Museums in Iran 


Museums are the treasure house of history and culture of a country. It is in museums that people can view and examine the artifacts made by their ancestors to get a picture of how they lived, celebrated, mourned, entertained, etc. Iran is a vast country with an amazing diversity in terms of people and races that have lived in it; therefore, a vas range of artifacts from all different epochs in history and made by various cultures and languages can be found in the Iranian museums.
As of 2019, there are 689 formally registered museums in Iran (plus many personal and informal museums), scattered around the country. The first museum built in Iran is the Museum of Ancient Iran, later changed to the National Museum of Iran, which holds artifacts from prehistoric times up to Sassanid Era (650 AD). André Godard, the French Architect and archeologist, inspired by Tāq Kasrā structure, constructed this museum by the command of Reza Khan in 1312.

For a list of museums in Iran, refer to: 

Wikipedia List of Meusums in Iran 

Have a Look at the Top Museums in Iran


Isfahan Music Museum


Opening hours: Every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except IMM closing days.

Isfahan Music Museum on Google Map

Music is one of the defining characteristics of Isfahan. The city has played an important role in success of the Iranian traditional music. Isfahan music system, known as the Bayat-e Isfahan, is one of the well-known pieces of traditional music in Iran. The city has been the birthplace of numerous famous musicians and singers who contributed a lot to the music of Iran. Taj Esfahani (1903 – 1981), the singer whose famous song “Be Esfahan Ro” is somehow the unofficial music of the city and also Hassan Kassai (1928 – 2012) who was a true master of the ney instrument are the best examples of the most recent well renowned artists of the city.

Isfahan Music Museum was established in 2015 to celebrate the history and diversity of music in Iran. The museum exhibits more than 300 music instruments from different regions of Iran, some of which are unique in their design. With help of the equipped audio systems, you can listen to the sound of the instruments and watch videos of these instruments being played in performances. This will give you the opportunity to hear the magical sound of some of the rarest instruments. There is also a section dedicated to the most influential artists of Isfahan which can give you an insight of their work.

Another addition to your visit could be the opportunity to enjoy a short live performance by the owners of the museum who are professional performers and are always happy to greet the visitors by playing for a couple of minutes in the museum’s music room (it is better to ask for their availability as the live performance is usually subject to their presence). You can also visit the museum’s shop to buy Iranian music instruments or have a cup of coffee in its relaxing cafe. Isfahan Music Museum is located at No. 74, Mehrdad Street, Tohid Street, Isfahan. The museum is open everyday from 9am to 9pm except for the closing days schedule which is available on their website.

The National Jewelry Treasury


Open from Saturday to Tuesday, 14.00 – 16.30.

Close on Wednesdays, weekends and Public and Bank Holidays

National Jewellery Museum in Google Map

By visiting this museum, you’ll get a lot of information about Iran’s history. In other words, visitors will know about the country’s victories, failures, pride, and shocking incidents. The general opulent objects of the museum are gem-studded crowns, swords, and thrones like Takht-e Naderi and Takht-e Tavoos (Peacock Throne, a gem-studded daybed). Walk through the bright gems and enjoy Iranian art and culture.

The process of collecting jewels began by Safavid monarchs. Anyway, some of them were scattered due to different reasons like war or rubbery. The most significant item was a diamond called Kuh-e-Nur (mountain of light). It was never brought back to Iran, however, Being the largest diamond cut in the world, Kuh-e Nur was taken to Crown Jewels of UK.

This diamond had another pair called Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light). It’s the 182-carat uncut pink diamond, nowadays displayed in Iran’s national jewelry treasury. Both of them belonged to Nader Shah Afshar.

Later, the majority part of the treasury was transferred to Iran in 1955, nowadays kept in this museum. The National Jewelry Treasury is in the capital city of Iran, Tehran, in the vault of Central Bank of Iran. It contains an exquisite collection of precious royal jewelry related to Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi eras.

For entering this museum is to leave all your belongings at reception and don’t touch anything else the alarms will trouble.

Golestan Palace


Opening hours: Every day 9:00 – 18:00

Golestan Palace on Google Map

Virtual Tour

One of the most significant buildings listed among UNESCO’s heritage sites is the magnificent and glorious Golestan palace (Kākh-e Golestān) located in the heart and historic district of Tehran. This splendid palace represents a unique style for its time, incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts with elements of 18th century Western architecture and technology. Originally, the walled palace dates back to the Safavid era (17th century), but it received its characteristic features and rich ornaments by the 19th century. In that period, it was considered the seat of power in the Qajar dynasty. The entire complex of Golestan Palace includes 17 structures containing palaces, museums, and halls which were used for coronations and other important celebrations. It also consists of three main archives, including the photographic archive, the library of manuscripts, and the archive of documents.

Outstanding Universal value

Several criteria have been met to allow Golestan Palace to be placed in UNESCO’s world heritage list.
In all, Golestan Palace is the most prominent example of Persian art and architecture throughout Iran’s process of modernization in the 19th century. The building combines elements of perfected late-Qajar-era art with the emerging European styles of the time.

