We had a group of businessmen who came to Tehran for work. On the last night before their departure, one of them told me (Amirsina) he had extended his trip by one day to have time for a tour of Tehran. He insisted he could not leave until he had at least visited Golestan Palace or the Rose Garden Palace.
We made the trip from north Tehran to the palace compound in downtown Tehran near the Grand Bazaar. Golestan Palace, a UNESCO registered world heritage, is a masterpiece of Qajar era (1785–1925) crafts and architecture and the place where traditional Persian arts meet European architecture. The palace was originally known as the Arg of Tehran and was built in the 16th century during the reign of the founder of the Safavid dynasty, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629). It found importance after Agha Mohammad Khan (1742-1797), the first of the Qajar Kings, chose Tehran as his capital and this palace as his residence.
Our guest was very impressed by Talar-e Salam (Reception Hall). This hall was built to resemble a museum by Nasser-al Din Shah (1831-1896) to impress his European visitors upon arrival. The coronation of the two Pahlavi kings (1925-1979) were held here. He could not contain his amazement upon seeing the intricate mirrorwork of Talar-e Aineh (Hall of Mirrors). our next stop was Talar-e Berelian (Brilliant Hall) which has extravagant mirrorwork and chandeliers.
I took our guest to Khalvat-e Karim Khani (Karim Khan Veranda) which was built in 1759 by the founder of the Zand dynasty (1750-1794) as part of his residence. This nook has a marble throne and houses the tombstone of Nasser-al Din Shah, which was originally located in Shah-Abdol-Azim Shrine in Rey and was moved and installed here after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Our guest found the marble throne on the terrace in front of the complex that was commissioned by Fath-Ali shah Qajar in 1806 very impressive. This throne, which has 65 pieces of marble from the mines of Yazd and crafted in Isfahan, is inspired by the story of Solomon whose throne was said to have been carried by fairies and other supernatural beings.
On the way to IKIA airport our guest continued asking questions about Golestan Palace. He was sad he did not have enough time to see more of Tehran. He told me he would be back and asked me to show him more of Tehran when he returns.