Naranjestan garden with Qavam House in Shiraz, Iran; Shutterstock ID 2154407523; purchase_order: 65050; job: ; client: ; other:

Shutterstock / Matyas Rehak

Bagh-e Naranjestan

Top choice in Shiraz

Named after the bitter oranges that line the central courtyard, this is Shiraz’s smallest but most lovely garden. Enclosing the delightful Naranjestan-e Ghavam Pavilion it was laid out as part of a complex owned by one of Shiraz’s wealthiest Qajar-era families. The pavilion’s mirrored entrance hall opens onto rooms covered in a myriad of intricate tiles, inlaid wooden panels and stained-glass windows. Particularly noteworthy are the ceilings of the upstairs rooms, painted with European-style motifs, including Alpine churches and busty German frauleins.

Built for the wealthy and powerful Mohammad Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk between 1879 and 1886 as the buruni (public reception area) of his family home, the pavilion is connected to the Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk, which housed the family’s andaruni (private quarters), by an underground passage (not open to the public).

The basement of the pavilion houses an archaeological collection put together by Arthur Upham Pope, an American scholar who taught at the Asia Institute in Shiraz between 1969 and 1979. There is also an excellent selection of handicrafts for sale in the basement, including miniatures painted on camel bone and tiles inspired by antique designs.

Those looking to take part in the current craze for dressing up in Qajar-era costume can do so at the booth in the corner of the courtyard. Receiving the last rays of the day’s sun, the teahouse here is a good spot to enjoy the light fading over the garden wall; it also sells delicate tinctures of rose- and pomegranate-flavoured jellies.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Shiraz attractions

1. Naranjestan-e Ghavam Pavilion

0.03 MILES

Set within an exquisite garden, Bagh-e Naranjestan, this pavilion was built for the wealthy and powerful Mohammad Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk between 1879 and…

2. Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk

0.08 MILES

This fine city mansion, named after the daughter of the owner, was originally the andaruni (private quarters) area of the neighouring Bagh-e Naranjestan…

3. Masjed-e Nasir Al Molk

0.19 MILES

One of the most elegant and most photographed pieces of architecture in southern Iran, the Pink Mosque was built at the end of the 19th century and its…

4. Madraseh-ye Khan

0.55 MILES

Imam Gholi Khan, governor of Fars, founded this serene theological college for around 100 students in 1615. Over the years the building has been…

6. Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh

0.65 MILES

Sayyed Mir Ahmad, one of Imam Reza’s 17 brothers, was hunted down and killed by the caliphate on this site in AD 835 and his remains are housed in a…

7. Bazar-e Vakil (North)

0.68 MILES

The northern spur of its famous neighbour, Bazar-e Vakil, across Karim Khan-e Zand Blvd, this Qajar-era bazaar is fringed with shops along Zand Blvd…

8. Bazar-e Vakil

0.71 MILES

The city’s ancient trading district is home to several bazaars dating from different periods. The finest and most famous of these is the Bazar-e Vakil, a…