Tehran is the capital city of Iran. A bustling metropolis of 14 million people, it is situated at the foot of the towering Alborz mountain rang. Tehran is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, warm friendly people. It deserves at least a few days of your Iranian itinerary.
Tehran Altitude between 1 ,200 and 1 ,700 meters. Mehrabad Airport to the west of city. Railway: European link through Tabriz and Istanbul , internal lines to Mashhad , Yazd and Khoramshahr. Regular coach services in all directions.
Capital and largest city of Iran and Tehran Province in an area of 600sq. km. since 200 years , is located in the northern part of the country. Tehran is Iran’s administrative , economic , and cultural center as well as the major industrial and transportation center of the region. The city sits on the slopes of the Alborz Mountains at an elevation of about 12 10 m. , on the northwestern fringes of the Dashte-e Kavir , a desert in central Iran. Most of the grow1h is channeled along an east-west axis and toward the south , to the north , the city is constrained by the steep Alborz Mountains. Most commercial and government buildings are located in the center of the city. Residential structures predominate elsewhere. The climate has marked seasonal contrasts , with short springs and autumns separating cold winters and hot , dry summers.
Tehran is the latest and the largest capital city in the 7000-year history of Persia , as Iran was called by many people in the West before 1935. The original settlement of Tehran , north of the ancient city of Rey , may have been founded as early as the 4th century. By the early 13th century it was a small village. In 1221 invading Mongols led by Chengis Khan destroyed Rey , but Tehran survived and grew slowly in the following centuries. During the reign of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp (1524-1576) a wall and four watchtowers were built around the city , and by the early 17th century Tehran had about 3000 houses. In the 1720s Afghan invaders attacked Tehran. The town defeated the initial Afghan force but fell to the main Afghan army and suffered tremendously under their occupation from 1723 to 1729. Nadir Shah freed Tehran in 1729. In 1788 Aqa Mohammad Khan , founder of the Qajar dynasty , made Tehran his capital , inaugurating the modern history of Tehran. At this time Tehran’s population was estimated to be 15 ,000. Under the Qajar dynasty (1786-1925) , Tehran grew in population and size , and new administrative buildings , palaces , mosques , and garrisons were constructed.
Milad Tower: The first communicational tower with extraordinary possibilities is under construction in north part of Gishã hill. This international communicational center in comparison with other towers of the world allocates the 4th degree from the height point of view to itself. (Toronto tower 553.3 m, Moscow tower 533.3 m, Shanghai tower 460 m and Milad tower 435 m). This complex contains a 5-star hotel and conference hall with the capacity of 1500 people and trade center. From the upper floor of the building all Tehran can be viewed.
Tehran Bazaar: Tehran bazaar located in the center of the city is constructed in Fath Ali Shah-e-Qajar era and contains several bazaars, chambers, passages, inns and arcades. Right now this center is counted as the most active economic pole of Tehran and townships providing theirs needs from this trade center. Important sections of this complex are: Abbas Abad bazaar, Beyn-ol-Harameyn bazaar, Great bazaar, Amir bazaar, artisans bazaar, Jame bazaar, Hajeb-od-Dowleh bazaar, jewelers bazaar, shoe makers bazaar, and etc… Tehran bazaar is in the limits of traffic schedule.
The highest park of Tehran in Shahid Bãhonar (Niyavaran) Avenue is one of the parks built in recent years. It has several attractions among the stony walls of Kolakchãl mountain, Davallu garden, Jamshidiyeh Street and Kolakchal Road. Natural springs, stony waterscapes, walking stone-pavements, restaurants, amphitheaters, children playground and tribal cultural houses are the causes that so many people enjoy going there.
Ski Resorts Around Tehran:
Keeping in mind the natural location of Tehran and the mountains in north of the city, it is a proper place for those interested in skiing in winter. Dizin Piste in 60 km of Tehran with the height of 3800 m and having welfare facilities, accommodation (3-star hotel of Dizin) gives a suitable complex to the interested ones. Shemshak piste with a 2-star hotel is located in 58 km north east of Tehran which provides a 3000 m route for the skiers from the beginning of the winter till the mid spring. Towchal piste is located in the elevations of 3500 m which is usable simply by Towchal Cable Car. Ab Ali piste
in 50 km of Haraz Road with the height of 2800 m and having hotel, restaurant and telesiege is also active. Darbandsar Piste in 56 km north east of Tehran is also ready to use from December till April. There is one another skiing place which is Khur Piste at the beginning of Karaj-Chalus Road with the height of 2900 m.
