Culture        0  1221 reads

1) General culture

Iranian culture has long been a predominant culture of the Middle East and Central Asia, with Persian as the language of literate people and intellectuals during much of the 2nd millennium, and the language of religion and the populace before that. After converting to Islam, Iran as a fertile land, became place of birth for much of what later became known as Islamic learning, such as philology, literature, jurisprudence, philosophy, medicine, architecture, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy, geology and other sciences. The Iranian New Year (Nowruz), is an occasion traditionally celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of spring in nature. It is also celebrated in Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and previously also in Georgia and Armenia. It is also celebrated by the Iraqi and Anatolian Kurds. Nowruz was registered on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and described as the Persian New Year by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2009.



Telephone and line in use: 26.849 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 12
Telephones - mobile cellular: 67.5 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 19

Telephone system

general assessment: currently being modernized and expanded with the goal of not only improving the efficiency and increasing the volume of the urban service but also bringing telephone service to several thousand villages, not presently connected
domestic: the addition of new fiber cables and modern switching and exchange systems installed by Iran's state-owned telecom company have improved and expanded the fixed-line network greatly; fixed-line availability has more than doubled to nearly 27 million lines since 2000; additionally, mobile-cellular service has increased dramatically serving roughly 67 million subscribers in 2010; combined fixed and mobile-cellular subscribership now exceeds 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 98; submarine fiber-optic cable to UAE with access to Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG); Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic line runs from Azerbaijan through the northern portion of Iran to Turkmenistan with expansion to Georgia and Azerbaijan; HF radio and microwave radio relay to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Kuwait, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; satellite earth stations - 13 (9 Intelsat and 4 Inmarsat) (2009)


Airports: 324 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 23

Airports - with paved runways

total: 136
over 3,047 m: 42
2,438 to 3,047 m: 29
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
914 to 1,523 m: 34
under 914 m: 7 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 188
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 142
under 914 m: 34 (2012)

Heliports: 21 (2012)

Pipelines: condensate 7 km; condensate/gas 12 km; gas 20,155 km; liquid petroleum gas 570 km; oil 7,123 km; refined products 7,937 km (2010)


total: 8,442 km
country comparison to the world: 25
broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge
standard gauge: 8,348 km 1.435-m gauge (148 km electrified) (2008)


total: 172,927 km
country comparison to the world: 29
paved: 125,908 km (includes 1,429 km of expressways)
unpaved: 47,019 km (2006)


850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 70

Merchant marine

total: 76
country comparison to the world: 60
by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 51, chemical tanker 3, container 4, liquefied gas 1, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 2
foreign-owned: 2 (UAE 2)
registered in other countries: 71 (Barbados 5, Cyprus 10, Hong Kong 3, Malta 48, Panama 5) (2010)

Ports and terminals: Assaluyeh, Bandar Abbas, Bandar-e-Eman Khomeyni


Persian (official), Azeri, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other 2

Ethnic groups

Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Arab 3%, Turkmen and Turkic tribes 2%, other 1%


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 77%
male: 83.5%
female: 70.4% (2002 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years
male: 13 years
female: 13 years (2009)


Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 23%
country comparison to the world: 38
male: 20.2%
female: 34% (2008)

Language and literature


Official language of Iran is Persian. Persian serves as a lingua franca in Iran and most publications and broadcastings are in this language.
Next to Persian, there are many publications and broadcastings in other relatively popular languages of Iran such as Azeri, Kurdish and even in less popular ones such as Arabic and Armenian. Many languages originated in Iran, but Persian is the most used language. Persian belongs to Iranian branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The oldest records in Old Persian date to the Achaemenid Empire, and examples of Old Persian have been found in present-day Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
Persian is spoken today primarily in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, but was historically a more widely understood language in an area ranging from the Middle East to India, significant populations of speakers in other Persian Gulf countries, as well as large communities around the World.
Persian, until recent centuries, was culturally and historically one of the most prominent languages of the Middle East and regions beyond. For example, it was an important language during the reign of the Moguls in Indian where knowledge of Persian was cultivated and encouraged; its use in the courts of Mogul India ended in 1837, banned by officials of the East Indian Company (British Colonialism).
Persian scholars were prominent in both Turkish and Indian courts during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries in composing dictionaries and grammatical works. A Persian Indian vernacular developed and many colonial British officers learned their Persian from Indian scribes.
The name of the modern Persian language is sometimes mentioned as Farsi in English texts.

