Why should we visit the National Museum of Iran?
The National Museum of Iran is the largest archeological and historical museum of the country, which is known as the reference museum or the mother museum. The national museum of Iran is also one of the world’s top museums in terms of volume, variety and quality. By visiting this museum, you have the chance to review Iran’s history from the beginning to now.
Museum of Ancient Iran:
Prehistoric Section: The remnants from the earliest times until the invention of the handwriting are exhibited in seven halls in this section of the National Museum of Iran. We will present the important works of each period in the following parts.
The Paleolithic Era: This section of the National Museum of Iran contains the oldest man-made artifacts obtained from the Iranian plateau. Some of the stone tools of this section date back to more than one million to two hundred and fifty thousand years ago. Early humans used these tools to cut the flesh and skin of animals, break their bones and cut woods. We also observe combined tools, tools for storaging food and personal decorations such as shell pendants and animal teeth related to earlier periods.
The Neolithic Era (period of settlement and formation of the cities): The Neolithic period covers about ten to five thousand years ago. One of the most important innovation of this period was the invention of pottery in 6800 to 7000 BC. Tools for harvesting cereals like compound sickles with wooden and bone handles and flint blade were also made during this period. As other things that you will enjoy visiting them in this part of the National Museum of Iran, we can mention flat seals, mud objects such as counting objects, spinning tools, spindle heads and statues like statue of fertility Goddess.
Historical Section: Precious things of this section of the National Museum of Iran date back to four thousand years BC. Follow us to introduce you various halls in this section.
The Elam Era: The first cities in Iran were built by Elamites. Ziggurat Chogha Zanbil is the most famous architectural monument of this era registered on the UNESCO list. Their important works include glass pipes, engraved bricks and engraved studs. The most important attraction of this part is a ceramic cow that was put on the entrance gate of Ziggurat Chogha Zanbil by the order of king as a guard for city.
The Bronze Age: From 3000 to 1500 BC, there is a period in Iranian history called the Bronze Age. The widespread use of bronze alloy and the first steps in the formation of government occurred during this period. The technology of using alloys caused vast produce of containers, weapons, horse fitting, human and animal figures and decorative artifacts. Variety of these tools are available for your visit in this part of the National Museum of Iran.
The Iron Age: One of the features of the Iron Age is the familiarity of the Iranian people with the iron smelting. As a result, the use of iron objects with different uses became more common. As other important features of this period, we have to mention the importance of horses in people’s life and prevalence of patterns similar to burial. You can observe many objects related to funeral and belief in the afterlife in this section of the National Museum of Iran.
The Achaemenid Period: The Achaemenid period is one of the most fascinating parts of the museum. You can observe documents left over from this era, which indicates the widespread use of handwriting in their state. Different coins of this period and the stone statue of Darius are so attractive too.
The Seleucid Period: Objects related to Hellenic art and culture, bronze figures of Greek Gods like Zeus and Hermes and coins of Alexander’s face and Greek Gods are things that will attract you in the Seleucid part of the National Museum of Iran.
The Parthian Period: One of the most unusual examples of the Parthian period is half-body remains of a man who accidently discovered in 1372 along with several part of the bones and so on. This half-body was named the salt man after being discovered.
The Sassanid Period: Among the works to be seen in this hall of the National Museum of Iran, we can mention: royal designs on silk fabric, golden containers decorated with various human and animal motifs, coins with the image of Sassanian kings immersed in crowns and ornaments, which have been carefully and elegantly minted.
The Islamic Era Section:
The artifacts made since the arrival of Islam in Iran are on display at the Islamic period museum. Now we want to get familiar with different period and their related art.
The Early Islamic Period: The works of the early Islamic period were greatly influenced by the art of the Sassanid period and it is very difficult to distinguish between these two periods. Calligraphy, painting on plaster, plastering decoration, glasswork, silver and gold coins are prominent art works of that period.
The Seljuk Period: The Seljuk rule began in the fifth century AH, creating an inflection point in Iran’s socio-political life. They took advantage of the technical-artistic experience of their predecessors in the fourth century and brought their art to the highest level. Pottery and glassware flourished during this period. Most of the designs of the dishes inspired by Iranian stories and the Seljuk painting school. Astronomy related tools like astrolabe are attraction of this part of the National Museum of Iran too.
The Ilkhani Period: The Ilkhanids ruled Iran after the Mongol invasion. There is a great deal of evidence of Iranian influence on this nation in the art works of this era. The art of metalworking like gold and silver, potteries covered by gold, very exquisite pictured books, plastered and tiled altar are among the most important art works of this period
The Timurid Period: The capital of the Timurid dynasty, Samarkand, was one of the largest gatherings of artist of that era. Timur, the powerful emperor, sent most Iranian glass masters to Samarkand to create artworks until the city became the center of glass art. The art of bookbinding reached its peak at this time. The best artistic achievement of the Timurid period was the birth of the Herat painting school. Textile and carpet also flourished. You can visit examples of all these arts in this part of the National Museum of Iran.
The Safavid Period: The Safavid period is the peak of Islamic art in Iran. During this period, many excellent Qurans were written and various scientific and literary books were decorated with calligraphy and painting. Oil paintings, calligraphy on fabric, carpet weaving and tiling with seven-color tiles will astonish you in this part of the National Museum of Iran.
The Qajar Period: During the Qajar era, artistic prosperity continued on a smaller scale. The paintings of that era were more like imitation of European classical paintings, often painted on something like mirror frames and walls. Paintings with images of Shahnameh, especially the battle scene of Rostam and Sohrab, are also impressive in this period. Important works of Qajar hall include: peacock statue and an enameled gold earrings.
The Quran Hall: A part of the first floor of this museum is dedicated to works of the holy Quran. Some of them date back to the early centuries of Islam written on the skin of deer. You can see variety of calligraphy styles used for writing these Qurans. In the center of the hall, there is a page of great and exquisite Quran carried by Nader shah in his battles to protect the army.
Address: 30 Tir St., Imam Khomeyni Sq., Tehran, Iran
Telephone: +98 21 66702 061
Opening hours: 9 AM – 7 PM (every day except holidays)
Suggested visiting time: 2-4 hours
Price: museum of ancient Iran =50000 Rials (300000 Rials for foreigners) , museum of Islamic period =30000 Rials (200000 Rials for foreigners) .