White Palace


Built in the 1930s, and one of the highlights of the Sa’d Abad Museum Complex, most of what you see in this 5000-sq-metre, 54-room palace dates from Mohammad Reza Shah’s reign (1942–79). Little has changed since the revolution – the palace is filled with a hodge-podge of extravagant furnishings, paintings, a tiger pelt and immense made-to-measure carpets. In the upstairs Ceremony Hall is a 143-sq-metre carpet that is said to be one of the largest ever woven in Iran.

The nearby Dining Hall contains a similar carpet, and it is here that the shah, convinced the palace was bugged, dragged a table into the middle of the room and insisted both he and the American general he was entertaining climb on top before they spoke.

The two bronze boots outside are all that remain of a giant statue of Reza Shah – he got the chop after the revolution.

Don’t miss the trippy stainless-steel staircases at the back of the White Palace's ground floor, which spiral down to the Nations Art Museum in the basement. This eclectic collection of works was gathered by Farah Diba, the last Shah's wife, and includes works from across the Islamic world.

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