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Iran Tours

Doulab Cemetery in Tehran

On the east side of Tehran, in Soleimanieh (Doulab) district which leads to Shahid Mahallati (Ahang) highway from the south and Piroozi (former Jaleh) Street from the north, there is a cemetery in six parts called Doulab Cemetery in Tehran that dates back to the Qajar or even further back the Zand dynasty.

Doulab Cemetery in Tehran which is nearly 75000 m2 has been host to the Catholic Armenians, the Gregorian Armenians, the Orthodox, the Assyrians and Catholic Christians who are buried there. They were mostly from countries such as France, Italy, Russia, Czech, Austria, Hungary, and Poland.

This place which is also known by different names such as the Armenian Garden, the Russian’s Graveyard, the Polish (Catholics) or Akbarabad Graveyard amongst locals, is the same famous garden in which Isfahani native Armenian stone cutters who were sent to Tehran by Karim Khan Zand’s order, used to live. This garden became the reason to build an exclusive cemetery for Armenians near their residence.


Doulab Cemetery in Tehran was supposed to accommodate Iran’s Armenians up until the suspicious death of the French doctor and politician Andres Earnest Louie Clocke who worked as the Qajar king Mohammad Shah’s special doctor and also played an important role in establishing and the strengthening of Iran-France relations. The French doctor’s death was allegedly caused by the Tentor Cantharid poison that was mistakenly given to him to drink by his maid. The poison killed him in 10 days. Consequently, the Qajar government held a ceremonious funeral in this cemetery and built a temple for him in hopes to prevent a political crisis between the two countries.


After that incident, the rest of the Catholics from different nationalities who were living in Tehran, were buried there after their death by their families.

The start of the First and the Second World Wars, the immigration of Russian tribes, the Greek, the Polish, and Italians who had each come to Iran for different reasons, was another important factor in the development of this cemetery. For instance, 24 Italian miners and engineers who had died in a mine in the city of Arak were transported to be buried in Doulab Cemetery in Tehran.


Currently, the conditions of this cemetery are as follows:

44000 m2 of this place belongs to the Armenians and is run by the Armenian Caliphate in Iran.

142000 m2 of this cemetery belongs to Catholics who are mostly from France, Italy, Britain, and most importantly Poland; this section is owned by the said countries’ embassies.

3700 m2 of the place belongs to the Orthodox including the Gregorian, the Russians and the Greeks who immigrated to Iran between the two World Wars; a small section is dedicated to the Assyrians, Christians and the Chaldeans.

The likes of Vladimir Gordoyetski (Ukrainian architect who built Tehran’s railway station), Avans Oganians (the first cinematic director in Iran), Mary Churchill (Winston Churchill’s 6 year old grandchild), Nikolai Markov (the Russian native who supervised the construction of many important buildings in the capital), Conte du Mont Ferrette (the first chief of police in Iran who was also Italian), Antoine Sorokin (Russian native Georgian photographer in the Qajar era), and a lot of doctors, artists, architects, military liaisons and celebrities being buried at Doulab Cemetery in Tehran, this cemetery is in a way a living anthropology museum, and its visitors can learn about their lifestyle, the reasons behind their immigration and the nature of Iran’s political relations with other countries at the time by reading what’s inscribed on the gravestones.


It is quite thought provoking that 409 Polish military personnel and 5000 civilian bodies have been buried in this cemetery. These people were sent to Iran by the Soviet army during the Second World War, and many of them died from Typhus. The Unknown Soldier’s temple which has been built in the Catholic section of the cemetery was dedicated to the Polish military personnel who were killed in the Second World War and this vouches for Iranian’s sense of hospitality.


Nowadays no one gets buried in Doulab Cemetery in Tehran and since 1942 its ownership has been entrusted to countries such as Poland, Italy, France and also the Armenian Caliphate and the Catholic Church in Rome.

However, during the current year (2017), the last of the Polish survivors of the Second World War who were sent to Iran, Ms. Helen Stelmach was buried in this cemetery.


To visit this place, it is best to use the 4th line of Tehran Metro and get off at Piroozi Station and then ask the nearby taxis to take you to the place.

Studying the cemetery may not be that difficult but it is not that easy either, so it is recommended to take a history savvy guide with you.


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7/29/2017 6:23:14 PM

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