2) Religions

Muslim (official) 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 2%

3) Broadcast media

state-run broadcast media with no private, independent broadcasters; Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the state-run TV broadcaster, operates 5 nationwide channels, a news channel, about 30 provincial channels, and several international channels; about 20 foreign Persian-language TV stations broadcasting on satellite TV are capable of being seen in Iran; satellite dishes are illegal and, while their use had been tolerated, authorities began confiscating satellite dishes following the unrest stemming from the 2009 presidential election; IRIB operates 8 nationwide radio networks, a number of provincial stations, and an external service; most major international broadcasters transmit to Iran (2009)

Internet country code: .ir
Internet hosts: 167,453 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 75
Internet users: 8.214 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 35

4) Tourism

Iran is a country with enormous cultural and historical attractions which draw in landmark number of tourists in different seasons of the year, especially in spring and at time of Noruz, marking start of the New Year.

The attractions and beauties of the country are scattered in different parts and cities of it.

The most attractive tourist cities of the country are as follows:


Being a village of great antiquity, Abyaneh is like a living architectural and anthropological museum.
It affords an impressive exponent of adaptation of man with his environment.
It is located on the northwestern slope of Karkas Mountains, 20 kms away form Natanz.
Considering the evidence found in Abyaneh, it dates back to antiquity, but its golden age was during the Safavid period.
The village is expanded along the river, and its configuration indicates that the past people showed much consideration for security.
The language spoken by the people in Abyaneh is similar to the Parthian language.
Among the attractions of Abyaneh the Jam'e Mosque, Yarzaleh, Hajatgh Mosque, and Zeyaratgah are notable.
Considering the evidence found in Abyaneh, it dates back to antiquity, but its golden age was during the Safavid period.
The village is expanded along the river, and its configuration indicates that the past people showed much consideration for security.
The language spoken by the people in Abyaneh is similar to the Parthian language.
The Castle of Haman, two houses of Dervishes dating back to Safavid era, and the remain of two fire-temples dating back to Sassanid epoch (built in an architectural style called Chahar Taqi (four-arch style).

Situated in one of the most ancient neighborhoods of Abyaneh, this mosque has an impressive sanctuary.
The date carved on the front door indicates that the mosque dates back to 14th century Hajat gah Mosque Located beside Mt Sakhreh Kuh, this mosque dates back to the Safavid period.
Its sanctuary has pillars of wood, on which some verses of the Koran have been inscribed.

Zeyaratgah meaning Shrine, is a magnificently impressive monument, attracting a large number of visitors each year.
There are flowerbeds, brooks, a pool and a large veranda opening onto the vivid green valley of Abyaneh, making Zeyaratgah a place worthwhile seeing.


The city of Qazvin is located west to Tehran.
It is founded in the time of Sassanid Shapour I, famous as Shad Shapour, in order to prevent the invasions of Dialameh and it was gradually developed as the main nucleus of Qazvin city.
After the invasion of Arabs to Iran and commencement of Islamic conquests, the city was surrounded by one of the famous Arab commanders and in the year 25th it became one of the military bases of Arab forces.
Qazvin was selected as capital by Safavid and several buildings and monuments were constructed over there.
Among the attraction of Qazvin we can find: Jame' Mosque, Castle of Alamout, Yaleh Gonbad and Kafar Gonbad domes, and several caravanserai, gates, mosques and castles.


Being constructed by Hassan Sabbah the leader of Ismaillieh movement on 5th century, the Castle of Alamoot is one the most attractive Castles in Iran.
This Castle was attacked by Mongol Holakoo and was the witness of long clashes and wars between central government and Ismailieh.
Once difficult to reach by tourists because of being 270 km away Tabriz on the way to Astara and the Caspian from eastern Azarbayijan, nowadays Ardabil is the capital of Ardabil Province.
It is 588 km to the northwest of Tehran.
And in contrary to what the foreign visitors might have read in publications available abroad, here in Iran this old town can be reached both by road and air.
It is located in an altitude of 1,300 m above sea level and is 210 km northwest of Bandar-e Anzali and 70 km from Astara on a good asphalt road, then a twisting scenic mountain road.
Ardabil is best known as the birthplace of Shaykh Safi ad-Din (1251-1334) from whom the Safavid dynasty was descended.
Shaykh Safi was the founder of a sufi order and monastery in Ardabil, the center of their theocratic community.
Ismail, a descendent of him and who was later crowned as the Shah of Persia in Tabriz (1501), was a member of this order, and it is noteworthy that it was during the latter's reign that the majority of Persians were converted to Shi'ah Islam.
The most important places to visit In Ardabil are as following:
Neior Lake, Shoorabil Lake, marchlands of Ganjgah, Nooshar and Shoorhul, water fall Goorgoor on Sabalan, hot water springs in Sar-Ain , Shaykh Safi Tomb, old bridges of Qara Sou, Eidi Gouz and Guilandeh, the Old Bazaar complex, Stone Cave of Dakhmeh Sangi, and the tower of Shater Gunbadi.