Tehran-Chalus road, at the edge of Karaj River, specially its north part welcomes people who like to enjoy nature in summer and spring. The reservoir of Karaj Dam also has a specific attractiveness because of fishing and boating facilities.
Jajrud, between Zardeband and Zaygan also welcomes so many people in summer time who come from Tehran and rest at the edge of the river under the shadows of the trees. Reservoir of Latiyan Dam is also the favorite place of fishers and swimmers.
Lar Dam Reservoir which is located in the National Park of Lar and Lar Plain is also one of the important recreation places around Tehran which has a special popularity among professional fishers. The trout of this river with red spots (known as qezel-ala in Farsi) is a unique species which may not be found in the whole world.
Tar Lake in 20 km east of Damavand is also of rustic places around Tehran in which people can rest and fish in summer.
There are many parks and preserved areas around Tehran which are under the control of the Environmental Conservation Organization such as: National Park of Khojir, National Park of Sorkhe Hesar, Preserved area of Varjin & Central Alborz and National Park of Lar.
The highest point of Iran is located in about 100 km northeast of Tehran and 26 km north of Damavand City. Damavand Mountain, which is the highest peak of Iran plateau and consequently, the highest mountain of Iran is a conic and extinct volcanic peak which was active in the fourth geological period and still produces sulfide gases. This summit which is located in the limits of Mazandaran Province is permanently covered with snow and is seen from the shores of Caspian Sea and Tehran City in sunny days.
National Botanical Garden of Iran (Persian: باغ گیاهشناسی ملی ایران) is a Botanical Garden in Tehran, Iran. Its area is about 150 hectares and is planned to be the main center for horticulture and plant taxonomy in Iran. A herbarium of Iranian plants (TARI) is gradually being built up and now consists of some 160,000 numbers. Also there are gardens of non-Iranian plants such as Himalayan, American, Japanese, African, and Australian.
The garden also contains an arboretum, Six lakes, hills (to represent the Alborz and Zagros mountains and Himalayas), rock garden, a waterfall, a wetland, desert plants areas, a salt lake and a wadi, a river about 1 km long, systematic area, fruit garden, picnic area with some pavilions and other facilities. The botanical and horticultural library has more than 11,000 volumes.
This museum was first established in Markazi Bank in 1937 by collecting the jewelry of royal palaces. Since 1943 it has been opened for public and since 1960 transferred to its present place in Ferdowsi Ave., in front of the Germany Embassy.
This museum which is located in Emam Khomeini Ave., Beginning at Si-ye- Tir Ave. has been established in 1937 and was known as Iran-e- Bastan Museum till 1987 in which one could see the things belonging to the seventh millennium BC to Islamic era. Museum of Islamic Period which previously was in the second story of the building, has been transferred to a new building in the east of the museum since 1996. In this museum more than 6000 items of different kinds from Islamic Era to the end of the Qajars are exhibited.
ln Shari’ati Ave., before Seyyed Khandan, there is a museum in the name of known artist of Safavid era, Reza Abbasi. Two main halls of the museum are allocated relatively to the works of pre_Islamic and Islamic periods but the things exhibited in the museum belong to different eras.
Building of this museum was constructed in 1977 in the northwest side of Laleh Park. ln this museum precious Iranian carpets and short napped coarse carpets of artists from Tabriz, Kashan, Esfahan, Lorestan, Kordestan, Kerman and Bakhtiyari are exhibited.
Its first floor is allocated to temporary exhibition and the ground floor to permanent exhibition.
This museum is devoted to the miniatures painted by Hoseyn Behzad (1895-1968) who made a revolution in Iranian painting. Studying European art and being inspired by Kamal-od-din Behzad and Reza Abbasi, he introduced a new style of miniature on paper, hard paper or fiberboard, This style is purely Iranian, but it has kept on with its contemporary paces and changes of art in universal art schools.
