BĀḠ-e ŠĀH (the king’s garden), currently the name of a garrison (pādgān) in the western part of present-day Tehran. In the mid-Qajar period, the site was a broad, circular field about 1,000 m in diameter situated on the outskirts of the city near one of its west gates and devoted to horseback riding and racing (ʿA. Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī-e man, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1343 Š./1964, I, pp. 366-67). Adjoining the gate and abutting the racetrack was a crescent-shaped structure, from the second story of which the shah, his family, and his retainers would watch the races; the royal butlery occupied the lower story (M.-Ḥ. Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Rūz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt, ed. Ī. Afšār, 2nd ed., Tehran, 2536 = 1356 Š./1977, p. 197). In 1299/1882, Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah ordered his treasurer and customs minister Amīn-al-Solṭān to oversee the digging of a qanāt which would convert the field into a formal park (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Tārīḵ-emontaẓam-e nāṣerī, Tehran, 1298-1300/1881-83, III, p. 381). Water, at a volume of six sangs, borne by the qanāt fed numerous channels and more than 400 fountains and filled a large central pond adorned by eighty fountains (Dūst-ʿAlī Khan Moʿayyer-al-Mamālek, Yāddāšthā-ī az zendagānī-e ḵoṣūṣī-e Nāṣer-al-Dīn Šāh, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982-83, p. 47) and a central island, on which a statue of the shah on horseback was erected. Apparently when the statue was unveiled, state dignitaries present at the ceremony bowed reverently before it. Branding such reverence a kind of idolatry, the people of Tehran rose up to protest, which is why no other statues of the shah were attempted. Several fine buildings and kiosks were constructed and a small zoo was set up in the southern section of the park at a total cost of 30,000 tomans (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Čehel sāl tārīḵ-e Īrān dar dawra-ye pādšāhī-e Nāṣer-al-Dīn Šāh: al-Maʾāṯer wa’l-āṯār I, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, p. 85; idem, Ḵāṭerāt, pp. 166, 437; Mostawfī, I, p. 366; S. ʿA. Ḥosaynī Balāḡī, Tārīḵ-eTehrān: Qesmat-e markazī wa możāfāt, Qom, 1350/1931, p. 116). A tower-shaped building “Borj-e Manẓar,” overlooking Tehran and fields adjacent to it, was erected in one corner of the park (Moʿayyer-al-Mamālek, p. 48); another building in the shape of a calèche was built near the lake (Balāḡī, Tārīḵ-eTehrān, p. 116).

They called the park Bāḡ-e Šāh, by which name the nearby city gate also became famous. The race course was moved to Dūšān Tappa in the eastern part of Tehran (Mostawfī, I, p. 366). Bāḡ-e Šāh soon became a home away from home for Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, who, while on outings to his Dalīčāy hunting grounds near Qazvīn, would spend the night there (Eʿtemād-al-Salṭana, Merʾāt al-boldān, Tehran, 1294/1877, p. 39).

Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah (r. 1313-24/1896-1907), continued the tradition of his predecessor by using Bāḡ-e Šāh as the royal summer residence (yeylāq). Moreover, during his reign, because of its proximity to Tehran’s western gate, Bāḡ-e Šāh also became the place where foreign dignitaries and ambassadors were received before entering the city (ʿA. Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, Ḵāṭerāt o asnād, ed. Ī. Afšār, Tehran, 1351 Š./1973, p. 21). It was also during the reign of Moẓaffar-al-Dīn Shah that Bāḡ-e Šāh achieved historical significance. According to Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermānī, in the beginning of Rabīʿ I, 1324/May, 1906, when popular demand for implementing the royal edict establishing the ʿAdālat-ḵāna (House of Justice) peaked, Prime Minister ʿAyn-al-Dawla convened the Šūrā-ye Dawlatī (State Council) in Bāḡ-e Šāh, hoping to forestall the ʿAdālat-ḵāna (M. Nāẓem-al-Eslām Kermānī, Tārīḵ-ebīdārī-e Īrānīān, ed. ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, 4th ed., Tehran, 1362 Š./1983, I, pp. 380-92).

