Blow, David. "From Islamic Small Town to Westernised Metropolis: The Development of Tehran under the Qajars and the Pahlavis." In The Court Historian: The International Journal of Court Studies Volume 15, Issue 1 (pp. 1-17). London: Society for Court Studies, 2010.
Tehran is a relatively young capital city. It was only towards the end of the eighteenth century that the first of the Qajar rulers of Iran, Aqa Muhammad Khan, chose it as his new capital. But it was his more colourful and artistic nephew, Path Ali Shah, who first gave what was then a small town the trappings of a royal capital through his elegant palaces and gardens in and around Tehran. His grandson, Nasir al-Din Shah, took his inspiration from Europe as he greatly enlarged the city to accommodate a rapidly growing population. He also introduced European features into his palace buildings. But Tehran remained essentially an oriental city until the Pahlavi dynasty took power in 1925 and made Tehran a symbol of their modernising and westernising agenda.
The essay is available at Maney Online for download here.