Naranjestan-e Qavam is one of those fabulous, lavishly decorated Qajar-era houses.
The Naranjestan-e Qavam, or Orange Grove of Qavam, is a wealthy merchant’s house built at the end of the 19th Century for one Mohammed Ali Khan Qavam ol-Molk. The Qavam family came originally from Qazvin, but settled in Shiraz during the Zand dynasty. Qavam House, as the building became known, was constructed much later, between 1879 and 1886, which is already Qajar dynasty – although I have also seen an earlier construction date, 1836-1846.
Qavam House was the public reception area of the family home, which was connected by underground passage – closed to the public – to the private quarters Khan-e Zinat ol-Molk.
The pavilion across from the entrance is the main building, with a spectacular mirrored portico and stuccoed ceiling, obviously the place to receive visitors. In the front façade one recognises the Lion and Sun motif, the Qajar Royal emblem. The house is set in its beautiful garden, which at the time was full of date palms and flowering plants – and perhaps also oranges, what’s in a name?
Wooden inlaid doors lead to various richly decorated rooms, some with stained-glass windows and others with delicately painted ceilings, with European motifs: there are Alpine scenes complete with leder-hose and winter scenes with sledges on frozen ponds, as well as distinctly European looking women.
Other buildings, located around the large garden courtyard, also support wooden ceilings and tiled mosaics, as well as floors that have a carpet motif: altogether a wonderful complex.