Repurposing historical buildings and reinventing them as hotels provides tourists and even locals with one-of-a-kind accommodation and the chance to stay in a part of history. They offer unique travel experiences in unbeatable locations and enable visitors to experience the charms of living in an authentic ambiance with a profound history.
Arian Hostel has 8 rooms each beautifully decorated and furnished with Iranian hand-woven rugs and turquoise blue bed covers. When my husband and I were engaged, I planned to organise a small traditional ceremony in Iran to have him experience some of the forgotten Persian customs.
Arian Hostel (or Razaz Boutique hotel) is located in the very heart of Tehran which is only 15 minutes walk from the epic Grand Bazaar, Golestan Palace and Jewelry Museum. The house was bought by an Iranian history lover and world traveler in 2016 and was renovated in the most magnificent way with minimal changes to the authenticity of the building which has turned this historic private Qajar house into an iconic hotel.
After a long research I found Arian Hostel and one glance at their Instagram page took my breath away and I said to myself "that's it". The blue pond in the middle of the yard. The red bricks covering the walls and the colourful windows of the rooms took me back to the times I only got to see in the movies.
I immediately contacted them and found out that they rent out the entire building for as many days and nights as we want, and completely private. I then thought of a very traditional pre-wedding ceremony which dates back to Qajar times and that is bridal face threading.
When I discussed it with family and friends, some did not even know what I was talking about. The tradition of bridal face threading had long been forgotten. When I talked about it with my husband he welcomed it openly. There was almost no picture or video I could show him but he could not wait for the day of our own.
We checked into the hotel the night before and arranged all the decorations. I placed some beautiful china plates, watermelon and pomegranate in the pond, ordered Persian legume soup and made some bread and cheese bites. Simple. Just like the old days.
I asked a hairstylist to do my hair and I did my makeup by myself. Nothing too fancy. My husband and I had the most beautiful photoshoot in Arian Hostel.
Friends and family came along, traditional Persian music, a lady who played the daf and a guy who played the flute. We hired dancers to show us dances from different corners of Iran. Gilaki, Azari and a traditional street dance. It was not only something extremely exotic for my husband but for my friends and family it was one unique experience as well. Our Persian-style wedding ceremony took place in the most Persian home in the heart of Tehran.
Lots of gleaming and picturesque cafes filled with antique tables and chairs placed around blue ponds decorated with Persian tiles have become the charming hotspots for young and old these days. To grasp how these gorgeous cafes were created requires traveling down the history lane.
The Qajar dynasty (1789 to 1925) is the most populated dynasty ever in the history of Iran. Polygamy culture and the persistence on having as many children as possible to empower the dynasty have left Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz with dozens of magnificent houses that used to be the homes of the wives and children of the Qajar dynasty.
Some of these aristocrat homes have already been replaced by skyscrapers, apartment buildings and shopping malls by the Iranian government but some have given their place to magnificent cafes and restaurants while still holding their beauty and character. Nowadays younger people tend to value their heritage more than ever, maintaining their identity while figuring out how to repurpose them for new uses. Here are some of these breathtakingly beautiful houses: