Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 9 million in the city and 16 million in the wider metropolitan area, Tehran is the largest city and urban area of Iran, the second largest city in Western Asia, and the 3rd largest in the Middle East. It is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.
Tehran was first chosen as the capital of Iran by Agha Mohammad Khan of the Qajar dynasty in 1796, in order to remain within close reach of Iran's territories in the Caucasus, at that time still part of Iran, and to avoid the vying factions of previous Iranian dynasties. The capital has been moved several times throughout the history, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran.
The city was the seat of the Qajars and Pahlavis, the two last imperial dynasties of the country. It is home to many historical collections, such as the royal complexes of Golestan, Sa'dabad, and Niavaran, as well as the country's most important governmental buildings of the modern period.
The majority of the people of Tehran are Persian-speaking people who identify themselves as Persians, and roughly 99% of the population understand and speak Persian; but there are also large populations of other Iranian ethnicities in the city such as Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Lurs, and Kurds who speak Persian as their second language.
There have been plans to relocate Iran's capital from Tehran to another area; due mainly to air pollution and the city's exposure to earthquakes. To date no definitive plans have been approved.
|POPULATION :||City: 8,846,782 / Metro: 15,232,564|
|TIME ZONE :||IRST (UTC+03:30) Summer: IRDT (UTC+04:30)|
|RELIGION :||Muslim 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian) 2%|
|AREA :||617.73 km2 (238.51 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||900 to 1,830 m (2,952 to 6,003 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||35°41′46″N 51°25′23″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 50.30% |
• Female: 49.70%
|ETHNIC :||Persian 65%, Azeri 25%, Others (Kurds, Armenians etc.) 10%|
|AREA CODE :||21|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+98 21|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Tehran is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, warm friendly people. It deserves at least a few days of your Iranian itinerary.
The city can be roughly divided into two different parts - north and south. The northern districts of Tehran are more prosperous, modern, cosmopolitan and expensive while southern parts is less attractive but cheaper.
Tehran, as one of the main tourist locations in Iran, has a wealth of cultural attractions. It is home to royal complexes built during the two last monarchical periods of the country, including the Golestan, Sa'dabad and Niavaran complexes.
Tehran has a wide range of shopping centers from traditional bazaars to modern shopping malls. The Grand Bazaar of Tehran and the Bazaar of Tajrish are the biggest old bazaars in Tehran. Shopping districts such as Valiasr, Shariati, and Mirdamad have a wide range of different shops. A few of the well known malls across the city include Tiraje and Hyperstar, and smaller shopping centers such as Tandis, Golestan, Palladium Mall and Safavie.
Most of the international branded stores and upper class shops are located in the northern and western parts of the city, while the rest of the shopping centers are located across the city. Tehran's retail business is growing with several newly built malls and shopping centers.
There are several historic, artistic and scientific museums in Tehran, such as the National Museum, Malek Museum, Ferdows Garden, Glassware and Ceramics Museum, Museum of the Qasr Prison, the Carpet Museum, Museum of Glass Painting (vitrai art) and the Safir Office Machines Museum. There is also the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in which works of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol are featured.
Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, claimed to be the largest jewel collection in the world. The collection comprises a set of crowns and thrones, some 30 tiaras, numerous aigrettes, jewel studded swords and shields, a vast amount of precious loose gems, as well as the largest collections of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran. The imperial crown jewels are on display at the Central Bank of Iran.
Tehran International Book Fair is known to the international publishing world as one of the most important publishing events in Asia.
The origin of the name Tehran is uncertain. The settlement of Tehran dates back over 7,000 years. The present-day city of Tehran was a suburb of an important Median city which was known as Rhaga in Old Persian.
During the Sassanid era, in 641, Yazdgerd III issued his last appeal to the nation from Rey, before fleeing to Khorasan. Rey was dominated by the Parthian Mihran family, and Siyavakhsh, the son of Mihran the son of Bahram Chobin, who resisted the Muslim Invasion. Because of this resistance, when the Arabs captured Rey, they ordered the town to be destroyed and ordered Farrukhzad to rebuild the town.
There is a temple in Rey, which is said to be one of the temples of Anahita, a cosmological figure in Iranian mythology. After the Muslim Invasion, the temple became dedicated to the eldest daughter of Yazdgerd III, Bibi Shahr Banou, who married to Husayn ibn Ali, the fourth leader of the Shia faith.
Tehran was a well known village in the 9th century, but less known than the city of Rey which was flourishing nearby. Najm od Din Razi, known as Daya, declared the population of Rey to be 500,000 before the Mongol Invasion.
In the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Rey, laid the city to ruin and massacred many of its inhabitants. Following the invasion, many of the city's inhabitants escaped to Tehran, and the new residence took over its role.
Early modern era
When the Italian traveler Pietro della Valle passed through the city overnight in 1618, he mentioned it as "Taheran" in his memoirs, while Thomas Herbert mentioned it as "Tyroan." Herbert stated that the city had 3,000 houses in 1627.
In the early 18th century, Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty ordered a palace and a government office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city his capital, but he later moved his government to Shiraz. Eventually, the Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan was the first to choose Tehran as the capital of Iran in 1776.
