The Azadi tower, also known in the past as Shahyad tower, is a monument located in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran, where it marks the west entrance and it is also one of the symbols of the city. It is the most iconic landmark and symbol of Tehran which was built in 1971 to celebrate the 2,500 years of the Persian Empire.
The name, which means Freedom Tower, was changed in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution. The tower is styled after the Iranian chahar taq, or “four arches,” architecture, and it stands tall, proud and clad in white, as if she were the Bride of Iran. When conceptualized, she was to represent the grandeur of Iranian civilization and also provide a gateway welcoming visitors into the capital.
It is 50 meters (164 feet) tall and completely clad in cut marble. The tower features: the very ancient elements of the Sassanid Empire (205–651 AD) arch, the Islamic era pointed vault and the ultra modern period of the second Pahlavi monarch, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1941–79).
The last era combined traditional Iranian culture with contemporary developments, such as highly scientific and empirical knowledge of the industrialized world. Therefore, Shahyad became a quintessential specimen of this epoch with her de novo use of methods, such as an unprecedented use of exposed concrete and travertine and the utilization of a computer program to calculate the exact dimensions of her 25,000 building blocks.
Cut into 15,000 different sizes, the blocks ranged from 40 centimeters to 6 meters in length and frequently featured unique curves. The actual construction of the tower was carried out, and supervised by Iran’s finest master stonemason, Ghaffar Davarpanah Varnosfaderani.
The main financing was provided by a group of five hundred Iranian industrialists. The inauguration took place on October 16, 1971. The Azadi tower is kind of an inspiration for the iconic Monument des Martyrs in Algiers, Algeria which was built in 1982, and shows how this masterpiece of tower has a great influence in the design and the details on other towers.