Tehran Tourist Attractions 15 Jan 2024 BY Batul Iddi

Omidvar Brothers Museum: A Gateway to World Cultures

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to embark on a journey that spans continents on a motorbike?

Over 60 years ago, the Omidvar brothers embarked on a monumental ten-year odyssey that took them to 99 countries across five continents. They wanted to explore primitive communities around the world and introduce Iran's rich culture to the world.

With just $90 and two 500cc Matchless motorcycles proudly displaying the slogan "All different, all relatives" on the front wheel fender, the two brothers set off on a seven-year expedition. Along their journey, they documented their remarkable findings, published articles, and even delivered lectures at universities to expand their budget for the trip.

Upon their return, they received a vehicle donation from Citroen, which they carried on the last three years of the ten-year journey.

Today, the Omidvar Brothers Museum within the Saadabad Complex is a testament to their extraordinary achievements, housing a stunning collection of photographs and precious artifacts, ranging from elephant feet and ivory to gorilla skulls and human heads. Follow us to learn everything you need to know about the Omidvar brothers and the Omidvar Brothers Museum.


Who were the Omidvar Brothers?

2. Who were the Omidvar Brothers

Issa Omidvar and Abdollah Omidvar were born in 1929 and 1931, respectively, at the Dolab gate in Tehran, Iran. The Omidvar brothers are known as the most famous tourists in the history of Iran. From a young age, they were captivated by the allure of exploration and the thrill of uncovering hidden treasures. Their curiosity was fueled by the stories their father used to tell them on the long winter nights. They deeply desired to traverse the globe and unveil its hidden corners.

In Iran, they were part of a mountaineering club with which they climbed Mount Damavand, the highest volcano in Asia. In 1954, they decided to travel around the world to explore primitive communities and introduce Iran's rich culture to the world. The brothers first made a seven-year journey on a 90$ dollar budget and two 500cc Matchless motorcycles with the slogan "All different, all relatives" on the front wheel fender; on their return, Citroen France gave them a car, and they made a three-year journey in a two-cylinder Citroën making it a ten-year odyssey that took them to 99 countries across five continents.

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Why Traveling with a Motorbike?

3. Why Traveling with a Motorbike

The decision of the Omidvar brothers to embark on their global journey using motorbikes was influenced by a series of significant events and personal experiences. Issa Omidvar, one of the brothers, had previously participated in a speed and endurance race from Karaj to Tehran, where he achieved an impressive second place. This taste of adventure and the thrill of racing likely sparked his desire for further exploration. Additionally, he demonstrated his cycling prowess by securing a commendable fourth position in a speed cycling competition in Tehran.

Another pivotal factor that motivated them to travel by motorbike was the encounter with French cyclist Lionel Brans. Brans had charted an audacious route from Paris to Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, on his bike. During his journey, he passed through Tehran and was warmly received by the mountaineering club to which the Omidvar brothers belonged. This fortuitous meeting and subsequent acquaintance left a lasting impression on Issa, solidifying his determination to undertake their own adventure to different continents on two wheels. These experiences, combined with their passion for exploration and a desire for a more immersive travel experience, led the Omidvar brothers to choose motorbikes as their preferred mode of transport.

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How Did They Prepare for the Adventure?

4. How Did They Prepare for the Adventure

In preparation for their remarkable adventure, the Omidvar brothers, Issa and Abdollah, undertook separate journeys that would serve as valuable experiences for them. Issa set out on a motorbike expedition from Tehran to the west, crossing the borders of Iran to explore Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. This arduous four-month journey took him along graveled and treacherous roads. Despite the challenges, he was greeted warmly by the local people and successfully completed this journey.

Meanwhile, Abdollah embarked on his own exploration of southern Iran, accompanied by a friend, using bicycles as their mode of transport. Throughout their individual journeys, the Omidvar brothers showcased their unwavering determination and embraced a gentle approach to their encounters. This mindset was beautifully encapsulated in their motto, proudly displayed on their bikes: "All different, all relative." This motto served as a driving force for their expedition, emphasizing their belief in the interconnectedness of humanity and the value of understanding and appreciating diverse cultures.

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The First Round of the Omidvar Brothers Journey

5. The First Round of the Omidvar Brothers Journey

The Omidvar brothers first embarked on an extraordinary seven-year journey, which took them on a remarkable exploration around the world. They embarked on their adventure by heading east, traversing through Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Tibet, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Siam, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. Crossing the vast Pacific Ocean, they landed on the continent of North America.

Their exploration of the Americas began in Alaska, venturing into the Arctic Circle in 1958 to study the unique way of life of the Eskimo people, enduring harsh conditions and even partaking in the consumption of raw animal meat with the Eskimos. They learned to travel with sleds pulled by dogs and even mastered the art of constructing igloos within an hour, an unparalleled experience.

Continuing their journey on motorcycles, the brothers ventured into South America. They traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil. It was in Chile that Abdollah's life took an unexpected turn. He fell in love, decided to settle in Chile, and eventually married his beloved. Five years later, he went on to establish one of the largest film companies in the country.

After seven years of remarkable exploration, the Omidvar Brothers concluded their journey in America. In 1964, they briefly returned to Iran, making their way back through England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey. However, their homecoming was marked by deep sorrow as they mourned the loss of their mother within the first three days of their arrival in Tehran.

