In my opinion, museums are one of the most attractive and mysterious places in the world. You can flow through art, culture and history with every piece you’ll see in a museum and take exploration to another level! Museums should be on the top of your list while you are visiting a country; because they can complete your trip and give you interesting information. And who knows? Maybe these information come so useful one day! And if they remained as just stories from the past, well, who doesn’t like a time travel?! Iran is one those countries that it’s culture and history will fascinate you. Although there are enough historical monuments and cultural places to visit in Iran for getting know the past; but museums can give you an exceptional experience.
Iran is a country very rich in history and culture, and there are plenty of museum in this country. So to double your fun during your vacation in Iran, we recommend you to visit at least some of it’s museums. In this article we are going to give you a list of most important Iran museums, so you can choose easily.
National Museum of Iran, also known as the Museum of Ancient Iran, is the mother of the museums of Tehran and Iran with it’s eighty years of history. The National Museum of Iran is not only the largest archaeological museum in Iran, but also one of the top museums in the world due to the variety of works in it. This museum is also important also because of it’s historical monuments from different periods of pre-Islamic and post-Islamic Iranian history.
The Museum of Ancient Iran, as it’s name implies, has very old and precious works that number more than three hundred thousand. Each of these historical and ancient objects has a story to tell, so listen to the patiently! It is interesting to know that the oldest artifact in the Museum of Ancient Iran dates back to six hundred thousand years ago, the beginning of the presence of humans on the plateau of Iran.
The Ancient Museum of Iran, which has so many historical and archeological monuments, divides into two large sections. Each of these sections has it’s own archeological site:
Each of these sections has it’s own works, the name of which is somewhat clear. In the following, we will explain each of these different sections of the National Museum of Iran.
This section of the National Museum of Iran is on the second floor of the museum; this section is also called the section of prehistoric times. In this section you can see the remnants of the Paleolithic period to the late fourth millennium BC. The antiquities of the Ancient Iran section are exhibited in seven separate halls in the National Museum of Iran. If you decide to visit the museums of Tehran, be sure to see this part of the museum. Not only to see the history of Iran, but also works of the history of all humanity with your own eyes.
The second part of the National Museum of Iran is the Museum of the Islamic Era. In this section, you can see the antiquities discovered from the beginning of Islam. Before entering the museum itself and seeing the antiquities in it, it is better to pay attention to the architecture of the museum building. The building of the Museum of the Islamic Era is inspired by the Sassanid architecture with an area of four thousand square meters.
The National Museum of Iran is not just a museum to display antiquities. If you feel tired, thirsty or hungry while visiting museums, you can relax and dine in the cafes and restaurants there. Also, you can visit the art products stores of the National Museum of Iran and buy artworks.
In addition, there is a safe at the National Museum of Iran where you can deliver some of your belongings; in this way you can be more secure and travel lighter and easier. At the checkout counter, it does not accept items such as cash, checks, credit cards, personal documents, jewelry, clothing, and electronics such as laptops and cell phones.
Almost every king and every dynasty has his own stories, legends and conquests. In addition to all of these the jewels they plundered in these conquests have a special place throughout history. And in the meantime, there are jewels that we consider them as the most important and famous, jewels such of a period of history; such as Daryaye Noor Diamond, Noor Al-Ain Diamond, Taj Kiani, Takht Naderi, Takht Tavous, etc. They are all among the museums of Tehran, collected at the National Jewelry Museum.
The National Jewelry Museum (or National Jewelry Treasury) is one of the largest treasures of gold and jewelry in the entire world. All you have to do is to enter the museum! Of course the sheer volume of jewelry and glitter, large and small diamonds, royal crowns and other antiques will amaze you. Some of these jewels are so valuable and important that no one can put a price on them; and they are also known as the backbone of Iran’s national currency.
The National Jewelry Museum, like many museums in Tehran, has a series of amenities such as a buffet and a cafe; so if you felt tired while visiting, you can take a break. Of course, the short time of day visits usually doesn’t allow you to spend much time in the buffet and cafe. There is also a safe at the National Jewelry Museum where you must hand over all your belongings before entering the museum (and before passing through the checkpoints). Also, be sure not to touch any of the glass and guardrails in the museum, as this will cause the siren to sound.
Iran Carpet Museum is one of the most glorious sights of Tehran. This museum was built by the order of Farah Pahlavi and was inaugurated on February 13, 1978. The purpose of establishing this museum can be considered research in the history, developments and historical quality of carpet art and industry, especially in Iran. By establishing this place, collecting and purchasing samples of Iranian hand-woven carpets and holding temporary exhibitions of Iranian carpets and other parts of the world started. The museum also includes other products than carpet, such as kilims.
The building of the museum has a beautiful and impressive architecture, the exterior of which is similar to a carpet hanger. The designer of this museum is Abdul Aziz Farmanfarmayian. The exhibition area of the museum covers an area of 3400 square meters, which includes two halls, used to display a variety of hand-woven rugs and kilims.
