Sometimes there are places or buildings that I’d like to see that I’m pretty confident I’ll never see. For example, it’s pretty likely I’ll never get to see the Azadi Tower, or “Freedom Tower,” in Tehran, Iran. I don’t recall the first time I saw the monument but it was likely in the news. Over the past few years, it’s commonly been used as a backdrop for former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches. Originally I thought it was a bridge but the Azadi Tower is actually a monument in a public square.
In 1966, Iranian-Canadian architect Hossein Amanat won a contest to design the Shahyad Tower, or “Kings’ Memorial,” as it was then called, to commemoration the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. It was constructed in 1971, stands 164 ft high and is covered in cut marble. During the Iranian Revolution, the tower was renamed to the Azadi Tower. The tower now houses a museum as well as being surrounded by a public square in a seemingly busy area.
All politics aside, I’m fascinated by the Azadi Tower based on its sheer size and its geometric architecture. Between the heavy traffic around the square and the apparent improper funding of the tower’s maintenance, it seems like the Azadi Tower might be better to admire from afar. But admire I will.