All the years spent living in Iran and never finding my way to this unique and peaceful oasis, right in the middle of busy Tehran’s downtown…So very Sad! My only relief rests in the knowledge that many Tehranians including my own uncle (born and raised in Tehran) pass by the Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers or Rose Garden Palace) and never make it inside.
On my second day in Iran and the 7th day of New Year, I mobilized my uncle and his wife to go downtown and visit this magnificent former Qajar Palace turned into a museum complex. Riding the blessed and pristine Tehran Metro from Qaytarieh Station (all the way in Northern Tehran) left us at the door step of Golestan Palace in only half an hour. On the occasion of Norooz (Iranian New Year), there were many visitors and tour groups. However, the sudden arrival of a soft rain made the crowd disappear and gave the gardens and old buildings an appealing and poetic atmosphere. When I returned in two weeks, I found Golestan Palace deserted and fabulously serene. We (my uncle, his wife and I) also had a memorable lunch at its traditional and cozy Chai-Khaneh (Tea House). We sat on takhts (wide benches) covered in rugs, leaned against large cushions and had Deezee, also called Ab-Goosht (a stew consisting of veal/lamb meats, beans and potato) and Haleem Bademjan (an eggplant dish) accompanied by yogurt and fresh bread; and followed of course by Persian tea and sweets. Yummmmmmmmmmm!
The Palace Complex, the oldest in Tehran, contains several structures that were once enclosed within the walls of Tehran’s Historic Arg (citadel). To me, the most stunning features beside the attractive architecture are the intricate and extensive mirror and tile works. In its younger years, Golestan Palace served as Qajars’ Royal Palace. During Pahlavi reign, it was used to hold formal receptions, including coronation ceremonies of Reza and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
I also got to visit the nearby National Museum of Iran which had on exhibit, the famous Cyrus Cylinder (6th cent. B.C.) on loan from British Museum.
Riding the Metro back uptown, I could not get the images of glittering mirrors and colorful tiles out of my head.
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