Located in the Lotfali Khan Zand Avenue in the nice city of Shiraz, there exists an elegant garden called Narenjestan (Orangery) due to its abundant sour orange trees dating back to the Qajar era. It is also renowned as Narenjestan Mansion or Qavam Garden, constituting the public house of the Qavam complex which is connected to the private quarters named Zinat al-Molk House through an underground tunnel.
The construction was started by Ali Mohammad Khan Qavam-ol-Molk in 1836-1846, completed by his grandson in 1879 and undergone changes in later periods as it was decorated with mirrors, paintings, tile work, plaster work and inlaid works, making it an architectural masterpiece of the Qajar dynasty.
Built by professional artisans in an area of over 3,500 square meters, the garden includes the total built-up area of 940 square meters in the northern and southern wings which was served as an administrative department as well as a meeting place for Qajar dignitaries and nobles.
Entering through the wooden door of the main entrance on the southern side decorated with inlaid work, visitors lead into a vestibule (an octagonal corridor) topped by a ceiling of bricks and tiles. The main features of the entrance which makes it more beautiful are a tablet of marble stone on top with Qur’anic verses and poems by local poet Mohammad Mehdi Asudeh Shirazi about the founder of the garden and date of its construction inscribed on and two Qajar soldiers holding their rifles on both sides of the lower part.
The southern wing, which used to be the residence place of servants, includes two porticos with inlaid wooden columns and rooms adorned with fantastic plasterwork. The northern wing includes a two-storey mansion mainly made of bricks standing two meters above the yard with special features such as a portico with two stone columns flanked by inlaid doors and windows as well as a wooden ceiling with mirror work and paintings in warm colors and various patterns.
In the middle of the mansion, there is a wonderful mirror hall surrounded by rooms on both right and left sides in a symmetrical way. What makes the structure more fascinating is the nice style of the floors of the porticos which are covered with white and blue tiles and its walls covered with attractive plaster work.
In addition, inspired by carvings at Persepolis, there are some marvelous bas-reliefs of Achaemenid soldiers, lions, and pictures of fighting mythological creatures on the outer side of the building that together with three eye-catching arches on the top front side of the mansion adorned with colorful and illustrated tiles increase the beauty of the façade. Also, in the basement of the mansion, there is a small museum of fantastic antique objects worthy of visiting.
Standing on the mirrored porch of the Narenjestan mansion, visitors face with a gorgeous view of the garden with its fountains, palms, sour orange trees, flowering plants, and a stone pool in the middle which should not be missed, having a memorable sightseeing.
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