Tehran has a long history as the capital of Iran, and in this history, many rulers and officials build stunning palaces and recreational homes. Some very well known, some lesser known. The Tehran palace series takes you along the cities three most famous palaces and another gem in the city. From background information to the practical’s and suggested side activities, this article guides your way through the royal residences of the city!
Having covered Golestan palace in part one of the series, today we cover everything you need to know to make your visit to the Saadabad Palace Complex an enjoyable one.
A cultural and historical complex, with no less than18 palaces and museums to visit.
Located at the foot of the Alborz mountains, the palace complex served as a summer retreat for the ruling families in the Qajar and Pahlavi era. In fact Mohammad Reza Shah, the last king of Iran, used to live here in the summers until he got overthrown by the Islamic revolution in 1978!
A visit to the Mellat Palace Museum shows you the luxurious chambers of the Shah’s summer palace. Including large rooms, classical furniture, extravagant chandeliers, beautiful murals, valuable carpets, as well as insight in the domestic life of the royal family. Besides the palace museum there are plenty of small and larger museums to visit, each with their own unique themed collection; royal costumes, royal cars, weapons, tableware, fine arts or miniature art. The choice is plenty, so be sure to visit museums that fancy your interest.
As it’s a huge complex covering over 300 hectares of ground, be prepared to walk a lot in the well maintained garden that connects the palaces. The garden itself is a lovely place for a stroll and to enjoy the cooler temperatures in Tehran’s northernmost part. Refreshments, as well as breakfast and lunch can be bought at one of the two complex cafe’s.
Except on religious holidays the Saadabad complex can be visited daily. In summer and spring from 09.00 till 19:00 (last entry 17:30) In autumn and winter from 09:00- 17:00 (last entry 16:00)
Separate tickets are available for each of the 18 palaces and museums. General admission is 150.000. An additional 150.000 to 80.000 is charged for each of the other museums, including the Mellat palace. Tickets can only be bought at one of the two entrances. To save you the hustle of moving back and forward be sure to check this page out to see which palaces favour your interest before you go.
The complex, located in Tehran district 1 is not directly accessible by public transportation. The easiest option to get there is to take a taxi. Use Uber, or it’s cheaper equivalent Snap to find more economic fares for the journey. Depending on your location and traffic, it might take a while before you reach.
Another option is to take the metro (line one, red line) all the way up to Tajrish station. From here you can either take a taxi or walk to the complex in 25 minutes.
If you go through Tajrish be sure to check out the Imamzadeh Saleh shrine and the traditional bazaar right next to it. This is a great place to stock up on delicacies such as nuts and dried fruits. Both the bazaar and shrine are located right next to the metro station, in the direction of the Saadabad palace complex. The bazaar can be visited daily from 09:00am to 09:00pm.
Darband, a popular place of which the name translates to ‘door to the mountains’ is in short distance of the palace complex. Packed with small cafés and restaurants it’s a good area to relax for a while and to treat your taste buds on a fine Iranian meal.
Outdoor-lovers can bring their hiking shoes and walk (parts of) the Mount Tochal trail, which starts from there. Be sure to leave the Saadabad complex from the northern entrance to cut down travel time.
If you can’t get enough of the palaces you can also grab a taxi to the nearby Niavaran Palace complex, the third, but definitely not the least palace on our list.
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