Collection of Sheikh Saffieddin Ardebili's Mausoleum includes an architecture of different periods of Iran.
Being a unique religious building, it is considered one of the most fabulous monuments in this town.
Originally it was the residence of Sheikh Safi.
There are two domes one above Sheikh Safi's tomb and the other over Shah Essmaiel Safavids's tomb.
Buried in the tombs of the king and his princes, there are some wooden boxes, which are adorned and artistically carved.
Shah Abbas (I) Safavid presented some copies of valuable hand- written books as gifts to the graveyard library, but a Russian warlord called Passkowich in 1828 plundered the library.
Dating back to over 2500 years ago, Hamadan, the cradle of Median civilization, has numerous historical monuments.

It is located in the mountainous area of Zagros in the western Iran.
The city of Hamadan the ancient name of which is Ecbatana, has been given an account of the great Median palace of Hegmetaneh, the ruins of which are in the central part of Hamadan as a hill.
During the Seljuk period it was the capital of Iran for 50 years.
Five kms. from Hamadan there are two inscriptions in cuneiform, called Ganjnameh which is one of the most ancient inscriptions found in the world.
In Hamadan we can also find the Mausoleum of Avicenna and Baba Taher the great Iranian doctor and scientist.
Mossalla and Abbasabad hills are both the places worthwhile visiting.
Mosalla hill, on the slop of which there is a huge stone lion, and Abbasabad hill date back both to the first civilizations of the world.
Alavian dome under which there are two tombs belonging to the Alavian Family has impressive plasterwork.
Dating back to 800 years ago, it has been decorated with colored tiles.

Dating back to the Achaemenid period, and belong to Darius (550-486 BC) and his son Xerxes, Ganjnameh like other Achaemenid inscriptions, contain prayers to Ahura Mazda (the chief deity of Zoroastrianism) for the protection of the country, and genealogy of the Achaemenid dynasty.


The Mausoleum of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the great Iranian philosopher has been built on 1954.
There is a library with a number of manuscripts in this building.
The tomb of Baba Taher-e Oryan (C. 1000 after 1055), the Iranian poet and mystic, has been built in a beautiful park northwest of Hamadan in recent years.


According to the specialist Alisadr Cave is one of the most astonishing caves in the world.
It is located 60 kms north of Hamadan.
Alisadr is a vast cave that contains a lake and a labyrinth of chambers along which one can sail for tens of kms.
The clear water of the cave is several meters deep and the cave's walls, floor and ceiling are covered with an abundance of marvelous stalactites and stalagmites and various natural stones that have taken the shape of animals.

Locating in the central part of Iran plateau Isfahan province is very well known among the tourists for its rich history and handicrafts.
This city was probably constructed under the Achaemenian era.
Under the Sassanian Isfahan was conquered by the Moslems on 19 AH.
On 1000 the capital of the Safavids was transferred from Qazvin to Isfahan.
The tourism potentials of the province are religious sites and buildings with their own antiquity scattered throughout the province annually attracting so many tourists who are interested on the rich history of Iran.
Moreover some of these sites, as invaluable and important memorials of the past, reflect great national, cultural, and religious heritage of residents of this region in different historical periods.
Among them Chehel Sotun Palace, Jameh' Mosque, Chaharbagh School, Imam Square, which includes itself three magnificent buildings:
Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and Place of Ali Qapu, Khaju Bridge, Sio-Seh Pol and tens of Imamzadeh, Shrines and tombs, can be pointed.
Dating back to circa 2500 year ago, Isfahan has been the capital of Iran in three historical periods.
After Islam, the city of Isfahan was under domination of Arabs, like other cities of Iran, till the early 4th century AH.
After the invasion of Mongols on 630 AH. Isfahan flourished again especially in Safavid time under the Shah Abbas who ordered the construction of most of the important sites in the city Isfahan.


The Chehel Sotun Palace (Forty Columns), built amidst a vast garden, is a triumph architecturally.
The wall paintings by the famous painter of the Safavid period are superlative in their kind.
The building has a veranda with 18 pillars, being mirrored in the still water of a pool lying in front of it.
The building and the pool create a beautiful view.
The frescoes and painting on the walls depict specific historical scenes such as a reception for an Uzbek King in 1646 when the palace had only just been completed; a banquet in honor of the King of Turkestan in 1611; the battle of Chalderan against the King of Osmanlis in 1514 in which Persians fought without fire-arms and so many historical events.
The superb wooden roof of the porch was painted with a series of geometrical decorations interspersed with flowers.
The waterproofing of this, and other palaces, was achieved by covering the roof with a fresh layer of beaten earth every year, the weight of which has caused many other collapses.

