It is a grey day in Teheran, the last day of the year, and when we get off at the entrance of the Sa'd Abad Museum Complex, we are directly faced with a tough choice. A huge billboard shows all the options in the complex, and we have more than ten to choose from, knowing that we have less than three hours left. We make our pick, pay almost 3 million riyals for the four of us, and decide to first walk uphill to the farthest point of interest: the Green Palace. The asphalted lane on which we walk is lined by tall trees. As we walk up, we get warm, and even have to take off a layer: it is not as cold as we expected. The Green Palace turns out to be a rather small building, with decorated arches and sculptures around on the exterior walls which are constructed from a green stone from Zanan province, hence the name. We don covers for our shoes and then explore the interior. The most outstanding room certainly is the Mirror Room, which has a 70-metre carpet and mirrors on both walls and ceiling, leaving you with a dazzling feeling. Shahvand Palace, the original name of this palace, was originally built by a landowner called Ali Khan and used by Reza Shah.
From the Green Palace, it is a short walk to the Omidvar Brothers Museum, dedicated to two Iranian brothers who left Iran in 1954 to travel the world for ten years. Outside, a glass shack holds the 2CV car which the Omidvar Brothers drove through Africa. It is a must-see in the museum complex, and indeed, as soon as we are inside, we are happy we made it here. There are many objects on display which they took from their travels to 99 countries, even stuffed animals, a trophy of a headshrinker, but also diaries, some of their equipment, and much more. A very interesting collection of travel artifacts, and inspirational for anyone keen on travel. The brothers are still alive: one of them lives in Chile, while the other lives in Tehran, and comes to the museum one Sunday a month. We walk down from here, chat to some local women, and head to a building of the late Qajar period, in which we find the Mir Emad Calligraphy museum. Calligraphy is one of the fine arts of Islam, which is abundantly clear in this small collection. Some of the (many centuries old) writings are true works of art, with their colourful decorations - a pity we cannot read any of the texts.
We have opted to visit the Kitchen Museum, which turns out to be quite underwhelming after the beautiful and interesting collections we have seen so far. It is basically a big kitchen, which you can walk around without entering, with fake persons and fake food on display. This separate building was used as the kitchen for the adjacent White Palace, in which the royal family lived in summer. It is our next and last destination of the Sa'd Abad complex. The building itself is much less impressive than the Green Palace, but the interior is indeed palace-like. Halls with an abundance of carpets, furniture, glassware, chandeliers, with a distinctly dated appearance. The last time the largest dining room was used, was for a visit by President Carter from the US; the Iranian Revolution happened shortly thereafter, basically turning the White Palace, and the other buildings on these grounds, into a museum.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Sa'd Abad Museum Complex (Iran). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Sa'd Abad Museum Complex. Read more about this site.