The Marble Throne (Takht e Marmar): This spectacular terrace, known as the Marble Throne, was built in 1806 by order of Fath Ali Shah of Qajar (r. 1797-1834). Adorned by paintings, marble-carvings, tile-work, stucco, mirrors, enamel, woodcarvings, and lattice windows, the throne embodies the finest of Iranian architecture. The Marble Throne is one of the oldest buildings of the historic Arg. The existing throne, which is situated in the middle of the terrace (iwan), is made of the famous yellow marble of Yazd Province.
The throne is made of sixty-five pieces of marble, and was designed by Mirza Baba Naqash Bashi (head painter) of the Qajar court. Mohammad Ebrahim, the Royal Mason, oversaw the construction and several celebrated masters of the time worked on the execution of this masterpiece. The architectural details, and other ornaments of the terrace, were completed during the reigns of Fath Ali Shah and Nasser ol Din Shah (r. 1848-1896).
Karim Khani Nook (Khalvat e Karim Khani): Dating back to 1759, this building was a part of the interior residence of Karim Khan of Zand. The basic structure of the Karim Khani Nook is similar to the Marble Throne. Like the latter, it is a terrace. There is a small marble throne inside the terrace. The structure is much smaller than the Marble Throne and it has much less ornamentation. There was once a small pond with a fountain in the middle of this terrace. Water from a subterranean stream (the king`s qanat) flowed from the fountain into the pond and was later used to irrigate the palace grounds.
Nasser ol Din Shah was fond of this corner of the Golestan Palace. He is said to have spent much time here in rest and repose, smoking his water-pipe in quiet reflection. In fact, some believe that it was Nasser ol Din who dubbed the structure Khalvat (nook). It seems extraordinary, but the valuable gravestone of Nasser ol Din Shah finally found its way to this quiet corner of the palace after being misplaced for some time. The marble stone, with an engraving of Nasser ol Din Shah`s image, is indeed a sight to behold.
Pond House (Howz Khaneh)
The Pond House, painted by Kamal ol Molk : The Pond House was used as a summer chamber during the Qajar era. A special cooling system pumped water form a subterranean system of streams, into small ponds inside the chambers. The system was designed to pass through as many summer rooms as was necessary. The water was then channeled outside to irrigate the royal gardens. Due to the harmful effects of humidity, this system is no longer in use.
Picture House/Gallery (Negar Khaneh): Nasser ol Din Shah was very impressed by the exhibition of artifacts and valuable objects at European museums during his second European tour around 1872. He arrived back in Tehran intent on building a museum hall to exhibit paintings, royal jewels, and other royal artifacts.
The original collection of the Museum Hall is now scattered among Tehran`s many museums. However, the paintings of the royal court are now kept at the Golestan Palace, with the European paints housed in the Pond House and the works of Iranian painters housed in the Picture House.
Meant to show the evolution of painting in Iran during the Qajar era, the works of Iranian painters are exhibited in two sections:
Housed in the southern part of the Picture House are the works of early Qajar masters such as Mirza Baba, Mehr Ali Afshar, Ali Akbar Khan (Mozaien ol Douleh) and Ab ol Hassan Sani (Sani ol Molk, the uncle of Kamal ol Molk).
The northern Picture House, was the seat of the Royal Guard during the time of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The northern hall underwent substantial renovations in 1995, and now houses the works of later masters of the Qajar era such as Mahmoud Khan Saba (Malek ol Shoara), Mohammad Gafari Kashani (Kamal ol Molk), Mehri and Mosa Momayez.
Brilliant Hall (Talar e Brelian): Brilliant Hall was named so for it is adorned by the brilliant mirror work of Iranian artisans. The hall was built by the order of Nasser ol Din Shah to replace another hall called Talar e Bolour (Crystal Hall). Built by Fath Ali Shah, the Crystal Hall had been laid waste by the damp. The Brilliant Hall is famous for its mirror work and chandeliers. An oil painting by Yahya Khan (Sani ol Molk Ghafari), showing the decorations of this hall before renovations carried out by Mozafar ol Din Shah (r. 1896-1907), exists in the Golestan Palace.
In the ethnography gallery in Horsham Museum of Horsham in the United Kingdom, an Iranian tile is displayed. The tile, according to Dr. Mehdittodjat (the former Deputy Minister of Culture and Higher Education of Iran), comes from the Golestan Palace. It comes from the entrance to the Brilliant Hall and was probably a reject (or may have been retrieved) from the rebuilding of the palace in the period 1867-92. It was found, smashed beneath a gatepost in Shipley by Mr. and Mrs. Ayling, who kindly donated it to the Museum. The plaque has been set in plaster, and unfortunately not all the glazed decoration survived.