Agha Mohammad Khan's choice of his capital was based on a similar concern for the control of both the northern and the southern regions of Iran. He was aware of the loyalties of the inhabitants towards the previous capitals, Isfahan and Shiraz, to the Safavid and Zand dynasties respectively and was wary of the power of the notable people in these cities. He probably viewed Tehran's lack of a substantial urban structure as a blessing, because it minimized the chances of resistance to his rule by the notables and by the general public.After 50 years of Qajar rule, the city still barely had more than 80,000 inhabitants.
Up until the 1870s, Tehran consisted of a walled citadel, a roofed bazaar, and sharestan, where the majority of the population resided in the three main neighborhoods of Udlajan, Chale Meydan, and Sangelaj. The first development plan of Tehran in 1855 emphasized the traditional spatial structure. Architecture, however, found an eclectic expression to reflect the new lifestyle.
The second major planning exercise in Tehran took place under the supervision of Dar ol Fonun. The map of 1878 included new city walls, in the form of a perfect octagon with an area of 19 square kilometers, which mimicked the Renaissance cities of Europe.
Late modern era
As a response to the growing social awareness of civil rights, on June 2, 1907, the first parliament of the Persian Constitutional Revolution passed a law on local governance known as the Baladie Law. The second and third articles of the law, on Baladie Community (or the city council), provided a detailed outline on issues such as the role of councils within the city, the members' qualifications, the election process and the requirements to be entitled to vote.
After the First World War, Reza Shah immediately suspended the Baladie Law of 1907, and the decentralized and autonomous city councils were replaced by centralist approaches of governance and planning.
From the 1920s to 1930s, the city was essentially rebuilt from scratch, under the rule of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah believed that ancient buildings such as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Tekye Dowlat, the Toopkhane Square, the city fortifications and the old citadel among others, should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically demolished, and modern buildings in the pre-Islamic Iranian style, such as the National Bank, the Police Headquarters, the Telegraph Office and the Military Academy were built in their place. The Grand Bazaar of Tehran was divided in half and many historic buildings were demolished in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many Persian gardens also fell victim to new construction projects.
During the Second World War, Soviet and British troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference in 1943, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The establishment of the planning organization of Iran in 1948 resulted in the first socio-economic development plan to cover 1949 to 1955. These plans not only failed to slow the unbalanced growth of Tehran, but with the 1962 land reforms that Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi called the White Revolution, Tehran's chaotic growth was further accentuated.
Tehran's most famous landmark, the Azadi Tower, was built by the order of the Shah in 1971. It was designed by Hossein Amanat, an architect who won a competition to design the monument, using Sassanid and Achaemenid elements. Formerly known as the Shahyad Tower, it was built in commemoration of the 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire.
During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the target of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes.
Tehran features a semi-arid climate with continental climate characteristics and a Mediterranean climate precipitation pattern.
Tehran's climate is largely defined by its geographic location, with the towering Alborz Mountains to its north and the central desert to the south. It can be generally described as mild in the spring and autumn, hot and dry in the summer, and cold and wet in the winter.
Summer is long, hot and dry with little rain, but relative humidity is generally low. Average high temperatures are between 35 and 40 °C (95 and 104 °F), and at nights it rarely drops below 23 °C (73 °F).
Most of the light annual precipitation occurs from late autumn to mid-spring, but no one month is particularly wet. The hottest month is July, with a mean minimum temperature pof 26 °C (79 °F) and a mean maximum temperature of 36 °C (97 °F), and the coldest is January, with a mean minimum temperature of −1 °C (30 °F) and a mean maximum temperature of 8 °C (46 °F).
Tehran County borders Shemiranat County to the north, Damavand County to the east, Eslamshahr, Pakdasht, and Rey counties to the south, and Karaj and Shahriar counties to the west.
The City of Tehran is divided into 22 municipal districts, each with its own administrative center. 20 of the 22 municipal districts are located in Tehran County's Central District, while the districts 1 and 20 are respectively located in Shemiranat and Ray counties.
You need to use a proxy server, VPN or a software like Freegate to access Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and some websites; otherwise, you will see the page which shows that the site you want to access is filtered and blocked by the judiciary system. You also need to use Freegate to check your bank account balance, otherwise, your account might get blocked due to the sanctions against Iran.
-Ferdosi Coffee Net - Enghelab Ave, (a few doors east of Ferdosi Square) is hard to find (look for the small sign plastered to a building) has two banks of computers.
-Pars Net - one of south Tehran's hottest coffee nets, dishing up reasonable speed. It is on the eastern side of Ferdosi St, between Jomhuiyeh Eslami Ave and Enghelab Ave, across from the British embassy. They also provide fax and long distance phone services.
-Coffee Net Firouzeh - In Tehran's south in the nice and very friendly Firouzeh Hotel
-Iranian Trade Centre - around Valiasr Square offers several Internet cafes (coffee nets).
In addition to the above caffes, there are many others in all parts of the city.
3G and 4G internet connections
With a copy of the information page of your passport and a copy of the page with Iranian entrance seal and also, your visa, you can buy SIM cards and access the internet with GPRS, EDGE, 3G and 4G technologies. SIM cards are available in places like post and government e-services offices and also in big shops. You might also find them at the airport.
Wireless portable internet connection
Irancell Wimax is one of the wireless internet networks available. MobinNet ISP Company is another service provider which provides wireless portable internet connection.
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