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About Iran

cities

kerman “the city of sun & sand”

The desert trading city of Kerman has long been a staging point for people passing between Persia and the Indian subcontinent and today it remains the best place from which to explore southeastern region of the country. Sheltered from the vast Dasht-e Lut by…
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

Yazd “the city of honey & culture”

With its winding lanes, forest of badgirs, mud-brick old town and charismatic accommodation, Yazd is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, it doesn’t have the big-ticket sights of…
Iran

The currency

The official unit of currency is the Iranian rial, but Iranians almost always talk in terms of tomans, a unit equal to 10 rials. The sooner you get your head around the idea of tomans, the better. However, with inflation soaring and the Central Bank of Iran…

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.