Printable travel guide for Iran
Travel Guide

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Basic Facts

Official Country Name:IRAN
Capital: TEHRAN
Population:almost70,000,000
Telephone Code:098
Time Zone:4:30
Area:1,648,195 sq km
Language(s):Farsi(persian)
Ethnic Groups:ARIA
Highest Mountain:Damavand
PresidentHead of State:ahmadinezhad
Government:Islamic Repoblic
Currency:Rial
Exchange Rate: US$1=about 9000R
Health Risks:no
Electricity:220 v
Weights & Measures:SI(m,kg,sec)
Country Name in other languages:Iran rezashahran (link to My profile), Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ايران Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān) or simply Iran (ايران Īrān) – officially Persia until 1935, which remains in common use – is a Middle Eastern country located in southwestern Asia. It borders Armenia, Republic of Azerbaijan (including its Nakhichevan exclave), and Turkmenistan to the north, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf across which lie Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. After the second phase of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini helped transform Iran into a constitutional theocratic republic with democratic elements. Shi'a Islam is the official state religion.
Throughout history, Iran has been of great geostrategic importance due to its position between the Middle East, Caucasia, Central Asia, and the Persian Gulf and its proximity to Eastern Europe and Southern Asia. Iran is a member and co-founder of OPEC and is important in international politics due to its large supply of petroleum. The big anniversary include the lustily titled Magnificent Victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran on 11 February, which is the anniversary of Khomeini's coming to power in 1979; the enthusiastically celebrated No Ruz or Iranian New Year (21 to 24 March); and the tear-jerking Heart-Rending Departure of the Great Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 4 June, which commemorates the death of Khomeini. holidays of Iran follow the Persian solar calendar, but it's still fall on the same day each year according to the western calendar date. Just about everything that can close will close on a religious holiday, so it's important to know when is our religious holiday. Iran's religious holidays follow the Muslim lunar calendar dates, so the dates according to the western calendar vary year by year. Major events include Ramadan mount, and the birthday of Mohammed. The month of dawn to dusk fasting; Eid-e-Fetr, the one day festival of feasting that marks the end of Ramadan; Ghadir-e-Khom, which commemorates the day that the Prophet Mohammed appointed Emam Ali his successor;

