People, Travel

Tradition Meets Contemporary in Calligraphers Garden

Tradition Meets Contemporary in Calligraphers GardenTradition Meets Contemporary in Calligraphers Garden

Iranian Calligraphers Association has many administrative offices in Tehran, but its branch in northern Tehran could be considered a little too trendy for an administrative center. The setting of the calligraphy association and its quaint and tranquil garden attract many people, including those who do not give a fig about calligraphy.

The garden is situated on Salimi alley in Dezashib neighborhood, east of Tajrish square, north of Qeytarieh. It once belonged to Abol-Hassan Khan Ardalan, according to Real Iran.

Some 100 years have passed since Haj Fakhr-ol-Molk lived in the mansion whose south windows open to the large garden. A water display in the middle of the garden sprinkles water. The neighborhood is quiet, and there are surprisingly ample parking spaces on the street!

A path through the garden leads to the association’s building, a two-story brick mansion, resting on a row of columns decorated with stuccoed capitals of floral design. The building includes classrooms, galleries, and a library.

  Cafe Chai Bar

Cafe Chai Bar, which is privileged to be located in such a paradise of solitude, in a rambling city, cleverly blends traditional Iranian cuisine with snack food to fit with contemporary tastes.

The hexagonal shaped cafe serves hot and cold beverages, desserts, salads, sandwiches, soup of the day, and more sophisticated dishes.

The interior is painted a turquoise blue and is a tasteful blend of 19th Century Iranian décor and contemporary modern.  The interior is small and so people usually prefer to sit outside, on the terrace, or at one of the tables in along the garden. One can talk the evening away amid the rustling trees. Many go there to have a quality time with their books or devices. The clientele are mainly the fashionable north Tehran urbanites, and so the café is a place to ‘see and be seen’ and to brush up on the latest fashion for outdoor clothing.

The menu exhibits a sense of humor, with play on words again as a fusion of east and west.  For instance ratatouille is introduced affectionately as “our very own Yatimcheh”, a basic provincial Iranian dish.  Other popular items on the menu include the Greek omelet, cheese steak sandwich, Nostalgia Omelet, and tomato soup. As for the dessert, cheese cake and carrot cake come recommended. There is also a wide variety decadent looking teas, infusions, cordials, and coffees. The teapots and cups are cute, and reminiscent again of 19th Century Iranian china, with small floral prints.