The Friday Mosque (Masjed Jame') is the oldest mosque in Isfahan.
The greater part of the building dates back to the 11th century.
Changes and additions were made is subsequent period.
Comprehensive restoration and clearing work around the building have been carried out during the past few years.
The central courtyard is one of the largest in Iran: 65 meters by 76.
The architecture of this mosque is a different from the Safavid mosques.
The southern porch opens up on a very wide and elegant arch, the proportions of its architrave, which is wider than it is high, are perfect.
This layout reflects a "Mongol" influence and was built under the Timurid dynasty (Tamerlane) in the 15th century.
This fine example of an early four-Ivan mosque is situated in an oasis town on the edge of the central Iranian desert.
The plain brick arcades of its courtyard are highlighted by a simple monumental inscription while the interior arcading of the dome chamber is ornamented with carved stucco panels and a superb stucco mihrab.

The most frequently visited madresseh (school) in Isfahan is Chaharbagh or Sultani formerly Mada-e Shah (the Shah's Mother) situated at the Chahar bagh Avenues.
This Coranic School was founded upon the initiative of Shah Sultan Hossein's mother.
The Shah was the last of the Safavid sovereigns who, after taking refuge in this very enormous building, was put to death by the Afghan invaders (1622).
In order to finance the school, Hossein's mother got a large caravanserai built nearby, the income of which went to the foundation.
Nowadays are very few students in the Madresseh, but the caravanserai has become the most famous luxury hotel in Iran.
The blue and gold flower-decked cupola flanked by two magnificent minarets can be photographed from the balconies of the hotel rooms.
The madresseh was skillfully restored.
The caravanserai has become the Abbasi Hotel Imam Square Imam Square (Nagsh-e-Jahan Sq.) is a magnificently impressive sight, known by UNESCO as a unique historical complex.
It is surrounded by Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Imam Mosque, Palace of Ali Qapu and Qeysariyeh Bazaar.
In Safavid period, the great square was used as a field of horse riding games.

This Mosque is situated to the south of Naqsh-e-Jahan square.
Built in the reign of Shah Abbas, tile work and architecture of this mosque are amazingly superb.
Its minarets are 48 meters high.
This Mosque is one of the finest monuments in the world.
The color of ceramic ornaments is the first cause of surprise and admiration.
But the size of the buildings surrounding the courtyard is more enormous.
The Muslim architect of the building used space and stone for mystical purposes.
The first impression of this Mosque is its completely unusual surroundings, the second a breathtaking reaction to the immensity and vacuum of the courtyard, the third the monotonous rectangle of arcades and loggias where minarets mount their blind guard.

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque stands to the east of Naqsh-e-Jahan Sq. Built in the reign of Shah Abbas, it represents the best example of architecture and tile work of Iran in the 17th century.
The beauty of its buff dome fills visitors with enchantment.
Shah Abbas and his family used to worship in this mosque.
This mosque differs from all others in several respects.
While turquoise, blue and pink predominate in the motifs on the facade, elsewhere, especially on the dome, both inside and outside, the main color is yellow.
The artist painted on the background delicate interlacing and black or blue flowers.
The cupola is recognized as the most perfect in Iran.
Uncanny lightening seeps through the windows at the base of the vault.
Widespread use is made of the decorative value of calligraphy in the "sols" lettering stile, but there are also realistic miniature- style motifs: flower-bowls, peacocks, cypresses, etc.
Another peculiarity of this mosque is that it has neither courtyard nor minaret, since it was not a place for public worship, but was exclusively intended for the King, his family and his close collaborators.


The Ali Qapu Palace is situated to the west of Naqsh-e-Jahan Sq.
In the Safavid period it was used for the reception of ambassadors and envoys from other countries.
It is a six-storied building, the painting and plasterwork of which are extremely impressive.
The entire upper floor of the palace gatehouse consists of numerous rooms whose walls are decorated with a fretwork of niches and bottle shapes cut into a wood and plaster membrane which lines the walls.


Turning back toward the city, the first bridge encountered is the Khaju Bridge.
It is a magnificent structure with two tires of arches.
The lower arches are fitted with locks.
When they are lowered, a small lake forms opposite the Royal Palaces built under Shah Abbas II (1650) on the right bank.
In the middle of the bridge, the King got a pavilion built which is still intact.
On each of the bridge's piers, he got stone seats built so that his subjects could sit there to watch the Zayande River.


Another extraordinary bridge in Isfahan is the Sio-Seh Pol (thirty three Arches), also called Allahverdikhan Pol (Allahverdi Bridge), after the architect who built it in 1600 and who was also Abbas the Great's Army Chief.
The bridge is about 300 meters in length.
A row of delicate arcades (about 100 of them) lightens its silhouette and lengthens its lines.