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Iran is a vast nation of great natural beauty and rich history. Because of its beautiful natural setting, a lively and interesting environment we can offer our nature loving tourists a no of magnificent and outstanding tours which are unique and can be organized in a wide range of different itineraries to cover the beauty of the whole country at very competitive prices. themselves in here. A visit to Margoon Waterfall, Anzali Lagoon (West Caspian coast) Miankaleh Lagoon (East Caspian coast), Qeshm island Mangrove forest in Persian Gulf will fulfill your tour of Iran. At present there are 10 National Parks & 41 Protected Region in Iran. The total area encompassed by these Protected areas is approximately 7.9 million hectares (about 19.75 million acres) about 4.8% of the total land area of the country - tehran attractions: S'ad-Abad palace complex in the north of Tehran is a huge area of peaceful gardens with no less than 18 palaces scattered through them. Some of the buildings served a ceremonial function whilst others are surprisingly domestic in their scale. Now they are all museums of one sort or another. It's just as well they never seem all to be open, to visit the whole complex would be a most daunting task! Just go and enjoy the gardens, they are beautiful at any time of the year, and visit one or two of the museums that are open. The gardens are open all year round from 0800 -1900. Address: Kamal Taheri Street, Zaferanieh Green Palace in the S'ad-Abad park was built for Reza Shah in 1925, and was used as a summer palace. Despite the very evident grandeur of the place, it still was clearly a home. It's quite touching to see the bathroom for example, with a shaving stand and small mirror. The family dining room is an intimate room, as is the study. The dazzling, glittering bedroom is literally the jewel of the place - it's like standing in the middle of a diamond. Open every day 0800-1800 Open every day until 1800 hours. Address: S'ad-Abad Palace complex, Zaferanieh If you want to see all the National Museum has to offer, you really should aim to visit it twice. Like all the world's great museums, there is so much to see and absorb, one visit just does not give you time to do it justice. The millenia of Persian history and culture are all represented here in a stunning array of artifacts and major treasures. Pre-historic items give way to the ceramics bronzes, gold and terracotta figures of the Achemanian and Sassanian periods. Huge reliefs and columns topped with double-headed beasts from Persepolis are on display along with coins, jewellery and other small, domestic items. The museum is open every day except Tuesday from 0900-1200 and 1300-1600 Address: Tir Street, Iman Khomeini Ave ...is for sale somewhere in the labrynthine maze that is the Tehran Bazaar. With over 10km of narrow alleyways lined with shops and stalls selling everything from a button to the richest gold; khans and open spaces; stairs that lead down to bustling basement restaurants; people pushing past people; bicycles and donkeys; porters bent double with the load on their back; the sights and the sounds and the smells that come at you; whole rows of fabric stalls - some stocked only with rolls and rolls of black, others exploding with gaudy colour - it's a dazzling, bewildering maze and you could stay there for hours. ...is for sale somewhere in the labrynthine maze that is the Tehran Bazaar. With over 10km of narrow alleyways lined with shops and stalls selling everything from a button to the richest gold; khans and open spaces; stairs that lead down to bustling basement restaurants; people pushing past people; bicycles and donkeys; porters bent double with the load on their back; the sights and the sounds and the smells that come at you; whole rows of fabric stalls - some stocked only with rolls and rolls of black, others exploding with gaudy colour - it's a dazzling, bewildering maze and you could stay there for hours. Address: The main entrance is off Sabzeh Maidan This is also known as the National Museum of Iran and is the biggest and most important in the country. My favourite exhibits included 7,000-year-old clay pots, cunieform tablets, a pottery cow from 1250 BC, a beautiful bronze statue of a Parthian prince and the preserved remains of the Salt Man of Zanjan. Open 9am -1pm, 2pm-5pm every day, except Tuesday. Address: Emam Khomeini Avenue This museum houses a beautiful collection of korans and illustrated books, as well as carpets, textiles, coins etc, from the Islamic period. My favourite exhibits included a ninth century koran, sixteenth century illustrated books and a wooden mosque pulpit from Fars, made in 1369. Open 9am-1pm, 2pm-5pm every day, except Tuesday. Address: Emam Khomeini Avenue sorkh ghaleh toroud..ON FIROUZKOOH it's located on the road which connects "firouz kooh" to "semnan" and it has a unique views and awesome nature .i recommend to any body to check it out ! sorkh ghal-e- means red castel. and you can see this castel here. so it is beautiful. isn't it ? ski slope in tehran skiing in the mountains in iran is must do if you are in iran. you have many possibilities to skiing or snowboarding in the dizin resort or other resort. there is too long when you haven't doreit alot but it's worth. you can see many nice people in these places who are very friendly. last date that i was there was february 2002. dont miss it ! the suburb of niavaran is a summer resort in northern tehran which attracted the attention of qajar monarche.fath-ali shah first created a lush garden here . there is charming place with impressives views. the niavaran palace situated in foot of the mountains,less than 20 minutes from the center of city. Address: north of tehran other city: Shiraz is World-famous as a historical city. Shiraz was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and was the Iranian capital during the Zand dynasty (1747) Located at entrance of the city of Shiraz, the beautifully built Darvazeh Qor'aan, was the place where two huge Qor'aan, know as the Hefdah-man Qor'aan were kept. All who entered or left the city had to pass through Darvazeh Qor'aan, thus passing underneath the two Holy Qor'aan. Most Muslims believe that if a man walks on the Holy Qor'aan before he sets out in a trip, he will safely return home. The two Qurans are presently kept in the Pars Museum. Hafezieh is situated northeast of Shiraz, and is the grave-site of the Persian, poet, Hafez, nicknamed "Lessan-ol-Gheib", and a place of pilgrimage for his admirers. These admirers --Goethe, the great German poet was one-- have flocked around his poetry, pondering on its meanings. Despite the passage of centuries, Hafez's poetry is as relevant today as ever. guilan: The coastal plains of the Caspian Sea, with more than 600 kilemeters length, mountainous slopes and beautiful towns and villages, kind and hospitable people, are some of important recreational regions of Iran. there are numerous cities and tourism centers with necessary facilities like Talesh, Bandar Anzali, Rasht, Lahijan, Ramsar, Chaloos, Nowshahr, Babol, Amol, Sari, Behshahr, Gorgan, and Gonbad-Kavoos.In addition to recreational characteristics of the Caspian Sea coasts, there are other worth-seeing places. Among them, the existence of the historical sites in the cities of Rasht, Fooman Lahijan, Gorgan and Gonbad Kavoon may be pointed out. In the cities of the Caspian Sea coastline, different wooden, Bamboo, and mat-like products are supplied in huge quantities. Vast fields of rice, tobacco, tea, oleaginous seeds, cotton, and citrus orchards along with beautiful wooden houses, have created a very interesting social life and livelihood which is worth-seeing for every tourist. Hamadan is of considerable importance historically. MADAN Located 336 kms west of Tehran, Hamadan is a city of great antiquity, the foundation of which is attributed to a king of the Medes, dating back to 700 BC. In Ecbatana, the ancient name for Hamadan, there was a majestic palace containing 7 castles encircling each other successively. The palace was called Hagmetaneh. The Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanian kings had palaces in the city. In the Seljuk period it was the National capital for 50 years. Being on the roads to the western areas of Iran, it has been of high commercial importance in the recent centuries. ALAVIYAN DOME Belonging to the Alaviyan family, this dome dates back to the Seljuk period and is very similarto the Red Dome of Maragheh (a city in Azarbayjan-e Sharqi). The dome, under which there are two tombs, its exterior is covered by superb turquoise tile-mosaic and its interior has plasterwork being of considerable beauty. GANJNAMEH n the slope of Mt. Aivand, 5 kms from Haniadan, there are two petrogrphs written in cuneiformcharacters, dating back to the Aehaemenid era and belonging to Darius the Great and Xerxes. MAUSOLEUM OF IBN-E SINA Being very similar to the Tomb Tower of Gonbad-e Kabus, it is the resting-place of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), the great Iranian philosopher. The museum and library of this complex is of great attraction. MOSALLA HILL o the east of Hamadan lies a hill on which there are the relics of a castle going back to the Sassanian age. On the slope of the hill stands a stone lion 2m long, 1 15 m wide and 1.20 m high, belonging to the Parthian period. MAUSOLEUM OF ESTRU MARDKHAY t is the Mausoleum of Esther, the Jewish queen of Susa (Xerxes wife) and her uncle, Mordecai.The monument has Islamic architecture. Each tomb is encircled by an antique wooden BOX. The unique blue tiles of Isfahan's Islamic buildings, and the city's majestic bridges, contrast perfectly with the hot, dry Iranian countryside around it, Isfahan is a sight you won't forget. Not only is the architecture superb and the climate pleasant, but there's a fairly relaxed atmosphere here, compared with many other Iranian towns. It's a city for walking, getting lost in the bazaar, walking in beautiful gardens and meeting people. The famous half-rhyme Isfahan nesf-e-jahan (Isfahan is half the world) was coined in the 16th century to express the city's grandeur. There's so much to see that you'll probably have to ration your time and concentrate on must-sees such as the Imam Mosque, a magnificent building completely covered in Isfahan's trademark pale blue tiles; 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 is amazingly superb. Its minarets Are 48 meters high. Naghsh-e-Jahan (world picture) Square, one of the largest town square in the world. The Chehel Sotun Museum and Palace, a marvellous seventheenth century pavilion and a great place for a picnic; this palace is another building dating back to the Safavid period, built amidst a vast garden covering an area of 67000 sq m. The building has a veranda with 18 pillars and a large pool in front of it. Being mirrored in the still water of the pool, the pillars create a beautiful view. The wall painting in the interior of the building is superlative in their kind.Ali Qapoo Palace Situated to the west of Naghsh-e-Jahan Sq. belongs to the Safavid period. It was used for the reception of the Ambassadors and envoys from other Countries. Ali Qapoo is a six-storied plasterwork and paintings of which are extremely impressive. and the Vank Cathedral, the historic focal point of the Armenian church in Iran. Taking tea in one of the teahouses under the bridges is also an essential part of the Isfahan experience. Isfahan is about 400km (250ml) south of Tehran. Several flights make the trip daily. There are buses, usually overnight, to Tehran, Shiraz and other domestic cities. The express train between Isfahan and Tehran might be a preferable alternative to sitting all night on the seat. Isfahan Cities... 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 south-eastern Iran and covers an area of 180,000 sq. kms. Kerman is bounded on the north by yazd and Khorasan, on the east by Sistan va Baluchestan, on the south by Hormozgan, and on the west by Fars. The central and western areas, being mountainous, are cold in winter and mild in summer. The western and eastern parts containing vast areas of desert have long hot summers and short mild winters. The Lut Desert, lying north of the province, plays a significant role in the climate. The two ranges of mountains stretching from northwest to southeast from the central mountains of Iran. The mountain-ranges of Kuhbanan, jebal-e Barez and shahsavaran, and the mountains of Chehel Tan, bid Khan, Davaran and jupar are of more importance. Mt. Jupar (4100 meters) lying to the southeast of the provincial, attracts many people. Interested in mountain and rock climbing, wildlife rich in variety and being in the vicinity of Mahan (a town with many attractions) have great appeal for visitors. The lowest elevation in Iran is Shahdad district, located in the northeast of Kerman province. Most of the rivers of the province are seasonal. The largest permanent river is the Helil Rud, originating in the Baft mountains and flowing southeastward to Jazmurian Marsh. Qanant, an irrigation water source is tapped and the water channelled down through a series of tunnels to the earth's surface, has been widely used for supplying some areas with water from the distant past. sirjan region, located in the eastern Kerman, takes in a seasonal salt lake bing of considerable attraction. The Kavir-e Lut, an immense desert located in the northeast of the province, has its own appeal. The mineral springs of Abareq and Dah Sheykh, near the cities of Bam and Baft respectively, with suitable facilities for bathing, can be used all the year round. The province mainly consists of steppes and semiarid plateaus covered by brown or chestnut-colored soil that supports gtassy vegetation. Thorny shrubs from the ground cover of the steppes. Tagh trees (belonging to the goosfoot family) and tamarisks also grow on these areas. Wild fruit trees such as Persian turpentine trees and almond are found in mountainous regions enjoying mild climate. Wildlife is rich in variety. Cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, wild boars, wolves, jackals, foxes, rabbits, gazelles, mouflon, ibex, and the Iranian wild ass which is threatened by extinction, are among mamals living in the province. Wildlife sanctuaries have been established in Kerman, notable among them are the protected areas of Mahru'iyeh and Khabr va Ruchun. The vast majority of the people living in Kerman are Muslims. Persian is the dominant language, spoken in a stylish Kermani dialect. Tribal life is also found in Kerman; notable among them are the protected areas of Mahru'iyeh and Khabat va Ruchun. The vast majority of the people living in Kerman are Muslims. Persian is the dominant language, spoken in a stylish Kerman; the following tribes are of more importance: Ayineh, Shams ad-Dini and Afshar. Bam Bam is a city of great antiquity,200 kms south-east of Kemran.Dates,citrus fruits and henna are the most important crope cultivated in Bam.Dating fom 2000 years ago,it was city of Bam.called Arg-e-Bam,are of great attraction. Bazar, Shahr babak Khuzistan The Land Of Palms Situated in the south-west of Iran, this province covers an area of 64236 sq kms.Ahvaz: Dating back to the second millennium BC, Ahvaz, the largest city of the province, is one of the most ancient cities of Iran. The historical monuments are numerous, of which the remains of a bridge, near the present suspension bridge and the catacombs in the eastern part of Abvaz belong to the pre-Islamic period. The mausoleum of All ebn-e Mahziyar-e Ahvazi in Khorratn Kooshk and the mausoleum of Hazrat-e Abbas in the village of Seyyed Abbas-e Abd oI-Khan having two lofty minarets and a dome covered with beautiful tiles are among historical Islamic monuments.The Karoon, the largest and the only navigable river in Iran flows through the city and divides it into eastern and western districts. The governmental and business sectors are largely centered in the western district.Having a mild climate in winter and in early spring, Ahvaz attracts a large number of visitors each year. There are recreational facilities such as rowing and motor boats on the Karoon. Bazaar, beautiful banks of the Karoon and palm groves are among places worthwhile seeing. Abadan: Situated 115 kms south-west of Ahvaz on the Arvand Rood (Arvand River), Abadan is a leading economical centre in Iran. Rich mineral resources contribute to the importance of this major port. At night, the lights mirrored in the water of the river afford an impressive sight. Khorrarmshahr: This leading port which stands at the confluence of the Karoon, the Tigris and Euphrates, plays a significant role in the economy of the province. A spur line links it with the Trans-Iranian Railway. Local bazaar, vast palm groves and the fishing boats on the river are very sightly. The distance between Khorramshahr and Alivaz is 128 kms by land and 168 kms by the Karoon River. The weather is mild in winter and muggy in summer. Bandar-e Mahshahr: It is the second greatest port in Iran, used for the export of oil and natural gas. The petro-chemical industry has contributed to the importance of this town. The coastal area, particularly at fig ht,is very sightly. Dezfool: It is located in the north of the province, 150 kms distant from Ahvaz. The earliest evidence of man found on the hill of Chogha Mish, 40 kms south-east of Dezfool to the 6th millennium BC. This city was probably built in the Sassanian period. Of the monuments belonging to the Sassanian period are the palace of Karkheh, 18 kms south-west of Dezfool and the remains of a bridge across the Dez River. The architecture of the palace is of high interest to visitors. The historical monuments belonging to the Islamic period are Jame’ mosque (9th century) and the relics of ancient mills. The restaurants serving regional foods are among other attractions of Dezfool. Mashad: The provincial capital of Khorassan, Iran's largest province, is itselfThe nations second largest city. It is also Iran’s holiest city and a place of pilgrimage For Shi'ite Moslems from all over the world. Khorassan, one of Iran's most important provinces both geographically and historically,once included parts of Afghanistan,Tadjikestan, Turkomanistan and Uzbakistanunder the entity of the Greater Khorassan. Itis also the cradle of the Persian (Farsi)language and the civilization of eastern Iran,and the homeland of many great Iranian poets, writers and scholars.Khorassan s most recent history is associated with the Afshar Dynasty and its founder Nader Shah Afshar. truly is one of the most magnificent religious centers anywhere in the world. TOOS: Iran’s greatest epic poet Ferdowsi, TAEIBAD: The border crossing point from Afghanistan into northern Iran which contains one of the finest Timurid structures in the country. The Maulana Mosque and Shrine were built in the early 15th century, probably under Shahrokh, the fourth son ofTamerlane, to honour the remains of Sheikh Aain-al-Din, a local mystic who died several centuries before. ROBAT-E-SHARAF: One of the oldest and most elaborate caravanserais, a masterpiece of Seljuq architecture, built about 1120 AD. The trade routes of the twelfth century have shifted, leaving the splendid structure standing alone among low hills north east of Mashad. The complexity of Robat-e-Sharaf suggests that it may have been used by the Seljuq rulers as a temporary residence. KHWAF: The villagers of southern Khorassan have developed through the centuries an efficient device for harnessing the desert wind to grind their grain into flour. Khwaf was an important center during the 10th century A.D., famous for its fruits and silk. Besides the wind mill, another place of interest in Khwaf is the Khargerd Madrasseh built during the reign of Shahrokh about 1444-45, still retaining some fine tilework.

