In Iran, you will find a balance that is nonexistent in some destinations on Earth. The country offers a comfortable area where newbie travelers can mix with seasoned ones, but it is also exotic at the same time. Iran has a rich history brought by the Persian Empire, and there are still signs of that culture in today’s contemporary version. Tiled- domes, mud- brick alleys, and ziggurats create a beautiful contrast against majestic mountain ranges and oases in the horizon. Despite the political trouble, the Iranians remain to be hospitable people who will help guests in experiencing the best of Iranian culture.
Important and Interesting Facts about Iran
- Iran is a country in Western Asia.It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, with Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq.
- Iran is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world.
- Iran is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and Indian Ocean coastline.
- Iran is a major regional and middle power,exerting considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy through its large reserves of fossil fuels, which include the largest natural gas supply in the world and the fourth-largest proven petroleum reserves.
- It is one of the world’s most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros and Alborz Mountains; the last contains Iran’s highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,610 m (18,406 ft), which is also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush.
- The northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes.
- Persepolis (Takht-e-Jamshid), the capital of the Achaemid empire and one of the world’s most magnificient ancient sites, was declared a world heritage site in 1979 by Unesco.
- Amir Chakhmaq Square, built in the ninth century in Yazd. The desert city, famous for its windcatchers [ventilators], is located in the middle of Iran and is the centre of Zoroastrian culture.
- The Eram garden (Garden of Paradise) in Shiraz is a typical Persian garden. This waterway leads towards the historic Qavam house. Shiraz is the city of love and Persian poetry, and home to many touristic sites including the tome of Hafez, a well-known Persian poet from the 14th century. Saadi, another celebrated poet of the 13th century, is also buried in Shiraz
- Historical Houses in Kashan are enormous mansions that make it easy to imagine the true meaning of luxury in Iran during the Qajar era. This particular mansion Khan-e Tabatabei was built by a wealthy carpet merchant and consisted of over 40 rooms and 4 courtyards!
- The minaret in the abandoned village of Khanrnaq (near Yazd) gained its name not without a reason. The mud bricks and wooden elements used in the construction process make it possible to actually shake it even nowadays! Do you know what is the best part? That you can actually climb to the top of it and shake it!
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Iran
- In 2012, Iran’s police chief announced that Google is a tool for spying. Additionally, the Iranian government wants to form a “national Internet” that would be under state control.
- In Iran, couples that want a marriage license are required to take an hour-long lecture on contraception.
- Iran’s capital and largest city, Tehran, has some of the worst air pollution in the world. An estimated 27 people die a day from air pollution-related diseases.
- Approximately 14.2% of Iranians are obese, making it the 41st most obese country in the world. American Samoa is the largest, with 75% of its population obese. The United States is 6th in the world, with 33.9% of the population obese.
- The Persian Gulf holds 60% of the world’s oil reserves. Iran alone has reserves of 125 billion barrels of oil, or 10% of the world’s total reserves. Iran pumps nearly 4 million barrels of oil each day.
- Iran controls 50% of the Caspian Sea caviar market. The eggs of the Caspian beluga sturgeon can fetch up to $160 per ounce. The beluga sturgeon was swimming in lakes at the time of the dinosaurs?but the sturgeon, which can live to be 100 years old, are rapidly disappearing. Environmentalists argue that a full ban on caviar would help the ancient creature.
- Many young girls in Iran are married immediately after menarche.
- In Iran, a young girl who applies as a live-in maid is often required to submit medical documentation to establish whether her hymen is intact.
- In Iran, men who do not marry stay with their natal family their entire life and are described as na-mard (not-men).
- If a woman is raped in Iran, the police have the power to force a man to marry his victim, with or without her assent, though he can divorce her immediately after. In Iran, a divorced woman is more marriageable than an unmarried girl with a ruptured hymen.
- American magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse were widely available and often left lying around houses during the Shah’s regime. Although Khomeini banned pornography and depictions of naked bodies, porn is still available. In 1993, the Iranian Parliament approved legislation that “principle promoters” of porn could face the death penalty.