The city of Kashan, which is situated in the margin of the central desert of Iran, contains several sites and historical monuments attracting many visitors each year.
Vestiges found on Seek hills, located 3 km. distant from the town, indicate that this area was a home of prehistoric man.
The charm of Kahsan is mainly due to the contrast between the parched immensities of the Kavir (desert) region and the greenery of the well-tended oasis, to the lively atmosphere of this almost compulsory halt, the restful shade of cupola covered houses and the coolness caused by these cupolas are a strange architecture specialized for the cities of desert.
This city has a variety of magnificent building, whose constructions refer to past as well as late times, among which the Garden of Fin, the House of Brojerdies, the Mosque and Scholl of Aga Bozorgand so many other interesting sites for the tourists, are notable.

This Garden, which is located 6 km of Kashan, has been constructed under the command of Shah Abbas Safavid to be used as a water supply for Kashan.
The architecture of the garden is in the old Iranian stile, due to which it is of great importance among the monuments of the town.
The garden, in which there are historical buildings and two baths with pillars made of marble and ceiling decorated with paintings , is a splendid complex.

The House of Borujerdies was constructed in 19th century and it took about 18 years to be built by about 150 architects and painters and artists.
This house containing impressive wall paintings of Qjars Kings portraits, plasterwork, decorations with mirrors and beautiful wind towers above the roof, is an architectural triumph, which attracts numerous visitors each day.

The Mosque and School of Agha Bozorg with an impressive facade, two lofty minarets and an eye-catching dome follows the original Iranian architecture.
Being a province of great antiquity, Kerman contains numerous monuments dating back both to pre-Islamic and post- Islamic periods.

It is located in the southeastern of Iran.
Being a town of considerable past history, Kerman is attractive for its several ancient monuments of particular originally, among them a group of utilitarian buildings date back to Sassanian era and also Safavid period in the 17th century.
The governor of Kerman Ganj Ali Khan, founded notable buildings, most of which have survived and now are called Ganj Ali Khan Complex.
Among the monumental buildings in Kerman we can notify Bazaar and the Dome of Jabliyeh.
The style of building in Kerman is high walls, narrow alleys and domed roofs.

Taking the mosque, bath, bazaar, school, caravanserai, reservoir and a vast square, this complex is a triumph architecturally.
The bath, containing many statues representing different stages of taking bath in traditional fashion, is used as an anthropological museum.
The tile-mosaic used in the complex is of considerable beauty.

Dating back to the Seljuq period, it was built on the site of Zoroastrian fire-temples.
It is an octagonal building roofed with a huge dome.

Bam is a city of great antiquity, 200 kms southeast of Kerman.
Dates, citrus fruits and henna are the most important crops cultivated in Bam.
Dating from 2000 years ago, it was on silk route.
The ruins of the ancient city of Bam called Arg-e Bam, are of great attraction.
Being one of the world wonders covering 6 sq. kms, Arg-e Bam is the greatest mud-brick construction in the world.
Surrounded by lofty walls and towers and a moat, it includes a great number of houses encircling the seat of the ruler, which stand in the center.


Being one of the world wonders covering 6 sq. kms, it is the greatest mud-brick construction in the world.
Surrounded by lofty walls and towers and a moat, it includes a great number of houses encircling the seat of the ruler, which stand in the center.

Mahan is an impressive town, 42 kms northeast of Kerman, which is probably founded in Sassanid period.
Spectacular natural sights and the Mausoleum of Shah Ne'matollah-e Vali, the renowned Iranian mystic and poet, and the Garden of Prince, make it a point of interest.
It has the most beautiful minarets of Iran.

Lying west of Iran, Kermanshah province with numerous monument and beauties of nature is of great attraction for visitors.
In general, it enjoys a mild climate.
Kurds, Lors, Arabs and Turks are peoples living in Kermanshah province.
According to historical documents, it has been always an important center.
Considering its great antiquity and its various historical monuments, this city can represent a remarkable part of the history of Iran.
Pol-e Kohne (Old Bridge) having the herring bone arches made of bricks, and Jam'e Mosque, dating back to the 18th century with beautiful brickworks and plasterworks are of more importance.
In the suburb of Kerman shah, relics surviving from Circa 900 BC on the hill of Ganj Darreh and three catacombs dating back to the Median age, near Deh-Nou, Ishaqvand village, are very impressive.
But the most attractive sites in this area are Bisotun and Tagh-e Bostan, which are both among the astonishing attractions of Iran.


This monument, dating back to the Sassanian period, is located 5 km northeast of Kermanshah.
This world-famous monument has two magnificent arches carved on the mountain with extreme dexterity.
One part of the carving represents a hunting scene in which the king is hunting and some animals are running away.
Another part of the carving shows the ritual of taking crown from God.
This is of high importance to those in the ritual of ancient Iran.


