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"Land of mysterious diversity"

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About Iran

nature

Nature of Ardebil

Aras River, 1,072 km long, forms a natural border between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As Aras is very steep, it cannot be used for shipping. However, this river plays an important role in irrigation of surrounding lands and supplying power to the…
cities

Gorgan “the city of horses”

This appealing city has a colourful, ethnically mixed population and an attractive location where the green Alborz Mountains stoop to meet the northeastern steppe. The Turkoman tribes who inhabit the north of Gorgan are the largest tribe of Gorgan city.
nature

Nature of Mashhad

Major rivers: Atrak, 500 km long, is one of the longest rivers of Iran. It originates in mountains around Ghoochan, runs westwards, passes over a long distance and finally ends in the Caspian Sea. Its average width is 4 m, and its depth one m. The area of the…
cities

kermanshah “the city of Dandeh Kebab”

By far the largest and busiest city in central west Iran, Kermanshah developed in the 4th century AD astride the Royal Road to Baghdad. Its strategic position has brought both prosperity and attack. Most recently it suffered missile damage during the…
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Tehran “the city of paradoxes”


Tehran is a city of contrasts that play out on geographic lines. It is modern and traditional, secular and religious, rich and poor – north and south. Most of the spark comes from the affluent north, but wander through southern Tehran and you’ll see a contrastingly conservative, religious and poor city with little of the north’s brashness. At a practical level, Tehran has a decent choice of hotels and the best range of restaurants in Iran. There are enough museums to keep you interested, and compared with residents of many capitals, Tehranis are surprisingly welcoming.



History


Archaeologists believe people have lived in this area since Neolithic times, but apart from 11th-century AD records suggesting the village produced high-quality pomegranates, little was written about Tehran until the 13th century. In his book Mo’jamol Boldan, writer Yaqoot Hamavi described Tehran as a village of Rey, then the major urban centre in the region, where ‘rebellious inhabitants’ lived in underground dwellings. He went on: ‘They not only disregard their governors, but are in constant clashes among themselves, to the extent that the inhabitants of its 12 quarters cannot visit each other’. In 1220 the Mongols sacked Rey as they swept across Persia executing thousands in the process. Most of those who escaped wound up in Tehran and the future capital’s first ever population explosion turned the village into a small, moderately prosperous trading centre. In the mid-16th century Tehran’s natural setting, many trees, clear rivers and good hunting brought it to the attention of the early Safavid king, Tahmasb I. Under his patronage, gardens were laid out, brick houses and caravanserais built and a wall with 114 towers erected to protect the town and its merchants. As it continued to grow under later Safavid kings, European visitors wrote of Tehran’s many enchanting vineyards and gardens.