- The Persian cat is one of the world’s oldest breeds. They originated in the high plateaus of Iran where their long silky fur protected them from the cold. Italian traders brought the breed to Europe in the 17th century, where they became an exotic status symbol.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Iran
- The region now called Iran was occupied by the Medes and the Persians in the 1500s B.C. , until the Persian king Cyrus the Great overthrew the Medes and became ruler of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, which reached from the Indus to the Nile at its zenith in 525 B.C. Persia fell to Alexander in 331–330 B.C. and a succession of other rulers: the Seleucids (312–302 B.C. ), the Greek-speaking Parthians (247 B.C. – A.D. 226), the Sasanians (224–c. 640), and the Arab Muslims (in 641)
- By the mid-800s Persia had become an international scientific and cultural center. In the 12th century it was invaded by the Mongols. The Safavid dynasty (1501–1722), under whom the dominant religion became Shiite Islam, followed, and was then replaced by the Qajar dynasty (1794–1925).
- During the Qajar dynasty, the Russians and the British fought for economic control of the area, and during World War I, Iran’s neutrality did not stop it from becoming a battlefield for Russian and British troops. A coup in 1921 brought Reza Kahn to power. In 1925, he became shah and changed his name to Reza Shah Pahlavi. He subsequently did much to modernize the country and abolished all foreign extraterritorial rights.
- The country’s pro-Axis allegiance in World War II led to Anglo-Russian occupation of Iran in 1941 and deposition of the shah in favor of his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi’s Westernization programs alienated the clergy, and his authoritarian rule led to massive demonstrations during the 1970s, to which the shah responded with the imposition of martial law in Sept. 1978. The shah and his family fled Iran on Jan. 16, 1979, and the exiled cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to establish an Islamic theocracy. Khomeini proceeded with his plans for revitalizing Islamic traditions. He urged women to return to wearing the veil; banned alcohol, Western music, and mixed bathing; shut down the media; closed universities; and eliminated political parties.
- As one might expect from Iran’s geographic situation, its food strikes a medium between Greek and Indian preparations. It is more varied than Greek food, and less spicy and subtler than Indian food with a greater use of fresh ingredients. Iranians have a healthy diet centered on fresh fruits, greens and vegetables. Meat (usually lamb, goat, or chicken) is used as a condiment rather than as the centerpiece of a meal. Rice and fresh unleavened or semileavened whole-grain bread are staple starches. The primary beverage is black tea. The principal dietary taboo is the Islamic prohibition against pork.
- In Iran one can never judge a book by its cover. A traditional gentleman in ragged clothes, unshaven, and without any outward trapping of luxury may in fact be very rich, and as powerful as the mightiest government official; or he may be a revered spiritual leader. On the other hand a well-dressed gentleman in an Italian suit driving a fine European car may be mired in debt and openly derided behind his back.
- The social lubricant of Iranian life is a system known as ta’arof , literally “meeting together.” This is a ritualized system of linguistic and behavioral interactional strategies allowing individuals to interrelate in a harmonious fashion. The system marks the differences between andaruni and biruni situations, and also marks differences in relative social status. In general, higher status persons are older and have important jobs, or command respect because of their learning, artistic accomplishments, or erudition.
- The state religion in Iran is Ithnaashara or Twelver Shi’ism, established by the Safavid Dynasty in the seventeenth century. This branch of Islam has many distinctive practices and beliefs that differ from the Sunni Islam practiced in most of the Muslim world. Shi’a Muslims revere the descendants of Fatimah, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, and her husband, Ali, Muhammad’s cousin.
- Most holidays in Iran are religious holidays revolving around the birth or death of the various Shi’a Imams. There are thirty of these days, all calculated according to the lunar calendar, which is always at variance with the Iranian solar calendar. This can complicate people’s lives. It is necessary to have a Muslim cleric in the community just to calculate the dates. Most of these holidays involve mourning, at which time the story of Hassain’s martyrdom at Karbala is recited. The exception is the birthday of the Twelfth Imam, which is a happy celebration.
- Iranian poets have penned some of the most wonderful, moving poetry in the history of humankind. The great poets Firdawsī, Hāfez, Sa’adī, and Jalāl ad-D n ar-R m and a host of others are an intimate part of the life of every Iranian. Modern poets writing in non-metric styles are equally revered, and the nation has developed a distinguished coterie of novelists, essayists, and exponents of belles lettres, both male and female.
- Persian classical music is one of the most elaborate and inspiring artistic forms ever created. The musical system consists of twelve modal units called These are divided into small melodic units called gusheh , most of which are associated with classic Persian poetic texts. A full performance of classical music consists of alternating arhythmic and rhythmic sections from a single dastgah.
- Perhaps the most visible mark of Iran’s Islamic leanings is the conservative dress expected of its citizens. Although normal, Western style clothing is acceptable in private homes, when in public women are required to cover everything but their face, hands and feet.