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Iran Tours

Baharestan Square in Tehran

It must feel good to stand in the middle of a square which was once surrounded by three gardens, but today a magic lantern (with slides from the Constitutionalists), a cannon ready to fire (memorial of the bombardment of the Parliament), and the statue of Seyed Hasan Modarres in the middle of the square have another narrative for it. Baharestan Square in Tehran narrates one of the most important events in the contemporary history of Iran, and even of the Middle East. It can even be imagined to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The proof to this is on the one hand, the Constitutional movement, and on the other, the attempts to nationalize the Iranian oil industry.


The Constitutional movement made Iran the first Asian country with a democratic legislative parliament. As for the events surrounding the movement for the nationalization of the oil industry, Iran was a pioneer among the other Middle Eastern and North African countries, and in both events, Baharestan Square in Tehran was essential for the realization of the fundamental demands of the Iranian people.


Negarestan Garden

But how was this eventful square formed? Known as Negarestan Square by the end of the reign of Reza Shah due to the presence of Negarestan garden and palace on its northern side, Baharestan Square in Tehran was once surrounded by three gardens. The Negarestan complex was built by the order of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar as the Shah’s summer house outside Tehran (the place was outside of Tehran back then). There is still a part of the Negarestan mansion and its pool center in the current building of the Ministry of Culture and Guidance. At the back of the Ministry, the former advanced education school, today called Negarestan Garden, also attract tourists with its historical monuments.


Among the ceremonies that took place during the time of Fath-Ali Shah in Baharestan Square was the sacrifice of camels on Eid al-Adha. As for Negarestan Garden, the murder of Qaem Maqam-e Farahani at Negarestan pool center, the wedding of Naser Al-din Mirza, the then crown prince, with the daughter of Ahmad Ali Mirza, and the coronation of Mohammad Shah Qajar are among the important events that happened in this garden, by which Baharestan Square has undoubtedly been influenced as well.


In the late Qajar era, Negarestan Garden became a home for those who grew in the school of fine arts with the love of Master Kamal-ol-Molk. Today, the Museum of National Arts in this part of the square hosts the works of those well-known artists. The footprint of art can also be followed on the northeastern side of Baharestan square in the music stores and the old photography studios.


Baharestan Garden

There is also another garden, called Baharestan Garden, on the eastern side of Baharestan square (the place of the former and current parliament). In 1906, Mirza Hosein Khan Sepahsalar, the famous prime minister of Naser Al-din Shah, bought some of the lands and the garden of Mohammad Hasan Khan Sardar Iravani, known as “Sardar” garden. Sepahsalar built a magnificent residential building with a mosque, school, water reservoir, qanat and garden in Baharestan Garden. After the death of Sepahsalar, Naser Al-din Shah captured the garden and the mansion inside it. Later, during the Constitutional movement, Baharestan mansion was given to the National Consultative Assembly, and today, the Qajari building of the old parliament has given a special beauty to Baharestan square. Also, Sepahsalar mosque on the southern side of the garden is known as Shahid Motahari mosque and school today. The Library, Museum and Document Center of Iran Parliament is also located in this garden.


Nezamieh Garden

In the south of Baharestan Square, there was also another garden known as Nezamieh Garden, in which the Masoudieh mansion (located in Ekbatan Street today) was built. This mansion, belonging to Zell-e Soltan, the son of Naser Al-din Shah, became a center for constitutionalists and the opponents of Mohammad Ali Shah during the Constitutional movement. After a handmade bomb exploded under the carriage of Mohammad Ali Shah near the same mansion, he found an excuse to bombard the parliament. It went so far that on the day of the incident, the house of Zahir-od-dowleh and the Masoudieh mansion were also targeted. Today, on the southern side of Baharestan square in Ekbatan Street, there is a statue of a cannon ready to fire, as a memorial of those days and the martyrs of the Constitutional movement.


Café Lokanta

It is interesting to know that the famous café Lokanta had a branch on the southern side of the Baharestan Square on the lands of Nezamieh Garden. It was also known as the parliament Lokanta café due to its vicinity to the parliament. This café, which was running till 1948, was a hang-out for men and women from the classes of intellectuals, writers, journalists, politicians, aristocrats and lords. The café was located among lush trees and a large pool and music was played in it. There were also small boats on which children could have a fun time in the pool.

In addition to these, we shouldn’t forget that there were also famous publishers, newspapers, and printing houses in the alleyways of the square, whose domain has now stretched to parts of Jomhouri Street and Enqelab Square.


On the northwestern side of Baharestan Square in Tehran, towards the Jomhouri Street, there is a street called Safi Ali Shah, which contains the Khanqah and tomb of Safi Ali Shah. At the corner of this same street, there is the Qajar-era building of Amjad Al-Saltaneh, the representative of the people of Kurdistan. This building now belongs to the Central Bank and needs renovation.


Here is a summary of the most important events that happened at Baharestan Square:

1. Assassination of Mirza Ali Asghar Khan Atabak (Amin al-Soltan), the prime minister of Iran, who was shot dead during the Constitutional movement (during the reign of Mohammad Ali Shah). He was assassinated by Abbas Agha Tabrizi. The killer was found dead fifty feet away from the door of the parliament with a bullet in his mouth.

2. Four kings (Mohammad Ali Shah, Ahmad Shah, Reza Shah, and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) crossed this square to take oath in the National Consultative Assembly.

3. Bombardment of the National Consultative Assembly in 1908 commanded by Colonel Liakhov

4. Protests against the republic of Reza khan in the late Qajar era

5. Events of the summer of 1941, and the invasion of Iran by the Allies; protests by different political fractures; uprisings of the summer of 1952; killing of the followers of Mosaddegh; Qavam ol-Saltaneh becoming the prime minister; Dr. Fatemi’s speech in Baharestan square during the movement for the nationalization of the oil industry; pulling down the statue of Reza Shah in the summer of 1953; and the coup of the same year against Mosaddegh, the then prime minister.

6. The protest of teachers in the spring of 1961, and the killing of one of the teachers called Abul Hasan Khan-Ali.

7. Assassination of Hasan Ali Mansour, the then prime minister, in the winter of 1964 in front of the National Consultative Assembly by Mohammad Bokharabi, one of the members of the Coalition.

8. Demonstrations leading to the Islamic Revolution.

9. Terrorist attacks by ISIS against the Islamic Consultative Assembly building in the summer of 2017.



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8/6/2017 10:43:42 AM

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