First things to know
“If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might just be the most rewarding destination on Earth. If you fancy traveling somewhere neither East nor West, and exotic and fascinating yet perfectly comfortable” (lonely-planet)
Iranians are endlessly welcoming. If you are going to visit Iran, it is much likely that you are being invited to But if you’re open to the idea, you probably will be, and through it experience the ancient and sophisticated Iranian culture first-hand. It’s these experiences that will live longest in the memory but beyond the stereotypes is a country desperate to been seen for what it really is.
There’s a lot to see from the years when Persia was a great world power. Traveling to Iran is not only about knowing the past but getting to know a nation thriving to build better future. Once, Persia was a cradle of science, contributing to medicine, mathematics, science, and philosophy. Trying to revive the golden time of Persian science, Iran’s young generation of scientists now are cautiously reaching out to the world. According to the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Iran increased its academic publishing output nearly tenfold from 1996 to 2004, and has been ranked first globally in terms of output growth rate. Women have been the major player of this scientific revival as they constitute more than 60 percent of graduate students in Iran.
Iran today, with a growing economy boosted from lifting sanctions and with youth population is looking forward to the better future through communicating with world. The easing of political relations has led to addition of flight routes, easier Visa process and increasing international investments in tourism. This has made Iran one of the top destinations in 2016 for travelers all around the globe.
Iran in a glance
capital city: Tehran (population 9 million)
Population: 78 million
Official Language: Persian
Currency: Iran Rial
Government: Islamic Republic of Iran (since 1979)
Iran is the 19th largest country in the world located in the south-west corner of Asia at the crossroad of Middle East and Central Asia. Iran share borders with Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan and waters of the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.
Iranian’s as ethnically diverse nation, speaks dozens of different languages and dialects which most of them are closely related to Persian (Farsi) as the official language the native tongue of 58% of Iranians. Some of its Luri, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Farsi is approximately 89% of Iranians are Shi’a Muslim, while 9% more are Sunni.The remaining 2% are Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian.
Being one of the oldest continuously inhabited civilizations in the world, modern-day Iranian culture is enriched by centuries of tradition. As a mostly Muslim nation, Iranian culture is also tied up with religion. Iran’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 12th-largest in the world.This includes Arg-e Bam as the largest adobe structure in the world. Magnificent Persepolis, now in ruins, but an awe-inspiring reminder of Iran’s glory during the Achaemenid Empire. Mosques regarded as the masterpieces of Persian Architecture, with stunning tiles and Islamic calligraphic inscriptions. A detailed tour of Persian architecture provide the opportunity to trace back the nations long journey from the the prehistoric era to the medieval era and Islamic golden age and modern era. We encourage you to experience our culture by getting to know our people. There you will find people with incredible hospitality and in love with art and poetry.
Iran Art and Literature
Arts of Iran is the legacy left from one of the oldest civilization and richest cultures in the world. It is expressed in form of literature, architecture, painting, music, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stonemasonry. Iranian modern and contemporary art is also a vibrant scene.
Persian carpet renowned for its superior design and vivid colors. It is like a dream of paradise filled with birds and flowers and indication of desire for beauty and nature. Iranian hand-woven carpet is ranked first among Iran’s non-oil export items and it holds great portion of global market.
Persian literature and poetry in particular, is by far the best expression of Iranian genius. Iranians consider great value in poet Some notable Iranian poets are: Ferdowsi, Khayyam, Hafiz, Attar, Sa’di, Nizami, Rumi, Jami, and Shahriar. Many of these Persian poets has made great influence on a whole generation of western writers and poets. The ShahnNameh of Ferdowsi is the world’s longest epic poem and one of the major works of the world’s literature. Ferdowsi has a unique place in Iranian literature due to his impact on revival and protection of Persian language and culture. Khayyam and his mystic quatrains bring solace to every sole. We invite you to visit out Iran and his tomb as he do so :
“Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise.
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once blown for ever dies.”
Edward FitzGerald, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC and the Iranian civilization predates the Egyptian one by 500 years, the Indian one by 1,000 years, the Chinese one by 2,000 years, the Greek one by 3,000 years and the Roman one by 4,000 years.
The Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC), founded by Cyrus the Great united all the known nations of the world under the reign of the largest empire of the time.
Locating at the center of middle east, Persia witnessed rise and fall of many civilization around.
In 637 AD Islam was brought to Persia. The population gradually adopted the religion and by the 11th century the majority of the nation was practicing Islam. Although Islam found its way to Iran by sword but it is amazing how Iranians accepted its message by heart. Despite adopting the religion of the conquerors, Persian culture, style and art was largely preserved but influenced and integrated from Islam, which led to the ‘Islamic Golden Age’ – a time where Persian literature, philosophy, science and art blossomed (750-1258).
In 1219 Mongols invasion of Iran brought a devastating loss of culture due to the massacre of figures, demolition of mosques, libraries, famine and violence. By the onset of Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736), Persia began to restore the strength and memory after long time and the modern nation-state of Iran was established.
by the beginning of 20th century, Iran was struggling with famine and poverty and incompetent rulers . The discovery of oil in 1908 changed Iran’s faith. This discovery also increased interest from other nations wishing to capitalize on this precious commodity. Iran endured many changes in leadership due to invasions and coups during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, leading to the Iranian Islamic Revolution. US has admitted its role in the organized coup to removes Prime Minister Mosaddeq who nationalized the British-owned oil industry. In 1978, the Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution) led by Ayatollah-Khomeini ended the 2500 year old monarchy and gave birth to Islamic republic. Iran endured the imposed Iran-Iraq war, which last for 8 years between 1980 and 1988. The Iraqi use of chemical warfare during this time caused international fury and lead to the deaths of many of Iran’s people. In 2014, Iran reached an agreement with six world powers about its nuclear program.
Much of Iran’s terrain is mountainous. The Alborz and Zagros Mountain ranges in the north and west and two deserts, Markazi and Lut, has filled Iran’s heart. The deserts of Iran are less inhabited and most of the population live in the basins, plateaus and plains.By having dense rain forests in the north, warm sunny beaches in the south, snowy mountains in the west and amazingly hot deserts in the east, Iran is one of the few countries that gives the joy of experiencing four different seasons at the same time to travelers. Iran nature is a safe haven to many endangered species. Among them is Persian leopard, black bear and Fallow deer. Asiatic Cheetah also known as the Iranian Cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and the last few are known to survive mostly in Iran.
With two thirds of Iran’s population under the age of 25, many sports are played in Iran, both traditional and modern. Iran’s diverse climate gives visitors the chance to experience different sports at the same time in country. While some people enjoy skiing at the Tochal resort as the world’s fifth-highest ski resort, other people might enjoy the silence of a starry night in desert Safari in central Kavir of Iran or even swimming, diving and water skiing in Kish island.
Mountains like Alborz and Zagros are major attractions for trekkers coming to Iran. Trekking in Iran gives you the chance to walk amongst these giants with various type of flora and amazing landscapes. Also Many of Iran’s trekking regions are encompassed by desert with a diverse range of wildlife, some rare and endangered. Some sports found their roots back in Iran’s history such as polo, known as čowgān in Persian, and košti e pahlevāni, meaning the “heroic wrestling.”
“Experiencing Iranian dishes will tell you a lot about their passion for taste, color and aroma. Iranian’s respect food and in particular bread as God’s blessing. “Louisa Shafia
A visit to Iran yields a stunning variety of culinary delights. Between the familiar kebab and the decidedly outré grilled lamb’s testicles, there’s a vast spectrum of foods: caviar, pickle, and smoked fish in the north; samosas, falafel and hot and sour shrimp in the south; noodles and flatbread.
If you are going to visit Iran, make sure not to miss the taste of Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew) or Iranian Kebabs which come in many kinds: beef, chicken, lamb liver, among them.
For the desert lets try flatbread and rosewater-scented ice cream flavored with orange blossom, rose water, honey, nuts or saffron which makes Persian ice cream different to western-style desserts. Hope you enjoy this Iranian sweet treat.
Noosh-e jan! (Yes, that’s Farsi for “bon appétit.”)