Cities like Shiraz and Esfahan in Iran provide tourists an authentic glimpse into the country’s illustrious past. Some of the top museums in the world are found in Tehran, often known as the City of Museums, but museums in other cities provide a wealth of knowledge that may improve these encounters as well. Some of Iran’s finest museums are listed below.
16 Top museums in Iran
- Golestan Palace
- Yazd Water Museum
- The National Jewelry Treasury
- Sa’ad Abad Museum Complex
- Pars Museum
- Isfahan Music Museum
- Holy Defense Museum
- The Azerbaijan Museum- Tabriz
- Hegmataneh Museum- Hamedan
- Susa Museum- Shush
- Museum of Decorative Arts
- Museum of Mirrors and Lighting- Yazd
- Natural History Museum of Isfahan
- Contemporary Arts Museum Isfahan
- Abadan Museum
- National Car Museum of Iran
Formerly Shah Abbas Safavid’s royal stronghold, now it is known as the Golestan Heritage Museum Palace (r. 1588 – 1629). Tehran, at the time, was only a sleepy hamlet close to present-day Rey. Because of its closeness to the summer resorts of Shemiranat and Lavasan, the Safavid rulers were among the first to see Tehran’s potential. A fortress in Tehran was constructed in this fashion, and it was encircled by plane trees.
Yazd Water Museum
You may take flowing water for granted, but a visit to the Yazd Water Museum will give you a new understanding for the struggles that some people face just to obtain a drink. A key challenge for the city of Yazd was finding a reliable source of water as it grew in the desert. The qanât, or sophisticated tunnel systems used to draw groundwater, were excavated by hand, and their history is chronicled in this museum. This amazing assortment of photographs, instruments, and gear will help us understand the hidden realm of water.
The National Jewelry Treasury
The National Jewelry Treasury is a mind-blowing must-see, where visitors may look closely at jewels used by kings and queens from the Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi dynasties. The Peacock Throne, adorned with precious stones, is the crown jewel of an astounding collection of precious jewels, crowns, and metals. This museum, housed under the Central Bank of Iran’s vault, has restricted hours, so visitors should prepare ahead. In order to comply with the strict security measures in place, all personal belongings, including cameras, mobile phones, luggage, etc., must be checked in at the front desk.
Sa’ad Abad Museum Complex
The former Iranian royal family’s opulent palace should not be missed. Sa’ad Abad Park, where the museum is located, is a 100-hectare oasis in Tehran’s north. The White Palace, the biggest of the 1930s structures, and the Green Palace, coated in rare green stones from Zanjan Province and housing a 70-square-meter rug, are among the highlights.
Even if you don’t plan on visiting any of the other museums in the complex, the surrounding area is great for a walk, and the hamlet of Darband is close by if you’d like to stop for lunch or tea.
Pars Museum, in the middle of Shiraz, is the last resting place of Karim Khan Zand, the founder of the Zand Dynasty. The octagonal building, located in Nazar Garden, was renovated into a museum in the 1930s. This little museum displays weapons from the Zand period, artwork by Iranian artists, and many hand-written copies of the Quran. The building’s outside may be unremarkable, but the inside frescoes and ceiling are certain to wow visitors.
Isfahan Music Museum
Instrument making is included with Isfahan’s other cultural and architectural accomplishments. The Isfahan Music Museum, which can be found in the city’s Armenian neighborhood, is a symphony to Iran’s long and illustrious musical tradition. About 300 string, wind, and percussion instruments from all across the United States are on display at this private museum that was created by two local musicians. The less valuable ones are available for visitors to try their hands at, giving them a chance to learn something new or discover a hidden ability.
Holy Defense Museum
The Holy Defense Museum tells the story of the eight-year war with Iraq, called the “Holy Defense” in Persian, which killed perhaps about a million people. The museum is situated on a vast 21-hectare plot, and it features several tanks, rockets, and other pieces of heavy ordnance. Inside, you may see projections, listen to sounds, and explore a creepy recreation of the city of Khorramshahr, one of the first to fall to Iraqi forces. Discover the narrative of contemporary Iran and its people at this museum.
The Azerbaijan Museum- Tabriz
Tabriz is home to Iran’s second-richest historical museum, the Azerbaijan Museum, which can be found right next to the city’s famous Blue Mosque. This museum was designed to evoke the style of traditional buildings seen in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijan Museum has ancient artifacts from several cultures, including those from the Stone Age, before Islam (some of which date back 7,000 years), and Islamic times. A goddess dating back three thousand years, patterned prehistoric stones, and rhytons from the Bronze Age are the crown jewels of Iran’s finest museum.
