Prince Arfa’ was a remarkable man, The son of a Tabrizi cloth merchant, by dint of hard study and good fortune he attracted the attention of Naser ed-Din Shah and rose rapidly through the bureaucracy. He became ambassador at St Petersburg and consul in Tiflis (Tbilisi) where he built a substantial house that still stands, although a little dilapidated, today, and a summer palace in Borjomi, which is better preserved. In his retirement he built a magnificent palace for himself in Monaco, known as Villa Daneshgah (University), now known as Villa Ispahan.
His biography by Michael Noel-Clarke, Prince Arfa’: Memories of a Bygone Age: Qajar Persia and Imperial Russia 1853–1902 was published recently.
Yuliya Smyk lives in Monaco and has studied this building for some years.
Her talk will be followed by the Christmas party, for which tickets must be purchased. Details of price etc will follow.