With a bit of research on the net, I found contact info of many tour agenies in Tehran. Called one of them n booked for a one-day Tehran tour without thinking much..
It was a one-day tour which took us around the palaces & museums in Tehran. Mainly it gave us an insight about the life of Shahs who were ruling Iran before the Islamic revolution happened.
Sharp at 8.30 that morning the car arrived to take us, when we were busy gulping down the coffee…We got introduced to Ali, our guide & Hameed, the driver.
We headed towards National Museum, which was our first destination for the day. On the way Ali showed us many embassies; including the American embassy which is closed now. When the Islamic revolution happened they captured American embassy and took the staff as hostages (and kept them as hostages for more than a year to win some bargain with US, finally US had to give in I guess; this was a big news sometime in early 90s I think, I didn’t know anything about it). I could see “We will make America face severe defeat” written on now-closed American embassy compound wall.
We also saw oldest square of Tehran, which is now called Khomeini square, which was called something else earlier. Almost everything (airport, govt. buildings, etc) is named after Khomeini now.
The entrance to the building complex which contains National Museum, Islamic museum, and couple of buildings which belong to army looks like this, beautifully done I must say.
This is one of the ventilating towers a building in the complex has (it has 4 such towers). This tower is supposed to pump in the air inside and keep the whole structure cool; young princes used to live in this palace it seems.
One thing which is very evident in all these palaces is the European influence. Shahs had close relationship with England, France, and Italy. The paintings in the palaces are done by French artists, the furniture is also mostly from Europe.
Another thing is these palaces are not very old (100-300 years old). Shahs were ruling Iran until Islamic revolution happened, which was at around 30 years ago.
Well, needless to say, that was a good trip. Got to know a lot; thanks to our guide Ali, who answered all our questions with great patience in his not-so-good English.
btw Ali’s son wants to go to Bangalore to study computers.