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Iran: Golestan Palace

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Golestan Palace > Iran > Asia

[Visited: August 2018]

The entire complex of Golestan Palace is enormous, and instead of walking to all the nine different halls and buildings, the museum makes it easier for the visitor: you need to pick the ones you want to visit beforehand, thus allowing yourself to focus only on certain parts of the vast museum. We pick four, and walk along one of the reflecting pools to the Takht-e Marmar. Unfortunately, the open-fronted audience hall is closed off by a big white cloth hanging in front of it: the throne is supposed to look out directly on the reflecting pool. Once inside, we are dwarfed by mirrors that are all around us, on the walls and the ceiling. Then, we are drawn to the marble throne, the centrepiece of this hall. It is protected by glass, so you cannot come too close. What an enormous throne - you could easily sit a family on it! Female figures carry it. When you stand behind, daylight falls through the seemingly transpatent alabaster that was mined near the city of Yazd. Reza Shah was coronated on this very throne in 1925.

Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Interior of the lavishly decorated Reception Hall

We walk past the walls rich in tile-work to another hall, Negar Khaneh, where we see paintings by Iranian artists from the Qajar era. They depict life in Persia, and many aspects of daily life are easy to recognize: bazar scenes, bearded men in discussion, playing backgammon, women dressed in black veils, the famous Persian carpets, and also royals wearing excessive jewellery. From this hall, we walk to the main halls, where we put on plastic sleeves over our shoes, in order not to damage the carpet. We walk the heavily mirrored staircase up to the Mirror Hall, where once the Peacock Throne stood, and which saw the coronation of the last Shah of Persia, Muhammad Reza Shah, 25 years after he took power, in 1967. The throne itself has been moved to the National Jewels Museum, which we would visit later but where photography is not allowed.

Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Side view of the Marble Throne, one of the highlights of the Golestan Palace

The sheer luxury of this, and adjacent, halls, is hard to describe. They are not only plastered with mirrors, with excessive chandeliers hanging down from the ceiling, and elegant decorations on the ceilings, but also have presents from foreign dignitaries on display. Closets, furniture, instruments, and other objects. The jewels that once were displayed here, have been moved to the National Jewels Museum. We walk to other halls in this building: more amazing chandeliers, and more walls covered with mirrors in fine shapes, reflecting the light a thousand times, making the rooms look bigger than they already are. The enormous light-green curtains, draped graciously under arched windows, precious vases, enormous tables where once royals had their meals. Now, it is all empty, we walk here on plastic covers around our shoes, surrounded by silence. The Qajars, the Shahs, they have left the palace. All the beauty, the luxury, the elegance of these buildings, the art, the gifts, and all else that is inside, is there for everyone to see.

Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Reception Hall with its extensive use of mirrors to dazzle the visitor
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Reflecting pool with one of the buildings of Golestan Palace in the background
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Female figure carrying the Marble Throne
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Decorative elements with flowers and bird in the Takht-e Marmar
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Close-up of chandelier in the Reception Hall
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Close-up of the elegantly decorated half-transparent marble of the Marble Throne
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Part of the mirrored ceiling of the Takht-e Marmar
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Close-up of stained glass and mirrors in Takht-e Marmar
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Colourful painting on a wall in an adjacent hall to the Takht-e Marmar
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Finely decorated mirrors and stained glass in the Takht-e Marmar
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Wall with arches and towers of the Edifice of the Sun at the east side of the Golestan palace complex
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Two men playing backgammons: painting in the Negar Khaneh Iranian gallery
Picture of Golestan Palace (Iran): Looking up the mirrors in the Takht-e Marmar verandah where the marble throne stands

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