Didem Doğan

Tehran: The Golestan Palace and the National Museum

There are two must-see places in Tehran’s old town: The National Museum and the Golestan Palace. So many treasures are hidden in the silent corridors of this history and archeology museum. If you missed visiting Persepolis like me you may find many clues at the exhibition halls about this magnificent ancient civilisation. We see many valuable pieces brought from the city of Persepolis, which was founded in the 6th century B.C. as the capital city of the Persian Empire. We see the examples of the cuneiform writing they used, a map that shows the sculptures of the king of the Achaemenid Empire, the King Darius, pinned on the locations that the empire used to dominate (they are all looking at the same direction which must be some kind of ‘centre, ‘Mecca’ of the empire). King Darius ruled the Empire at its best age, when the Empire expanded today’s India in the East and the Balkans in the West. His tomb, with the tombs of the other kings of the empire, is found inside the rock cliffs, aprox. 12 kms from the city of Persepolis. After my visit to the National Museum I head to the Golestan Palace, this is a Palace complex with several buildings around a courtyard. It has this tranquility and elegance specific to Oriental and Islamic art, looks simple in the beginning and then stuns you with the details when you pay close attention… One of the halls, the Mirror Hall is especially fascinating, the interior walls are made with thousands of mirror parts…Another Palace around the courtyard is the, Sems ol Emareh, meaning the Edifice of the Sun, is built to have panoramic views of the city; the symbol of the lion and the sun is depicted on its exterior wall… School kids making a line in front of it.