Built-in the late 19th century in Beyoğlu, the heart of Istanbul, Pera Palace Hotel has hosted many important names from past to present. One of these names was Iranian Shah Reza Pahlavi. Shah Pahlavi had stayed at the Pera Palace Hotel in the Istanbul part of his Istanbul and Ankara visits.
Reza Pahlavi, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, was born in the village of Alaşet in Mazandaran. His father, Abbas Ali Khan, was known as Dadaş Beg, and he was a soldier. Reza Khan, who lost his father at a young age, spent the first period of his life with his mother next to his uncle in Tehran. In 1891 he entered the Kazakh Infantry Union, where his uncle was a tailor. Although he could only learn to read and write in his middle age, he quickly promoted to the rank of “brigadier” thanks to his hard work. Reza Khan was appointed commander of the Hamedan Infantry Battalion during the First World War. He had become a soldier just like his father.
Reza Khan, who gained a successful military career in time, was appointed as the chief of staff by Kajar Ahmed Shah with the title of “Serdar-i Sipeh” in the new government after the stepping down of the government in 1921. Journalist Seyyid Ziyaeddin Tabatabai, the founder of the new government, left the country three months later because he could not agree with Reza Khan, so the government stepped down once again. Together with the new government, Rıza Han was appointed as minister this time. In 1923, Ahmed Shah assigned the prime ministership task to Reza Khan.
As a result of discontent with the government in Tehran, the people started to revolt. Congressmen of that time presented a resolution influenced by the changes took place in Turkey for the establishment of a parliamentary republic in the country. In April 1924, Prime Minister Reza Khan began negotiations to persuade the ulema to the republican regime. Reza Khan’s republican behaviour was not liked by Kajar Ahmed Shah. He asked for the dismissal of Reza Khan with an article he sent from Europe. Reza Khan resigned and left Tehran.
Resignation of the beloved leader Rıza Han was met with sorrow in public. There was a desire in the country for him to take over again, and Reza Khan returned to Tehran and started working again with a new cabinet. On January 31, 1924, the parliament dissolved Ahmed Shah and ended the Kajar dynasty. On 12 December 1925, Reza Khan was declared as king aka Şehinşah, and the Pahlavi dynasty was established. Reza Shah wore his crown at the Gulistan Palace in Tehran on 25 April 1926.
Reza Shah, in that period affected by the reforms carried out in Turkey, led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and made significant changes and reforms towards Westernization. Particularly, with the reform of the law, the restriction of the duties of the religious courts caused the opening of the gap between him and the ulema. For this reason, the first uprisings started in 1927. Government forces violently suppressed these uprisings, the same year political parties were closed and arrests began. With the dress reform he made in 1928, the opposition of the ulema increased more and as a result, many clergymen were imprisoned. Reza Shah continued his reforms towards bringing Iran to a modern army, economic and educational institutions with such drastic measures. While carrying out these reforms, he took Atatürk as an example. For this reason, the Shah made a 27-day visit to Turkey in 1934.
Riza Shah’s distrust of the British before the Second World War caused him to approach the Germans. After the Germans attacked the Soviet Union during the war, the British and the Russians invaded Iran in 1941. Riza Shah was thought to be close to the Nazis due to the rapid German advance. On 16 September 1941, Riza Shah was deposed from the throne to prevent the Germans from uniting with Iran. His son, Mohammed Reza, took the throne. Then Reza Shah was exiled to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, and then to Johannesburg in South Africa. Riza Shah died on July 26, 1944, while in exile. His body was brought to Iran by his son years later. Reza Shah’s mausoleum was destroyed during the 1979 revolution and his remains was never found again. However, a mummy was found last year during the construction of a shrine in Shah Rey, south of Tehran. Riza Shah Pahlavi’s grandson living in the USA explained that this mummy probably belonged to his grandfather …