In the outermost north of Tehran, by Alborz Mountains, there lies the densely rich and green Darband Garden with an area of 110 Hectares which once used to be the residence of the Qajarid and Pahlavi kings and is now commonly known as the Cultural Complex of Saad’Abad. This complex has witnessed four major historical periods of this country, that is, Qajar, Pahlavi the First, Pahlavi the Second, and the post-revolutionary periods stretching from 1790 to 1979 and being a complex, in total, encompasses 18 major or minor palaces. These palaces reveal an admirable decoration and architecture and, at the moment, each contains a museum in itself. Among all these spectacular palaces there is one considered to be the most beautiful in the entire country, i.e., the Green Palace.
The unique mineral green stones, used in its outlook, have bestowed upon it an incomparable beauty, hence the dubbing of it as Green Palace. The delicate plasterwork, exquisite rugs and carpets, and also its paintings jointly demonstrate the ultimate artistic taste of its creators. Not only do these museums contain cultural, artistic, royal, martial, and historical works of Iran, but also one of them has put on display various photos taken by Omid'Varian brothers, during their tour around the globe, and from many corners of the world. The significance of Saad’Abad, however, does not lie solely in its palaces and museums, a large part of it is actually covered with rare trees, shrub, herbaceous, and ornamental plants thanks to which it is distinguished from other touristic places of Tehran.
The Museum of Royal Albums and Documents
This complex, along with the remaining monuments within it, more or less, portrays the life-style of its inhabitants. Yet, only with one single visit, one cannot figure out what sort of royal relations and affinities were in operation at the royal court or what sort of ceremonies were held in it. To this end, after years of hard work, the Museum of Royal Albums and Documents is now open to public in order to make visitors more familiar with some of the events of the history of contemporary Iran that originally took place in this palace. Most of the documents on display were selected from the archive of the Ministry of Royal Court located next to the Saad’Abad palaces. The documents in question can well inform the visitor about a part of responsibilities and operations of the Ministry. They include official correspondences, the records of the possessions and properties of the royal family, and reports on the maintenance of the palaces. A variety of family albums and seals are among other spectacular items of this museum.
The Museum of Royal Plates
The Museum of Royal Plates is located on the eastern side of the complex. It has a two-story building with a foundation of 1800 Square meters which was raised by the order of Reza Shah, the first king of Pahlavi Dynasty, for his successor's sister, Ashraf. Over 500 plates and ornamental ware, all manufactured by the best factories from all around the world, are put on display in five separate halls, in both floors of the museum.
The Water Museum
This museum is a cultural treasury built with the aim of maintaining and promoting the heritage of Iran's ancestry in the area of sanitary engineering including extraction, transmission, distribution, exploitation, and the techniques which were in use back then. It consists of two separate buildings along with an open domain. The main building has four galleries and the peripheral building, which is smaller, has one. In the main building, you will see such items as models of ancient water-related constructions like dams, and also tools of excavating aqueducts, qanats, and wells, and measuring tools used for quantifying the water load. In the peripheral building, however, there are models of the dams already constructed or in construction progress and other constitutive endeavors of those responsible in the area of water industry on display.
The Museum of Calligraphy, Epigraphy, and Penmanship
Where once two of the children of Muhammad Reza Shah, the second king of Pahlavi, that is, Farahnaaz and Alireza, used to live, now, the museum of calligraphy, epigraphy, and penmanship of Mir'emad is presented. This two-story museum contains ten centuries of calligraphy and consists of the following sections: 1. Pre-Islamic script: in this section, Elamite cuneiform and Sassanid Pahlavi inscriptions can be found. 2. Islamic script: this section consists of the six-fold calligraphic styles of Ibn Muq'la al'Shirazi (the man of letter, chancellor, and noteworthy calligrapher of the Abbasid Dynasty).
Among the calligraphic styles displayed in the first floor, which are Kufic, Thuluth, Naskh, Towqi', Riqa', and Reyhan, Iranian Kufic Calligraphy on vellum stands unmatchably high in grandness and demonstrates one of the specific types of Kufic calligraphy. In the second floor, Ta'ligh, Nasta'ligh, and broken or curved Nasta'liqh are exhibited from among which the works of Mir'emad al-Hassani (1554-1615 MD), the renowned calligrapher of the Savafid Dynasty, attract the attention of anyone with artistic taste leaving them in awe and admiration. 3. Avocational scripts 4. Practical items such as penholder 5. Manuscripts of books such as Hafez's Divan of Sonnets and Quran.
