Known as one of the most touristic cities of Iran, Shiraz is the city of poetry, literature, and orange blossom fragrance and is home to diverse cultural and historical attractions. The historical houses and buildings of this city are among the must-see attractions making this lovely city even more attractive to visitors and travelers. Located on the west side of the Naranjestan-e Ghavam in the same alley, Zinat ol Molk House is one of these constructions that shouldn’t be missed visiting because of its charming design and historical value.
The History of Zinat ol Molk House
The construction of this residential building was started in 1290 Hijri (Qajar Dynasty) by the order of Mr. Ali Muhammad Khan Ghavam ol Molk one of the members of the Ghavam family who were governors of Shiraz and Fars Province for decades and their ancestor was Mr. Ibrahim Khan Kalantar. This project was finished in 1302 and then it was resided by members of the family like Mrs. Zinat ol Molk Ghavam and her family, the daughter of the fourth Ghavam ol Molk and the sister of the owner of Naranjestan Ghavam. It is also said that these two houses were connected via a corridor and the Zinat ol Molk House was the Andarooni of the Naranjestan mansion used for more private gatherings.
The Construction of Zinat ol Molk House
The entrance of the house is a wooden door ornamented with delicate marquetry and the Hashti (octagonal space) which leads you to the courtyard and is one of the most attractive parts making the exterior of the house look even lovelier. The courtyard has walls with carved dados, two ponds, and two gardens with different plants like sour orange trees and Howea palms. The façade of the building is decorated with seven-color tilework showing the sun, two lions holding swords (a traditional Persian morif), two angels, and Quran verses. The Zinat ol Molk House has more than 20 rooms, all of which are ornamented with decorative arts that you see in most of the historical houses of Shiraz including floral stuccoworks, geometrical mirror works, and wall paintings showing women and children. Also, the wooden roofs of the rooms are covered with hand paintings of delicate floral motifs, birds, and other animals. The main room or hall of the house located on the west of the house titled the Shah Neshin or the mirror hall was used for hosting more official guests and has the fanciest decorations among other rooms. The decorations in Shah Neshin show a combination of Iranian – European styles although it has its original Persian atmosphere. These 20 rooms of the house are located around the courtyard on two floors, and the 10 rooms on each floor are interconnected, which means that for going from the room in the south of the house to the room on the opposite side, you don’t need to pass the courtyard. Another charming characteristic of the house is its stained glass windows (known as Owrsi windows in Persian), which create a fantastic atmosphere with its colorful lights inside the rooms during the daytime.
The Museum of Zinat ol Molk House
The Zinat ol Molk House is the only historical house of Shiraz with a basement as large as the main building. This basement, which is a long corridor drawn below the three-sided building decorated with eye-catching brickwork, is used as the museum of the great personalities of Shiraz. Here you will see more than 50 hyper-realistic wax sculptures of the famous people of Shiraz who had a positive effect on the history and culture of this city, laid out based on the history of the city from ancient times until the current century, including the sculpture of kings and queens like Atousa (the daughter of Cyrus the Great), Karimkhan the king of Zand Dynasty, the great poets, philosophers and Sufis like Saadi Shirazi, Qaani and Baba Kouhi, great military men like General Abbas Dowran who was a pilot during the Iran-Iraq war, and philanthropists like Mr. Mohammad Namazi, who founded many facilities in this city.
The charming Zinat ol Molk House, which is one of the famous architectural heritages of the Qajar Era, is located in the Gowd Araban district of Shiraz in Karimkhan Zand Street. This district which is easily accessed by subway, bus, and taxi is home to many other historical attractions like the Nasir al Molk Mosque, Shah Cheragh Holy Shrine, and Zand Complex.