Islamic Republic of Iran
Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic
Total Area: 636,368
Square Miles, 1,648,195 Square Kilometers
35 41 N 51 25 E
Persian is the official language of Iran. Historical Iranian languages are
grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BCE), Middle Iranian (400 BCE,
900 CE), and New Iranian (since 900 CE). Of the Old Iranian languages, the
better understood and recorded ones are Old Persian (a language of Achaemenid
Iran) and Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Middle Iranian languages
included Middle Persian (a language of Sassanid Iran), Parthian, and Bactrian. As
of 2008, there were an estimated 150, 200 million native speakers of Iranian
languages. Ethnological research estimates there are 86 Iranian languages, the
largest amongst them are Persian, Pashto, Kurdish, and Balochi.
The Iranian Rial is available in notes and coins. The exchange rate is
determined daily; several banks and exchange offices are available. Traveler's
checks cant be cashed in most banks. Hotels and many shops and restaurants
accept foreign currency. There is limit to the amount of foreign currency that
travelers can bring cash. Hotels.
Western Asia Time Zone (3:30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3:30).
Electricity: Voltage in use is 220 V.
Weights and Measures: Metric System
Opening and Closing Times:
Most of the Iranian banks working hours are weekdays; 08.00 am - 05.00 pm.
Mosques are usually open to the public prayer hours. Museums are generally open
weekdays 9.30 am - 4.30 pm. Shops are open all day except for large malls.
Country Code: 0098
Other Large Cities: Shiraz,
Mashhad, Esfahan, Tabriz
The Islamic Republic of Iran (Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran)
covers 636,300 square miles (1,648,000 square kilometres) in southwestern Asia.
It is bounded on the north by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian
Sea, on the east by Pakistan and Afghanistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf
and the Gulf of Oman, and on the west by Turkey and Iraq. Iran also controls
about a dozen islands in the Persian Gulf. More than 30 percent of its
4,770-mile (7,680-kilometre) boundary is seacoast. Iran covers such a large area
of land (approximately 636,372 square miles, in fact) that the country contains
a vast variety of landscapes and terrains. Much of Iran is made up of the
Iranian Plateau, which the exception of the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf
coastlines where the only large plains are found. Iran is also one of the most
mountainous countries in the world. The capital is Teheran.
Iran is one of the few countries in the world which has the complete four
seasons. Iran has what is considered
a variable climate which ranges from semi-arid to subtropical. In the northwest,
winters are cold with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures during
December and January. Spring and fall are relatively mild, while summers are dry
and hot. In the south, however, winters are mild and the summers are very hot,
with average daily temperatures in July exceeding 38Ã‚Â°C (or 100Ã‚Â°F). On the
Khuzestan plain, the extreme summer heat is accompanied by high humidity. But
in general, Iran has an arid climate in which most of the relatively scant
annual precipitation falls from October through April.
In most of the country, yearly precipitation averages only 25 centimeters (9.84
inches) or less. The major exceptions to this semi-arid and arid climate are the
higher mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain, where
precipitation averages at least 50 centimeters (19.68 inches) annually. In the
western part of the Caspian, Iran see the greatest rainfall in the country where
it exceeds 100 centimeters (39.37 inches) annually and is distributed relatively
evenly throughout the year rather than being confined to a rainy season. This
climate contrasts great with some basins of the Central Plateau that receive ten
centimeters (3.93 inches) or less of precipitation annually.
Iran is one of the oldest nations in the world, with a history dating back of
thousands of years. Some
of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s earliest urban civilizations flourished in regions that are part
of present-day Iran. Of these, the Elamite civilization dates back to before the
emergence of written records around 3000 BC. The Elamite city of Susa
(which later served as its capital) was founded around 4000 BC in the watershed
of Karounriver in southwestern Iran. Through the Elamites, achievements of the
Mesopotamian civilizations were introduced to the Iranian plateau. In 646 BC,
the Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, ended Elamite supremacy in the region, and the
rise of the Achaemenids a century later formed a nucleus that later expanded
into the Persian Empire.
In 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great, regarded as the father of the Iranian
nation, united the two major Iranian tribes (the Medes and the Persians) to
establish a government centered in Pasargadae (situated in the Fars province of
modern-day Iran) that later became the largest, and arguably most prosperous,
empire in ancient history, the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550Ã¢â‚¬â€œ330 BC). The
Achaemenid Empire reached the height of its power during the reign of Darius the
Great, who built the new capital city of Persepolis that was described by Greek
historians as the richest city under the sun. At its peak, the Achaemenid
Empire encompassed an area the size of the contiguous United States that spanned
three continents, and was home to an estimated 44% of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s population at
the time. The rule of the Achaemenid dynasty ended in 330 BC when Alexander the
Great captured and destroyed Persepolis. After the fall of the Achaemenid
Empire, the Asian territories of the Persian Empire were governed by Seleucid
kings until the Parhians emerged as rulers of the Persian Empire. The Parthian
Empire (248 BC-224 AD) was the most enduring of the empires in ancient history,
even though it was at war with the Roman Empire for almost three centuries.