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Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Getting there and away, Getting around by Air, Train, Bus, Car, Motorcycle, Boat, Hitchhiking, Bicycle ... Iran Transportation: Railways: total: 7,203 km (2004 est.) broad gauge: 94 km 1.676-m gauge standard gauge: 7,109 km 1.435-m gauge (189 km electrified) Highways: total: 167,157 km (1998 est.) paved: 94,109 km (including 890 km of expressways) unpaved: 73,048 km Waterways: 850 km (on Karun River and Lake Urmia) (2004 est.) Pipelines: condensate/gas: 212 km gas: 16,998 km liquid petroleum gas: 570 km oil: 8,256 km refined products: 7,808 km (2004) Ports and harbors: Assaluyeh, Bushehr Merchant marine: total: 144 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,715,242 GRT / 8,240,069 DWT by type: bulk carrier 38, cargo 49, chemical tanker 4, container 14, liquefied gas 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 30, roll on/roll off 2 foreign-owned: 1 (UAE 1) registered in other countries: 8 (2005) Airports: 305 (2004 est.) Airports — with paved runways: total: 127 over 3047m: 39 2438 to 3047m: 25 1524 to 2437m: 26 914 to 1523m: 32 under 914m: 5 (2004 est.) Airports — with unpaved runways: total: 178 over 3047m: 1 1524 to 2437m: 9 914 to 1523m: 129 under 914m: 39 (2004 est.) Heliports: 13 (2004 est.) Iran Air The easiest way for getting in Iran is air! There are many direct flight connections to Mehrabad Int'l Airport (Tehran) from different cities across the world: London - Paris - Milan - Amsterdam - Frankfurt - Hamburg - Koln - Berlin - Zurich - Vienna - Stockholm - Moscow - Kiev - Ankara - Istanbul - Kuwait - Dubai - Damascus - Riadh - Kabul - Islamabad - Beijing - Seoul - Bangkok - New Dehli - ..... I can list some airline companies which operate direct flights to Iran: Lufthansa - Alitalia - Turkish Airlines - KLM - Emirates - Gulf Air - AeroFlot - British Airways. Also Iranian companies: Iran Air - Mahan Air - Caspian Airlines. By the way, some other cities in Iran has few international flights: Mashhad - Shiraz - Bandar Abbas - Esfahan train Unfortunately Railways are not so expanded in Iran, while traveling with train is frequently cheap and comfortable. There are 2 internatiol train routes to Iran. 1) Istanbul-Tehran: Weekly Departure from Istanbul: Wednesday Departure from Tehran: Thursday It takes about 72 hours (so long!) Price: about $50 - one way 2) Damascus-Tehran: Weekly Departure from Damascus: Monday Departure from Tehran: Monday It takes about 64 hours (so long again!) Price: about $41 - one way Both of services run by express sleeping-cars (each coupe for 4 person). Most of train transport in Iran are run by Raja Trains Co. briz - Zahedan. bus Iran has this incredible cheap and fast bus connections between cities. People on the buses will be very gentle ith you and even if they dont speak any of your languages they will try their best to make you confortable and enojy the ride. Iran is a very big country so usualy bus trips take lots of hours but remember if you want to take the train that usually buses are quicker... Roads in Iran are quite safe apart from cities chaotic traffic system of course. But the big roads are highway style and its almost non stop. Water is served in all bus trips. This water comes from ice put in a machine, and 20 in 20 minutes a guy comes with a jar to serv you cold water. In 1st class buses you even have gifts from the bus company.

