District 12, Museum of City History
District 12 is one of the old districts of Tehran which is located in the heart of the capital. Every tourist who comes to Iran should inspect District 12 in order to gain a real understanding of the country. The highest concentration of historical monuments in Tehran is in this region. You may take the subway to Imam Khomeini Square which is just in the center of the historical texture of District 12 and from there you could start the exciting journey of Tehran.
District 12 is limited to Enqelab Avenue in the north, to Hafez and Vahdat Eslami streets in the west, to Shoush Street in the south and to 17 Shahrivar and Shahid Mahallati Highway in the east. District 12 with a span of 16.7 square km and a population of 500 thousand is surrounded in the middle of Enqelab Avenue, 17 Shahrivar, Shoush, Vahdat Eslami and Hafez streets. There are 10 old squares in this district each of which depicts one part of Tehran’s history. This district has 31 neighborhoods with 100 thousand households and five areas.
Historical and Cultural Characteristics
The region which is called District 12 these days was once the main constituent core of Tehran as a city. The district has an old record and life of some of its sections in the Bazaar dates back to the Safavid era but most of the remaining works belong to the Qajar era.
In District 12, still remains of many churches, synagogues and fire temples could be seen. Saint Mary Church, the Evangelic Church, the Gregory Church, and Virgin Mary Church are among religious buildings in this district. The district has still preserved remains of old caravansaries, one of which is Khanat Caravanserai which has been repaired and sells handicrafts and crystal works now.
Many historical monuments have been gathered together in this district and tourists are recommended not to miss visiting them. Embassies of Denmark, Germany, Russia, UK, Turkey, Romania and Thailand are located in this district.
Also, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Finance, Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Central Bank, the Organization of Registration of Documents and Real Estates, the Islamic Council of Tehran, the Tehran Municipality, Tehran Judiciary, the Coroner’s Office, Welfare Organization, the Central Post Office, 118 Call Center, the Court of Administrative Justice, the official gazette, General Bureau for Identity Affairs, central branch of the Bank Melli, central branch of Bank Maskan, the Islamic Consultative Assembly and Tehran’s Grand Bazaar are located in this district.
Lalehzaar Avenue which is one of the most popular streets in Iran is located in District12. Lalehzaar once used to be the symbol of modernity and arts in Iran. Many theaters, restaurants, businesses, tailor shops, cinemas and well-known shops were located in this street.
The district has more than 15 museums, one of the most important of which is Palace-Museum of Golestan. Also, the National Museum of Ancient Iran where a collection of rich works of ancient Iran is on display is also located in this district.
In this district one could enter into 30th of Tir Street and visit Abgineh Museum which is the only museum for glass works in Iran. There are many old restaurants and cafés in this district where one could spend pleasant hours.
Gol-e Rezaiyeh Restaurant with more than 70 years of age is located in this district. Naderi café and hotel which was the first café and hotel in Iran is also in this district. This café was once the stamping ground for many intellectuals, writers and elites of Iran.
Tehran’s Grand Bazaar is another spectacular center of Tehran. The quarters of the goldsmiths, the coppersmiths and … are still standing in the Tehran Bazaar. Sir Thomas Herbert, in his itinerary in the year 1108 Hegira (the Safavid era) has referred to the historical Bazaar of Tehran. The traditional Iranian kebab is served at old restaurants in the heart of the Bazaar.