Situated 25km from Kermanshah, Bisotun is world-famous and magnificently impressive for visitors.
A relief of Darius, the king of Persia (512-486 BC), showing him after the victory over the rebels, is a fascinating monument.
Some of the other ancient relics are inscriptions in the Babylonian, old Persian and Elamite languages.
In historical studies, these inscriptions are extremely important, because they provide a clue to the decipherment of cuneiform.

Being one of the centers of Iranian civilization, Khorasan has been of high importance since ancient times.
As a satrapy in Achaemenid age and a part of Iranshahr in the Sassanid period, it was regarded as an influential region.
After the Arab invasion the people of Khorasan converted to Islam.
The shrine of eight Imam of Shiite Muslims Imam Reza (c.768-818) in Mashhad, has increased the province's importance.
This is the most important pilgrimage in Iran.

TUS (Ferdowsi's tomb)

The famous city of Tus, located 24 kms west of Mashhad, was the home of Ferdowsi (c.935-1020) the great Persian Poet who spent about 35 years writing his great epic, Shahnameh.

Mashhad the provincial capital of Khorasan, containing the holy shrine of Imam Reza, is the most pilgrimage in Iran.
The holy shrine and all its courtyards are the significant of the Islamic architecture.

Aqiq and Azadi courtyards belonging to Gowhar Shad are eye-catching places.
The sepulcher is enclosed by a golden transenna made by craftsmen from Isfahan.

Enjoying a splendid natural beauty, a pleasant climate, lofty mountains covered with lush vegetation and luxuriant forests the province of Gilan attracts large number of visitors each year.
Situated to the south of Caspian Sea, Gilan covers an area of 14709 sq kms.
It is also bounded to Talesh Mountains westward and Alborz mountain range southward.
The history of Gilan is not so clear till the 6th century BC.
But archeological excavation show that the antiquity of the lands in southern parts of the Caspian Sea dates back to the last Freezing Period estimated to 50-150 millennia BC.
The most important towns of this province are: Rasht, Astara, Astaneh-Ashrafiyyeh, Anzali, Rudbar, Rudsar, Souma'eh Sara, Talesh, Fuman, and one of the most villages, Masouleh.

Located in the center of the plateau of Gilan, Rasht is 323 kms distant from Tehran.
It has a mild humid weather.
Dating back to the pre-Islamic period, this city has been an important center for trade and agricultural activities.
The Park of Qods, Saafi Mosque, Haj Mohammad khan Mosque, the town hall, and the Mausoleum of Mirza Koochak Khan are among places worthwhile seeing.


Situated 40 kms northwest of Rasht, this town is the most important northern seaport of Iran.
It is a peninsula, 33 kms long separating Anzali swamp from the Caspian Sea.
Fishing, exporting Caviar and tourism are among the main sources of income in Anzali.
Pol-e Ghazian, the palace of Miyan posht are among interesting places to see.
Anzali swamp, having fascinating landscapes, attract many visitors.
The seaport links Iran with Black Sea via Volga-Don channel.

The beautiful village of Masuleh is an impressive place situated 35 kms west of Fuman in the mountains of Talesh.
Lush vegetation and beautiful nature on the one hand, and low humidity on the other, afford this village a distinctive position.
Apart from natural beauty, the unique architecture of the buildings with lattice windows and exquisite decorations attracts many tourists each year.
Due to its original architecture this village was registered by the UNESCO.
Orumieh is located 18th kms west of Orumieh Lake in a luxuriant plain.
The weather in this city is cold in winters and moderate in the summers.
The latest archaeological discoveries in Orumieh indicate that the history of this region dates back to 2000 BC.
Some historians believe that Orumieh is the birthplace of Zoroaster, the most famous Persian prophet.
There had been many historical sites and monuments in Orumieh, which were unfortunately destroyed, in some historical events and invasions of different tribes and clans.
The most important historical and eye-pleasing places are as follows: Orumieh lake and its islands Kaboodan, Ashk, Arezoo and Espeer, Mineral waters of Zanbil, Church of Saint Thaddeus, Haftabeh and Qaynarjeh, and many other mosques and monuments.


"The most beautiful blue" in the world is how people used to describe that water, which contains a concentration of salt almost as heavy as that of the Dead Sea.
The ancient Persians called it the "Royal Sea".

Regarding as the center of Azarbayjan, an immense area in the northwestern Iran, Tabriz has been the center of trade and tourism since the distant past.
It is a city of great antiquity and has been the capital of Iran in different periods, as a result of which monuments of rich variety are found in it.
The following are of more prominence: Blue Mosque, Arg of Tabriz, IL Goli, the historical Bazaar, Jame' Mosque, City Hall, Clock Tower, Castle of Rashidieh, and many other attractions.
Near Tabriz there are so many villages and towns, who are attractive sites for tourists.
Some of these villages are: Kandovan, Ahar, Jolfa, Shabestar, Kaleibar and Maragheh.