Accommodation

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Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Iranian cuisine The cuisine of Iran is diverse, with each province featuring dishes, as well as culinary traditions and styles, distinct to their regions. It includes a wide variety of foods ranging from chelow kabab (barg, koobideh, joojeh, shishleek, soltani, chenjeh), khoresht (stew that is served with white Basmati or Persian rice: ghormeh sabzi, gheimeh, and others), aash (a thick soup), kookoo (meat and/or vegetable pies), polow (white rice alone or with addition of meat and/or vegetables and herbs, including loobia polow, albaloo polow, zereshk polow, and others), and a diverse variety of salads, pastries, and drinks specific to different parts of Iran. The list of Persian recipes, appetizers and desserts is extensive. Iranian food is inventive, rich and varied. It is exotic yet simple, healthy and colorful. Iranian food is not spicy. Herbs are used a lot, as is fruit from plums and pomegranates to quince, prunes, and raisins. The main Persian cuisines are combinations of rice with meat, chicken or fish and plenty of garlic, onion, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. To achieve a delicious taste and a balanced diet, unique Persian spices such as saffron, diced limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes. Traditional Iranian table settings Typical table setting and elements of a popular Iranian dish.The traditional Iranian table setting firstly involves the tablecloth, called sofreh, which is often generally embroidered with traditional prayers and/or poetry, and is spread out over a Persian rug or table. Main dishes are concentrated in the center, surrounded by smaller dishes containing appetizers, condiments, side dishes, as well as bread, all of which are nearest to the diners. These latter dishes are called mokhalafat (accompaniments). When the food has been served, an invitation is made to all those seated at the sofreh to help themselves. Essential accompaniments There are certain accompaniments (mokhalafat) which are essential to every Iranian meal at lunch (nahar) and dinner (shahm), regardless of the region. These include, first and foremost, a plate of fresh herbs, called sabzi (basil, coriander, cilantro, tarragon, watercress), a variety of flat breads, called nan or noon (sangak, lavash, barbari), cheese (called panir, similar to feta), sliced and peeled cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and onions, yogurt, and lemon juice. Persian pickles (khiyarshur) and relishes (torshi) are also considered essential in most regions. Tea (chai) is served at breakfast and immediately before and after each meal at lunch and dinner, and also many times throughout the rest of the day. The traditional methods of tea preparation and drinking differ between regions and peoples. Varieties of rice The ubiquitous Persian Kabab is often served with both plain rice and a special (yellow cake) rice called tah-chin.It is believed that rice (berenj in Persian) was brought to Iran from southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. Varieties of rice in Iran include champa, rasmi, anbarbu, mowlai, sadri, khanjari, shekari, doodi, and others. Basmati rice from India is very similar to these Persian varieties and is also readily available in Iran. Traditionally, rice was most prevalent as a major staple item in northern Iran, while in the rest of the country bread was the dominant staple. Methods of cooking rice There are four primary methods of cooking rice in Iran: Chelow: rice that is carefully prepared through soaking and parboiling, at which point the water is drained and the rice is steamed. This method results in an exceptionally fluffy rice with the grains separated, and not sticky, and also results in a golden rice crust at the bottom of the pot called tah-digh (literally "bottom of the pot"), which is exceptionally popular with Iranian children. Polow: rice that is cooked exactly the same as chelow, with the exception that after draining the rice, other ingredients are added in layers or sections of the rice, and then steamed together. Kateh: rice that is cooked until the water is absorbed. This is also the traditional dish of Gilan (described in detail below). Damy: cooked almost the same as kateh, except that the heat is reduced just before boiling and a towel is placed between the lid and the pot to prevent steam from escaping. Damy literally means "simmered." Varieties of bread There are four major Iranian flat breads: Nan-e barbari: thick and oval-shaped. Nan-e lavash: thin, crispy and round or oval, and is also the oldest known bread in the Middle East and Central Asia. Nan-e sangak: dark and oval-shaped bread that is stone-baked. Nan-e taftoon: thin, soft and round. Other breads include: Nan-e shirmal: made exactly like barbari, except with milk instead of water, in addition to a bit of sugar, and is eaten during breakfast or with tea. Nan-e gisu: a sweet Armenian bread, and also is eaten in the morning or with tea later in the day. Regional cuisines Gilan See Gilan: People and Culture Kateh is the traditional dish of Gilan, and is simply Persian rice cooked in water, butter and salt until the water is fully absorbed. This method results in rice that is clumped together and is the predominant style of cooking rice in the Caspian region. In Gilan and Mazandaran, kateh is also eaten as a breakfast meal, either heated with milk and jam, or cold with Persian cheese (panir) and garlic. Kateh is not commonly served in other parts of Iran, but is prescribed widely as a natural remedy for those who are sick with the common cold or flu, and also for those suffering from stomach pains and ulcers. The Gilani variety of rice is considered the best in Iran, where it has been cultivated since the fourth century BCE. Khuzestan See Khuzestan: People and Culture Fast food, imported and adapted foods Popular fast food items in Iran include chelow kabab (literally "rice and kabab"), joojeh kabab (the same, but substituting grilled or broiled chicken), nan-e kabab (literally "bread with kabab"), kabab sandwiches, and a number of different derivatives of traditional slow-cooked meals. An increasing preference for American style food amongst a younger generation of Iranians has resulted in the establishment of many pizza, steak, hamburger, and fried chicken establishments, but Western food is sometimes served alongside staples such as those mentioned above, and is often prepared differently (most notably with pizza). Chinese and Japanese cuisine has also become popular in recent years, primarily in Tehran, and Indian, Italian and Mediterranean restaurants are also featured. Breakfast (sobhaneh) The basic traditional Iranian breakfast consists of a variety of flat breads (noon-e sangak, lavash, and others), butter, Tabrizi white cheese, feta cheese, whipped heavy cream (sarshir, often sweetened), and a variety of fruit jams and spreads. However, other popular traditional breakfasts (which require far more preparation) include haleem (wheatmeal with shredded lamb - similar to Western oatmeal in some respects), asheh mohshalah (thick soup), kaleh pacheh (lamb or sheep's head and feet soup), and others. These latter breakfasts are typically regional specialities, and many cities and towns all across Iran feature their own distinct versions of these dishes. Both asheh mohshalah and haleem are typically prepared the night before, to be served the next morning, and haleem is usually only served at certain times of the year (haleem specialty restaurants are only open during those times), except in southern parts of Iran, where haleem is always present. Kaleh pacheh is almost always only served from three in the morning until sometime after dawn, and specialty restaurants (serving only kaleh pacheh) are only open during those hours. Kabab Koobideh, served with dugh (yoghurt drink) and pickles. Photo from "New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies" by Najmieh Batmanglij Lunch and dinner (nahar va shahm) Traditional Persian cooking is done in stages, at times needing hours of preparation and attention. The outcome is a well-balanced mixture of herbs, meat, beans, dairy products, and vegetables. Major staples of Iranian food that are usually eaten with every meal include rice, various herbs (mint, basil, dill, parsley), cheese (feta or Persian panir, derived from goat or sheep's milk, and sometimes cow's milk), a variety of flat breads, and some type of meat (usually poultry, beef, lamb, or fish). Stew over rice is by far the most popular dish, and the constitution of these vary by region. Tea (chai) is the drink of choice on nearly every occasion, and is usually served with fruit, pastries, or sweets. You can usually find tea brewing throughout the day in most Iranian homes. Doogh, a yogurt drink, is also quite popular. One of the oldest recipies, which can trace it's existence back to the time of Persian empire, is khoresht-e-fesenjan, consisting of duck or sometimes chicken in a rich pomegranate and walnut sauce that yields a distinctive brown color, most often served with white rice. The taste is exceptional and fuses both sweet and sour in perfect harmony. Persian cuisine in the West One of the main reasons that Persian cuisine is not widely recognized is that it is often confused with Middle Eastern cuisine, a much broader and more general term, and this confusion is further perpetuated by restaurants and markets providing authentic Persian cuisine that label themselves as such. Many Persian markets and restaurants are labelled as Middle Eastern, International, or Mediterranean in order to broaden their appeal to the Western consumer. In reality, Persian cuisine is one of the oldest and richest cuisines in the world, and is typically vastly different from what is found in the greater Middle East. Although not widely recognized, Persian cuisine is gaining popularity in multicultural cities, especially in Los Angeles, which has a significant Persian population. Drinks and Dessert Some traditionally prepared ice cream to top off the meal concludes the Iranian feast.The traditional drink accompanying Iranian dishes is called doogh. However many domestic soda beverages such as Zam Zam Cola and its competition Parsi Cola are widely consumed with meals. Both Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola have officially licensed bottling plants in Mashad, with their products surprisingly not subject to US sanctions against Iran. Other drinks are several types of especially prepared Sherbets and khak sheer. There are many dessert dishes, ranging from Bastani-e Zafarani (Persian Ice-Cream, also called Bastani-e Gol-e Bolbol) to the faludeh. Persian Ice-Cream is flavoured with saffron, rosewater, and chunks of heavy cream. There are also many types of sweets. The sweets remain in two categories: "Shirini Tar" (lit. wet sweets) and "Shirini Khoshk" (lit. dry sweets). The first category consists of French-inspired pastries with heavy whipped cream, glazed fruit toppings, tarts, custard-filled eclairs, and a variety of cakes. Some have an Iranian twist such as the addition of pistachio, saffron, and walnuts. The second category consists of more traditional sweets: Shirini Berenji (a type of rice cookie), Shirini Nokhodchi (clover shaped, chickpea cookies), Kouloucheh (a large cookie usually with a walnut or fig filling), Shirini Kishmishi (raisin and saffron cookies), Shirini Yazdi (muffins or cupcakes from the city of Yazd), and more. Three others Zulbia, Bamieh and Gush-e Fil, are very popular. Bamiehs are oval-shaped dough pieces, deep fried and then covered with a syrup. Zulbia is also deep-fried dough, but it is poured into the oil so that it twirls. It is then covered with the same syrup. Gush-e Fil (lit. Elephant ears) are also deep-fried dough, fried in the shape of flat elephant ears and then covered in syrup. Alcoholic beverages Though strictly banned sometime after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, alcoholic beverages may be readily available in Iran, but they are not openly available. The most common beverage is called aragh-e keshmesh, which is domestically produced, with the best variety available in the province of Qazvin. Vodka is the second most commonly available alcohol, with most quantities imported directly from Russia. Some domestic varieties of vodka are available, but cannot be easily obtained. Beer is the third most common alcoholic beverage, with much of it imported from northern Europe via Turkey. As with vodka, domestic beer is available, but not easily obtained. Other imported liquors such as Scotch whisky, gin, and higher quality vodkas from Poland are available in some major cities, but at a much higher cost (typically even more expensive than the Western average) and as such are considered luxury items. Wine has been a major part of Iranian culture since ancient times, and this tradition has continued despite current governmental restrictions. The major wine-producing centers of Iran are Qazvin, Orumiyeh, Shiraz, and to a lesser extent, Isfahan. Red wine is the most common variety and also the most popular, with white wine also enjoying a strong position in the north. Wine-producers are often, but not always, either of Armenian or Zoroastrian background, as non-Muslim minority groups are entitled the right to produce wine (and other alcoholic beverages) for their own use. Though it is illegal for them to sell wine to other Iranians (and to foreign visitors), this rule may not be followed and their wine may be obtained in those parts of the country where it is produced or distributed. The Armenian producers of Orumiyeh and Isfahan are, in particular, renowned for their sweet, sparkling red wines. Vegetarianism in Iran The concept of vegetarianism is uncommon in Iran, though many vegetarian dishes are featured and in recent decades there has been growing interest in this area (and in fruitarianism) since the 1960s, particularly amongst the youth. A small number of vegetarian restaurants and coffee shops are featured in the major urban centers. Some of the most popular vegetarian dishes are: Kashk-e baademjan Kookoo-e baademjan Kookoo-e gol-e kalam Kookoo-e sabzi which usually accompanies Sabzi-polo ba Mahi Mirza ghasemi Naaz khatoon Nargesi esfenaaj Borani esfenaaj