The ground floor hall is dedicated to a permanent exhibition; and the upper hall is designed for temporary exhibitions of kilims and carpets. In the carpet museum, all kinds of kilims and hand-woven carpets are preserved. The preservation is according to their quality and antiquity and considering the characteristics of Iranian carpets in terms of color, design, pattern, texture and variety of carpet weaving areas. The collection of the Iranian Carpet Museum contains the most valuable examples of Iranian carpets from the 9th century AH (16th AD) to the contemporary period; and is a rich source of research for researchers and art lovers.
It is true that all museums in Iran show a kind of corner of the history and tradition of Iran and the world; but in the meantime, the Tehran Museum of Glass and Pottery has a special artistic fascination separated from other museums. This museum is also in the list of top 10 museums in Iran. If you go to the glass museum, even before you enter the museum itself and just by looking at the building, you’ll feel that the whole museum and it’s beauties are summed up in it! A building whose interior and exterior architecture is decorated with the best and most artistic titles such as brickwork, plastering, mirror work, enamel work and inlay work, and wisdom and intelligence pervade every viewer.
But the beautiful building in the middle of a 7,000-meter garden that belongs to the Pahlavi era is just the beginning of this story! All you have to do is step inside and catch a glimpse of artworks. The house now in the possession of the Glass Museum dates back to the late Qajar and early Pahlavi period. The works of art in the glass museum are from different periods; and each of them is kept in different parts of the museum based on their history. In general, Tehran Glass Museum has the following sections:
The works in the glass museum have from BC to contemporary works of art. This museum annually attract about two million tourists from around the world among the museums of Tehran.
One of the special features of the Glass Museum is it’s museum shop. It is interesting to know that Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization support the museum; and in it you will see products such as books and brochures about the works in the museum, as well as items such as posters and postcards.
A lesser known museum in Iran is the Reza Abbasi Museum. But the art and antiquities in this museum are very valuable and beautiful, and their number is more than fifty thousand. The works in this museum cover from the prehistoric period to the thirteenth century AH (19th AD). The works on display at the Reza Abbasi Museum in Tehran divide into three separate floors; and in each of these floors, there are separate halls for different works:
One of the interesting features of the Reza Abbasi Museum, which is somewhat surprising for visitors, is that in this museum, you start your visit from the last floor (third floor) and go down!
Most museums in Tehran, due to attracting many tourists from all over Iran and the world, in addition to works of art and antiquities, also have a series of amenities so that visitors can enjoy and relax during their visit. The Reza Abbasi Museum is no exception to this rule; and with facilities such as a buffet, restaurant, and even accommodation, it allows you to relieve your tiredness, thirst, or hunger while visiting.
It was in 1997 that the General Directorate of Museums of the Foundation for the Oppressed and Veterans of the Islamic Revolution came up with the idea of launching an ancient historical collection. They decided that in this collection, they should exhibit a number of old Iranian and foreign coins and banknotes. This place was later known as “Museum of Money” or “Museum of Watching Money“.
If you decide to visit the museums of Tehran, go to this museum; then be prepared to see more than 1400 coins, 750 banknotes, and 200 works of art and antiquities! The interesting part is that you’ll find the secrets of history hidden in them!
The History Museum has a fundamental difference with other museums in Tehran (except the Museum of Contemporary Art) in terms of antiquity; and that is that most of the works on display are related to contemporary history. The works on display in this museum are mostly related to the Qajar period; for example, you can see works such as Kamal-ol-Molk paintings or personal belongings of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar here. All the artifacts in this museum are related to the Qajar era, because there are ancient artifacts from the 12th and 13th centuries AH (18th & 19th AD) from countries such as England and Russia. In general, the history museum divides into several houses:
The Museum of Contemporary Art, is one of the most artistic sights of Tehran; and may be one of those museums that many people have not visited. The works on display at this museum are usually in certain styles such as minimalism, pop art, abstract art, etc.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is also one of the most valuable and important museums in Tehran. Do you know why? Because, first of all, it keeps the contemporary art alive and on display; and perhaps an artist can pave the way for his/her success in this way. The second reason is the financial value of the works in this place, which is estimated at between five and ten billion dollars!
At present (2021), this museum is 44 years old. And the main architect and designer of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was Mr. Kamran Diba. This tasteful architect has tried to combine modern and traditional Iranian style in the architecture of the museum. If you pay attention, you will see that the architecture of the museum is inspired by desert windbreaks of Iran. Historical sources say that Farah Pahlavi (the last pahlavi king’s wife) played an important role in the process of building the museum.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is divides into nine separate galleries. In six galleries, you can see the magnificent works of Iranian artists such as Aydin Aghdashloo, Sadegh Tabrizi, Sohrab Separi and etc. exhibited. And the other three galleries feature works by foreign artists from around the world, including Andy Warhol, Picasso, and others.
Are you a fan of museum visiting? Which of Iran museums did you like the most? Let us know!