Legend has it that when Sayyed Jafar Natanzi, a samovar merchant known as Boroujerdi, met with carpet merchant Sayyed Jafar Tabatabaei to discuss taking his daughter’s hand in marriage, Mr Tabatabaei set one condition: his daughter must be able to live in a home at least as lovely as his own. The result – finished some 18 years later – was the Khan-e Boroujerdi. Made distinctive by its six-sided, domed badgirs, the house boasts frescoes painted by Kamal al-Molk, the foremost Iranian artist of the time.
The home originally consisted of two sections, an andaruni (private part of a traditional home, where only immediate family are welcome) and a biruni (outer part of a traditional home, where guests are entertained), but today only the latter is open to the public. Ornately decorated, the courtyard is laid out around a central fountain pool, that sits well below ground level to help reduce the ambient temperature. At its far end is a two-storey iwan (open reception hall opening onto the courtyard) that is sumptuously decorated with splendid motifs above the entrance, intricate muqarnas (stalactite-type stone carving used to decorate doorways and window recesses), and fine glass and mirror work.
Among the many delightful details to look out for is a samovar enshrined in the plaster work in honour of the owner, a medallion carpet of stucco in one of the adjoining rooms, and a man appearing to leap above a bridge following his two donkeys in an alcove painting. Finding exactly where each of these treasures is located is part of the fun of enjoying this wonderful building.
To get here, follow the signs from Alavi St up a small incline opposite Saraye Ameriha Boutique Hotel.