The first criteria that was checked was the palace’s unification of Persian arts and architecture with European styles and motifs alongside the adaptation of European building technologies. At a time when Iranians were establishing closer relations with their European counterparts, the Golestan Palace stood as a symbol of the merging of these two different worlds.

The second exceptional criteria is the palace’s extreme level of artistic value. Not only does the palace feature the most lavish and detailed motifs and styles of the Qajar era, it is often quoted as the peak of Qajar art. Even though many parts of the palace were destroyed and renovated by future monarchs, what remains today has got to be the best kept artforms from that time period.

The third criteria is the actual buildings of the Palace. The building itself was made using both traditional Iranian architecture and engineering along with modern European construction methods and materials. Being the first building to feature these new construction elements, the building is a highly unique symbol of Iran’s transitional period.

Currently the building is owned and managed by the state. It was submitted into UNESCO’s cultural heritage sites in 2013.


Sa’dabad Complex


Opening hours: Every day 9:00 – 18:00

Sa'dabad Complex on Google Map

The 300-hectare Sa’dabad Complex built by the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs, is located in the Toochal foothills, in lively and lush green valley of Darband, with clean and pleasant weather, in other words, it is in the most attractive and most beautiful place in Tehran. The complex includes more than 180 hectares of natural forest, streets, qanats, galleries, and museums.

18 large and small palaces, museums, various greenhouses, various pools, springs, tennis courts, a bowling alley, movie theater, an outdoor amphitheater are some of the places in this complex. Museums such as Omidvar Brothers museum, Water (Aab) Museum, Farshchian Museum, Museum of the Royal Automobiles, all, are a large collection in Sa’dabad complex.

Sa’dabad Complex, has elapsed four eras; Qajar, the first and the second Pahlavi eras and the last one, after the Iranian revolution.  Numerous monuments and buildings which are 18 different palaces were built after the coup of 1299 (Persian Calendar) and its capture by the Pahlavi dynasty. Each of the buildings has been the location of one of the Pahlavi dynasty. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in ​​the 1350s settled in this place. The oldest palace of the series was the Ahmad Shahi Palace, in the early days of his reign, building it ended. The Latest House in this collection is the palace that belonged to, Reza Pahlavi’s youngest daughter, Leila Pahlavi.

This collection has been a museum since the revolution in 1979. Today, the official residence of the President of Iran is located adjacent to the complex. The Queen Mother’s palace belongs to the presidential organ and is used for the reception of foreign guests.

The imposing complex of Sa’adabad was built in Qajar time, it used to be a resort for Qajar kings especially in summers. During Pahlavi time, they added some other buildings and all 18 palaces were the home garden of the royal family. Nowadays, some of them have turned into museums, including:

Mellat Palace Museum (White Palace)

Fine Arts Museum

Green Palace Museum

Master MirEmad Calligraphy Museum

Royal Costume Museum

Master Behzad Museum

Royal Albums and Historical Documents` Museum

Water Muse

Royal Cars Museum

Royal Weapons Museum

Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran


Opening Hours: Every day 8:00 – 19:00

Glassware and Ceramic Museum On Google Map

The museum building is in Tehran and used to be a private residence for Qavam-Ol-Saltaneh (Mr. Ahmad Qavam) in 1922. Later, it turned into the Egyptian embassy. In 1980, the building became a museum and was also selected as a national heritage.

The octagonal building is in the middle of a 7000 square meter garden. It consists of two storeys designed with a mixture of Iranian and European styles. The authentic plaster/woodwork and shining crystal chandeliers will amaze you about old houses.

By visiting this museum, not only do you enjoy the architecture, but you also observe the ancient glass and clay works, and a unique collection in Iran. You’ll be standing in awe of the beauty of clay pots, date back to the 4th millennium BCE. There are also European glass works of 18th and 19th centuries in 6 halls and two other halls have themes of different historical times.

Reza Abbasi Museum


Opening Hours: Every day 9:00-18:00 except Mondays

Reza Abbasi Museum on Google Map

They opened this museum in 1977 in Tehran. It’s named to honor the skilled Iranian artist of the Safavid time, Reza Abbasi. The museum has become under the supervision of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization since 2000.

Reza Abbasi Museum includes three galleries depicts pre-Islamic and Islamic art. The objects range from pottery, metalwork, jewelry, paintings on canvas, paper and manuscripts of prehistoric eras to vessels, metalwork, fabric paintings and calligraphy of Islamic time. Some painting and miniatures by Reza Abbasi are also part of the exhibition.

What makes the museum special and one of the top museums in Iran is that all items are arranged chronologically, so visitors can realize the improvement and evolution of art. In general, the objects date back to the 2nd millennium BC to the early 20th century (that is to say the end of the Qajar period in Iran)

The National Museum of Iran

Website address:

Opening Hours: Every day 9:00-19:00

The National Museum of Iran on Google Map

Iran National Museum is a ‘ mother museum’ because it is the largest, the most important and the oldest museum of the country. In terms of volume, variety and quality of the works is also one of the few big museums in the world. Unique display of the works from the Paleolithic to the Islamic eras, in the form of two “ancient” and “Islamic” parts, leaves us a unique memory of the museum. The National Museum of Iran was inaugurated in 1316 Persian Calendar.

