Bagh-e Narenjestan: an element of ‘surprise’ while in city of poets and nightingales

April 15, 2021 - 8:51

TEHRAN – Named after the bitter oranges (called “Narenj” in Persian) that line the courtyard, Bagh-e Narenjestan is one of the most admired destinations in Shiraz.

xThe garden (“Bagh”) and its scenic pavilion were built for the wealthy and powerful Mohammad-Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk in the late 19th century.

Also called Narenjestan Garden, Qavam House, or Narenjestan-e Qavam, the property was set, according to tradition, as a “Boruni” or public reception area of his family home. It got the nickname “Narenjestan” since the garden embraces an abundance of bitter orange (Narenj in Persian) trees.

For the time being, Narenjestan-e Qavam and its underground museum are open to the public as one of the main attractions of the ancient city.

It is an exemplar Persian Garden, which is a UNESCO World Heritage. The genuine concept of the Persian Garden that is deeply rooted in time interweaves natural elements with manmade components to embody an idea of creating a paradise on Earth by the means of artistic, philosophical, figurative, and religious notions.

The pavilion is connected to the Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk, which was once the “Andaruni” (private quarters) for the family, the two are linked via an underground passage that is not open to the public.

The basement of the pavilion is where archaeological relics have been put on a show. The relics have been put together by Arthur Upham Pope, an American scholar who taught at the Asia Institute in Shiraz between 1969 and 1979.

Celebrated as the heartland of Persian culture for over 2000 years, Shiraz has become synonymous with, poetry, nightingales, culture, and education. It was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty when many of its most beautiful buildings were built or restored.

Shiraz is home to some of the country’s most magnificent buildings and sights. Increasingly, it draws more and more foreign and domestic sightseers flocking into this provincial capital which was the literary capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1751 to 1794.

Under tourists’ eyes

Here is a selection of comments that visitors to the garden have posted to TripAdvisor, one of the most popular travel websites in the world:

“A surprise!”

We went to the gardens on our last day in Shiraz and we were so glad we made the effort. The architecture here was different from anything we had seen in Iran.

The work on the building was very delicate, feminine, and white. We had never seen a corrugated tin roof before. A unique building! (Sue P from Perth, Australia; reviewed November 3, 2017)

“A traditional aristocratic house”

You will certainly enjoy visiting this place. The rooms are decorated with mirrors (aayeneh kari). The orange trees and the coffee shop are very pleasant. (Ghaferi from Los Angeles, California; reviewed March 2019) 

“A must-see”

This is one of the places which I enjoyed the most in Shiraz. The building has so many beautiful rooms with decorations from floor to ceiling. A must-see in Shiraz. Allow at least one hour to see. (LarsSoholm from Skanderborg, Denmark; reviewed Feb. 2019)

“Majestic Mansion”

The historical Narenjestan-e-Ghavam Mansion in Shiraz dates back to 1880; and is called "Narenjestan" because of the large number of sour-orange (Narenj) trees that are planted in the garden area!

The Narenjestan Mansion consists of the Bagh-e Narenjestan (a small garden) with a beautiful stone pool and fountains plus the adjacent Naranjestan-e Ghavam pavilion. Both were set up by a wealthy Qajar era Shirazi family. The pavilion has richly decorated rooms, with mosaic-mirror walls, unique paintings, intricate tiles, and inlaid wooden panels.

Make sure to go there, and don't forget to visit its museum and its gift shop! (Shirazi35 from Portland, Oregon; reviewed October 29, 2017)

“Mirrors everywhere”

The walls and ceilings are made up of mirrors, which gives us a spectacular impression because of the reflections. (Piotr M. from Warsaw, Poland; reviewed October 23, 2018)

“Nice for a late afternoon visit”

This house was quite small and didn't take more than a half-hour to enjoy. Doesn't quite compare to the houses in Kashan but was still beautiful. It's near the Pink Mosque and a few other sites so it's quite simple to include on your "must-see" list. (A. M. from Lisbon, Portugal; reviewed October 2018)

“Beautiful pavilion with small museum underneath”

The small, but traditional Persian garden here is beautiful and peaceful. The pavilion has some amazing glasswork and tiles that show how wealthy the family who owned the grounds were. Underneath there is a museum that houses some artifacts, including a gentleman that makes and plays traditional Persian musical instruments. (R0hanL from Amman Governorate, Jordan; reviewed June 2018)

“Gorgeous”

Stunning tiles and mirrors. The gardens were nice to see too. The stained glass made gorgeous patterns when the sun shone...have a guide to fully understand the history. (tryingtoseetheworld from Seattle, Washington; reviewed September 24, 2017)

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