It is a famous mosque, the interior and exterior facades of which are decorated with some of the finest tile-mosaic in Iran.
Dating back to the 15th century, it is a triumph architecturally.

Arg or citadel of Tabriz, dates back to the 14th century.
It is an evidence of heroic resistance of the city's people to the invaders.
Arg is a leading tourist attraction of Tabriz.

It is a park containing an impressive building and a vast pool encircled by lofty trees in the center.
From this garden, you can see a large red cliff overlooking the valley of the Taikel River which was through Tabriz.
This beautiful pavilion dates back to Qajar's era.

Kandovan is situated in Oscoo town, near Tabriz.
In this village, a unique architecture suitable for mountainous areas has developed.
The village's people have managed to preserve their traditions in the course of history.
Apart from architecture, the mineral springs of Kandovan has endless fascinating for many tourists.

Church Saint Stephen, being of considerable attraction architecturally, is in 16 kms west to this village.
The construction of this church dates back to 10- 12 AC.
There are so many calligraphies in Armenian language in this church, which refers to the way of its construction.
Another attracting Church in this city is Holy Mary's Church the construction of which refers to 16 AC.

This town is located 165 kms northeast of Tabriz.
The Arras River crosses this district from the northern part, and the famous Castle of Babak in this town is located on the mountain.
It is located 2600 meters high, west to Kaleibar.

Semnan is located 221 kms distance from Tehran.
During its long history, this city was occupied by many tribes and its name has been mentioned in many historical books.
Semnan was one of the main provinces of ancient Iran.
Its inhabitants speak in a specific language, which seems to be one of the ancient dialects of the ancient Persian.
The Seljucid minarets with an epitaph in Koofi script on it and the Friday Mosque beside the Minarets, and the Gate of Semnan Citadel, are of the valuable monuments of Semnan.

Situated in Fars province, which is one of the most famous provinces of the Old Persian Empire, Shiraz is known in the entire world as the city of roses and poets, and is located in a specious region of the oldest human civilizations of the world.

Before the Islamic period, two commanders rose from this region and each established a big monarch; the first, the Achaemenid by the king Cyrus, and the second is Sassanid, by the king Ardeshir Babekan.
It is remained some attractive and enormous palace worthy of the empire of Achaemenids, Persepolis, Naqsh-e-Rostam, and Pasargad which are among the most attractive sites of the world.
The long history of Shiraz has left many historical and cultural places a long side with the natural views, such as Bagh-e-Eram Narenjestan, Vakil Mosque, Bazaar and Castle, Aghigh Mosque, and many other mosques and beautiful houses along with the tombs of two famous Iranian poets Sa'di, Hafez, and the holy shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh.

Persepolis is a large bare plain surrounded by mauve cliffs with sharp edges.
It is there, in the center of the Marv Dasht basin, 60 km from Shiraz, that Cyrus the great chose, toward the end of his region, to build under the shelter of a fold in the mountains, a palace worthy of the Empire.

Persepolis includes the Achaemenid kings' palaces and tombs, inscriptions carved in the stone, and massive columns.
This majestic complex represents the ancient Iranian architecture and art in its superb manifestation.
Alexander burned Persepolis the completion of which took 120 years, on 330 BC.
The largest building of this complex is Apadana, which belonged to Darius and was used as a place for public audience in New Year celebration.

Naqsh-e Rostam is a sort of "Valley of King", dominated by tall Ochre-colored cliffs, cracked and wrinkled by the wind with half-way up, the cross-shaped cavities of the tombs cut right into the stone.

The gaunt beauty of the mountains and the immense landscape are appropriate for the sacred character of this necropolis sheltering, the toms of the main Achaemenian Sovereigns.
Form right to left the tombs are those of Xerxes, Darius, the Great Artaxerxes I and Darius II.


Pasargad the capital of Cyrus the Great and Cabyses is to the north of Persepolis in Dasht-e Morghab.
It includes the mausoleum of Cyrus, a palace and a stone tower.

Mausoleum of Cyrus
Here Cyrus fought and won his last battle against his former suzerain, the Median king Astyages in 550 BC.
And Pasargad named for the chief tribe of the Persian, was built as Strabo relates, as a memorial to that epic victory.

Baghe Eram or the Eram Garden with old impressive cypress trees and a building with beautiful mirror-incrusted stalactites is a place worthwhile seeing.
This is famous for its unique plants and is typical late Qajar Palace, now donated to Shiraz University.

This famous 19th century Palace consisting of a museum and a garden is among points of interest; its architecture, mirror-incrusted stalactites and paintings are of considerable beauty.
The garden consists chiefly of orange-groves from which the Palace acquired its name.

