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A sight to behold
Photo essay: Sadabad Palace



Afshin Deyhim
January 3, 2007

Upon entering the Sadabad compound, one comes upon the White Palace. In front of the palace there are remnants of an old Reza Shah statue of which only his boots remain (The top portion was sawed off after the revolution). A striking feature of all palaces in Iran is the empty cabinets and shelves one encounters everywhere. Some people say the Shah and his family carted off everything in to suitcases. That is very doubtful. The missing items in the cabinets are most likely gone to looters that stormed the palaces after the fall of the government. Somehow I think the items can be located in private collections belonging to the likes of Rafsanjani and his ilk.

Anyway, in the White Palace there are various reception rooms, and resting chambers for the royals. In the basement of this edifice, one can find a modern arts museum that was started by Empress Farah Pahlavi to showcase her private collection which probably included original works by Warhol, Dali, and Picasso.

Oddly enough a few weeks ago there was a special presentation on the Discovery Channel done by Ted Koppel where he interviewed Ebrahim Yazdi. The room where the interview took place seemed oddly familiar. It turns out he was actually interviewed in the White Palace. How strange that a supposed out of favor politician in the opposition camp would be allowed to hold an interview in the Sadabad Palace compound. But such is the irony one encounters in the Islamic Republic.

Moving on from the White Palace towards the northern part of the compound there is a museum which is dedicated to the works of Mahmoud Farshchian.

On the northern edge of the compound there is the Green Palace which was inhabited by both Pahlavi kings. In the Green Palace there is the khatam Room. Upon Reza Shah's coronation artisans from Isfahan built an entire room, including furniture from khatam. Every item in this office, from the pen holder to the light fixtures on the wall, the desk, the chair and even wall panels were entirely made of khatam. There is a bedroom in the Palace whose walls are covered with mirror works (Ayeneh Kari) which is truly a sight to behold. According to the guide there the work was actually dedicated to Reza Shah and was a gift gratis. 

The outside of the Green Palace is entirely covered with green marble which is where the name comes from. On the entrance there is an inscription in nastaligh script showing the Pahlavi name. 

Other buildings in the compound are occupied by the Basij militia and Cultural Heritage Foundation (Miras-e Farhangi) and are off limits. Photography indoors in most palaces are actually prohibited. Of the reasons for this restriction "Flash/Light Damage" are some of the more interesting. Especially if you notice the amount of grime and dirt that has accumulated over the near three decades these people have been stewards of our heritage. I suppose a little charm can go a long way, because when I asked nicely a young lady allowed me to take a few pictures. Little did she know that I was shooting 6 frames per second most of the time. I have more pictures of other palaces including Niavaran, Sahebgharanieh, and Golestan which I will be forwarding shortly. I hope you enjoy.

Click on photo to see 39

Click on photo to see 39

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