Dar ul-Funun (Persia)

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Eastern gate of Dar ol-Fonun (دارالفنون) in the Naser Khosrow street. On the upper part of the front face is the following couplet from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh inscribed: "Capable is the one who is enlightened – Knowledge rejuvenates the heart of the old"[1]

Dar ul-Funun (Persian: دارالفنون‎) (English: Polytechnic), established in 1851, was the first modern university and modern institution of higher learning in Persia.


Founded by Amir Kabir, then the royal vizier to Nasereddin Shah, the Shah of Iran, Dar al-Funun originally was conceived as a polytechnic to train upper-class Persian youth in Medicine, Engineering, Military Science, and Geology. It was similar in scope and purpose to American land grant colleges like Purdue and Texas A&M. Like them, it developed and expanded its mission over the next hundred years, eventually becoming the University of Tehran.[2]

The institute was planned by the Iranian educated Mirza Reza Mohandes, and built by the architect Muhammad Taqi-khan Memar-Bashi under the supervision of the Qajari prince Bahram Mirza. Facilities such as an assembly hall, a theater, library, cafeteria, and a publishing house were built for the institute.

Many parts of the institute were later on absorbed and merged into the newly establishing Tehran University. The Faculty of Medicine for example, was particularly the successor to the Dar ul-Funun Department of Medicine, established in 1851, which had become the School of Medicine (Madreseh-ye tebb) in 1919.[3]

The elite school was training 287 students by 1889, and had graduated 1100 students by 1891. During this time, the faculty consisted of 16 European, and 26 Iranian professors.

Notable alumni[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ توانا بود هر که دانا بود - ز دانش دل پیر برنا بود - Ta'vānā Bo'vad Har'ke Dānā Bo'vad - Ze Dānesh De'le Pír Bor'nā Bo'vad. In verse form the couplet may be translated as: Capable is he who is wise - Happiness from wisdom will arise.
  2. ^ For an illustrated report on Dar ol-Fonoun see: Hamid-Reza Hosseini, Dar ol-Fonoun in want of love ("Dar ol-Fonoun dar hasrat-e eshgh"), in Persian, Jadid Online, September 22, 2008, [1]. The pertinent photographs (15 in total) can be viewed here: [2].
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/faculties-v
  4. ^ See Mohammad Mirzā Kāshef-os-Saltaneh in Persian Wikipedia.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°41′1.64″N 51°25′18.71″E / 35.6837889°N 51.4218639°E / 35.6837889; 51.4218639