Dadar, Taraneh. “English abstract of 'The Story of Tehran'". Translated by Taraneh Dadar. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 116. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Sarguzasht-i Tihran is a historical survey of the city of Tehran, tracing the early development of the city until the downfall of the Qajar dynasty in 1925. In particular, the narrative focuses on the Qajar era at the start of which Tehran became the capital city of Iran.
The book tells the story of ‘places’ with focus on “people” who occupied them. Through an introduction of historical places, it offers a comprehensive account of the major events in the history of Tehran, as well as influential figures that shaped those events.
Sarguzasht-i Tihran provides an interesting insight into the changing life and customs of the city and its inhabitants, seen from the point of view of both local and Western historiographers. The book also covers the advent and development of new technologies such as print, telegraph, rail, telephone, photography and cinema. The gradual development of the banking system, police, municipality, education system, care system and transport system is described, interspersed with stories about the (usually corrupt) private lives of Kings, their ministers, members of the royal family, foreign ambassadors and ordinary people.
The list of the book’s references is exhaustive. In compiling most chapters, the author attempts to include as many different accounts of the same story as possible. Most chapters contain long quotations from the book’s many references which make the narrative style of the book reasonably varied. However, the start and end points of these long quotations are not always clearly marked which can create a slight confusion for the readers.
Sarguzasht-i Tihran is not written in a strictly academic language and is therefore aimed at a wide public readership. It is a useful source of information for anyone wishing to increase their knowledge of Old Tehran as well as history of Iran under the Qajars.