Money and Costs

Meals Budget: USD$1-2 Mid-range: USD$2-10 Top-end: USD$10 and upwards Lodging Budget: USD$2-10 Mid-range: USD$10-40 Top-end: USD$40-110 Exchange USD$1 = 9000 Rial Iran is inexpensive by international standards. A bare minimum budget for cheap hotels and Motels, Iranian food and overland transport is about USD$10 per day. Unless you thrive on discomfort, however, you should double this to around USD$20 for each days. This will provide you with decent accommodation, better food, transport by first-class (first quality) bus and shared taxi, and visits to all the important tourist attractions and cultural places. One of unfortunately parts of traveling to Iran is the dual-pricing for foreigners. This affects international ferries and flights, where all tickets must be paid for in USD dollars; tourist attractions, where foreigners pay up to 15 times as much to enter as Iranians do; and the more expensive hotels, which often charge in USD dollars. There are 3 ways to change money (preferably USD dollars in cash): at the bank upon arrival in the airport or bank in big cities of Iran or street rate at the streets. Almost all the rates are the same, no black market anymore. Don't bother taking travelers cheques of any denomination or currency unless you absolutely must: you can only exchange them at the Melli Bank branches at the international airport (Emam Khomeini Air port) in Tehran and in central Tehran. An increasing number of mid-range hotels (and all top-end places) accept Visa or MasterCard. In most cases, tipping is an optional reward for good service. Although there are many circumstances where a small tip is expected, you are unlikely to have a waiter hovering expectantly near your table after delivering the bill. On the other hand, it's worth remembering that helpful Iranians probably deserve some extra appreciation to supplement their meagre wages. As for bargaining, in the bazaar virtually all prices are negotiable; in shops, it's a complete waste of time. Fares in private taxis are always negotiable.

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa?
All country except turkey.

How to get it?
Iranian Embassies & Consulates issue visas, usually on presentaion of a "reference number", which can be applied for on your behalf by either friends and family in Iran or an Iranian travel agency. Some embassies also issue visas without such a number (they then get this number directly in Tehran for you themselves).
Kish Island can be visited visa-free, and visas for the mainland can be applied for there as well.
Nationals of Israel or holders of passports containing a visa for Israel (either valid or expired) will be refused entry under all circumstances. Women judged to be dressed immodestly will be refused entry.
Passport valid for six months beyond stay required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.
Airport visa

Some nationals may now get a 2 week visa on arrival at international airports. No reference number is needed, but you may need to ab able to provide details of where you are staying. Note that most english-speaking countries are excluded from this facility.
Validity
Tourist, Business and Pilgrimage visas are issued for stays of up to one month and are valid for three months from date of authorisation. Transit visas are valid for five days. Applications for renewal or extension should be made to the Iranian Embassy. Types of Visa and Cost Tourist/Business/Pilgrimage: £61 (single-entry); £68 (double-entry). Business (multiple-entry): £79 (three months); £90 (six months); £90 (one year). Transit: £61. The above prices are for UK nationals; fees vary according to nationality of applicant. Applications to: Consulate (or consular section at embassy); see Contact Addresses for details. Working Days Required A minimum of four weeks. A pilgrimage visa may only take two weeks to process. Nationals of Israel or holders of passports containing a visa for Israel (either valid or expired) will be refused entry under all circumstances. Women judged to be dressed immodestly will be refused entry.