Hegmataneh Museum- Hamedan
Since it is one of Iran’s oldest settlements, Hamedan has every right to be pleased with its extensive Hegmataneh Museum. The Ecbatana artifacts, dating back to the 7th century BC when it served as the capital of the first Iranian empire, are the crown jewels of this renowned Iranian museum. Pre-Islamic pillars, coins, inscriptions, stone artifacts, and ceramic jars are only a few of the most valuable items stored there.
Susa Museum- Shush
The Susa Museum in the city of Shush is a little treasure trove with priceless artifacts unearthed from some of the best historic locations in Khuzestan Province. A lion-hugging Hercules, a colossal double-headed bull capital, and ancient clay death masks are just a few of the features of Iran’s finest museum. Ancient bricks unearthed from the Susa and Chogha Zanbil sites were used to construct the museum’s unique structure.
Museum of Decorative Arts
In 1995, an establishment dedicated to showcasing Isfahan’s ornamental arts began operations. The collection includes around three thousand pieces from the Safavid and Qajar eras. The museum itself was constructed during Abbas I’s reign. The structure served as the stable and storage space for equestrian equipment for the Chehelsotoon palace throughout the reigns of Abbas I and his predecessors. Across from the museum is a tall tower with many floors.
Museum of Mirrors and Lighting- Yazd
Since 1998, when the Museum of Mirrors and Lighting has called this lovely home its home, it has been a beacon of artistic expression. In front of the pool at Saraf Zadeh House are several examples of ina-kri, a kind of interior decorating that involves the assembly of tiny pieces of mirror into geometric designs or forms of flowers and bushes.mThe structure itself is fascinating, since it is designed like a labyrinth and has a unique blend of Persian and European styles.
Each chamber, in addition to the stunning ‘ina-kri, is decorated with stunning stucco and paintings. Furthermore, colored glasses are a crucial part of the window decoration in Persian architecture. The museum’s wooden doors are also a sight to see.
Natural History Museum of Isfahan
In 1988, the Museum of Natural History opened thanks to Dr. Jafarian, who spent 37 years researching and collecting priceless artifacts from Iran and beyond. After greeting the two dinosaur statues in the museum’s courtyard, visitors can explore the museum’s seven main halls, which are dedicated to different aspects of natural history: the hall of Guidance, the hall of Invertebrates, the hall of Botany, the hall of Geology, the hall of Geography Phisic, the Vertebrate Room, and a room dedicated to graphic training tools.
You may also find floral, medicinal, and industrial plants native to Iran, as well as their international equivalents, in the botany hall. There are examples of sedimentary formations, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, sedimentary deposits, and minerals from the Earth’s crust on display in the geology lab. While you’re there, check out the Hall of Graphic Training Aids, where you can see topographical and geographic maps of Iran, as well as other interesting exhibits.
Contemporary Arts Museum Isfahan
A contemporary art museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Isfahan may be found in the same building as the Museum of Natural History in Isfahan, Iran. The museum itself is an ancient Safavidera structure. During the reign of the Qajar dynasty, the structure underwent extensive renovations. The structure is stuccoed with geometric patterns, a signature style of Qajar architecture. Flower arrangements and vases come in a wide variety of designs.
Abadan Museum, one of the oldest museums in Iran, is a popular destination for visitors because to its extensive collection. After 15 years of maintenance and renovation, it was transformed into a central hall and two side halls. Works from the Safavid and Qajar eras, among others, are on permanent exhibit in the main hall of the Abadan Museum. The museum displays artifacts of historical and anthropological significance discovered in Ilam and Lorestan, including as bronze sculptures, equestrian equipment, clay pots, and animal statues. As an added bonus, the walls are adorned with the works of poetry’s greatest Persian masters. Part of the museum is dedicated to a handicraft exhibition displaying indigenous crafts during the days around Nowruz, when visits are especially encouraged and goods are for sale. The Abadan Museum has two main halls; the first is where the exhibits are located, while the second houses the library and conference room.
National Car Museum of Iran
The inside size of the Iranian Museum of Historical Automobiles is 10,000 m2 and the outside area is 22,000 m2. Presently, the showroom has 45 automobiles, 2 carriages, and 3 motorbikes. The previous Shah of Iran, who had to flee the country and passed away in 1979, left behind an impressive collection of historic automobiles, some of which may be shown at the museum. The collection has a number of stunning automobiles, such as a Silver Spirit, Phantom III, and IV, a Stutz Blackhawk, a number of Ferraris, including a 500 Superfast and 365GT BB, a Maserati Ghibli Coupe, and even Hitler’s personal Mercedes Benz 500K. The vehicles, which had been buried and even submerged when the Shah departed Iran, have been uncovered, refurbished, and placed on display.