Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai is a structure that dates back to the Qajar era. As you might know, most Caravanseraies are located outside the cities. But this one is the biggest Iranian Caravanserai inside a city. Its long vaulted passages are full of different shops. Thus, you can enjoy seeing the galleries and shops full of exquisitely crafted wares, drink coffee in its nice coffee shops, and taste delicious local food in its restaurants. Above all, you can relax in its quiet hidden courtyards.
The Huge Qajar Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai
Among the noisy crowded streets, there is a door that leads you to a different world. To an old recently-renovated caravanserai. This valuable memorial from the Qajar Dynasty(17089–1925) is now recorded on Iran National Heritage List. Sa’d al-Saltaneh with 2.6 hectares, was a Caravanserai for Caravans back then. But now has turned into a loving tourist attraction in Qazvin. Where you can enjoy walking through its Bazaar. And watch the artists selling their well-made crafts, as well. Besides, harmonious architecture doubles the pleasure of being around.
There are a lot of Serais in this complex. Let’s dive deeper into learning about this traditional Iranian structure.
Engineering And Structure
To make it simple, a Serai is an Iranian traditional structure including both indoor and outdoor sections. Normally, all the rooms are around, facing the courtyard. Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai has seven serais. These serais are connected by long vaulted passways. Qeisariyeh, Negar-o Saltaneh, and Beheshtiyan are some of the popular Serais of this complex.
The structure is foursquare. Each side ends in a courtyard with big porches. They did their best to make caravans feel fulfilled. And do not feel the need to get out there during their stay. That’s why there are more than one traditional bathroom, teahouse, a mosque, and a water reservoir.
Doms, plasterboard walls, arches, and niches are the outstanding features of Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai. besides, the light holes, wooden doors, and bricklaying arts are fascinating.
The caravanserai has multiple doors on different sides. But the main entrance is on Imam Khomeini Street.
As mentioned above, the complex has 7 Serais with courtyards. In each courtyard, there are several chambers. Today, these chambers are used as shops. By the way, let’s have a quick review of some of them.
Sa’d al-Saltaneh Serai
As the main and the biggest serai of the complex, Sa’d al-Saltaneh Serai occupies 3,073 square meters. 32 chambers are scattered on the four sides of the serai. The bricklaying arts are amazing here. Every chamber includes three parts. Firstly, Ivancheh, secondly, the chamber room, and finally Pasto. Ivancheh is an exclusive area in front of each chamber, outside the room. And Pasto is a small storage area at the back of the chamber.
There is a water pool in the middle of the serai. In the past caravans came here to drink water.
Some say Sa’diye is the most beautiful serai in the Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai. It’s because of the more traditional decorations it has to show off. It is located on the east side of the main Serai. The whole serai is 2,900 square meters including the 800 square meters courtyard. There are two porches on the northern and southern sides. Most importantly the porches have delicate bricklaying art and great tile work.
What differentiates this serai the most, from the others is the two-floor chambers. There are 10 two-floor chambers in Sa’diye Serai. The first floor is the storage room for the main one on top. Additionally, Sa’diyeh Hammam (bathroom) is located in this serai. All the elegant decorations plus the traditional bathroom are evidence that Sa’diyeh Serai was for noble people.
Negar-o Saltaneh Serai
In the past, the Caravanserai was a place of trading. Therefore, the chambers belonged to Qazvini dealers. Negar-o Saltaneh Serai was the place the caravans emptied their loads. Afterward, they had to leave because no one was allowed to stay there to rest or so.
Negar-o Saltaneh Serai with 1,492 square meters, has two big storage rooms and two chambers. It sits on the west side of the main Serai.
There is an exclusive vaulted pathway from Sa’diyeh Serai to Shotorkhan Serai. It provided a dry and warm space on cold wet days to discharge the loads. This vaulted passage was also a barn for the pack-animals to relax. As well, Caravans took some rest in this serai and sometimes spent the night.
Beheshtiyan Serai, Chahar Sowgh, and Vazir Passway are the other stunning features of the caravanserai you should not miss.
Things To Do In Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai
After getting to know the serais let’s see what else we can enjoy in the complex. The complex is not a historical attraction only. Especially after the renovation, there is a lot to explore.
Buying Iranian Traditional Artifacts
If you are a fan of original Iranian artifacts you can find them there. From excellent paintings to magnificent carpets and Kelims in different colors and patterns are available to enjoy your eyes and to buy.
Enjoying The Local Food
What is more amazing than grabbing something in the heart of history. Other than the delicious food and tasteful coffees that the cozy traditional restaurants and cafes provide you, you can enjoy the street food while walking on the cobbled floors and through the vaulted passways of this traditional structure.
Visiting Shahnameh And Mythology Museum
Ferdowsi is one of the greatest Iranian poets and is highly respected for his masterpiece, Shahnameh. The atmosphere of the museum is built around Shahnameh stories and myths. The museum is located at the Negar-o Saltaneh Serai.
Visiting Masjid Al-Nabi
There is a mosque at the end of the Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai, Al-Nabi Mosque. It belongs to Fath Ali Shah Qajar’s time (1797 – 1834). With 14,000 square meters, it is the biggest mosque in Qazvin. The architecture is profound and worth visiting.
Location And Final Words
Qazvin City, two hours away to the southwest of Tehran, is where Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai stands. Let me add, Qazvin was once the Safavid Dynasty (1501-1736) ruling capital. Even Qajars did a lot of construction in this city. That’s why other than the impressive nature such as Alamut Valley, there are a lot more historical attractions to explore in the area.
The closest attractions to the caravanserai are Qazvin’s Museum, Chehel Sotun Palace, and Ālī-Qāpū Gate.
Anyways, thank you so much for taking your time and being with us on this short journey to Sa’d al-Saltaneh Caravanserai. I hope you have enjoyed it. If yes, please leave us comments and share your beautiful ideas. If you need any more information or you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.