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with ot ISFEHAN: an ancient city with Islamic historical places from 400 years ago and beautiful river (zayande rud) in middle of city with humorous and artist people. You can find gifts for your family here. Distance from Tehran 450 km has all type transportation (air, bus, train). SHIRAZ: the city of Aryan civilization from 2500 years ago ( Perspolice city). With warm and sympathy people and city of flowers and syrups and poets, has hot weather in summer. KASHAN: A ring in middle of desert and history from 3000 years ago with typical ancient house and his non electrical ventilation .distance from Teheran 2.5 hours by car. YAZD: capital of desert with brick-made and muddy house and his ventilation and subterranean canal with hard-working people. TABRIZ: first big city after turkey board with agreeable weather in the summer and cold in winter his bazaar is biggest and most beautiful in the east with kindly people and delicious food and sweet. You can find best manual –made carpet and rug here. Distance from Tehran 600km MASHAD: the holly city and shrine of IMAM REZA with 14 million annual internal tourists. Has all kind of transportation (air train and bus). The city is famous for his fruits and saffron. Distance from Tehran 1000 km. HAMEDAN: The city in foot of ALVAND Mountain and capital of first Iranian tribe (MEDES). Here is ABU ALI SINA (Iranian scientist and medicine from 1000 years ago) city. Have many landscapes like beautiful ALI SADR cave. Distance from Tehran 3or 4 hours by car. CITIES IN THE NORTH (SHOMAL): Cities near the sea and full of the forest with hospitable people and rest site for Tehran people in vacation. The distance of the nearest city if would not be traffic 3 hours, in vacation times 12 hours from Tehran. her members.

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

in the north of tehran ,in the foot of the alborz mountain ,you can find too many special places for rest and enjoy of the charm climate of northern tehran.also there are too many restaurants with good quality of services.it's usual to go there iduring the day and in the nights it's fantastic,because many people from tehran go to darband to get energy after their works. we go there in every weekend ,i mean every friday nights! many young people have benefit from these places.and it doesn't matter that which dress you wore! just you'll have a great time there. night over tehran Send Photo to a Friendin the night ,there is some possibilities to go to the part of tehran called darakeh or darband or some traditional nightclubs that called in farsi "sofreh-khaneh". it might be interesting for each person to visit these places. personaly ,i would really like to go to tehran again and see this place again. Nightlife in Teheran ? Well besides taking walks, going to restaurants etc. we often was at parties in private homes. And as usual nice food was served ! THE PHOTO: ANOTHER MEAL READY TO BE SERVED ! After the dinner at a restaurant maybe the cinema will be an option. Farsi or dubbed into Farsi of course, but a cheap place to rest your feet and enjoy with many others a funny film. 300-700 toman. Friends in Darband Iran is not the place to go out and dance at night, at least not in a club. So, if you are not invited to a party, you should take advantage of being in this city on the foot of the Alborz Mountains. In northern Tehran, just above Tajrish Square and at the beginning of a popular hiking track, is the night spot location called Darband (or Sar-e Band). It is a collection of street-side cafes and open air restaurants that will show you the real side of Iran. In a relax atmosphere, dining on flat benches covered with Kilims, you will be served all kinds of Kababs, Yoghurt drink and dips, and can smoke your ghelyoon (Water pipe) while drinking some real good tea. People are all around you, real Tehranis from all walks of life, taking advantage of their off time, enjoying life with their families, or scores of youth walking around, talking and laughing loud, and sampling the candies and sour delicacies offered by the street side vendors. Iranians stay up late and start late on going out. So, don't expect things to get busy and interesting before 10 PM. Almost all restaurants serve the same quality food. The further up you go, the more chic and expensive they become, and more "modern". I like the midrange ones that have their benches by the water and serve you in their gardens! It is just great! However you like, but if interested in meeting interesting people, don't wear your work clothes or that work jeans. It is a casual place. Shabestan Resturant Do not miss Iranians night in Cultural Resturan with live music you can visit shabestan in Hafez st. also Azari in Gomrok sq.

