In the north of the Iranian capital, next to the Darband Valley, Saad Abad cultural site embraces River Darband originating from Alborz Mountains slopes.
Lately, it was located in 8000 square meters. In the 19th century, Nasser al-Din Shah of Qajar built a mansion amid the vast green pasturelands and fields to enjoy his long summer days lying under trees and rejoice in the region's pleasant mountainous weather. The early palace is now known as the Palace of the Queen Mother. After the 1920 coup, when Reza Khan Pahlavi came to power, he bought the surrounding gardens and ordered erecting 17 other palaces and mansions. Therefore, the final area of this place extended to 300 hectares.
In constructing Saad Abad complex's mansions, a combination of European and Iranian architectural style and decorative details were used. Many great architects and artists were involved in building these palaces.
Here is a list of 18 mansions and palaces scattered in the garden of Saad Abad:
Green stones from mines of Zanjan & Khorasan used for the facade of this place located in the northwestern of Saad Abad site. The walls of Shahvand Palace is full of delicate mirrors, tiles and bedding. The ground floor of this majestic palace was the office of Reza Shah Pahlavi. There are many beautiful antique items here: an elegant dining table and furniture dating back to Louis XVI era and console tables from Napoleon Bonaparte time and a large magnificent Persian carpet. The walls of the Green Palace were gilded by famous Persian painter Hossein Behzad.
This palace was the summer residence and office of the second Pahlavi king where official ceremonies were held. As its name implies, the White House has a white marble facade and adapts French aristocratic style combined with Iranian art. This palace is the largest mansion in the Saad Abad complex.
There are exquisite Persian carpets, historical pottery, precious crystals, European chandeliers to see in the building and Reza Shah's boots' statue is in front of the White Palace that people have broken after the 1979 revolution.
Once Shams Pahlavi, the older sister of Mohammad Reza Shah, lived in this palace. Now it is the royal clothes museum. From Qajar era to the Pahlavi, this building houses majestic royal costumes. The haute couture created for Queen Farah is the highlights of this collection.
In Saad Abad complex, there is a mansion where In 2001 became the permanent exhibition of 70 masterpieces of Mahmoud Farshchian, the Iranian miniature master. Master Farshchian's efforts have been preserved this mesmerizing tradition of Persian painting as one of the prominent arts of Iran.
Known as the Palace of Karbas, In 1994 was dedicated to being a permanent art gallery of a genius Persian painter and miniature artist in his 100th birthday honour. Hossein Behzad is the reviver of a specific Persian miniature style. Master Behzad tried to save this 400-year-old art style from oblivion.
Previously the royal carriage house in the northwest of the Saad Abad complex, this remnant Qajar building exhibits two world travellers' achievements. Omidvar Brothers are the first Iranian travellers who travelled worldwide during 1954-64. In their exciting journey, they passed through the Arctic Circle, Congo, and the Andes' entire length. Omidvar Brothers created a visual record of what they had experienced along their journey. Now this precious record of vanished cultures and places along other amazing things are displayed in this museum. On the first Sunday of the Iranian solar calendar's month the older brother, Issa, meets with the enthusiastic visitors at the location of the museum. The documentary of their 10-year travel to the world's wonders is available to purchase with English subtitle in the museum.
Saad Abad Complex has beautiful museums and magnificent palaces and a fine example of Persian gardens. It is like heaven in Tehran's heart and a great place to skip the heat of summer days or the hustle and bustle of the chaotic Tehran. Lay under the enormous trees and listen to birds' beautiful sound, you would see why Persian kings chose this place. In autumn, Saad Abad is at the peak of its beauty. Walking among trees wearing colourful clothes of leaves is joyful. The complex is open every day from 9:00 till 17:00.
By Samaneh Zohrabi