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The Second Round of the Omidvar Brothers journey

6. The Second Round of the Omidvar Brothers journey

Having returned to Iran, they received a car donation from Citroen. With renewed enthusiasm, they embarked on their second round trip, this time setting their sights on the vast and diverse continent of Africa.

Leaving Iran behind, they first made their way through Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Crossing the Red Sea, their African exploration began in Sudan. Over the course of three years, they traversed numerous countries, surmounting challenges such as navigating the Congo and braving the formidable Ituri forest.

Their journey took them through Uganda, Kenya, Zanzibar, Congo, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Algeria, Mauritania, and finally, their ultimate destination—Morocco.

Throughout their travels across different continents, the Omidvar brothers diligently documented their observations, capturing their experiences on film. Their captivating documentary, showcasing their lives and adventures, was broadcast on various networks worldwide, allowing audiences to vicariously join them on their extraordinary expedition.

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Omidvar Brothers Museum

7. Omidvar Brothers Museum

After their 10-year10-year extraordinary odyssey, the Omidvar brothers took different paths. Abdollah found a new home in Chile, where he established a thriving film company. Meanwhile, Issa returned to Iran, where he gained celebrity status.

In 2003, the Omidvar Brother Museum was established in Sa'd Abad palace, an 18th-century Pahlavi palace in honor of the Omidvar brothers. The museum contains the objects that the brothers collected from all over the world and brought them to Iran. In the museum of the Omidvar brothers, you will see a number of images taken by these brothers displayed in different countries of the world.

Visiting this museum will give you an unforgettable memory. After visiting the Omidvar Brothers museum, you will feel like you have had a short trip around the world and, of course, the past. The Omidvar brothers' museum also houses a diverse range of captivating collections, such as a genuine severed human head, monkey skulls, elephant tusks, chimpanzees, and ivory. You can also find the documentary of their 10-year travel to the world's wonders available to purchase with English subtitles in the museum.

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Exhibits and Collections of the Omidvar Brothers Museum

8. Exhibits and Collections of the Omidvar Brothers Museum

The museum is home to many artifacts collected by the Omidvar brothers during their global travels. These include

  1. Genuine human skulls and bones
  2. Elephant tusks
  3. Skulls of monkeys and chimpanzees
  4. Musical instruments of nomadic tribes
  5. Fossils and corals from millions of years ago
  6. Hunting tools of the Amazonian natives and the Eskimos people
  7. Pottery from the Incas
  8. Taxidermied animals and insects
  9. Numerous photographs captured by the Omidvar brothers themselves.

The exhibits are spread across two galleries, while a third gallery showcases parts of a 16-hour film documenting the Omidvar brothers' ten-year journey.


Omidvar Brothers Museum Location

The Omidvar Brothers Museum is situated in one of the museums of the Saadabad Palace, which is located in the Shemiran area in Northern Tehran.


How to Get to the Omidvar Brothers Museum

9. How to Get to the Omidvar Brothers Museum

Getting to the Omidvar brothers' museum in the Saadabad Palace complex is relatively straightforward, with various routes available depending on your location in Tehran.


Private Vehicle

If you are in the eastern part of the city and using your private vehicle, take Resalat Highway and head west towards Modarres Highway. Once you reach the Parkway Bridge, enter Vali-e Asr Street. Continue north on Valiasr Street until you see Mir Sharifi Street on your left. Take the left turn onto Mir Sharifi Street and follow it until you reach Moghadas Ardebili Street. From there, turn left onto Pesyan Street, followed by a right onto Parzin Baghdadi Street. At the end of Baghdadi Street, take a left turn at the three-way intersection and continue until you reach Zaferanieh Street. After a short distance on Zaferanieh Street, you will see signs and walls indicating the entrance to the Saadabad complex.

For those residing in the western part of Tehran, enter Chamran Highway and travel in an eastward direction until you reach the holy gate of Ardabili. Turn onto Moghadas Ardebili Street and continue until you reach Sarallah Street on the left. Follow Sarallah Street until you reach Behzadi Boulevard. At the end of Behzadi Boulevard, you will arrive at Asif Square, where you can access Zaferanieh and Taheri Street by turning onto Asif Street.

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Public Transport

Public transportation is also an option for reaching Saadabad Palace. Take Tehran Metro Line 1 to Tajrish Square. Taxis are available at Darband Square, located at the beginning of Jafari Street, and at Qods Square, next to the subway station. As for buses, there are several lines that run to Valiasr Street and travel towards Tajrish and Qods Squares.

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Omidvar Brothers Museum Opening Hours

10. Opening Hours

The museum operates daily, opening its doors from 9:00 in the morning until 18:45 in the evening.


Omidvar Brothers Museum Entrance Fee

11. Entrance Fee

The ticket prices for visiting the museum are 4000 Tomans per person for Iranian visitors and 50,000 Tomans for foreign tourists. It's important to note that tickets are available for purchase until 17:00.


Bottom Line

The Omidvar Brothers Museum is a testament to the extraordinary 10-year journey of the Omidvar brothers. The museum houses a stunning collection of photographs and precious artifacts, ranging from elephant feet and ivory to gorilla skulls and human heads collected by the Omidvar brothers from around the globe.

Visitors can also immerse themselves in the brothers' journey through a 16-hour documentary displayed in the museum's third gallery, bringing their extraordinary odyssey to life. A visit to the Omidvar Brothers Museum is an unforgettable journey, transporting visitors across continents and through time. It is a chance to witness the diversity of our world, to embrace the spirit of adventure, and to honor the remarkable legacy of the Omidvar brothers.

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