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

"Iran's glory has always been its culture. This culture has manifested itself in several facets throughout the history of Iran, as well as that of many Central Asian states, which are discussed in this article.. Art Main article: Iranian art Iranian art has gone through numerous phases of evolution. The unique aesthetics of Persia is evident from the Achaemenid reliefs in Persepolis to the mosaic paintings of Bishapur. The Islamic era drastically brought changes to the styles and practice of the arts, each dynasty with its own particular foci. The Qajarid era was the last stage of classical Persian art, before modernism was imported and suffused into elements of traditionalist schools of aesthetics. Language and literature Main articles: Persian language and Persian literature The Persian language has been in continuous use for over 2500 years. Yet it is a subset of the superset of Iranian languages. Persian literature inspired Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many others, and it has been often dubbed as a most worthy language to serve as a conduit for poetry. Cinema Main article: Cinema of Iran With 300 international awards in the past 25 years, films from Iran continue to be celebrated worldwide. Perhaps the best known director is Abbas Kiarostami. Music Main articles: Music of Iran, List of Iranian musicians and singers, and Persian music The music of Persia goes back to before the days of Barbod in the royal Sassanid courts. This is where many music cultures (e.g. Flamenco) trace back their distant origins to.[1] Architecture Main article: Iranian Architecture Traditional teahouses of Iran There are nearly countless numbers of traditional teahouses (chai khaneh) throughout Iran, and each province features its own unique cultural presentation of this ancient tradition. However, there are certain traits which are common to all teahouses, especially the most visible aspects, strong chai (tea) and the ever-present ghaluyn. Almost all teahouses serve baqleh, steam boiled fava beans (in the pod), served with salt and vinegar, as well as a variety of desserts and pastries. Many teahouses also serve full meals, typically a variety of kababs as well as regional specialities. Persian rugs Gottfried Semper called rugs "the original means of separating space". Rug weaving was thus developed by ancient civilizations as a basis of architecture. Persian rugs have a history dating back over two millennia. Persian gardThe Persian Garden was designed as a reflection of paradise on earth; the word "garden" itself coming from Persian roots. The special place of the garden in the Iranian heart can be seen in their architecture, in the ruins of Iran, and in their paintings. Cuisine Main article: Iranian cuisine In Persian mythology, Persian food is so delicious and tempting that Ahriman (the devil) uses it to corrupt the King of the land, causing two serpents to sprout from the King's shoulders, turning him into an evil tyrant; Zahhāk The Dragon King. Dance of Iran Main article: Persian dance Kurdish wedding dance in Sanandaj, Iran. Sports Main article: Sport in Iran The game of Polo originated with Iranian tribes in ancient times and was regularly seen throughout the country until the revolution of 1979 where it became associated with the monarchy. It continues to be played, but only in rural areas and discreetly. Recently, as of 2005, it has been acquiring an increasingly higher profile. In March 2006, there was a highly publicised tournament and all significant matches are now televised. The Iranian Zoor Khaneh Women in Persian culture Main article: Iranian women In the tales of the 1001 Nights, it is a woman, Sheherazade, who is the protagonist and heroine of the frame tale. Traditional holidays Main article: Iranian festivals Norouz Sizdah be dar Jashn-e-Tirgan (Water Festival) Jashn-e-Sadeh (Fire Festival) Jashn-e-Mehregan (Autumn Festival) Shab-e-Yalda (Winter Feast) Charshanbeh Suri Traditional cultural inheritors of the old Persia Prince Muhammad-Beik of Georgia, 1620. Artist is Reza Abbasi. Painting is located at Berlin's Museum Für Islamische Kunst.Like the Persian Rug that exhibits numerous colors and forms in a dazzling display of warmth and creativity, Persian culture is the glue that bonds the peoples of western and central Asia. In the words of Iranologist Richard Nelson Frye: "Many times I have emphasized that the present peoples of central Asia, whether Iranian or Turkic speaking, have one culture, one religion, one set of social values and traditions with only language separating them." The Culture of Persia has thus developed over several thousand years. But historically, the peoples of Islamic Republic of Iran, Tajikestan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan originate from the same or similar stock, and are related to one another as part of the larger group of peoples of Greater Iran. Armenia, Georgia, and Daghestan were also well within the sphere of influence of Persian culture as well, as can be seen from the many remaining relics, ruins, and works of literature from that region.(e.g. 1) (e.g. 2) In particular, Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikestan have been able to almost fully retain their Persian identity, while the other aforementioned entities still exhibit considerable traces of their Iranian past. Contributions to humanity in ancient history From the humble brick, to the windmill, Persians have mixed creativity with art. What follows is a list of some of the cultural contributions of Iran. (10,000 BC) - Earliest known domestication of the goat. [2] (6000 BC) - The brick. The oldest brick found to date are Persian, from ca. 6000 BC.[citation needed] (~5000 BC) - Invention of Wine. Discovery made by University of Pennsylvania excavations at Hajji Firuz Tepe in northwestern Iran. [3] (5000 BC) - Invention of Tar, that led to the development of the guitar [4] (3000 BC) - The ziggurat. The Sialk ziggurat, according to the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, predates that of Ur or any other of Mesopotamia's 34 ziggurats. (2000 BC) - Peaches are a fruit of Persian origin, as indicated by their Latin name, persica, from which (by way of the French) we have the English "peach." [5] Tulips were first cultivated in ancient Persia[6] (1700 BC) - The windmill.[7] (1400 BC) - The game of Backgammon appears in the east of Iran. (1400 BC to 600 BC) - Zoroastrianism, a religion which had an important impact on Judaism, and thus indirectly, on Christianity and Islam. Some experts however, claim that Zoroaster was actually born in 6184BC, and was himself a follower of the religion called Mehr introduced by Mehabad who lived 3593 years before Zoroaster i.e. 9700 BC or 11706 years ago (retroactive 2006). [8] (576 BC to 529 BC) - Under the rule of Cyrus II the Great, the Cyrus Cylinder was issued. This is considered to be the first universal declaration of human rights. It was discovered in 1879 in Babylon and today is kept in the British Museum. [9] (576 BC to 529 BC) - Under the rule of Cyrus II the Great, Cyrus frees the Jews from Babylonian captivity. See Cyrus in the Judeo-Christian tradition. (521 BC) - The game Polo[10]] 500BC The first Taxation system(under the Achemenid empire). (500 BC) The courrier post. [11] Also called the "Royal Road". (500 BC) - Source for introduction of the domesticated chicken into Europe. (500 BC) - First cultivation of spinach An ancient ice house, called a yakhchal, built in Kerman, for storing ice during summers.(400 BC) - Yakhchals , ancient refrigerators. (See picture above) (400 BC) - Ice Cream [12] (250 BC) - According to archaeological digs, the Parthians created the world's first batteries. Their original use is still uncertain, though it is suspected that they were used for electroplating. [13] (250 BC) Original excavation of a Suez Canal.[14] (271 AD) - The teaching hospital (700 AD) - The Cookie. (762 AD) - Designing Baghdad: The original city was based on Persian precedents such as Firouzabad in Persia. The two designers who were hired by the caliph al-Mansur to plan the city were Nowbakht, a former Persian Zoroastrian, and Mashallah, a former Jew from Khorasan. [15] (864 AD-930 AD) - First systematic use of alcohol in Medicine: Rhazes. [16] (1000 AD) - Introduction of paper to the west [17] (935 - 1020) - Ferdowsi writes the Shahnama (Book of Kings) that resulted in the revival of Iranian culture and the expansion of the Iranian cultural sphere. (980 - 1037) - Avicenna, a physician, writes The Canon of Medicine one of the foundational manuals in the history of modern medicine. (1207 AD - 1273 AD) - Rumi writes poetry and in 1997, the translations were best-sellers in the United States. [18] Algebra and Trigonometry: Numerous Iranians were directly responsible for the establishment of Algebra, the advancement of Medicine and Chemistry, and the discovery of Trigonometry. [19]. Qanat , subterranean aqueducts. Wind Catchers , ancient air residential conditioning. Love and motherhood are integral to Iranian culture (by Shabahang) Persian history and culture as depicted by Japanese Anime. An illustration from "The Heroic Legend of Arsalān". Iran is filled with tombs of poets and musicians, such as this one belonging to Rahi Mo'ayeri. An illustration of Iran's deep artistic heritage. Further reading George Ghevarghese Joseph.The Crest of the Peacock : The Non-European Roots of Mathematics. July 2000. Princeton U Press. About "Culture of Iran": iran is much older thn greece...when iran had biggest empire ever,greece was a little village and most tryed to immigrate iran.

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Public Holidays:


Weekly holydays:

Thursday
Fridays

Traditional holydays:

20-23 Mar
2 Aprl

Religious holydays:

1 Aprl
19 Aprl
20 Aprl
7 May
21 Jul
30 Aug
13 Sep
1 Oct
5 Nov
15 Nov
9 Dec
21 Jan
29 Jan
19 Feb
20 Feb

Governmental holydays:

3 Jun
4 Jun
10 Feb
19 Mar

religious holydays are based on Arabic calendar, so it changes every year when adjusting with our calender

Climate and When to Go

Iran has a very different climates in different regions in a certain season. For example, when it is summer, the weather is very hot in the southern cities of Iran like Bandar-Abbas and Bushehr, however, the Tabriz weather in the north of Iran is very favorable. Since I have lived in some Iran cities in the last days, I can describe some weathers and good seasons for travelling of some important Iran cities that I was in them. Shiraz: Its weather is almost favorable in all seasons, but, I recommend to travel to Shiraz in the spring (I mean March, April, May and June) to feel the best spring weather of Iran. In summer, it is a little warm (about 35C)and in winter, it is a little cool (about 10C). I can ensure you that you enjoy its climates in all days of a year! Tehran: It is similar to Shiraz, but, because of pollution in the air, it seems very hot in summer and I do not recommend to travel to Tehran in summer. There is nothing special about Tehran weather in spring or autumn. It is cold in winter (about 0C) and Hot in summer (about 45C). Rasht: It contains a tropic climate, because of Caspian Sea. Very humid but very favorable in all seasons. The variation of temperature is little in different seasons (between 10C in winter to 35C in summer). Kermanshah: It is located in a mountaneous region in the west. Good climate, but very cold in winter days (less than 5C). Its climate is very good in summer and spring. Semnan: It is very hot in summer, but its winter is favorable. There are hot winds in the summer days in this city and make its weather very dry and very hot, just like a hair dryer in the face! But, its climate is favorable in autumn and spring.