The major part of the paintings in this collection are the oil paintings of Safavid, Afshar, Zand and Qajar periods collected by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi`s last wife, Farah, from an English collectioner called Harold Emmer. The paintings have been arranged on 3 floors: 1) First floor, teahouse painting by contemporary Iranian artists; 2) second floor, various historical periods paintings mentioned above; and 3) Third floor, European works presented to Farah or bought by her.
Golestan Palace: The oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran, the Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers) belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s Historic Arg (citadel). Some of its important places are as follow:
Shams-ol-Emareh Palace: The idea of building a tall structure came to Naser-ed-Din Shah before his first visit to Europe and from pictorial images of European buildings. The Monarch wanted a structure from which he could have panoramic views of the city. Designed by Mo`ayyer-ol-Mamalek, construction of the Shams-ol-Emareh began in 1865 and was completed two years later. The architect was Master Ali Mohammad Kashi.
Takht-e- Marmar: The spectacular terrace known as Takht-e- Marmar (Marble Throne) was built in 1806 by order of Fath Ali Shah-e- Qajar. Adorned by paintings, marble-carvings, tilework, stucco, mirrors, enamel, woodcarvings, and lattice windows; the throne embodies the finest of Iranian architecture. The Marble Throne is one of the oldest buildings of the historic Arg. The existing throne, which is situated in the middle of the terrace (Eyvan), is made of the famous yellow marble of Yazd Province.
Talar-e- Aineh (Hall of Mirror): It is the most famous of the Palace hall. This relatively small hall is famous for its extraordinary mirror work. The Hall was designed by Hãj Abd-ol-Hoseyn Me marbashi (Sani-ol-Molk). Yahyã Khăn Mo tamed-ol-Molk, the minister of architecture, acted as consultant to the designer.
Abyaz Palace: Completed in 1883, the Abyaz (White) Palace now houses one of the most interesting ethnological museums in Iran. There is a colorful exhibition of tradition Iranian costumes, as well as a folk art exhibition.
Emarat-e- Bãdgir (Building of the Wind Towers): was constructed during the reign of Fath Ali Shāh (circa 1805). The building underwent major renovations, including structural changes, during the reign of Nasser d-Din Shah. A watercolor rendering by Mahmud Khãn-e- Malek-osh-Sho ara depicts the original structure prior to renovations.
Talar-e- Bereliyãn (Hall of Brilliance): It was named so for it is adomed by the brilliant mirror work of Iranian artisans. The Hall was built by Naser-ed-Din Shãh to replace another hall called Talar-e- Bolur (Crystal Hall).
Talar-e- Zoruf: This building replaced the Narenjestãn Building in the north of Aj Hall or Sofreh Khaneh. All the chinaware that were dedicated to Qajar kings by the European kings were taken to this room and was arranged in show cases which were built for this purpose.
Talar-e- Aj (Hall of Ivory): It is a large hall used as a dining room. It was decorated with gifts presented to Naser-ed-Din Shah by European monarchs.
Talar-e- Almas (Hall of Diamonds): It is located in the southern wing of Golestãn Palace next to the Bãdgir Building. It is called Hall of Diamonds because of the exceptional mirror work inside the building.
Khavat-e- Karim Khani: Dating back to 1759, this building was a part of the interior residence of Karim Khan-e- Zand. The basic structure of the Khalvat-e-Karim Khani is similar to Takht-e-Marmar. Like the latter, it is a terrace (eyvãn). There is a small marble throne inside the terrace. The structure is much smaller than Takht-e-Marmar and it has much less ornamentation.
Special Museum: This building is located under the Salãm Hall or Museum. It is indeed a part of the first Iranian museum, which was built by Mohammad Ebrahim Khãn-e Me marbashi. Right now in addition to the gifts, some rare objects are kept in this museum, some of them are as follows: Helmet of Shah Esmail-e-Safavi, bow and arrows of Nader Shãh, armband of Fath Ali Shah, the collection of Qajar Seals, Aga Mohammad khan’s crown and a decorated ostrich egg.
