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Arg Square in Tehran

Walking up the stairs of Tehran’s Metro and going towards Panzdah-e Khordad Street (called Buzahrjomehri in Pahlavi era), when you take almost 100 steps you reach Arg square in Tehran. On the corner southwest side of which the court building is located and on the northern side of the square, there is Golestan Palace. In the time of Aqa Mohammad Khan Qajar, Arg square was a campus in front of the State Citadel (Arg) and was called Shah’s Square (i.e. king’s square) in Fath Ali Shah’s time. Early in the Nasseri Period (Nasser Al-Din Shah era) and by Amir Kabir’s order, Arg Citadel along with the Square were renovated and this time they named it “Toopkhaneh” which means artillery house. 14 years later and by the king’s order, the cannons and the artillerists were moved to a new square and the square located in front of the Arg Citadel was renamed to “Golshan Garden”.


Later on an octagonal pool with flowerbeds all around were added to the middle of the square and the famous pearl cannon made by Fath Ali Shah’s order was installed on the southern side of the pool on a tiled platform. Nowadays, one can’t see neither the Pearl Cannon (it is now in building No. 7 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Mashgh Square) nor the dakhils (wish ribbons tied to holy places and items to make wishes come true) the people tied to it on Qadr Nights. The laughter of the girls who would give a sugarloaf to the guards at the square to let them ride on and slide down the cannons is not heard either. They would do so in the hope of good fortune and whispered “Ya Qarib al Faraj” while doing that.


From the time of Fath Ali Shah, and on the southern side of Arg Square there was a portal called “Naqareh Khane” (Meaning Naqareh House and Naqareh being a wind musical instrument) that connected the square to today’s Panzdah-e Khordad Street. During Nasser Al-Din Shah’s era this portal was renovated but in the broadening project of Panzdah-e Khordad Street (then called Buzahrjomehri) in Pahlavi era, the “Naqareh Khane” portal was destroyed, and in the place of the gardens around the square, Constabulary Building, and Radio Building were constructed to the east and west of the square. Both of these buildings are extant.


To the north of Arg Square in Tehran, and in Golestan Palace, there was another elegant portal from the time of Fath Ali Shah. It had an exquisite squinch with stucco work on which the scene of the battle between Rostam and Div-e-Sepid was portrayed (both are characters from Ferdowsi’s epic, Shahnameh). This portal was called “Ali Qapu Portal” and was also unfortunately destroyed in 1930 and its seven-color tiles were used in the hallway of Shahid Shiroudi Stadium (Amjadieh). There is a signature under the tiles that reads “Yours truly and Humbly Mohammad Qoli Shirazi 1272”


In the years following the 1953 coup d'état, a memorial statue was installed at Arg Square in Tehran which was also destroyed after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It was after the same Revolution, and in the memory of the losses in the uprising of June 6, 1963 (Khordad 15, according to the Iranian calendar) that the name of the square was changed to Panzdah-e Khordad (meaning Khordad 15).


Nowadays, the historical Arg Square in Tehran has a small green garden with a pool in the middle. Pahlavi era buildings such as the Judiciary Complex (The Court), Radio Building, Arg Mosque, the Ministry of Justice, the Police Headquarters, and the Qajari Golestan Palace surround the square. After visiting Golestan Palace or shopping in Tehran’s Bazaar, sitting on the seats in the middle of the square under the shade of the trees to rest and dream about the old Tehran can be a really pleasant experience.


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7/29/2017 6:11:36 PM

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