The Castle of Karimkhan belonging to the Zand dynasty (1750-1794) is a splendid building located in the center of Shiraz.
The architecture, plasterwork, stylized doors and windows, and the four lofty towers of the castle are highly impressive.
The Vakil Bazaar also dates back to the Zand period.
At the end of bazaar is the traditional Caravansary of Seray-e Moshir.

Today it is a center for selling handicrafts produced in Fars.
The Vakil Mosque, having four Ivan, a vast sanctuary, massive stone pillars and a stone pulpit, is in the vicinity of the bazaar.

The Mausoleums of Sa'di (c.1213-1292), and Hafez (c.1325-1389), the great Iranian poets attract large number of visitors

The most important shrine in Shiraz is the mausoleum of Seyyed Mir Ahmad whose title is Shah-e Cheragh (the King of Lights).
He is the brother of Imam Reza the eight Imam of the Shi'ites.

With nearly 9 million inhabitants Tehran Province is Iran's most densely populated province.
The cities of Tehran, Ray who has been destroyed by Mongols on 1220, Damavand, Varamin, Karadj, and Shemiranat are in the province of Tehran.
The metropolitan city of Tehran slopes of mountains of Shemiran and Damavand is the world-famous capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It has been Iran's capital for only 200 years now.

Tehran is a city of four seasons, with hot summers, freezing winters, and brief spring and autumn.
The old historical monuments of Tehran date back to Qajar period.
Some of them are: The Golestan Palace and Museum, the Shamsolemareh Building, the Imam Khomeini Mosque, the Museum of Carpets with lots of valuable and old carpets, Anthropological Museum, National Iranian Museum containing both the pre-Islam and post-Islam parts, Abgineh or Glass Museum, and the complex of Sa'd Abad and Niavaran, beside a large number of other museums and attractions.


Immense desert and scanty rainfall are the causes of unique architecture emerged in Yazd, attracting many visitors.
Moreover, the mysterious silence of the deserts has endless fascination for those who love deserts.
Numeral historical monuments date back to Sassanid period, are also counted of the attractions of this city, among which the most important ones are: Jame' Mosque, Amirchakhmagh Mosque and Bazaar, Fire Temple and so many other sites attractive fir tourists.

Dating back to 600 years ago, with its huge dome, lofty minarets and impressive tile work is a triumph of architecture.
The minarets of this mosque are the highest in Iran; the portal's facade is decorated from top to bottom in dazzling tile work.

The Bazaar and Mosque of Amirchakhmaq, founded by Amir Chakhmaq, the governor of Yazd, are of great attraction from historical and architectural point of view.
The entrance of Bazaar is the greatest one in Iran.

A Fire-Temple, the fire of which has been brought from Fars Fire- Temple and has been burning since 3000 years, is in the center of the city.
This monument, the architecture of which is highly impressive, represent the beliefs of Zoroastrians in a symbolic way.

Transportation and Travel


Many international visitors to Iran arrive by air at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran (IKA) with excellent worldwide connections to destinations such as London, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow, Istanbul, Dubai, Beijing, Seoul, Bangkok and New Delhi. Airliners operating flights to IKA International Airport include: Lufthansa, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Emirates, Etihad and British Airways as well as domestic airlines such as Iran Air, Mahan Air and Caspian Airlines.
Arriving passengers can take a taxi or a bus into the city. Those with pre-booked accommodation can arrange to be met by a hotel representative. Other Iranian destinations offering some limited international flights include: Mashhad, Shiraz, Bandar Abbas, Esfahan, Tabriz and Zahedan.

Iran can be reached by car from various neighboring countries, although drivers are encouraged to research their journey well in advance. Visitors are not advised to travel overland to Iran from Pakistan and anyone who must travel in this area should exercise extreme caution. We advise that you only travel on main roads and avoid travelling at night if you intending on reaching Iran by car via an international border. The border areas with Afghanistan and Iraq are considered insecure and visitors are strongly advised to avoid travel in these areas. The border with Turkey is frequently used by visitors wanting to access Iran by road.

Two international train routes to Iran are available; one is from Istanbul to Tehran, with a once weekly departure and the other is from Damascus to Tehran, again a once weekly departure. Journeys are long, but prices are reasonable and overnight services offer sleeping cars that have a capacity for four people.

Although it is possible to arrive in Iran by using a sea route across the Persian Gulf, this method of arrival is rarely used nowadays, with air travel being considered much more convenient.

Travelling by bus from Turkey to Iran is feasible, although journey times can be very lengthy. Prices of bus tickets are cheap and there are various levels of comfort available, with first class coaches offering reclining seats, air conditioning.

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