It was in 1966 that the architect Hossein Amanat won the competition to design the Azadi Tower of Tehran. This tower like the Eiffel tower is famous for it being the symbol of the nation. Azadi Tower is not only, one of the main symbols of the nation, but also the symbol of modernity and a celebration for 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. The name Azadi means freedom and liberty in Farsi. The reason behind naming the tower this way is explained further in the history of this attraction.
Azadi Tower Today
Today, Azadi Tower is one of the top tourist attractions. This famous tower welcomes more and more visitors day and night. For many tourists, taking a photo in front of the Azadi Tower offers the ideal view as the symbol of Tehran.
Azadi Tower illuminations
When the night begins the nightlife of Tehran comes into the view. On special occasions, you can see different light shows and illuminations on the Azadi Tower. Every night, the light shining on the marbles of Azadi Tower creates a magical and stunning display.
Which parts of Azadi Tower should I visit?
The observation deck
For a 360-degree view of the capital, you can take the steps or the elevator to reach the top. There are two stairways with 286 steps each one on either side of the tower along with four elevators. Besides, from up above you can have an extraordinary view of the Azadi square. This Square was designed specially to reflect some features of the famous Persian Garden.
There are several exhibition rooms and event rooms and halls underneath the tower. Moreover, Azadi Tower hosts an underground museum. The museum is an exhibition of several antiquities from different pre-Islamic eras to Qajar era. The collection is consisted of pieces of painted pottery and miniature paintings. There are also items of marble, enamel and gold pieces.
The story of Cyrus Cylinder
It would be worth mentioning that, the exact model of the Cyrus Cylinder, known as the first charter of human rights, is held in Azadi Museum. Presently, the British Museum is the house to the one and only Cyrus Cylinder. The original Cylinder was first showcased during the opening ceremony of the Tower. Azadi library is also another Part of this attraction.
Persian Garden of Azadi Square
Gardens of Persia, throughout the history of Iran, have been designed by specific features and traditions. These traditions had their spiritual sources in some ways. The first of the Persian gardens were formed during the Achaemenid Empire. The first Persian gardens were the gardens of Pasargadae from the 6th century BC. Other examples of Persian garden are namely, Eram Garden of Shiraz, Hasht Behesht and Chehel sotun of Isfahan, Fin Garden of Kashan, Mahan Garden in Kerman, and Dolat Abad Garden in Yazd. Some of these Persian Gardens were inscribed on the UNESCO Heritage List. But how was this reflected in the designing process of Azadi square?
Azadi square has an area of 65000 square meters. The architect, Hossein Amanat, inspired by all of these gardens, impressively designed the garden to modernize the use of Persian gardens. The reflection of Persian geometry is vivid in the pattern of the Azadi Square’s garden. Moreover, some might say that the pattern reminds them of the pattern on the ceiling of Sheikh Lotf-ollah Mosque in Isfahan.
History of Azadi Tower
Azadi Tower of Tehran has witnessed many important historical markers and events. But its story begins when the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi announced a competition. This competition was a mark followed by the start of modernization and industrialization in Iran. Architects from all around Iran were asked to design a monument that represented a whole symbol of Iran and its nationality. Accordingly, Amanat won the competition to design the tower.
Origins and construction of Azadi Tower
Azadi Tower with 45 meters of height starts from 5 meters underneath the ground. It is adorned with 25000 pieces of marble brought from Isfahan. Interestingly, the stones were found and delivered by Ghanbar Rahimi who was known as the Sultan of Stones in Iran back then.
How old is Azadi Tower? The base of Azadi Tower was completed in 28 months in 1971. The names attributed to this Tower were Gate of Cyrus and later the Gate of Emperors. Ultimately, the official name of the tower became the Shahyad Tower meaning Shah’s Memorial. For the opening ceremony of the tower, for the first time, the Cyrus Cylinder was showcased. Cyrus Cylinder is a clay document issued by Cyrus the great, the Persian conqueror, in 589 BCE.
The milestone that changed the name of the Tower
After the 1979 revolution, as this Tower was a witness to the fights and protests of Iranians for their freedom, it was named Azadi (Freedom) Tower.
Architectural mixture in Azadi Tower
The architecture of Azadi Tower from the ground to the top is designed to showcase the connection between classical and post classical Iran. The architect intended to show the rising development of Iranian architecture to higher levels from the past to the modern days.
Wind tower of Azadi Tower
The grooves on top of the tower represent the architecture of wind towers that were used in traditional architecture of Iran as a way to cool down the temperature in cities with dry and hot climate. Namely, Yazd, the city of wind towers.
The turquoise blue on the vaults
Also, Hossein Amanat was inspired by the architectural unit of Chahartaqi (Four arches) for designing the base of Azadi Tower. The main vault is a classical Sassanid arch and it is connected by some frames to the post classical architecture of the above arch.
In Islamic architecture the turquoise blue is one of the main majestic colors used in the tiles of monuments. This color is masterfully used in the design and pattern of Azadi Tower.
When and where should I visit the Azadi Tower?
Azadi Tower as the gate to Tehran is located is western part of Tehran near the Mehrabad International Airport. You can choose to visit Azadi Tower first thing in the morning. Or, spend the evening and night at Azadi Tower to see the play of lights illuminated on this attraction. Keep in mind the heavy traffic of the evening and nights of Tehran.
Where should I visit after Azadi Tower?
From Azadi Tower you can go on with your Tehran journey either to the center or north of Tehran where main Tehran attractions are located. Namely, Golestan palace, Grand Bazaar of Tehran, Tajrish Bazaar, Sa’dabad palace Complex, and many more museums and attractions. For more information you can read our article about how you can spend your days at Tehran.