Tehran Keshavarz Boulevard

Monday, January 28, 2013

Compiled By: Firouzeh Mirrazavi
Deputy Editor of Iran Review

Keshavarz Boulevard (Blvd.) is the name of an east-west boulevard in District 6 of the Iranian capital, Tehran. After a visit to Iran by the British Queen Elizabeth II during the rule of the former Iranian Pahlavi regime, this street was called Elizabeth Boulevard.

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution, since the main building of Iran's Agriculture Ministry was located there, it was renamed Keshavarz (meaning “farmer” in Persian) Boulevard.

The boulevard was once among Tehran’s places of recreation, so that, in the late hours of every day, especially on holidays, a great number of Tehran citizens used the boulevard and its green spaces for recreation and to pass time.

There is a narrow stream in the middle of the boulevard which is known as “Karaj Stream.” Karaj Stream was originally a small river branching off the famous Karaj River. It flew toward Behjatabad neighborhood before going on toward the seat of the government in downtown Tehran.

The water from the stream was used for agricultural purposes and also for supplying potable water to people’s homes in old Tehran.

Before piped water was made available in the capital city, this stream played a major role in supplying water to Tehran citizens. The geographical position of Karaj Stream conforms to the current location of Keshavarz Boulevard.

The boulevard starts at Vali Asr Square in the east and ends in Dr. Gharib Street in the west. The boulevard is about 2.2 km long and, from east to west, has intersections with Palestine, Hejab, Vesal Shirazi, Qods, 16 Azar, Kargar, and Jamalzadeh streets. The southern side of Laleh Park also borders the boulevard.

New boulevards and avenues which were gradually built in Tehran, including Keshavarz Boulevard, turned into places for public recreation in the summertime and were used as a resort by large groups of the middle- and lower-class citizens.

A big population usually gathered along the boulevard on the summer evenings and nights. As a result, vendors offered various means of recreation as well as foods and drinks.

Construction of Keshavarz Boulevard coincided with increased urbanization and development of the capital city. This was a period of heyday for Keshavarz Boulevard as well.

However, changes in behavioral models gave rise to different uses of urban spaces across the city and, of course, in District 6. For example, inauguration of a number of cafés and restaurants along the main roads in the city was a result of the aforesaid change in model.

Another prominent feature of this district during that period was presence of many foreign embassies.

Young and old trees are a hallmark of the boulevard. Some of those trees were planted before development of the boulevard and grew along with it. Most of them are covered with ground ivy. Short pines and cypresses, beautiful flowers and ground ivies cover various parts of the boulevard. The street furniture is yellow in color and enough in number to accommodate occasional passers-by.

As the Sun gradually rises, the shades of trees cover the cobblestones in the middle of the boulevard, sheltering people who go through them.

At noon, the boulevard is usually more crowded. Passers-by tired with daily chores flock to the street. Some of them use the boulevard only as a passage to get to Laleh Park. Others exhausted with tiredness, lie on the ground on the corner of the boulevard to spend some time watching people and cars.

In this time, the margins of the boulevard are usually more crowded with people while the street on the two sides of the boulevard sees fewer cars. As the afternoon drags along, more cars enter the boulevard and people use it as a route to get to various destinations.

Boulevard hotel, movie theater and restaurant are located along the Keshavarz Boulevard which give people another reason to gather at this place. Of course, many young moviegoers prefer to pass the time at the cafeteria of the movie theater until the showtime begins.

The boulevard is now surrounded by buildings belonging to state-run organizations and banks. There are all kinds of administrative and state buildings all along the boulevard which include various banks, the Agriculture Ministry building, and the University of Tehran.

There are a few confectionary stores, cafés, snack bars and hotels along the boulevard. Of course, as we get close to the eastern end of the boulevard; that is, Vali Asr Square, the number of cafés and snack bars increases.

At the evening, older men and women who live in the vicinity of the boulevard came out to spend their time in the nearest recreational space to their residences. Perhaps they have memories of the time when people swam in the stream; memories which are associated with the early stages of the evolution of Keshavarz Boulevard.

As the night falls the boulevard changes color and is filled with light. There is no way one could take his/her eyes off so much glamour as the flood of different colors of light washes the city as well as its every stone.

While sitting in the boulevard, you can see various kinds of people: the poor, the maverick, the street sweepers, travelers, young student boys and girls holding hands or alone, as well as young people dreaming about the big change.

Along the boulevard, you can also see the rich and the cars which are signs of social class. Some of them point to higher social classes. Here, you can watch the parade of colors and fashions; you can watch people going by to reach the Laleh Park.

You can even see tourists heading for the park which, inter alia, includes various statues and a museum of contemporary arts. On the other hand, Laleh Park is one of the biggest parks in Tehran. Here, the Keshavarz Boulevard is a place where you can see what is outside and be immersed by what is inside.

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