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Qasr Garden Museum

Qasr Garden MuseumQasr Garden Museum

Few Tehran monuments are as amazingly beautiful as the Qasr Garden Museum, a once notorious prison that reopened in 2012 as a museum with an abundance of trees and green spaces.

It was originally designed and built in 1790 as a palace with extensive gardens. However in 1929 it was repurposed as a prison, the first modern detention center in the country with 192 rooms for 700 inmates.

Nikolai Markov (1882-1957), a Georgian architect who settled in Iran after the Russian Revolution, did the rebuild, combining urban industrial design with traditional Iranian features such as adobe bricks,

It is now a 12-hectare garden museum that includes the Islamic Revolution History Museum highlighting historical changes from the Qajar era (1786-1925) up until the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

A mosque, gymnasium, library research center, various galleries, exhibitions and cultural halls, traditional restaurants, stores offering cultural and artistic products and a crafts market are incorporated in the grand museum.

Visitors meander through the gardens, stop at the outdoor tea house and learn about the fate of the former prisoners.

The site formerly housed a Qajar palace built at the end of the 18th century, but was reconstructed as a prison in the early Pahlavi period (1925-1979).  Markov, who also designed a stadium, several embassies and government offices in Tehran, was known for mixing modern, European and Persian architectural elements. He admired traditional Iranian motifs and preferred to use local materials such as brick, stone, tile and plaster. Qasr Garden Museum is located in Police Square, Shariati Street.

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