The end of this loosely organized empire eventually came at the hands of
Persians of the Sassanid dynasty.
The Sassanid Empire (224-651 AD) ruled a territory roughly within the frontiers
achieved by the Achaemenids, with Ctesiphon (in modern-day Iraq) as their
capital. In many ways, the Sassanid period witnessed the highest achievements of
ancient Persian civilization, and is considered to be one of the most important
and influential historical periods in Iran, with a major cultural impact on the
rest of the world. The collapse of the Sassanid Empire followed the Arab
invasion in the seventh century, during which many Iranian cities were ruined
and most Sassanid records and literary works were destroyed.
In the thirteen centuries following the Arab invasion, many dynasties have ruled
over different parts of the territory comprising modern-day Iran, with different
influences on Persian culture and life style. Some of the more enduring
dynasties include the Samanids (819Ã¢â‚¬â€œ999), the Ghaznavids (975 - 1187), the
Seljuqs (11th -13th centuries), the Safavids (1501-1722), and the Qajars (1785-
1925). Among these, the Safavid dynasty was the most significant partly because
it followed the Mongol and Turkic invasions in which the conquerors (Genghis
Khan, Hulagu Khan, and Tamerlane) destroyed most of IranÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important cities and
undid much of the progress made in the past. In addition, the Safavid dynasty
became the first native dynasty since the Sassanid Empire to establish a unified
With a long-standing and proud civilization, Persian culture is among the
richest in the world. Two and a half millennia of inspiring literature,
thousands of poets and writers, magnificent and impressive architecture, live
customs dating back to Zoroastrians over 3000 years ago, and other unique
characteristics of the nation are rivaled by only a few countries.
Throughout the history, this grand treasure of Persia was gradually transferred
to eastern and western nations. Iran's significant contribution into the world
civilization in many respects is indispensable. Many ceremonies of the ancient
Persians are the basis of western celebrations.
Among the ceremonies still being held are Norouz, CharshanbehSuri, SizdahBedar,
Yalda Night and Haft Sin. Sitting around Haft Sin and reciting Hafez, visiting
family and friends during Norouz celebration, night of CharshanbehSuri and
jumping over the bonfire in the hope of getting rid of all illnesses and
misfortunes, spending SizdahBedar, the 13th day of the New Year, in nature, are
old interesting traditions coming from the Achaemenid Empire.
Another eminent feature of Persian culture is art. In fact culture and art are
two closely interwoven concepts forming the soul of human civilizations. Persian
exquisite carpets, subtle soulful classic music, outstanding tile work of unique
blue mosques, old influential architectural style and countless brilliant
literary works are famous in the world.
Persian or Farsi, is one of the world's oldest languages still in use today, and
is known to have one of the most powerful literary traditions and potentials.
Persian poetry with masterpieces of Saadi, Hafiz, Rumi and Omar Khayyam is well
known around the world.
As all Persians are quick to point out, Farsi is not related to Arabic, it is a
member of the Indo-European family of languages.
One more art intertwined with Persian culture, worth mentioning, is the art of
cooking. Persian foods, accompanied by herbs and spices are product of the
creativity, skill and patience of many generations of cooks.
Typical Iranian Cuisine:
It is an Iranian herb and very popular stew made of fried vegetables,
lamb and kidney beans seasoned with dried limes. The stew served with
It is a kind of Persian stew made of meat, split peas, onion and tomato
sauce seasoned with dried lime. It mixed with fried potatoes or eggplant
and served with rice.
Fesenjan is an Iranian touch tasted stew made of walnut, onions, meat or
chicken and tart pomegranate sauce and sugar which served with rice.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a Persian dish usually made with lamb, chickpeas, white beans,
onion, potatoes, tomato sauce and dried lime and served with bread.
Iran is the land of kebabs with its different and divers kinds of
Koobideh, Soltani,Bakhtiari, Barg and Joojeh kebabs. Kebab may be
served with either rice or with bread. They all made of grilled meat
except for the Joojeh Kebab that made of grilled chicken.
e badamjan: Kashke
bademjan is an Iranian and Azerbaijani dish meaning literally Ã¢â‚¬Å“kashk and
eggplantÃ¢â‚¬Â. The recipe has variations such as caramelized onions, roasted
reshteh: A richly textured soup full of noodles, beans, herbs and leafy
greens topped with curd, fried mint and crunchy fried onions.
It is a very famous and delicious Iranian dish that traditionally
consumed for the Persian new year of Nowrooz. It is a herb rice serving
with fried or grilled fish.
Ghassemi: It is a Northern Iranian ( originally from Gilan province)
appetizer or main based on tandoori or kabobed