Abgineh Museum opened in 1989. This glassware and ceramics museum houses the finest collection of porcelain, glassware and crystals made throughout Iranian history. The museum is located in the 1,040-square-meter mansion built by Qajar (1781–1925) and Pahlavi (1925-1979) Prime Minister Ahmad Qavam (1876- 1955) also known as Qavam al-Saltaneh. Qavam used this house as his residence and office until 1951. The house became the building of the Egyptian and later the Afghan Embassy before becoming a bank for a period. The house was finally purchased to be turned into a museum and a group of Iranian, Austrian and German architects were tasked with overseeing and implementing renovation efforts. This octagonal house is located in a 7,000-square-meter garden and has a combination of Persian and European architecture. The façade of this mansion has intricate brickwork and the interior has beautiful mirrorwork, stucco reliefs and monabbat decorations. The museum includes several halls, a library and a souvenir shop. Mina (enamel) Hall displays the oldest examples of glasswork found at Choqa Zanbil Ziggurat (1,250 BCE), ceramics found in Qazvin excavations and jewelry. Crystal Hall showcases crystal and glassware samples from different historical eras as well as the early Islamic era. Sadaf (seashell) Hall displays ceramics from the early Islamic era found in Nishapur excavations. Zarinfam (gilded) Hall showcases ceramic and enamel vessels with mythical paintings and poetry decorations. Lapis Lazuli Hall I showcases Safavid (1501-1736) and Ilkhanid (1256–1335) ceramics with embossed decorations. Lapis lazuli Hall II displays 18th and 19th century glassware as well as a table with scenes from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (Book of Kings). The specialized library of the museum contains almost 4,000 books in English and Persian on archeology and the history of art. The museum has a souvenir shop where a variety of handicrafts are sold. The museum holds temporary exhibitions of the works of Iranian and international artists, and has workshops where pottery, ceramics, glasswork and calligraphy are taught.
Azadi Museum is part of the Azadi Cultural Complex located in the Azadi (Freedom or Liberty) Tower of Tehran. The museum showcases pre-Islamic artifacts to Qajar era (1785-1925) items such as gold and enamel pieces, painted pottery, marble, miniature, and paintings as well as an exact replica of the Cyrus Cylinder –considered the first human rights charter in the world. This cylinder is currently displayed at the British Museum. The tower, which houses the museum, is considered the symbol of Tehran and was inaugurated in 1971 after two years of construction. The height of Azadi Tower is 45 meters from the ground and its design has been inspired by the arches used in Achaemenid (550-330 BC), Sassanid (226-651 CE) and Islamic monuments. This three-story tower, which is close to Mehrabad International Airport, has four elevators, two stairways, 286 steps and has been made from 46 thousand pieces of marble from the finest mines of Isfahan. There are several halls, exhibition rooms, and a library underneath the tower. The tower is located at the heart of the oval-shaped Azadi Square, which has a design inspired by the network of lemon-shaped compartments created under the dome of Isfahan’s 17th century Sheikh Lutfollah Mosque. The tower also features a robot named Royan, which entertains visitors with piano renditions of tunes popularized during the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran. There is a multi-vision Cinema with three projection screens showing films about the revolution and the struggles of Iranians for freedom. Sitting platforms have images of Iran’s historical sites projected on them and images of Anzali Lagoon have been cast against the ceiling. There is also a captivating light fountain. The sound of the displays and digital shows in this cinema has been enhanced to better create a true-to-life and overall experience for visitors. The entire tour of Azadi complex takes about 3 hours to complete.
Crown Jewels Museum
Crown Jewels Museum or Treasury of the National Jewels opened in 1960 and displays a priceless collection of national jewels, the exact value of this which is not known. Before the Safavids (1501–1736) Iranian kings had never created a collection of valuable jewels. The Safavids were the first to send procurers to international markets to obtain precious stones and began amassing and preserving jewels. In the Afghan attack during the reign of Shah Sultan Husayn (1668-1726), the Iranian treasury was raided and many of its treasures were taken to Afghanistan. Nader Shah Afshar (1688-1747) returned most of these valuables to Iran. In the Qajar era (1785-1925) many of the small gems were gathered and installed in the Kiani Crown, Naderi Throne, Peacock Throne and the Bejeweled Globe. Fath-Ali Shah Qajar (1772-1834) is the monarch who contributed the most valuable items to the treasury some of which are showcased in the Crown Jewels Museum. The Kiani Crown was made on the order of Fath-Ali Shah. From then on it was used for the coronation of Qajar kings. Made of red velvet, 1,800 small pearls, 300 emeralds and 1,800 rubies have been set on this 32 cm high and 19.5 cm wide crown. The Naderi Throne or the Rare Throne was made on the order of Fath-Ali Shah from 26,733 jewels and is seen in most paintings featuring this Qajar monarch. The Peacock Throne, also known as the Sun Throne because of the sun disk on its headboard, was made on the order of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar and from then on used as the coronation throne. This gilded throne shares many features with the Marble Throne in Golestan Palace. The Bejeweled Globe is a 34 kg globe with a 66 cm diameter made of solid gold on the order of Nasser-al Din Shah (1831-1896) using 51,366 loose precious stones from his treasury. Emeralds have been used to designate bodies of water, Asia has been designated with garnets and rubies, and Iran is embellished with diamonds. The other valuable items in this museum include the 182 carat light pink ‘Sea of light’ Daryay-e Noor diamond, which is the largest cut diamond in the world, strings of small pearls from the Persian Gulf, swords, vessels, bejeweled clothing, crowns and tiaras.
Moqaddam House is a Qajar era mansion, which belonged to a courtier named Mohammad Taqi Khan Ehtesab al-Molk. Some of the precious items collected by the owner of the house have been installed in various parts of the mansion. Items including textiles, documents, hookahs, coins, seals, and paintings are also on display in this house. The house was gifted to Tehran University by its owner in 1971.
National Museum of Iran
National Museum of Iran opened in 1937 as the first modern museum of the country and houses different artifacts from different pre-Islamic eras in Iranian history. Built on the order of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1878-1944), the building of this museum was designed by French archaeologist, architect and historian André Godard (1881-1965) to resemble the Sassanid-era Kasra Arch of Ctesiphon. Red bricks in the façade of this three-story building have been used to bring to mind Sassanid architecture. The museum features prehistoric artifacts as well as Bronze and Iron Age items. The oldest manmade item in the museum is made of quartz and dates back to a million years ago. This artifact was found in excavations at Kashf Roud, east of Mashhad. The museum holds intact column heads and statues from Persepolis, mosaics found in different parts of Iran, statues, vessels from different historical eras, jewelry, coins, human skeletal remains and rhytons. The museum houses a one-armed bronze statue of a Parthian man. The statue is believed to be Parthian commander Surena (84 – 53 BC) who defeated the Romans in the Battle of Carrhae. The statue of Darius I or Darius the Great (550–486 BCE) is another notable item on display at the museum. One of the best examples of Achaemenid (550–330 BC) sculpting, the remaining half of this statue is 2 meters and 36 centimeters tall. Darius I is wearing ceremonial robes and there are inscriptions in ancient Persian, Elamite, Akkadian and Egyptian hieroglyph on the folds of his robes. The pedestal on which the statue stands, resemble Egyptian reliefs and shows the 24 subject nations of the Persian Empire in their traditional outfits and with their unique hair styles. The statue was originally erected in the Atum Temple of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt but was later relocated to Susa by Xerxes I (520-465 BC) after quelling the Egyptian rebellion. Another one of the valuable items of the museum is the stone bust of Queen Musa the wife of Parthian King Phraates IV (Ruled from 37–2 BC).