Shiraz has been always known as the city of poetry, flowers and beautiful gardens. One the most important one is Narenjestan Qavam, a garden in the middle of the city. It is one the most popular places with many visitor each year. In addition of the garden, here you will get familiar with the texture of traditional houses and also one the most powerful houses in Iran during the 19th century.
Narenjestan Qavam or Qavam garden was built during the 19th century by Qavams, one of the dignitaries of Shiraz. Their ancestor was “Ibrahim Khan Kalantar”, the last minister of Zand era whom betrayed his lord and helped Qajars to enthrone. Then the construction was done by Qavams during the reign of Naser-Aldin Shah, lasted 12 years. It inherited among Qavams till about 50 years ago which gifted to the university of Shiraz. For 10 years here was the office of “Arthur Pope”, an American archeologists. This place is still under the authority of university of Shiraz.
This garden has a special plan known as central gardens, according to this style the garden is located in the middle. Moreover, Narenjestan Qavam was the public part, “Biruni”, and Zinat Almolk house was the private section, “Andaruni”, now it’s an anthropology museum to the west of Narenjestan. These two sections were connected by a tunnel which is blocked now. The entrance of Narenjestan is located to the south with a wooden door, two alcoves and an inscription above it. Then through a porch you will enter to this amazing garden. Actually every traditional building in Iran has a porch or vestibule which acts like a lobby or a reception. In addition it avoid seeing the inner side, like a “hijab” in the architecture. When you enter, you will be surprised by its beautiful architecture. In the middle there is an astonishing garden with different kinds of plants, specially sour orange that in Persian it means “Nerenj” and that’s why here is called Narenjestan, meaning the garden of Nerenj. Also, to the south, next to the entrance there are rooms with lovely paintings and amazing tile workings. In some parts there are also tile workings, showing some gift carryings which is adopted by the relief of Persepolis. These rooms were used by experts whom answered to people and solved their problems and needs.
Across from it, to the north, the main part of this garden is shining. It is a two-story building with a basement which is the museum of coins. At the top there are some pediments. The middle one that is the bigger one is decorated with outstanding tile workings. At the top, two Greek angles are holding a crown, it could be the king’s crown which is the sign of apple polishing. These two Greek angles are influenced by Sassanids’ bas-reliefs that had been derived from Greek styles. In the middle two lions with swords and suns are painted. In fact it is the Iranian national sign which was on Iran’s flag till the Islamic revolution that was replaced by the emblem of “Allah”. In addition, in the corners two hunting scenes are depicted. Beside, there are two other pediments, representing the struggle between a leopard and a gazelle. Again this part is copied from the reliefs of Persepolis. As it mentioned, it is a two-story building, but except in the middle. There you will see a grandiose portico. It stands with two stone columns which on their bases two reliefs can bee seen, representing the struggle between a dragon and a lion. In fact it is adopted from the reliefs of Golestan palace in Tehran, they were also copied from Chinese vessels. Behind this portico there is room that was Qavams’ office. If experts could not respond or solve people’s problem, they would meet with Qavam or his assistant. Both the portico and the room are decorated with marvelous mirror works, paintings, inlaid works and reliefs. Paintings are done by the most famous painter of that time, “ Lotfaali Suratgar”. In addition in some parts, in the ceiling, there are some portraits which were adopted by Europeans buildings. In the room there is a fireplace with some reliefs. It shows an audience, copying from Achamanids reliefs in Persepolis and also the relief of “Ali Mohammad Qavam” sitting on the stairs of Narenjestan. To the right and left of this room, there are the assistant and the reception rooms, decorated with amazing paintings. At the bottom, on the tall cornices, there are some other reliefs, a chained bull, a chained lion, two Achamanids soldiers, two Qajar soldiers and some openings in the middle. Actually, by depicting ancient symbols or reliefs, they claimed their legitimacy.
Narenjestan Qavam is a garden in Shiraz that was built during the 19th century. Actually Narenjestan and Zinat Almolk house were a unique building, “Biruni”, the public or official part and “Andaruni” or the private section. So, Narenjestan was like their office, people could solve their problems or Qavams could be met there. In this majestic place there are lots of eye-catching decorations.