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Bagh-e Naranjestan Top choice palace in Shiraz

Named after the bitter oranges that line the central courtyard, this is Shiraz’s smallest but most lovely garden. Enclosing the delightful Naranjestan-e Ghavam Pavilion it was laid out as part of a complex owned by one of Shiraz’s wealthiest Qajar-era families.

Bagh-e Naranjestan Top choice palace in Shiraz
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Bagh-e Naranjestan Top choice palace in Shiraz

Named after the bitter oranges that line the central courtyard, this is Shiraz’s smallest but most lovely garden. Enclosing the delightful Naranjestan-e Ghavam Pavilion it was laid out as part of a complex owned by one of Shiraz’s wealthiest Qajar-era families. The pavilion’s mirrored entrance hall opens onto rooms covered in a myBagh-e Naranjestanriad of intricate tiles, inlaid wooden panels and stained-glass windows. Particularly noteworthy are the ceilings of the upstairs rooms, painted with European-style motifs, including Alpine churches and busty German frauleins.

Built for the wealthy and powerful Mohammad Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk between 1879 and 1886 as the buruni (public reception area) of his family home, the pavilion is connected to the Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk, which housed the family’s andaruni (private quarters), by an underground passage (not open to the public).

The basement of the pavilion houses an archaeological collection put together by Arthur Upham Pope, an American scholar who taught at the Asia Institute in Shiraz between 1969 and 1979. There is also an excellent selection of handicrafts for sale in the basement, including miniatures painted on camel bone and tiles inspired by antique designs.

Those looking to take part in the current craze for dressing up in Qajar-era costume can do so at the booth in the corner of the courtyard. Receiving the last rays of the day’s sun, the teahouse here is a good spot to enjoy the light fading over the garden wall; it also sells delicate tinctures of rose- and pomegranate-flavoured jellies.

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