Now the National Museum of Iran has 13 different sections, including sections of prehistoric, historic, Islamic, stamps and coins, restoration, epigraph and scrolls, library and documentation center, research the history of Iranian art, research of Nations’ history and civilization, photography, public relations and International relations, information center and physical protection systems, all of which have been set up during years.

Yazd Water Museum

Opening Hours: Every day 8:00-19:00

Yazd Water Museum on Google

Yazd is a dry city which is located in the desert, and one of the major issues was getting water, so much so that it has a museum dedicated to explaining how it was obtained. This museum will explain all about qanat, an elaborate tunnel system used to extract groundwater. The tunnels were hand-hug and just big enough to fit one person.

Water from the qanat is stored in “ab anbar”, water reservoirs, which were usually adorned with badgir, windcatchers, to keep the water near ice cold temperature. The actual Museum is in the basement. This Museum displays the tool, techniques used for the past 4000 years in Iran in creating underground waterways (called Qanats) and connecting them to the city and field locations for agricultural and other uses. Before the Romans built their aqueducts, Iranians had built an extensive system of underground qanats (aqueduct).

The Museum building has once been a merchant’s house built in 1929. Two qanats are running beneath the Museum at different levels, which are reachable through a special stairway called “Payab”. This Museum has put on display a variety of water objects from qanat to water ownership documents. Some parts of the house structure represent some part of water history in the region. For example the stairway to qanat or a reservoir on the roof can show how water technologies and everyday life have been interwoven in the past.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA)


Opening Hours: Every day 8:00 – 17:00 except Fridays

TMOCA on Google Map


The largest art museums in Tehran lies among a lush park called Laleh Park. It contains more than 3,000 priceless items of European and American paintings from the 19th and 20th century. An eye-opening collection of Iranian modern and contemporary art also exists, which conclude sculptures too.

The museum was established by the empress, Farah Pahlavi. The idea arose when she was talking to an artist. Then she started to meet many Iranian and international artists to complete the collection.

TMOCA has the most priceless works of great Western artists such as Picasso, Pollack, Matisse, Kandinsky, Warhol, Rothko, Van Gogh, Bacon, Miró, and Munch. Consequently, it’s one of the most significant collections outside Europe and the US. It’s estimated that the museum’s value is approximately £2.5 billion.

The works of Iranian artists such as  Sohrab Sepehri, Farideh Lashai, and Parviz Tanavoli exist in the museum as well.

Moghadam Museum


Opening Hours: Every day 9:00 – 17:00 except Mondays

Moghadam Museum on Google Map 

This museum is in a house with traditional architecture in the center of Tehran. It’s among a small garden with multiple turquoise ponds and many trees in the yard.

They built this house about 200 years ago. It belonged to Ehtesab-Ol-Molk, a high-ranking official, in the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century. One of Ehtesab’s sons, Mohsen Moghadam, studied Archaeology in Europe, then he came back to Iran with his French wife. The couple started to collect precious items like gems, fabrics, paintings, and prehistoric objects and arranged them in his father’s house.

Mohsen is the first Iranian who got Legion of Honor from the French President because of his previous activities. After the couple passed away, Tehran University has been managing museum until now.

By walking through this amazing garden, you find out more about Persian architecture and refresh your mind, as well as getting historical information.


Carpet Museum of Iran


Opening Hours: Sat - Thu: 8:00 - 18:00

Carpet Museum on Google Map 

Iran carpet museum is a repository for hundreds of breathtaking Iranian carpets from Tabriz, Kashan, Isfahan, Kerman. The Carpet Museum of Iran itself was designed by Queen Farah Diba and mixes classic ‘70s style with carpet-inspired function – the exterior is meant to resemble threads on a loom, which cool down the main building by casting shadows on its walls.

The ground floor of Carpet Museum of Iran display is arranged more or less in chronological sequence, working in an anticlockwise direction, beginning with a replica of the Pazyryck rug (c5th century BCE, the oldest known knotted carpet found in Siberia in the 1940s, now held in The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia).

It includes superb examples of 16th-17th-century Safavid rugs including the so-called Polonaises which caused a sensation at the 1867 Paris Universal Exposition. But you may prefer decoding the 18th-century ‘garden’ carpets with their stylized irrigation channels (including fish) and chenar plane trees. The impact of European art and taste on 19th-century Persian carpet design grows more marked as you walk around, whether it is the reproduction of a Watteau oil painting or a large `family-tree’ of American presidents with a 1904-05 date presumably made for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis.

The upstairs gallery of the Iran carpet museum serves as a temporary exhibition space, but generally includes more ‘tribal’ work. It is worthwhile investigating the small shop in the main entrance hall as a number of the Farsi publications have English summaries, but the postcards on sale surprisingly do not illustrate any of the museum pieces. A small cafeteria is opposite but be warned: the attendant professes never to have change and you should check his prices against the display notice.