rare and there are only a few produced.
Visiting this part reduces your tiredness of a long visit.
The museum displayed the cars belonged to Pahlavi II.
Here are some of these cars:
Armored Mercedes-Benz S600
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Limousine
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
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