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Ferdows Garden in Tehran

Perhaps when the Qajar Princes were dividing Tehran Gardens amongst themselves for their personal use could not even imagine that someday in the future, social movements would venture past the Gardens’ barriers and consequently normal people could walk inside its borders for their leisure; gardens full of sycamore, pomegranate, cherry and sour cherry trees next to the pine trees and Italian woodbine which was brought as a souvenir from the foreign countries. Although, eventually a lot of the trees and beautiful buildings which were within these type of gardens turned into a mere memory as they got cruelly replaced with Tehran’s towers, some of the remaining gardens turned into public promenades and parks for both Tehran’s residents and of course Iranian and foreign visitors; a perfect example would be the Ferdows Garden in Tehran that after getting passed around among some Qajar Princes was turned into a school and then the Cinema Museum in Tehran.


A Typical Persian Garden

When the Qajar King Mohammad Shah decided to permanently move to Shemiran District in the north of Tehran, his aunt’s husband Hossein Ali Khan Moeir ol Mamalek was also inspired to build a vast beautiful palace near Tajrish Village in Tehran. A beautiful palace with two floors, and in the tradition of the Qajar buildings, a big porch in the southern part of the garden which was constructed by architects from Yazd and Isfahan.

The sheer beauty of this palace, apparent from its façade which was ornamented with gorgeous stucco work and vintage marble stones from Yazd, and also its elegant rooms and chambers with their stylish wallpapers are the reason why this palace has been named “Heaven’s Envy” meaning a place even more beautiful than the heavens.


The southern section of the garden which was on a slope was divided into 7 parts, each having a huge swimming pool with several gorgeous fountains. Such a view which is generally associated with the heavens in people’s minds is why this garden was also called Ferdows Garden meaning the paradise.

All of this beauty could not stop a friend of Mohammad Khan Moeir ol Mamalek (Hossein Ali Khan Moeir ol Mamalek’s son) who ended up owning this garden, from bringing about its downfall and destruction. After that, the Ferdows Garden in Tehran never achieved its past elegance and beauty.

Moreover, the ownership of the garden would change hands among princes until eventually an influential figure in Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar period by the name of Mohammad Vali Khan Tonekaboni purchased the Garden from Amin-ol-Molk who was a leading Qajar Prince at the time. Mohammad Vali Khan renovated the swimming pools, the fountains and also built a beautiful gate near the qanat located on the north of the Garden. So, he restored some of the Garden’s past glory and elegance that reminded people of the heavens. But, due to a huge debt to Toumanias who was a leading merchant in the Qajar and Pahlavi Eras, he gave the place over. Quite similarly, Toumanias owed money to Reza Shah and handed the garden over to him. Reza Shah in turn decided to keep the central part of the Garden which held the Palace, turn the western and eastern parts into several separate gardens and sell them each to private buyers.


From Shahpour School to Iran’s Cinema Museum

In 1937, the Ministry of Education purchased the central part of Ferdows Garden in Tehran which led to the current Valiasr Street from the north and to the Takhti Square from the south, and built the first high school for boys called “Shahpour Tajrish School” in this historical area.

A lot of great figures from the realm of Persian Literature such as NimaYooshij (the father of the New Wave Poetry in Iran), Jalal Al-e Ahmad (one of Iran’s best contemporary writers) used to teach at this school which also was host to great students such as the late Iraj Afshar who came to be a prominent figure in the field of Iran Studies.


In 1971, since the school building (Ferdows Garden in Tehran’s Palace) had historical significance, Shahpour High School got transferred to a newly built faculty in the southern side of the Garden. After renovation, the north section was turned into a cultural faculty. After the Revolution, this faculty was used as an exclusive school for Cinema students and then later in the 80’s turned into Iran’s Cinema Museum.

However, if you go to the Ferdows Garden in Tehran’s Bus Stop on Valiasr Street today, you will see a glorious building and garden with a gorgeous stream flowing through it and reaching a multi-leveled pool, along with cozy Café Restaurants, and shops selling artistic products which collectively would contribute to leaving you a great lasting memory.

Ferdows Garden in Tehran which was once entertaining the Qajar Princes is now host to Tehran’s residents particularly the Capital’s talented youth.

On top of everything, if you come to this place on the first week of the annual school year (September) you will encounter old men who once studied here and now attend it on this day as part of an old tradition and to meet each other, reminisce, tell stories and go down the memory lane with their peers in their old school.


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7/30/2017 6:18:10 PM

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