Marble Palace (Tehran)

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Marble Palace
General information
Architectural style Eclectic architecture, combining Eastern and Western building features
Town or city Tehran
Country Iran
Construction started 1934
Completed 1937; 77 years ago (1937)
Client Reza Shah
Technical details
Size 35,462 square meters (land area)
Design and construction
Architect Fathallah Firdaws
Engineer Joseph Leon

The Marble Palace (Kakh-i Marmar) is one of the historic buildings and royal residences in Tehran, Iran. It is located in the city centre,[1] but the location was a quiet quarter of Tehran when the palace was erected.[2]


Marble Palace was built between 1934 and 1937.[3] It was constructed on the orders of Reza Shah by French engineer Joseph Leon and Iranian architect Fathallah Firdaws.[4] It was originally built to host official functions and receptions.[2]

It was used by Reza Shah and then his son Mohammad Reza Shah as residence.[5] Reza Shah and his fourth spouse Esmat Dowlatshahi lived at the palace with their five children until Reza Shah's exile in 1941.[6] Reza Shah signed his letter of abdication at the palace in September 1941.[7]

The palace hosted significant royal events during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah. It was one of his two significant palaces in addition to Golestan Palace.[8] The palace was identified with the Shah's persona in the 1950s.[4] The palace hosted all three marriage ceremonies of the Shah. The Iranian wedding ceremony of the Shah and his first spouse, Princess Fawzia, was held at the palace in 1939.[9] It was their residence until their divorce in 1945.[10]

In October 1950, the betrothal ceremony and in February 1951, the wedding ceremony of the Shah and his second spouse, Soraya Esfendiary, were held at the palace.[11][12] Both betrothal and marriage of the Shah to his third wife, Farah Diba, also occurred at the palace.[13][14] Shahnaz Pahlavi, daughter of the Shah and Princess Fawzia, also wed Ardeshir Zahedi at the palace in October 1957.[15] In addition, the palace hosted the Shah's 48th birthday party.[16]

Besides these events he also survived an assassination attempt at the palace on 10 April 1965, perpetrated by an Iranian soldier.[17][18] Following this event the palace was no longer in use[1] and was made a museum in 1970.[19]

Style and technical features[edit]

The image of Marble Palace on 100 rials banknote

The design of the two story palace was first developed by Ostad Jafar Khan.[19][20] However, final sketch was produced by Ostad Haidar Khan.[20] The overall architectural style of the palace is eclectic, combining Eastern, including Qajar architectural features, and Western architectural styles.[5][21]

The palace is surrounded by a garden.[22] The external surface of the palace is of white marble.[1][2] The stone entrance of the palace where two statues of Achaemenid soldiers holding arrows were erected particularly reflects eclectic architectural style.[21] These statues were carved by Iranian artist Jafar Khan.[21] The palace has other gates which were made by local craftsmen from different provinces.[23] The palace is covered by a huge dome that is a replica of the Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan.[4][24] The dome is covered by arabesque tiles with scroll-like patterns.[22]

The internal area of the palace is highly formal with heavily carved doors and extremely high ceilings.[22] The palace has a very large reception room where mirrors are used like in many mosques and holy shrines in the country.[25] The room is known as "Hall of Mirrors".[8] The interior of the palace was furnished by rich fabrics and rugs.[2] Decorations were made by Iranian architect Hossein Lorzadeh.[19][20] The tiles used at the palace were produced by Ostad Yazdi and paintings by Ostad Behzad.[19]

The land area of the palace is 35,462 square meters, 2870 square meters of which is used for residence.[5][19]

Current usage[edit]

After the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the palace was used as a museum until 1981.[26] Then it was given to the expediency discernment council.[26] Local people reported that the palace had been used by the senior politicians in the Islamic Republic of Iran.[27] The historical items used at the palace, including furnitures, are being exhibited at the decorative arts museum in Tehran.[28]


  1. ^ a b c Alam, Asadollah (1991). The Shah and I. London and New York: IB Tauris. p. 162. ISBN 1-85043-340-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Architecture. Pahlavi, before World War II". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Cyrus Ghani (6 January 2001). Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power. I.B.Tauris. p. 412. ISBN 978-1-86064-629-4. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Pamela Karimi (29 May 2013). Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era. Routledge. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-135-10137-4. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Marble Palace (Kakh Marmar)". Fars Foundation. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Diana Childress (2011). Equal Rights Is Our Minimum Demand: The Women's Rights Movement in Iran 2005. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-7613-7273-8. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Mokhtari, Fariborz (Spring 2005). "No One will Scratch My Back: Iranian Security Perceptions in Historical Context". The Middle East Journal 59 (2). Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Rahmim, Iraj Isaac (July 2003). "Where the Shah Went Alone". Reason. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Pahlavi Dynasty". Royal Ark. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Colorful Fetes Mark Royal Wedding that will Link Egypt and Persian". The Meriden Daily Journal. 13 March 1939. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Iran's Shah will marry". The Michigan Daily (Tehran). AP. 12 October 1950. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Gifts for wedding". Daytona Beach Morning (Tehran). AP. 12 February 1951. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Teheran - Shah's Wedding 1959". British Pathe. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Hadidi, Ibrahim. "Betrothal of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Farah Diba". IICHS. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Iran Shah's daughter to wed engineer in simple ceremony". Lewiston Evening Journal (Tehran). AP. 10 October 1957. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Mohamad Reza Shah and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi's Coronation". Iran Politics Club. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Shah of Iran". NNDB. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Musel, Robert (16 July 1975). "The rise of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi". Ludington Daily News (London). UPI. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Hosseini, Mir M. (30 October 1973). "Marmar Palace Becomes Museum". Fouman. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c Habibollah Ayatollahi (2003). The Book of Iran: The History of Iranian Art. Alhoda UK. p. 290. ISBN 978-964-94491-4-2. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c Kamran Safamanesh (2009). "Architectural Historiography 1921–42". In Touraj Atabaki. Iran in the 20th Century. Historiography and Political Culture. London and New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978 1 84885 224 2. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c William E. Warne (1 January 1999). Mission for Peace: Point 4 in Iran. Ibex Publishers, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-936347-84-4. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Courts and courtiers In the reign of Reżā Shah Pahlavī". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  24. ^ Sarhangi, Reza (1999). "The Sky Within: Mathematical Aesthetics of Persian Dome Interiors". Nexus Network Journal 1. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Elaine Sciolino (21 February 2001). Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran. Free Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7432-1453-7. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "Marmar Palace". Wikimapia. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  27. ^ Nafisi, Rasool (5 July 2001). "Firmly planted". The Iranian. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  28. ^ "Decorative Arts Museum of Iran". Persia Tours. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 

Coordinates: 35°41′21″N 51°24′06″E / 35.689072°N 51.401789°E / 35.689072; 51.401789