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Iran Tour

Amin-ol-Sultan Square in Tehran

One of the first restaurants where women could also get a taste of delicious Iranian kebab was Abbas Shemruni restaurant (later Fard-e Shemirani) located in Amin-ol-Sultan square opposite Hazrati bazaar (also known as Darvazeh Bazaar). The restaurant was founded in May of 1925 and immediately turned into the meeting place of the people working in the market. However, this historically significant spot now only lives in people’s memory. Those still reveling in the sweet memories of the time past, now stand wistfully in front of a bank built in the site of abode of their memories.

But the square that used to cradle the boisterous crowd of kebab-lovers has a long story behind it. The first grand market of fruit and vegetables was located in Pamenar street. The man behind the construction of Amin-ol-Sultan square was Ebrahim Khan Amin-ol-Sultan, the home secretary during the rule of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar. His father, Mirza Aliakbar Atabak served as chancellor for three Qajar monarchs, Naser al-Din Shah, Mozaffar al-Din Shah and Mohammad Ali Shah. Ebrahim Khan ordered the construction of a square in Chaleh Meidan neighborhood near the old gate of Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine. His purpose was to establish the first market of fruit and vegetables and a gathering place for forage-sellers. Consequently, the square turned into the domain of fruit dealers who roamed the city selling their merchandise. Others weary of their long journey would ride their camels to the shrine nearby to shake the fatigue out of their bones after delivering the goods.

 

To reach Amin-ol-Sultan square today, first you will need to go to Molavi intersection and from there take Saheb Jam street to Amin-ol-Sultan square. During the tenure of Amin-ol-Sultan, the square further expanded to such a degree that it became the exclusive center of distribution of fruit, vegetables, coal and firewood of Tehran. In the old photographs of Tehran, one can see the camel owners with their animals and cargo. Qabr Aqa Tomb used to be seen from the square. The magnificent portal of the square was gradually damaged until the establishment of Saheb Jam street completely eradicated this glorious historical site.

 

The rectangular-shaped Amin-ol-Sultan square extended from the east to the west and according to the extant maps of the era ended in a caravanserai named Khanat in the western flank. The inclusion of this ancient caravanserai in the maps prepared by Najm-ol-Molk (Iranian mathematician and engineer of 19th century) in 1888 indicates the immense popularity of the square at the time. Fortunately, Khanat Caravanserai still exists and is in good condition. It is one of the first caravansaries built within the domain of a city in an area of 10000 m2 and consists of 52 chambers (hojreh). Its two entrances open to the bazaar and the former location of Amin-ol-Sultan square. Since its restoration a couple of years ago, it has turned into a shopping area for the dealers who offer dried fruits and salty nuts to the visitors. The extant part of Amin-ol-Sultan bazaar stretches southeastward parallel to Hazrati bazaar.

Amin-ol-Sultan bazaar and square, Harandi market, Qabr Aqa Tomb, the great cereal warehouse and a number of other caravansaries connect the old gate of Shah-Abdol-Azim shrine in Molavi intersection to its new gate in Shush square.

 

Today what is left of the square, is a small plaza opposite Khanat Caravanserai which is surrounded by shops and warehouses. Another part exists in the western flank of Cyrus street (now Mostafa Khomeini) with its adjacent shops. For the old people who grew up in the vivacious ground of the old square these remnants seem like a looking glass reflecting the former glory and immensity of Amin-ol-Sultan square. Another old street of the square is Kucheh Morghi which is the exclusive territory of bird dealers and once was the biggest bird market of the capital.

 

During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Karim Buzarjomehri, the mayor at the time ordered the division of Amin-ol-Sultan square and that was the beginning of its demise.

 

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7/29/2017 5:59:25 PM

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