Containers Hall (Talar e Zoroof): This building replaced the building of Narenjestan in the north of the Ivory Hall (Talar e Adj). All the chinaware that were dedicated to Qajar kings by the European kings were taken to this room and were arranged in show cases which were built for this purpose.
Among the chinaware in this hall, these are the most exceptional:
The chinaware that shows the Napoleonic Wars, dedicated by Napoleon Bonaparte
The chinaware dedicated by Nicholas I of Russia
The chinaware studded with gems and jewels, dedicated by Queen Victoria
The chinaware dedicated by Wilhelm II to the Iranian crown prince
A set made by malachite stone, dedicated by Alexander III of Russia
Ivory Hall (Talar e Adj): Ivory Hall is a large hall used as a dining room. It was decorated with some gifts presented to Nasser ol Din Shah by European monarchs.
Among the Golestan Palace collection, a watercolor by Mahmoud Khan Saba (Malek ol Shoara), shows the exterior view of this hall during the Qajar period.
Mirror Hall (Talar e Aineh): Mirror Hall is the most famous of the palace halls. This relatively small hall is famous for its extraordinary mirror work. The hall was designed by Haj Abd ol Hossein Memar Bashi (Sanie ol Molk). Yahya Khan (Mowtamed ol Molk), who was the Minister of Architecture, acted as a consultant to the designer.
alam Hall (Talar e Salam): Salam (Reception) Hall was originally designed to be a museum. After the Sun Throne (Takht e Khorshid) was moved to the Royal Jewels Museum at the Central Bank of Iran, this hall was designated to hold special receptions in the presence of the king, hence the name Salam Hall.
Tourists and envoys from European courts received in the Arg during the reign of Nasser ol Din Shah, spoke of this outstanding hall comparing it to its European counterparts.
This hall has exquisite mirrors work. The ceiling and walls are decorated with plaster molding. The floors are covered with mosaic.
During the reign of Nasser ol Din Shah, this hall was used to exhibit Iranian and European paintings alongside gifts presented to the Iranian court. Royal jewels were also exhibited inside glass cases. These jewels are now housed at the Royal Jewels Museum of the Central Bank of Iran.
Edifice of the Sun (Shams ol Emareh)
Edifice of the Sun is the most stunning structure of the Golestan Palace.
The idea of building a tall structure came to Nasser ol Din Shah from pictorial images of European buildings. The Monarch wanted a structure from which he could have panoramic views of the city.
Designed by Moayer ol Mamalek, construction on this building began in 1865 and was completed two years later. Its architect was Ali Mohammad Kashi.
The building has two identical towers. The exterior views have multiple arches, intricate tile work and ornate windows. This building is a fusion of Persian and European architecture.
The Building of Windcatchers (Emarat e Badgir): The Building of Windcatchers was constructed during the reign of Fath Ali Shah. The building underwent major renovations, including structural changes, during the reign of Nasser ol Din Shah.
A watercolor rendering by Mahmoud Khan (Malek ol Shoara) depicts the original structure prior to renovations.
It is flanked by two rooms known as "Gooshvar" (corner-like). There is a central room which boasts the finest stained glass window in the Golestan Palace. Outside, there are four wind towers of blue, yellow and black glazed tiles and a golden cupola.
The Windcatchers are constructed to allow the cooling wind move through the structure.
Diamond Hall (Talar e Almas): Diamond Hall is located in the southern wing of the Golestan Palace, next to the building of Windcatchers. It is called "Diamond" Hall because of the exceptional mirror work inside the building.
The construction of this hall dates back to the time of Fath Ali Shah. Nasser ol Din Shah renovated this hall changing its appearance and replacing the hall`s ogival arches with Roman ones. He also ordered the walls covered with wallpaper imported from Europe. As the basic structure dates back to the time of Fath Ali Shah, it is only apt that this hall should be devoted to the exhibition of art and handicrafts from that period.
Abyaz Palace: The Ottoman king, Sultan Abd ol Hamid, sent precious gifts to Nasser ol Din Shah. Reportedly, these gifts were copious and enough to fill a castle. The Qajar monarch decided to build an exhibit hall worthy of these gifts within the confines of the Golestan Palace. It is believed that Nasser ol Din Shah, himself, designed the structure, with a central hall large enough to house the carpet which was sent by Sultan Abd ol Hamid.
Completed in 1883, the Abyaz (White) Palace now houses one of the most interesting ethological museums in Iran. There is a colorful exhibition of traditional Iranian costumes, as well as a folk art exhibition