Golestan Palace

A Blossom in the Heart of the Capital

Author: Alireza Alamnezhad/ Translated by: Zarrin Najafi/ Photo by: Mehmet O

Golestan Palace, or the Palace of Flowers houses some of the capital’s oldest royal buildings and is one of the most prominent historic complexes in Iran. During the Qājār rule, this now UNESCO World Heritage listed site was considered the political capital of the Qājār dynasty and had witnessed coronations of seven Qājār rulers as well as both of the Pahlavi kings.

As most of the buildings within the site date to the Qājār era, it is generally perceived as a Qājār palace complex. The true history of its origins, however, stretches far back to the Safavid period when, in 1580, Shāh Abbās I built a citadel in Tehran. Later on, between 1760 and 1767, Karim Khān Zand built a divānkhāneh (court or seat of the government) within the Safavid citadel and changed the main design of the complex. At present only the Marble Throne Veranda and Karim Khāni Nook date to this period.

After Karim Khān’s death, Aghā Mohammad Khān, the founder of the Qājār dynasty, took advantage of the ensuing civil unrest in Iran and expanded Qājār territory up to the cities of Tehran and Damghan. In 1795, he defeated the last king of the Zand Dynasty, Lotf Ali Khān conquered Tehran the following year and declared himself the king of Iran. Aghā Mohammad Khān’s coronation at the Golestan Palace turned it into a place of unrivalled importance among the Qājār kings. Fat’h Ali Shāh(1772–1834), who was also crowned here, had commissioned further decoration and expansion works of the palace complex. Nāser Al-Din Shāh, impressed by the palaces he had visited in Europe, had the Palace extensively renovated, having it almost entirely reshaped. The complex did not undergo any further changes until the fall of the Qājār dynasty in 1925…

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