The National Museum of Iran is the country’s prime archaeological and historical museum. Designed and later curated by French archaeologist and architect André Godard, the museum houses a wide collection of artifacts from Iran’s past as far back as at least the 4th millennium BCE. Highlights include a wide collection of statues, pottery, stone carvings and countless archaeological treasures from the ancient Persian heartland and fabled cities of Persepolis, Pasargadae, Susa, Ecbatana (modern Hamadan), Rey, Qazvin and other areas of Iran.
The facade of the building was designed to look like the legendary Sassanian audience hall at Ctesiphon, now in modern Iraq. The rest of the building employs a mix of styles including ancient Achaemenid and Islamic designs and motifs.
The more famous artifacts include the (headless) statue of Darius that was made in Egypt but found at Susa, the statue of a Parthian prince or noble, a lion statue from the Apanda at the Achaemenid capital of Persepolis and four cuneiform tablets. One should also visit the “Salt Man,” supposing a 4th century miner from Iran’s Zanjan province whose body, beard and some personal belongings have been remarkably preserved due to the salt in which he was found in. Other notable artifacts include probably the best collection of bronze weapons and figurines from 8th century BCE Lorestan and colorful pottery shards from all over the country.
Museum of Islamic Period:
This museum is actually joined to the National Museum of Iran and houses objects mostly from the post-Arab conquest of the country. Objects and artifacts include mostly Qur’ans with exquisite calligraphy, Persian-style miniature paintings, tiles, ceramics, coins and some textiles.