House of Amir Nezam: Museum of Qajar Period
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
House of Amir Nezam Garrousi, one of the dignitaries of Qajar era in Tabriz, was transformed into a specialized museum of Qajar period in 2006.
Due to its historical importance, the museum hosts a large number of admirers of art, culture and history.
The reason behind the importance of this museum, situated on Sheshgalan Avenue, is because of Tabriz’s sensitive historical and political position. In various periods, Tabriz was of paramount importance and this glory reached its zenith during the rule of Ilkhanid and Qajar dynasties.
In 1218 AH (after hegira), crown prince of Fath Ali Shah, Abbas Mirza, resided in Tabriz, which was the country’s command headquarters during wars between Iran and Russia. Beautiful buildings from Qajar period remain in Tabriz. House of Amir Nezam is one of such building.
The building was built during the era of Nasseriddin Shah by Amir Nezam Garrousi, who was the king’s chief of staff. In the king’s memoirs about his third trip to Europe, many references have been made about this building. It should be noted that after Nassereddin Shah’s era, governors of Azarbaijan also resided in this building.
Hassan Ali Khan Amir Nezam Garrousi, the former owner of this building, was among the affluent and renowned dignitaries of his time. He held important political and military posts for 64 years. Among his posts are ambassadorship in European countries and minister of Azarbaijan.
Amir Nezam Garrousi had a deep understanding of modern ways of statesmanship. This important figure made moves that paved the way for bringing about fundamental social changes in Iran.
He took vast interests in arts and calligraphy. Due to his endeavors, distinguished literary figures and calligraphers emerged. A number of his students, who learned principles of calligraphy from him, are responsible for momentous developments in Iranian calligraphy.
Amir Nezam participated in Herat wars with the ranks of colonel and brigadier general with immense courage and gallantry, and was appointed Iran’s ambassador to London and also supervised and protected Iranian students studying in European cities. When Amir Nezam was ordered to kill the people of Azarbaijan, he refused to do so and went into exile in Kerman where he died.
Today, only parts of this building remain, as other parts have been destroyed throughout history. Due to its historical precedence and value, the house was purchased by East Azarbaijan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department in 2001. It was subsequently registered as national heritage and underwent renovation.
The house has two stories and covers an area of 3,000 square meters with a built-in area of 1,500 square meters. Like other historical and important buildings of Tabriz, the house has two courtyards that are decorated with small gardens and large ponds.
Since its pillars are embellished with plasterworks like other regional historical buildings, the balcony of this building also has 16 pillars. Plaster and mirror works in its halls enhance the beauties of this building. There is a large pond in the basement, which is one of its prettiest sections.
The museum has 11 halls for displaying different artistic endeavors. The historical articles kept in these halls have been categorized under sections named Chinese, metals, stone, coin, music, weapons and architecture.
Among the important and extraordinary articles in this museum are ceremonial clothing items of Haj Mohammad Hossein Haj Alilou (a nomadic tribe leader), a women’s jacket decorated with needlework and velvet decorated with patterns.
Chinese crystal candle-holder, vase and beautiful dishes kept in Chinese Hall indicate the cooperation of people who made available their Qajar-era works to the museum.
Given the growth of music during Qajar period and presence of towering musicians in Tabriz, the Music Hall of the museum showcases the traditional Iranian and Azeri music of the time. Visitors can become familiar with valuable specimens of Setar (a traditional string instrument), gramophone and piano, and also observe the statues of Abolhassan Saba, a towering master of Iranian traditional music, and Abolhassan Khan Eqbal Azar, a master of singing and traditional music, and become acquainted with the governing ambiance of the Qajar era.
Since several wars were waged during the Qajar period, it was necessary to establish Weapons Hall in the museum. When visitors visit this hall, they can remember the historical events and bitter wars of this period.
The Stone Hall has a very exquisite marble inscription made in memory of the reconstruction of Tabriz after a devastating earthquake destroyed the city in 1193 AH and a stone engraved in memory of the coronation of Mozaffareddin Shah.
Coin Hall showcases Qajar era coins belonging to the eras of Mohammad Ali Shah, Mozaffareddin Shah and Ahmad Shah. Today, House of Amir Nezam is of great interest to visitors fascinated by cultural and artistic endeavors of the Qajar era.