The Museum of Royal Cookery
If you are curious to know about the cookery specially equipped for the king and his royal family and the sort of kitchen appliances and materials used for royal culinary demands, then, you are advised not to miss the Museum of Royal Cookery of this Complex. This cookery has got 800 square meters of foundation and was once a cooking center specific to the White Palace where Iranian chefs prepared food. Its modern kitchenware and appliances were installed by a German company.
The Museum of Royal Vehicles
The royal family left the country in response to the 1979 Revolution. The royal vehicles, which were then used by the royal family, have been since left unapplied and were long gathering dust. Yet, now, after decades, they are repaired and put on display as the items of the first museum of royal vehicles. This museum consists of six types of Benz, Rolls-Royce, and Cadillac. Among them, Benz 600, with six and a half tons of weight, equipped with an automatic height-regulatory system, is considered as one of the rare products of Benz Company.
The Museum of Royal Weaponry
This museum, whose building was once the residence of king's brother, now, presents more than 70 firearms ranging from hunting and martial to side arms all forged by the most famous arm manufacturers from around the world. The arms of this museum do not exclusively belong to the foreign companies and some belong to the armaments forged by the ex-royal army as well.
The Museum of Omid'Vaar Brothers
Isa and Abdullah Omid’Vaar were two Iranian brothers who were the first Iranians to have managed to go around the globe with the use of a British Matchless motorbike with an engine power of 500 cc and a car made by French Citroen Company. They began their journey after three years of planning in the year 1954 which took a decade and amounted to thousands of miscellaneous photos, films, handicrafts, tools, objects, presently on display in this museum. It is worth mentioning that the very bike and car that they used for their journey are exhibited in there too.
The Martial Museum
The Martial Museum is a building with a foundation of 3000 square meters built in two and a half floors. In its exterior area, one can find various tanks, canons, and other warfare. It is divided to the following sections: The hall of different military uniforms of Iran's army the hall of weaponry the hall of medals along with other emblems of Iran's army, and other firearms The hall of heavy arms and fire guns The hall of long-dated foreign arms.
The Museum of Master Farshchiyan
Mahamud Farshchiyan is a well-received contemporary Iranian miniaturist. While remaining loyal to the classical forms of Iranian art, he has managed to establish a new school in Iranian painting with the use of new painting techniques. Farshchiyan's Museum has a foundation of 600 squares meters and over 50 of his works are on exhibition in it. Being inspired by Quran, New and Old Testaments, and Persian classical poetry, these works are so dynamic and yet delicately formed that they attract the viewer's attention, unbeknownst to themselves, to their colorful composition and artistic patterns and images.
The Museum of Hussein Behzad
Hussein Behzad is one of the most important figures of Iran's 20th century painting and art. With a rigorous study of Iranian and foreign styles of painting, he managed to effectuate a number of changes in Iranian painting that not only were inspirational to the painters contemporaneous to him, but also played a role in saving and salvaging this aboriginal art which was in decline back then, and so did he manage to bring global fame and praise to it. The museum in question is divided to five halls where the masterpieces of this prominent figure are put on display. Each of these miniature paintings has re-glorified Iranian miniature art in its own right and, owing to their powerful composition and coloring, has made certain art-scholars and artistic figures such as Jean Cocteau to praise him as the "master of the century."
The Museum of Royal Clothing
The summer palace of Shams Pahlavi, the full-blood sister of Muhammad Reza Shah, is now turned into the Museum of Royal Clothing which contains a large number of photos, decorative objects, and clothing of the royal family, especially that of the queen, Farah Diba, the king himself, and Ashraf, his sister's.
