One of the most significant buildings listed among UNESCO’s heritage sites is the magnificent and glorious Golestan palace (Kākh-e Golestān) located in the heart and historic district of Tehran. This splendid palace represents a unique style for its time, incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts with elements of 18th century Western architecture and technology. Originally, the walled palace dates back to the Safavid era (17th century), but it received its characteristic features and rich ornaments by the 19th century. In that period, it was considered the seat of power in the Qajar dynasty. The entire complex of Golestan Palace includes 17 structures containing palaces, museums, and halls which were used for coronations and other important celebrations. It also consists of three main archives, including the photographic archive, the library of manuscripts, and the archive of documents.
Outstanding Universal value
Several criteria have been met to allow Golestan Palace to be placed in UNESCO’s world heritage list.
In all, Golestan Palace is the most prominent example of Persian art and architecture throughout Iran’s process of modernization in the 19th century. The building combines elements of perfected late-Qajar-era art with the emerging European styles of the time.
The first criteria that was checked was the palace’s unification of Persian arts and architecture with European styles and motifs alongside the adaptation of European building technologies. At a time when Iranians were establishing closer relations with their European counterparts, the Golestan Palace stood as a symbol of the merging of these two different worlds.
The second exceptional criteria is the palace’s extreme level of artistic value. Not only does the palace feature the most lavish and detailed motifs and styles of the Qajar era, it is often quoted as the peak of Qajar art. Even though many parts of the palace were destroyed and renovated by future monarchs, what remains today has got to be the best kept artforms from that time period.
The third criteria is the actual buildings of the Palace. The building itself was made using both traditional Iranian architecture and engineering along with modern European construction methods and materials. Being the first building to feature these new construction elements, the building is a highly unique symbol of Iran’s transitional period.
Currently the building is owned and managed by the state. It was submitted into UNESCO’s cultural heritage sites in 2013.