Travel to Iran

Population: 81 million

Capital: Tehran

Language: Persian

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Iran’s history

The academic king Cyrus II ruled Persia from the middle of the sixth century BC, and it is also from this time that the first Persian history is documented. The formation of the Persian Empire, which led to the formation of Iran, belongs to the Aqamenid dynasty. Cyrus II also ruled over parts of Greece, Turkey, Israel, Iraq and Syria, and his sons ruled over large parts of Egypt. After this, the Acamenid rulers would extend the empire further to the Aegean Sea in the west and India in the east. What is today known as Persepolis became the center of the kingdom, and today the area is rich in archaeological treasures after the monumental construction activities of the Achaemenid kings.

During Persian history, both Mongols, Afghans and several dynasties have had control of the country. At the beginning of the 19th century, diplomatic relations were established between Iran and the European powers, and the country came under a growing influence of foreign capital interests. European training methods and technology gradually gained ground in the Persian army and by the end of the century, Iran was almost a European semi-colony. In the 20th century, oil was discovered in the country, something that further increased interest in Iran, especially from the great powers Russia and Great Britain. As a result, in 1909 the country was divided into three economic zones of interest: a British, a Russian and a neutral zone. In 1935, the country’s name was officially changed from Persia to Iran.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution changed Iran. The revolution consisted of two phases. During the first, an alliance of liberal, religious and left-wing radical groups overthrew the Shah (the king), who had very little support among the people. During the second phase, the clergy seized power and Iran went from being a Western-oriented monarchy to an Islamic theocratic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini.

Population and society

Iran has a young population as a result of a baby boom following the Islamic Revolution, and about two-thirds of the population is considered to be under 15 years of age. The varied landscape means that only nine percent of the land is arable, which has led to a high migration from the countryside to the cities. As many as 71 percent of the population live in cities and unemployment is a major problem – even for the highly educated. One of the consequences of this is that Iran has the world’s largest so-called intellectual emigration. This means that newly educated people leave the country due to lack of job opportunities, and drain their own country of skills that they so desperately need.

Iran is a country with large oil resources and large natural gas reserves. Oil accounts for as much as 80 percent of export revenues and the country is considered a regional power.

Geography and climate in Iran

Iran is one of the world’s most mountainous nations and consists mainly of mountains and highlands, concentrated in the central parts of the country, and flat, arable areas along the coast. In the highlands it often snows and can be really cold while it can be up to 40-50 degrees in the lowlands. The climate is mainly dry or semi-arid while a subtropical climate dominates along the Caspian Sea coast. The summers are hot and the winters cold.

Iran is a vast country with a diverse landscape and scattered population, something that has created some problems in building its infrastructure. The capital has changed throughout the country’s history and due to the difficulties in agreeing on a central capital, it would take until the 18th century before the election finally fell on Tehran.

Tourist attractions

The Blue Mosque was built in 1465, and is one of the most magnificent buildings of its time. Once the building was completed, it took another 25 years to cover its surface with blue tiles and neat calligraphy. Unfortunately, the mosque was badly damaged in connection with an earthquake in 1773 and only the large arched entrance was spared. Here you can still see the blue tile. At the south end of the mosque is a mausoleum over Shah Jahan who had the mosque built. Tabriz was the capital of his kingdom that covered large parts of modern Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey. In the 1950s, the Iranian authorities began rebuilding the mosque. Visit smartercomputing for Iran Tour Plan.

Yazd is one of the old trading towns along the Silk Road where caravans with trade travelers bought silk, carpets and other textiles on their way to Central Asia and India. Yazd is not only famous for its silk production and fine craftsmanship, but also for its wind towers and water facilities built to alleviate the summer heat. Compared to many other Iranian cities, Yazd has retained its authentic charm and classic Persian style with winding narrow alleys, open squares and lively bazaars. The architecture of Yazd is said to be the most Persian to be found and has been preserved over the centuries by the warm climate and the absence of invasions. As a curiosity, Marco Polo visited Yazd in 1272 on his way to China, which he called “the good and noble city”.

The Persepolis Palace is beautifully situated on Mount Kuh-i-Rahmat, just over 60 km from Shiraz. The palace is the last remnant of the prehistoric Middle East and is of course inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Persepolis was the capital of the Akmenid Empire (ca. 550 – 330 BC), built by King Darius the Great almost 2,500 years ago and then expanded under King Xerxes and his descendants. Persepolis had the Mesopotamian buildings as a model and is no less than magnificent with its decorations – e.g. lion sculptures and intricate reliefs carved in sandstone.

Shiraz is called the poetic capital of Iran and is beautifully situated in the Zagros Mountains. Shiraz is said to have the country’s most beautiful bazaars, and along the lively market streets we can see nomads coming to shop. Here you can buy everything between heaven and earth – from oriental antiques to hand-woven rugs, copper objects, vegetables, spices and paintings. In the area you will also find several beautiful gardens, bathhouses and not least – the city’s best carpet shops.

Climate and weather Iran

Get an overview of Iran’s climate and weather below – from the capital Tehran to Isfahan and Shiraz

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN CHRISTMAS AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Tehran
Daytime temperature 7 10 15 22 28 34 37 35 32 24 17 10
Night temperature -1 1 5 11 16 21 24 23 19 13 7 1
Precipitation (mm) 37 34 37 28 15 3 3 1 1 14 21 36
Shiraz
Daytime temperature 12 15 19 24 31 36 38 37 34 28 21 14
Night temperature 0 1 5 9 13 17 20 19 14 9 4 0
Precipitation (mm) 80 50 49 31 7 0 1 0 0 5 20 63
Isfahan
Daytime temperature 9 12 17 22 28 34 36 35 31 24 17 11
Night temperature -2 0 5 9 14 19 22 20 15 9 4 -1
Precipitation (mm) 17 14 18 19 9 1 1 0 0 4 10 20

Iran’s many mountain ranges are surrounded by large central plateaus. Here you have a mainland climate with high summer temperatures, cold winters and very little precipitation. In the lowlands to the south, temperatures can reach record highs in the summer. To the east, the so-called 120-day wind blows, which whirls up the sand throughout the summer. The spring and autumn weather are more moderate and also the best periods to visit Iran.

Travel to Iran