Of all the great museums the National Jewel Museum certainly is the Number 1 and that term does not do it justice. We wandered through the semi-dark rooms with our mouths wide open. The beauty of the stones and jewelry was captivating. We felt we could not leave and had to look again and again, crowns, thrones, globes – all studded with huge gems, giant pearls, others so small it was hard to imagine how they could be fitted on a string.
These treasures draw such a crowd that visitors are only allowed in en bloc. The limited opening hours (02:00 to 04:30 pm from Saturday to Tuesday) do not help and all tour operators adjust their itinerary to that schedule. A guide told us that 700 tourists are taken through the small place on those days, during high season. The museum – actually it is inside a bank – tries its best to handle the masses. We met Iranian friends there and thy were stunned. They had never seen the museum themselves and had no clue that so many tourists were arriving in Iran.
Other places in the center we explored was the National Museum and Golestan Palace, which consists of a number of grand buildings all arranged around a large garden. At the entrance you have to choose which building you want to visit and the price for the ticket depends on the number you visit.
This is also true for the other great palace in the north of Teheran, the Sa’d Abad Museum Complex, 104 hectares of what was once the royal summer home. The inside of the palaces leaves you speechless, exquisite furniture and carpets of a size we never thought that was possible. There could not be a better example of the luxurious life style of late Shah’s family.
Walking around the wooded park is pleasant and like always a great chance to talk to Iranian tourists. We did not enter the US Den of Espionage since we were with Iranian friends when passing by sheer incident. The outside wall of this former US Embassy shows murals of The Great Satan (the USA) and Israel. We wished we had been able to see US documents that were shredded and put together. Who has seen the film “Argo” by Ben Affleck and George Clooney, can appreciate the drama around it…