23 April 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: Naranjestan-e Qavam in Shiraz

Traditional houses abound in Iran. Sometimes they are transformed into museums, as is the case of the houses I saw in Kashan, or they are transformed into boutique or traditional hotels. Shiraz isn't known for traditional houses, but nevertheless there are a few houses-turned-museums that are open to the public. One such house is the Naranjestan-e Qavam, or the Qavam House.

Traditional houses in Iran tend to have a particular generic design, mostly focused on the garden, which is overlooked by the open-air "throne room" which is without a wall on one side. This house also has that feature: a tranquil garden and a building with a room right in the middle that is open, so one can be in the building but at the same time observe what is happening at the garden.

The pictures I have above show you this architectural feature. The porch is where all the action is, and so if you're in the house, you see everything. Notice the glass designs: this house is full of them.

As far as traditional houses go, this one is actually rather young, having been built between 1879 and 1886. It is said that the Qavam family were originally from Qazvin. Later on, this house became the headquarters for a research institute for Iranian studies, headed by Arthur Pope and Richard Frye.

I don't know what to think about this place. It was nice to look at, but it wasn't visually arresting. Perhaps I have already seen prettier traditional houses when I was in Kashan and therefore my standard was rather high. Or perhaps I was starting to have travel fatigue by this time, after all, I was entering my third and final week of my trip by this time. I do recall spending more chill time in Shiraz than the other travelers, after all I was coming from the desert and needed to recharge my batteries. Anyway, it was an interesting visit.


  1. As pretty as it is it's... visual overload for me. There is something resting about white walls :-D

    1. Zhu,

      Yep, I find mirrored walls pretty, but I definitely cannot stand living in them for example!