Marble Palace (Tehran)

The Marble Palace (Persian: کاخ مرمر, Kākh-e Marmar) is an historic building and former royal residence 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
Marmar Palace 43906.jpg
General information
Architectural styleEclectic architecture, combining Eastern and Western building features
Town or cityTehran
Construction started1934
Completed1937; 85 years ago (1937)
ClientReza Shah
Technical details
Size35,462 square meters (land area)
Design and construction
ArchitectFathallah Firdaws
EngineerJoseph Leon


The image of Marble Palace on a 100 Iranian rial banknote dated 1974

The property in which the Marble Palace is situated used to belong to Prince Abbas Mirza Farman Farmaian, and contained his private residences and office. Upon ascension to the throne, Reza Shah, whom had previously been a sentry guard at the property confiscated it from the Farmanfarmaian family and evicted the family of Abbas Mirza Farman Farmaian in less than 24 hours. The demolition of the earlier buildings took place shortly thereafter.

The 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 Fat'hollah Firdaws.[4] It was originally built to host official functions and receptions.[2]

The palace was used by Reza Shah and then his son Mohammad Reza Shah as their 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]

Numerous significant royal events occurred during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah. It was one of his two significant palaces in addition to Golestan Palace.[4] The Marble 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, and it was their residence until their divorce in 1945.[8]

In October 1950, the betrothal ceremony and in February 1951, the wedding ceremony of the Shah and his second spouse, Soraya Esfandiary, were held at the palace.[9][10] Both betrothal and marriage of the Shah to his third wife, Farah Diba, also occurred at the palace.[11][12] Shahnaz Pahlavi, daughter of the Shah and Princess Fawzia, also wed Ardeshir Zahedi at the palace in October 1957.[13] In addition, the palace hosted the Shah's 48th birthday party.[14]

Besides these events the Shah also survived an assassination attempt at the palace on 10 April 1965 perpetrated by an Iranian soldier.[15][16] Following this event which is known as the Marble Palace Plot[17] the palace was no longer in use[1] and was made a museum in 1970.[18]

Style and technical featuresEdit

The design of the two story palace was first developed by Ostad Jafar Khan.[18][19] However, final sketch was produced by Ostad Haidar Khan.[19] The overall architectural style of the palace is eclectic, combining Eastern, including Qajar architectural features, and Western architectural styles.[5][20]

The palace is surrounded by a garden.[21] 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.[20] These statues were carved by Iranian artist Jafar Khan.[20] The palace has other gates which were made by local craftsmen from different provinces.[22] The palace is covered by a huge dome that is a replica of the Sheikh Lotfollah mosque in Isfahan.[4][23] The dome is covered by arabesque tiles with scroll-like patterns.[21]

The internal area of the palace is highly formal with heavily carved doors and extremely high ceilings.[21] The palace has a very large reception room where mirrors are used like in many mosques and holy shrines in the country.[24] The room is known as "Hall of Mirrors".[25] The interior of the palace was furnished by rich fabrics and rugs.[2] Decorations were made by Iranian architect Hossein Lorzadeh.[18][19] The tiles used at the palace were produced by Ostad Yazdi and paintings by Ostad Behzad.[18]

The land area of the palace is 35,462 square metres (3.5 ha; 8.8 acres), 2,870 square metres (0.3 ha; 0.7 acres) of which is used for residence.[5][18]

Current usageEdit

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 furniture, are being exhibited at the decorative arts museum in Tehran.[28] The palace had been close to the public until July 2020 when it was redesigned as the museum of arts following its acquisition by the Mostazafan Foundation in 2019.[26]



  1. ^ a b c Asadollah Alam (1991). The Shah and I. London; New York: IB Tauris. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-85043-340-8.
  2. ^ a b c d "Architecture. Pahlavi, before World War II". Encyclopedia Iranica.
  3. ^ Cyrus Ghani (2001). Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power. London: I.B.Tauris. p. 412. ISBN 978-1-86064-629-4.
  4. ^ a b c d Pamela Karimi (2013). Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era. London: Routledge. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-135-10137-4.
  5. ^ a b c "Marble Palace (Kakh Marmar)". Fars Foundation. Archived from the original on 24 November 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  6. ^ Diana Childress (2011). Equal Rights Is Our Minimum Demand: The Women's Rights Movement in Iran 2005. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-7613-7273-8.
  7. ^ Fariborz Mokhtari (Spring 2005). "No One will Scratch My Back: Iranian Security Perceptions in Historical Context". The Middle East Journal. 59 (2). doi:10.3751/59.2.12. JSTOR 4330125.
  8. ^ "Colorful Fetes Mark Royal Wedding that will Link Egypt and Persian". The Meriden Daily Journal. 13 March 1939. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Iran's Shah will marry". The Michigan Daily. Tehran. AP. 12 October 1950. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Gifts for wedding". Daytona Beach Morning. Tehran. AP. 12 February 1951. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Teheran - Shah's Wedding 1959". British Pathe. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  12. ^ Ibrahim Hadidi. "Betrothal of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Farah Diba". IICHS. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Iran Shah's daughter to wed engineer in simple ceremony". Lewiston Evening Journal. Tehran. AP. 10 October 1957. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Mohamad Reza Shah and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi's Coronation". Iran Politics Club. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Shah of Iran". NNDB. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  16. ^ Robert Muse (16 July 1975). "The rise of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi". Ludington Daily News. London. UPI. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  17. ^ James A. Bill (February 1970). "Modernization and Reform From Above: The Case of Iran". The Journal of Politics. 32 (1): 29. doi:10.2307/2128863. hdl:2152/24201. JSTOR 2128863.
  18. ^ a b c d e Mir M. Hosseini (30 October 1973). "Marmar Palace Becomes Museum". Fouman. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  19. ^ a b c Habibollah Ayatollahi (2003). The Book of Iran: The History of Iranian Art. Tehran: Alhoda UK. p. 290. ISBN 978-964-94491-4-2.
  20. ^ a b c Kamran Safamanesh (2009). "Architectural Historiography 1921–42" (PDF). In Touraj Atabaki (ed.). Iran in the 20th Century. Historiography and Political Culture. London; New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-224-2.
  21. ^ a b c William E. Warne (1999). Mission for Peace: Point 4 in Iran. Bethesda, MD: Ibex Publishers, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-936347-84-4.
  22. ^ "Courts and courtiers In the reign of Reżā Shah Pahlavī". Encyclopedia Iranica.
  23. ^ Reza Sarhangi (1999). "The Sky Within: Mathematical Aesthetics of Persian Dome Interiors". Nexus Network Journal. 1 (1–2): 87–98. doi:10.1007/s00004-998-0007-z.
  24. ^ Elaine Sciolino (2001). Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran. New York; London: Free Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7432-1453-7.
  25. ^ Iraj Isaac Rahmim (July 2003). "Where the Shah Went Alone". Reason.
  26. ^ a b c "Pahlavis' Marmar Palace re-opens as art museum". Iran Times International. 50 (1). 24 July 2020.
  27. ^ Rasool Nafisi (5 July 2001). "Firmly planted". The Iranian.
  28. ^ "Decorative Arts Museum of Iran". Persia Tours. Retrieved 23 July 2013.

External linksEdit

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