The Museum of Fine Arts
This museum has a three-floored building with a foundation of 3600 square meters and was used as the court ministry at the time of the monarchical sovereignty. Since black marble stone, also known as white-stone, is used in its construction, it has also been commonly referred to as the Black Palace. In this museum, extremely beautiful paintings from a number of Iranian contemporary pianists such as Sohrab Sepehri, Hussein Mahjoubi, Faramarz Pil'aaram and the like are put on display. In the first floor, a number of beautiful Europeans paintings, from 17 to 20 century, are on display and among the painters whose works are on show, one can refer to Salvador Dali, John Fredrick Herring, Peter Graham, Ivan Shishkin, Francois Musin, and Jule Breton. In the second floor, you can find a number of works of the Iranians in Qajarid and Savafid Eras. When visiting the museum, do not forget to see eight exquisite works of the renowned painter, Muhammad Ghaffari knowns as Kamal-al Molk that stand out in terms of accuracy, the mastery of coloring, and composition.
The White Palace
Museum of Mellat Palace Owing to its white outlook, this palace is also known as White Palace and is considered as the biggest palace of the Complex. It has 54 separate compartments including 10 halls for ceremonial royal formalities which used to be the summer residence of the king and queen. Its exterior view is inspired by German architecture and its interior is a combination of Iranian and Byzantine styles. It has a two-story basement. In the basement, such places as Farah Art Museum, Movie Hall, and sections like pantry and storages are found. In addition to a vast entrance hall, it has a variety of other halls consisting of the king and some other court members' personal offices, and other rooms and chambers, too.
While entering the grand hall of the first floor, one cannot help gazing in wonder at the large old paintings presenting certain themes of Ferdowsi's epic work, Shah Nameh (lit. the Book of Kings) hung around the skylight. In roundabouts of the main entrance hall of the first floor, one can witness its grandiose halls and numerous chambers. The artistic works used in the decoration of this palace form a priceless treasury of the artistic world heritage. Among all these works, exquisite and matchless carpets and rugs show off the ultimate taste and mastery of Iranian carpet-weavers. Paintings created by miscellaneous master artists, Iranian and non-Iranian, exquisite cloths fabricated in France or England that beautify the walls of the hall, gigantic lusters, porcelains and plates all made by the most famous factories around the world are all among the other worthwhile items of this grandiose palace.
The Green Palace
Shahvand Palace, which is also referred to as Green Palace, is one of the most beautiful existing palaces in the entire country and was once inhabited by Reza Shah. This beautiful two-story palace has got a foundation of 1203 square meters and is placed on a high hill. The use of rare green mineral stones in its exterior outlook and the decoration of its walls with fine engraved stones, together, play a role in its further beautification. Plasterwork, mirrorwork, ornamentation of the walls and its graceful marquetry can be given as only a few examples. The miscellaneous objects within the palace, say, chandeliers, paintings, statues, crystal objects, piano, and the like, often bought from European countries, are certainly worth seeing. The Mirror Hall is one of the most beautiful places in this palace containing a 70-meter carpet with the pattern of a vase with a glamorous flower spray in it.
In order to get to the Complex, you can go to the either entries of Darband or Za'feraniyeh. One should take Vali'Asr St. toward the north. After having passed Parkway Intersection for about 1500 meters, on the left, you will find Za'feraniyeh St. For using the entry of Za'feraniyeh, you should go up this street for about 500 meters at whose end the entry is located. In case that you want to use Darband's entry, you should go upward in the Vali'Asr St. until you get to Tajrish Sq. In the north of Tajrish Sq. you should go to Ja'fari St. which leads to Darband Sq. The entry is located in the south of this square.
8 am - 6 pm
Garden Museum- Mellat Palace Museum- Green Palace Museum: 15000 Tomans
Military Museum- Fine Arts Museum- Calligraphy Museum of Iran (Master MirEmad)- Royal Albums and Historical Documents Muserum- Royal Clothing Museum- Royal Kitchen Museum- Royal Cars Museum - Royal Weapons Museum- Royal Dishes Museum- Master Farshchian Miniature Museum- Master Behzad Museum- Omidvar Brothers Museum- Nation's Art Museum- Permanent Exhibition of Iran's Handicrafts- Water Museum : 8000 Tomans
1.Bringing any sort of flammable or detonable liquid or material to any place within the complex is not allowed.
2.Bringing any sort of pet or animal to any of the places within the complex is not allowed.
3.Smoking in any of the places of the complex and inside any of its museums is not allowed.
4.Please withdraw from touching any device or item within any of the places of the complex.
5.Please, at all times, withdraw from entering the green spaces. 6.If you are planning for a thorough visit, allot the entire day to it.