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

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External Links

HISTORICAL&GENERAL INFORMATION
TRAVELGUIDE
IMAGE OF TEHRAN AND OTHER CITIES OF IRAN
TRAVEL GUIDE 2
Iran in WIKIPEDIA

Offtopic Messages

rezashahran (link to Reza Shahran Profile), Iran
Iran (Persian: ايران‎ ​, Īrān, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ايران‎ ​ transliteration: Jomhūrī-ye Eslāmī-ye Īrān), is a country located in west Asia, once known as Persia to the Western world. Iran borders Armenia, Azerbaijan (including its Nakhichevan exclave), and Turkmenistan to the north, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east, and Turkey and Iraq to the west. In addition, it borders the Persian Gulf, across which lie Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Shi'a Islam is the official state religion and Persian is its official language.
History Throughout history, Iran has been of great geo-strategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia. Iran is a member and co-founder of the United Nations, NAM, the OIC, and OPEC. Iran is also significant in international politics on account of its large supply of petroleum. The name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and literally means "Land of the Aryans."
In former ages, the names Āryānā and Persis were used to describe the region which is today known as the Iranian plateau. The earliest Iranian reference to the word (airya/arya/aryana etc), however, predates the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (est. anywhere between 1200 to 1800 BCE, according to Greek sources, as early as 6000 BCE [4] [5]and is attested in non-Gathic Avestan; it appears as airya, meaning noble/spiritual/elevated; as airya dainhava (Yt.8.36, 52) meaning the land of the Aryans; and as airyana vaejah, the original land of the Aryans. During the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE), the Persian people called their provincial homeland Pārsa, the Old Persian name for Cyrus the Great's kingdom which belonged to the Persian tribe of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranians and which can still be found in the term Pars or Fars as part of the heartland of Iran and for example in the map by Eratosthenes and other historical or modern maps.
The written history of Persia (Iran) begins in about 3200 BCE with the Proto-Elamite civilization, followed by the Elamites. The arrival of the Aryans (Indo-Iranians), and the establishing of the Median dynasty culminated in the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid Empire (648–330 BCE), founded by Cyrus the Great.
Cyrus the Great created the Cyrus Cylinder, considered to be the first declaration of human rights. He was the first king whose name was suffixed with the word "Great" and the first Shah of Iran to be properly called. Cyrus' seminal ideas greatly influenced later human civilizations.
Iran has been inhabited by humans since pre-historic times and recent discoveries have begun to shed light upon what ancient culture was like in Iran, centuries before the earliest civilizations arose in nearby Mesopotamia.
Before the Islamic conquest of Persia, Zoroastrianism was the national religion of the Sassanian Empire of Persia, and played an important role in the earlier Achaemenian and Parthian dynasties. The Iranian Prophet Zoroaster is considered by numerous scholars as the founder of the earliest religion based on revealed scripture. Many scholars point out that Judaism and subsequently, Christianity and Islam have borrowed from Zoroastrianism in regards to the concepts of Eschatology, Angelology and Demonology, as well as the fallen angel Satan, as the ultimate agent of evil; others insist it might have been a process of mutual influencing. Zoroastrian monotheism has had major influence on the religions of the middle eastern monotheisms in adaptations of such concepts as heavens, hells, judgment day and messianic figures. These concepts amongst many others, reflect the extreme dualism of Persian culture which has influenced Eastern and Western civilization.
After the conquest Persians began to look for ways in which they could remain Muslim but also define themselves as Persians and sought the "Persianisation" of Islam.
Also a cultural movement emerged during the 9th and 10th centuries. There was a resurgence of Persian national identity. It was not against Islamic identity but against Arabization of Islam and Muslims. The most notable effect of the movement was the decision of the continuation of the Persian language, the language of the Persians to the present day.
During this period, Persia and Persian scientists created an Islamic Golden Age.Persia was at this point of history a world center of scientific inquiry, with philosophers, scientists, engineers and historians contributing enormously to technology, science and medicine, later influencing the rise of European science in the Renaissance. The late Middle Ages however brought many critical events in the region. From 1220, Persia was again invaded and destroyed by wave after wave of calamity starting with the Mongol invasion
.... Geography and Climate Iran is the 17th-largest country in the world. Its area roughly equals the size of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined, one-fifth the size of the United States or roughly the size of the state of Alaska. It borders Azerbaijan (length of border: 432 km / 268 mi) and Armenia (35 km / 22 mi) to the northwest, the Caspian Sea to the north, Turkmenistan (992 km / 616 mi) to the northeast, Pakistan (909 km / 565 mi) and Afghanistan (936 km / 582 mi) to the east, Turkey (499 km / 310 mi) and Iraq (1,458 km / 906 mi) to the west, and finally the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south. Iran's area is 1,648,000 km² ≈636,300 mi² (Land: 1,636,000 km² ≈631,663 mi², Water: 12,000 km² ≈4,633 mi²).
Iran is one of the world's most mountainous countries, its landscape is dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaus from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros and Alborz Mountains — the latter contains Iran's highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,604 m (18,386 ft), which is not only the country's highest peak but also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins like the saline Dasht-e Kavir, and some salt lakes. Except for some scattered oases, these deserts are uninhabited.
The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Arvand river. Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.
Iran's climate is mostly arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast. On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain) temperatures nearly fall below freezing and remain humid for the rest of the year. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29°C (84°F). Annual precipitation is 680 mm (27 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (67 in) in the western. To the west, settlements in the Zagros Mountains basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters, sub-freezing average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (eight in) of rain and have occasional desert. Average summer temperatures exceed 38°C (100°F). The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (five to 14 inch).
Culture Iran has a long history of art, music, architecture, poetry, philosophy, traditions, and ideology. The following quotes from poets belonging to a vast chronological and geographical expanse can be a proper exemplification of the devotion to Persian culture and its multimillenial penetrating existence:
که ایران بهشت است یا بوستان
همی بوی مشک آید از دوستان
"Whether one thinks of Iran as Eden or Garden,
The smell of musk abounds there from friend and companion."
--Ferdowsi
بنى آدم اعضاء يک پیکرند که در آفرينش ز يک گوهرند
چو عضوى بدرد آورد روزگار دگر عضوها را نماند قرار
"Of one Essence is the human race
thus has Creation put the base,
One Limb impacted is sufficient
For all Others to feel the Mace."
--Saadi Inscribed on the UN's Hall of Nations
Ferdowsi prompted to compose the Shahnameh (Persian: Book of Kings), Iran's national epic from its legendary prehistoric nascence till its defeat at the battle of al-Qādisiyyah. It was written entirely in Persian. This gave rise to a strong reassertion of Iranian national identity, and is in part responsible for the continued existence of Persian as a separate language.
Iran's literary tradition is rich and varied as well, although the world is most familiar with Iranian poetry. Rumi is by far the most famous of Iran's poets, although Saadi is considered by many Iranians to be just as influential. Both poets were practitioners of Sufism, and are quoted by Iranians with the same frequency and weight as the Qur'an.
The quest for social justice and equity is an important Iranian cultural trait. The Cyrus Cylinder is considered the world's first declaration of human rights, and was the basis of government for the Achaemenid dynasty. Equality of the sexes also has a strong historical precedent in Iran: from the Achaemenid to Sassanid dynasties, women were encouraged to pursue an education and study at universities; they held property, influenced the affairs of state, and worked and received the same compensation as men. Today, women compose more than half of the incoming classes for universities around the country. Respect for the elderly and hospitality for foreigners are also an integral part of Iranian etiquette.
Science in Iran, as the country itself, has a long history. Iranians contributed significantly to the current understanding of astronomy, nature, medicine, mathematics, and philosophy. To mention just a few, Persians first discovered Algebra, invented the wind mill and found medical uses of alcohol.
In present times, scientists in Iran are trying to revive the golden age of Persian science. Iran has increased its publication output nearly tenfold from 1996 through 2004, and has been ranked first in terms of output growth rate followed by China.
Theoretical and computational sciences are rapidly developing in Iran. Theoretical physicists and chemists are regularly publishing in high impact factor journals. Despite the limitations in funds, facilities, and international collaborations, Iranian scientists remain highly productive in several experimental fields as pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry. Iranian scientists are also helping construct the Compact Muon Solenoid, a detector for CERN's Large Hadron Collider due to come online in 2007. Iranian Biophysicists (especially molecular biophysics) have gained international reputation since the 1990s. High field NMR facilities, as well as Microcalorimetry, Circular dichroism, and instruments for single protein channel studies have been provided in Iran during recent decades. Tissue engineering and research on biomaterials have just started to emerge in biophysics departments. In late 2006, Iranian scientists cloned successfully a sheep, by somatic cell nuclear transfer, at the Rouyan research centre in Isfahan.
Hope you enjoy traveling in Iran. Reza Shahran PS: 1- Remember Credit Cards (VISA, Master Card and ...) dose not work in Iran so bring cash money and exchange it. 2- As I mentioned in above paragraphs hospitality for foreigners is an integral part of Iranian etiquette. Some time as a Traveler maybe you need to run away from this hospitality, so feel free!. 3- if you knock any door, you are welcome (Specially in Villages and small Cities) so Accommodation is not a big problem. [This is NOT TRUE for Tehran and other big Cities] 4- Hitchhiking in Iran is not very popular, so finding a ride some times is not easy. Be careful!
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