TEHRAN – Set within a gorgeous garden, Bagh-e Narenjestan, which encircles a scenic pavilion, was built for the wealthy and powerful Mohammad-Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk in the late 19th century in Shiraz, southern Iran.
Also called Narenjestan Garden, Qavam House or Narenjestan-e Qavam, it was set, according to tradition, as a “Boruni” or public reception area of his family home. It got the nickname “Narenjestan” since the garden embraces an abundance of bitter orange (Narenj in Persian) trees.
For the time being, Narenjestan-e Qavam and its underground museum is open to the public as one of the main attractions of the ancient city.
It is an exemplar Persian Garden, which is a UNESCO World Heritage. The genuine concept of the Persian Garden that is deeply rooted in time interweaves natural elements with manmade components to embody an idea of creating a paradise on Earth by the means of artistic, philosophical, figurative, and religious notions.
The pavilion is connected to the Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk, which was once the “Andaruni” (private quarters) for the family, the two are linked via an underground passage that is not open to the public.
The basement of the pavilion is where archaeological relics have been put on show. The relics have been put together by Arthur Upham Pope, an American scholar who taught at the Asia Institute in Shiraz between 1969 and 1979.
Shiraz is home to some of the country’s most magnificent buildings and sights. Increasingly, it draws more and more foreign and domestic sightseers flocking into this provincial capital which was the literary capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1751 to 1794.
Under tourists’ eyes
Here is a select of comments that visitors to the garden have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:
“A traditional aristocratic house”
You will certainly enjoy visiting this place. The rooms are decorated with mirrors (aayeneh kari). The orange trees and the coffee shop are very pleasant. (Ghaferi from Los Angeles, California; Reviewed March 2019)
“A must see”
This is one of the places which I enjoyed the most in Shiraz. The building has so many beautiful rooms with decorations from floor to ceiling. A must see in Shiraz. Allow at least one hour to see. (LarsSoholm from Skanderborg, Denmark; Reviewed Feb. 2019)
The walls and ceilings are made up of mirrors, which gives us a spectacular impression because of the reflections. (Piotr M. from Warsaw, Poland; Reviewed October 23, 2018)
“Nice for a late afternoon visit”
This house was quite small and didn’t take more than a half hour to enjoy. Doesn’t quite compare to the houses in Kashan but was still beautiful. It’s near the Pink Mosque and a few other sites so it’s quite simple to include on your “must see” list. (A. M. from Lisbon, Portugal; Reviewed October 2018)
“Beautiful pavilion with small museum underneath”
The small, but traditional Persian garden here is beautiful and peaceful. The pavilion has some amazing glass work and tiles that show how wealthy the family who owned the grounds were. Underneath there is a museum that houses some artifacts, including a gentleman that makes and plays traditional Persian musical instruments. (R0hanL from Amman Governorate, Jordan; Reviewed June 2018)