About Tehran

Situated in the northern center of the country, Tehran is the capital, the country’s largest city and the political, cultural, commercial and industrial center of the nation. Tehran is the largest city in Western Asia and one of the three largest cities in the Middle East.
The population of the city of Tehran has been steadily growing over the last few decades and is now around 8.3 million. There is an estimated number of nearly 8.5 million in the middle of 2014. Interestingly, the Tehran metro system, which opened in 1999 – currently boasts the cleanest train carriages in the world.


Around 99% of the residents in Tehran would speak and understand Persian. 13%, however, do have a good level of understanding of a European language. The most prevalent religion in Tehran is a discipline of Islam, but there are other minority religions including Christianity. The city is the home to many historic mosques as well as several churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. However, modern structures, notably Azadi (Freedom) Tower and the Milad (Multi-Purpose Telecommunication) Tower symbolize the city.


History of Tehran

In 1800, Tehran was a small city with an estimated population of 20,000; it was surrounded by twenty-foot mud walls with four gates. The first major expansion of Tehran dates from the reign of Naser al-Din Shah (1848–1896), the third Qajar monarch. The old walls were pulled down, plans for an octagonal wall on a French model were followed, and twelve gates were built.
Tehran’s second phase of development dates to the reign (1926–1941) of Reza Shah Pahlavi, founder of the Pahlavi dynasty. The city was expanded outside its old walls, especially to the north and the northwest. A notable feature was the neoclassical buildings, designed mainly by European architects, especially exiles fleeing the Russian Revolution but also Iranians who had studied abroad.
Tehran’s third phase of development dates to the early 1950s, when a new generation of Iranian architects and technocrats erased many of the remaining features of the old city.


Tehran’s Museums

More than 54 museums and galleries are located in Tehran, some of which are internationally recognized museums that are key drives of Iranian tourism and play a significant role in attracting visitors. Some of internationally acclaimed and most celebrated Tehran’s museums are as follows:


National Museum of Iran

National Museum of Iran, aging more than 70 years, containing 300,000 artifacts in an area of more than 20,000 square meters, is not only the largest museum of History and Archaeology of the country, but ranks as one of the few most prestigious museums of the world in regard to grand volume, diversity and quality of its huge monuments. In the Iranian museum tradition, it is considered Iran’s mother museum, aiming at preserving relics of the past to hand down to the next generations, enhancing better understanding among world peoples and nations, discovering and showing Iranian’s roles in shaping world culture and civilization and trying to enhance public knowledge.


Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran

The premises that have been turned into museum where glass and clay works are on display were built about 90 years ago upon orders of Ahmad Qavam (Qavam-ol-Saltaneh) for his personal lodging (residence and working office). The building is situated in a garden with a span of 7000 square meters and was used by Qavam himself till the year 1953. The building contains magnificent plaster works and mirror works and its architectural style is a combination of the traditional Iranian style and the European architecture of the 19th century.
The collection of glass and clay works that are on display at the museum is among the rare collections in Iran. It comprises clay pots dating back from the 4th millennium B.C. up to the present time as well as glass works from 1st millennium B.C. up to the contemporary era. European glass works belonging to the 18th and 19th centuries are also parts of the collection. The collection is on display in six halls and two entrance halls in separate sections depicting different historical eras and subjects.


Treasury of the National Jewels Museum

The National Jewelry Treasury is housed within the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, at the heart of the City of Tehran. Here is the most dazzling collection of gemstones and jewelry known in the world. The Crown Jewels of Iran have been little more than a legend in the past. Travelers marveled at the splendor surrounding the shahs of ancient Persia; but few were permitted to examine it in any detail. Now the most spectacular objects have been placed on public display and form one of the country’s principal tourist attractions.


Reza Abbasi Museum

The collection of objects on display in the Reza Abbasi Museum recalls an era that is unknown, mysterious, and full of the endeavors of humans for survival, fighting nature, gaining benefits and victory over the environment.
The collections on display and in storage of this museum belong to a period from the 2nd millennium BC to the early 20th century which corresponds to the end of Qajar period. The displays are arranged chronologically, so visitors can have a chance to observe the development of art, culture and technology during this time interval. This setup has made the RAM unique between other museums in the country, in respect to the Iranian Art History. The objects exhibited in this museum include artifacts made of baked clay, metal and stone from the pre-historic times to pottery and metal objects, textile and lacquer painting belonging to the Islamic period. Other artworks on display in the RAM are paintings on canvas and paper, manuscripts and jewelry from pre-Islamic period, besides art and technology and calligraphy works of the Islamic period.


Golestan Palace

Registered in UNESCO World Heritage Lists, the lavish Golestan Palace is a masterpiece of the Qajar era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences. The walled Palace, one of the oldest groups of buildings in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Teheran the capital of the country. Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date from the 19th century. It became a centre of Qajari arts and architecture of which it is an outstanding example and has remained a source of inspiration for Iranian artists and architects to this day. It represents a new style incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts and elements of 18th century architecture and technology.


Sa’d Abad Museum Complex

Set on 104 hectares of spectacular mountainside parkland, the Sa’d Abad Museum Complex was a royal summer home during the Pahlavi period.

White Palace

(Palace of the Nation) What is now called the White Palace was built between 1931 and 1937 and served as the Pahlavi summer residence. The modern building is filled with a collection of extravagant furnishings, paintings, a tiger pelt and immense made-to-measure carpets. It was the height of luxury in its day, with discreet air-conditioning units that fold away into the walls.

Green Palace

(Shahvand Palace) At the uphill end of the complex, the more classical-looking Green Palace was built at the end of the Qajar era and extensively remodeled by the Pahlavis. Reza Shah lived here for only a year. It was later used as a private reception hall (upstairs) and residence (downstairs) for special guests. The design is over-the-top opulent, with wall-to-wall mirrors in the appropriately named Mirror Hall and the bedroom.


Tehran’s Ski Resorts

Iran has two big ski resorts; Shemshak and Dizin. Both resorts are within 2 hours drive from the capital, Tehran. There are a total of 20 resorts in Iran, although most of them will have little more than a couple of tows. The season is from the beginning of December to the end of March. You can easily go off piste, and there are vast fields of powder. There are reliable guides usually trained in Austria or Switzerland as well as reliable mountain rescue teams. Most of the time the weather is reliable to enjoy skiing. There are a variety of lifts in these resorts ranging from gondolas and chairlifts to button lifts.