Azadi Tower – Tehran
The Azadi Tower, Tehran’s most iconic landmark and symbol of Tehran, was built in 1971. It was supposed to be built in celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, but it actually meant the end of the Pahlavi dynasty that was then ruling Iran. So the original name of the tower, “King’s memorial” changed into Azadi meaning Freedom in 1979, right after the Islamic Revolution.
Azadi Tower is formed by eight thousand white marble blocks brought from Esfahan (which is famous for its quarries) and was designed by Iranian architect Hossein Amanat (who was only 24 years old at the time), with elements of old Persian and Islamic architecture. It also inspired Argel’s Monument to the Martyrs.
The tower is 50 metres tall (164ft) and is located at Azadi Square, the largest one in the Iranian capital, with 50,000sq metres. The square itself is not only ginormous, but also very pleasant and well maintained. If you go for a stroll, especially on a Friday, you will see a lot of locals around, young guys hanging out, young couples and families having a picnic.
When conceptualized, Azadi Tower was to represent the grandeur of Iranian civilization and also provide a gateway welcoming visitors into the capital. Iranians, known for their obsessive hospitality, created an “arch of triumph,” or taq-e nosrat, located adjacent to the airport to greet every visitor. Like many historic Iranian monuments, the expansive grounds surrounding the tower were intended as a venue for celebrations, parades and other cultural events and activities.
The tower is very impressive and is definitely worth a visit. After all, if you go to Rome you won’t go home without seeing the Colloseum. Likewise, if you’re in Tehran, just don’t miss the Azadi Tower, its most famous landmark. Or Borj-e Azadi, if you want to start practising your Persian.
The tower has both Islamic influences, but pre-Islamic, too and it combines in a very creative manner the traditional Iranian architecture with modern elements and an original vision. Nowadays it is used for cultural purposes and also houses museums in the basement and souvenir shops for those visiting Iran. As I said before it is Tehran’s landmark.
The Azadi Tower is on the west part of Tehran and is easily reachable by metro. The nearest stations are Meydan e-Azadi (Azadi Square – don’t confuse it with the other Azadi station) and Ostad Moein stations on the yellow line, and are just a few minutes away. There are underground passages that connect the tower with the other side of the streets. If the underground passages are closed you can reach the tower by crossing the streets. However since these streets usually have heavy traffic on them, in this case the best option is to wait until a group of locals are crossing, so you can cross together.
You can reach the top by stairs or lift, and will probably be accompanied.