Sahebgharanieh Palace

Museum in Tehran

Closed for renovations until 2018 this Qajar period building in the Niyavaran Cultural Historic Complex was once Nasser-al Din Shah’s harem before later being transformed into Mohammad Reza Shah’s office. It contains a fine collection of paintings and other furnishings, including several colourful Qajar-era works Queen Farah Diba rescued from Shiraz that have been set into the ceilings.

The Sahebgharanieh is most interesting for the insight it affords into the shah’s daily life. Rooms include a basement teahouse, private dental surgery and a bar decorated with Shirazi painted beams. Keep an eye out for the shah’s golden phone and gold-coloured pistols, and for photos displayed in the Ambassador’s Waiting Room – the mixed bunch sees Mao Zedong share space with Pope Paul VI, while Hitler, Queen Elizabeth II, Richard Nixon, Kemal Ataturk and Dwight Eisenhower (who was a guest at the shah’s last wedding), stare out from the past nearby.