What the Helen of Troy was This Awesome Building?


This is from the 3000 block of Massachusetts Avenue, NW. There are many embassies around here so perhaps it is an old embassy that is now vacant? Anyone know what used to be here? Note the blue dome in the back.

The building has some great details:



14 Comment

  • It’s the old Iranian Embassy.

  • Former Iranian Embassy/Chancery. I believe State Dep’t took possession of it after that whole incident in ’80.

  • it is the islamic center and a mosque – we take our 7th graders there every year to discuss the 5 pillars of islam and the islamic faith as part of our world geography curriculum

  • definitely the iranian embassy until the revolution and hostage crisis of the late 70’s when the state department took possession of it. I’ve always wondered why they haven’t done something with it. It looks like it’s just been mothballed since then. Maybe they’re waiting for rapprochement. If that’s the case, then it will be mothballed for decades more to come…..

  • Yes, it is the old Iranian Embassy. It was rented out to some religious cult for a while, but I think they were ultimately evicted. The Post ran an story on it a couple of years back.

  • Here is a good link to what it used to look like. The mansion next door (to the south) was the Iranian abassador’s residence.

  • It is the site of the Great Champagne Flood of 1978, when the incoming ambassador from the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran summoned the press and had hundreds of bottles of fine French bubbly poured into the sewers of Embassy Row. Among a certain class of socialistas, foreign service types and society columnists used to attending what were inevitably described as Washington’s most lavish diplomatic functions, the flood was considered a disaster on par with the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theater and the Barry Administration.

  • Oh – this place is very cool. It is sometimes called the “National Mosque” (as opposed to the National Cathedral.) You may remember it from that horrific traffic debacle earlier in teh year when a backpack was left and the bus stop directly in front of the building. Traffic from Rock Creek to Georgetown, to Woodley was a disaster that day … but I digress. I’ve been inside – very beatiful.

    • No, you’re thinking of the Islamic Center (or National Mosque) which is about a half mile down Massachusetts Ave.

  • Are you sure it’s the old Iranian Embassy? I thought it was the old Turkish Embassy that was used before the new one was built on Mass. Ave. closer to Dupont Circle.

    • I believe the old Turkish embassy is the building on the northeast corner of 23rd and Q NW, near Sheridan Circle and across from the Dumbarton (Buffalo) Bridge. It may be some other country’s now, it’s not clear from Google Maps (which also does not name Q Street).

      • Everyone is right (well, except for the Islamic Center people). It was the Iranian Embassy, then it was seized by the US, then rented to Turkey, which used it as its embassy until Turkey built a new one.

  • Nevermind, I answered my own question…it is the old Iranian Embassy, as per the legal article below:


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