The Safir Language Academy is holding a one-day tour to Iran’s first modern university and one of the most beautiful historical mansions of the Qajar dynasty this weekend.
Established in 1851, Dar ul-Funun (a polytechnic) was the first modern university and modern institution of higher learning in Iran. The first steps to establish the educational institution that subsequently became known as Dar al-Funun was taken by Amir Kabir, the Prime Minister of Persia in 1848. In his initial letter of instruction to Jan Dawud, first secretary at the Persian legation in St. Petersburg, in August 1850, Amir Kabir stressed the military and technical nature of the subjects to be taught at the new academy, which in subsequent letters and in the official newspaper “Waqaye’-e ettefaqiya” he referred to variously as Ta’lim-kana, Madrasa-ye jadid, Madrasa-ye nezamiya.
Dar ul-Funun was initially regarded as a polytechnic to train upper-class Persian youth in medicine, military science, engineering and geology which developed and expanded over the next hundred years, eventually becoming the University of Tehran.
It was designed by the Iranian educated Mirza Reza Mohandes, and built by the architect Muhammad Taqi Khan Memar Bashi. Facilities included an assembly hall, cafeteria, a theatre, a publishing house and a library.
Many parts of the institute were later incorporated and merged into the newly established Tehran University. The Faculty of Medicine was particularly the successor to the Dar ul-Funun Department of Medicine, established in 1851, which had become the School of Medicine in 1919.
Masoudieh Palace (Emarat-e Masoudieh) is one of the most beautiful palaces or historical houses from Qajar dynasty in old Tehran near Baharestan Square, comprised of a palace and surrounding houses.
The main building is a palace, situated at the centre of a garden which belonged to Masoud Mirza, son of Nasser-edin Shah who was the governorship of Isfahan and used the palace as his capital residence.
Built in 1879 by a mason named Shabar Me’marbashi in an area of 4,000 sq meters, the complex is divided into public and private quarters, surrounding houses, and administrative offices.
The building lends itself well as a place of culture as in 1926, Iran’s first official library was established in one of its halls. The library was the cornerstone of the later National Library of Iran.
A few years later, a collection of antiques, gathered from across the country, were transferred to another hall of the complex, and the place became Iran’s first functional museum. Although by 1940 the artefacts were transferred to the newly established National Museum, many ancient inscriptions and documents remained at the palace.
How much will it cost?
The tour will be conducted by Safir Academy in the English language on Friday, August 10 from 8:30 am and it will cost 500,000 IRR (Just under €5). It includes transportation via a tour bus, entrance fee, English speaking tour guide, snacks and day travel insurance.
You can buy tickets on Tiwall.com or simply from here.
Tiwall.com is a Persian-only website, so if you cannot read the script, do get a local friend to help you with the process!