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Attractions Tehran Attractions

A Visit to The National Museum of Iran

With over 12 thousand years of documented history, Iran is an invaluable country of historic items, which each single item has added something new to the identity of history. To preserve and share these indescribable stunning objects, over 800 museums, across the country, are actively welcoming visitors daily. Among them, the Museum of Ancient Iran is the most remarkable.

The Museum of Ancient Iran, as one of the most invaluable and worthy collections of the world, walks you through the history of Iran from 12000 to 1400 years ago chronologically. It also lays a clear image of the intelligence, creativity and innovation, delicacy and artistic taste of people in this part of the world. This evidently proves why Iran’s always been introduced as one of the first pioneers of human civilization during the history.


The French architect “Andre’ Godard” designed the Museum of Ancient Iran. He modeled this museum after Archway of Ctesiphon, a Sassanid monument. Two Iranian builders, Abbas Ali Me’mar and Ostad Morad Tabrizi constructed this museum between 1933 and 1937. The Museum of Ancient Iran is important because it’s the first building designed and built as a museum in Iran. This structure in downtown Tehran, covers a total area of 3500 square meters. The Museum of Ancient Iran consists of two floors and a basement.

the Museum of Ancient Iran
the Museum of Ancient Iran

Prehistoric Periods

Once tourists have purchased a ticket, they can enter the building on the first floor. You could find English visitors’ guides of the museum who are smilingly ready to explain everything to you. There are 3 galleries to visit. In the first one, visitors can observe stone tools used by early humans who lived as small bands with nomadic lifestyle. In the second one, there are proofs of anatomically modern humans who made their stone tools more sophisticated and evolved. In the third gallery, composite tools for processing plant material and installations for storing food are on display.

Historic Periods and Three Must-Sees

The most prominent and outstanding objects from the historic periods exist in this museum. There are also a large number of items from the Proto-Elamite to the end of the Sassanid periods but you must not miss three specific items.

The first item is a painted pottery vessel in Shahre – Sookhteh collection dating back to 3000 BC. As the painting on this dish tells a story, it counts the first and the most ancient animation ever in the history.

The Museum of Ancient Iran
The Museum of Ancient Iran

A one-handed life-size bronze statue is the second must-see item in the Museum of Ancient Iran. This statue is picturing a Parthian nobleman who was discovered in the twentieth century in Shami, an area in Khouzestan. People know this statue as the “Shami Man” which is one of the most important remaining items from Parthians whose period lack a coherent corpus of arts.

A few steps away from the “Shami Man”, you can see the third item. It is the head of a 37-year-old man, with long white hair; the “Salt Man”. Archaeological studies of bone and textile samples revealed that the Salt Man lived around 1700 years ago, during Parthian period. Plus, the gold earring on his left ear has quite assured experts that he was high ranked!

Considering the novelty and uniqueness of this museum, we believe that any visitor will encounter ambiguities, confusions and questions. That’s why on each floor, you can refer to one of the English-speaking docents to answer your questions.

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