Bāḡ-e Šāh gained true notoriety as the site where a number of leaders of the Constitutional Revolution were executed by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah. When the breach between Moḥammad-ʿAlī Shah and the first Majles became irreparable, on 4 Jomādā I 1326/3 June 1908 the shah moved in full force to Bāḡ-e Šāh, to which his private quarters and state apparatus were also transferred (M.-M. Šarīf Kāšānī, Wāqeʿāt-e ettefāqīya dar rūzgār, Tehran, 1362 Š.1983, p. 177; Mostawfī, II, p. 261; Ẓahīr-al-Dawla, p. 329). Nineteen days later (23 Jomādā I 1326/23 June 1908), imperial troops bombarded the Majles, and a number of well-known deputies, such as Sayyed Moḥammad Ṭabāṭabāʾī, Sayyed ʿAbd-Allāh Behbahānī, Ḥājī Mīrzā Naṣr-Allāh Beheštī Malek-al-Motakallemīn, and Mīrzā Jahāngīr Khan Ṣūr-e Esrāfīl (qq.v.) were captured, dragged off in chains to Bāḡ-e Šāh, and, the next day, either executed or imprisoned (Nāẓem-al-Eslām, II, pp. 151-60, 270).

Fearful of public outrage in Tehran, Moḥammad-ʿAlī decided to make the easily defended Bāḡ-e Šāh his permanent residence, and it was there that he convened gatherings attended by his court and royalist clerics. He also met there with a group of anti-Majles divines lead by Shaikh Fażl-Allāh Nūrī, who made his way from the city in the royal carriage (Nāẓem-al-Eslām, II, p. 169). On 12 Šawwāl 1326/7 November 1908, Bāḡ-e Šāh was the site of a meeting of monarchist clerics and members of court held to fulfill a promise the shah had made to foreign diplomats to reconvene the Majles. The participants unanimously condemned the Majles and the renewal of constitutional government as detrimental to Islam and against the Šarīʿa and declared that they would leave the country if the shah reopened parliament (Nāẓem-al-Eslām, II, p. 237).

Fearing the advance of nationalist troops from the provinces, Moḥammad-ʿAlī eventually left Bāḡ-e Šāh for the Salṭanatābād palace on 24 Rabīʿ II 1327/16 May 1909. Finally, after Constitutionalist forces had gained control of Tehran, on 27 Jomādā II/16 July of the same year, the shah, his attendants, and about 500 of his soldiers and attendants took refuge in the Russian Legation at Zarganda (Nāẓem-al-Eslām, II, pp. 493-94; E. G. Browne, The Persian Revolution of 1905-1909, London, 1966, p. 321).

Bāḡ-e Šāh became historically important again in 1911, when W. Morgan Shuster was invited to Iran as treasurer-general. Shuster, whose mission was to straighten out the country’s finances, proposed that a five-company battalion of Treasury Gendarmerie be formed. His proposal was approved by the Majles and Bāḡ-e Šāh became battalion headquarters. Two years later, when the Treasury Gendarmerie became a national gendarmerie under the command of the Swedish colonel Hjalmarsen, it remained headquartered in Bāḡ-e Šāh. In 1340/1921, the gendarmerie was merged with the Cossack division, and Bāḡ-e Šāh became an official garrison (J. Šahrī, Gūša-ī az tārīḵ-e ejtemāʿī-e Tehrān-e qadīm, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, I, p. 178; P. Afsar, Tārīḵ-ežāndārmerī-e Īrān, Qom, 1332 Š./1953, pp. 46, 48, 278).

After the revolution of 1357 Š./1978-79, the garrison at Bāḡ-e Šāh became the Lāhūtī garrison (after a leader of the revolution who died in a car accident) and later was renamed Pādgān-e Ḥorr after the martyr of Karbalā Ḥorr b. Yazīd Tamīmī.

Bibliography: Given in the text.

Search terms:

 باغ شاه bagh e shah  baagh e shaah  


(ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: August 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 4, pp. 402-403