Negar Khãneh: The original collection of the museum all is now scattered among Tehrãn’s many museums. However, the paintings of the royal court are now kept at the Golestãn Palace- with the European paints housed in the Howz Khãneh and the works of Iranian painters housed in the Negãr Khãneh. Meant to show the evolution of painting in Iran during the Qãjar era, the works of Iranian painters are exhibited in sections.
Talar-e- Salãm (Reception Hal): It was originally designed to be a museum. After the Takht-e-Tavus (Iranian’s famous Jeweled Peacock Throne) was moved to the Royal jewels collection at the Central Bank, this hall was designated to hold special receptions in the presence of the king, hence the name Talar-e Salam.
Today, there are many museums and temporary exhibition held in Sa’d Abad Palaces Complex open to the public. Its most important museums are:
Nations Museum: This collection consists of various works of art purchased from other countries and represents the civilizations of pre-Islam Iranian, African, Indian, Far East, Eskimos, Mayas and contemporary arts of Iranian as well as non-Iranian artists.
Green Palace: It is the first palace built in the complex during Pahlavi dynasty by Reza Shah`s order. The building is called green palace because of the color of its faced. The palace is a very nice museum of Persian arts like mirror marquetry, carpets, and illumination and plaster work. It was served as Mohammad Reza`s private palace where Some private meetings were held before the Islamic Revolution.
Fine Arts Museum: The major part of the paintings in this collection are the oil paintings of Safavid, Afshar, Zand and Qajar periods collected by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi`s last wife, Farah, from an English collectioner called Harold Emmer. The paintings have been arranged on 3 floors: 1) First floor, teahouse painting by contemporary Iranian artists; 2) second floor, various historical periods paintings mentioned above; and 3) Third floor, European works presented to Farah or bought by her.
Behzad Museum: This museum is devoted to the miniatures painted by Hoseyn Behzad (1895-1968) who made a revolution in Iranian painting. Studying European art and being inspired by Kamal-od-din Behzad and Reza Abbasi, he introduced a new style of miniature on paper, hard paper or fiberboard, This style is purely Iranian, but it has kept on with its contemporary paces and changes of art in universal art schools.
Abkar Museum: The miniatures in this museum are works of a 20th century artist called Klara Abkar who had her particular style in painting. Her source of inspiration was the rich Iranian literature and mysticism. Her works take the visitors to a world of spirituality and a poem-like or light-music-like harmony that give everyone’s eyes peace and tranquility.
Mir Emad Museum: The main subject of this museum is the most prominent post_Islam Iranian art namely calligraphy. On paper and parchment, there are plenty of various calligraphic styles of writing belonging to 10th to 19th centuries. Mir Emad, himself, the most well-known 18th century`s calligrapher, has been introduced by his works. in some cases, some calligraphy-related arts like illumination, painting, etc are exhibited.
Museum of Anthropology: The life-style and customs of Iranians through the history are displayed from cultural perspective. In a vast area and of two floors, various objects are exhibited like tools for irrigation, agriculture, husbandry, fishing and hunting as well as agricultural documents, clothes, lighting tools and handicrafts.
Water Museum: This museum in an exhibition of ancient and traditional techniques and instruments for water supplement and distribution. Various water-related vernacular structures are introduced like water reservoirs and traditional icehouses. Some ancient water dams and royal orders concerning them are presented as well.
Military Museum: the objects of the museum are displayed on two floors. The military uniforms of Achaemenians up to the present time are exhibited. The weaponry on display consists of some unsophisticated ones used in the ancient times until the firearms period`s. Part of the history of Iraqi-imposed war against Iran (1980-1988) is also exposed to visitors.
Post Museum: This museum is established in 1990 in the second floor of the General Post Office of Tehran in Emam Khomeini Ave., before Emam Khomeini square which exhibits kinds of old things in regard with distribution, post boxes, stamp, traditional writing equipments, seal, old postal documents and deposit boxes.
Museum of National Arts: It is a museum generally allocated to the works of painting, miniature, gilding, inlaid works, woodworks and cloth weaving and is established in 1930 in south side of the yard of Negarestan palace in north of Baharestan square. The building of this museum is located in the area of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts: It is counted as one of the most active museums of Tehran which has been opened at the end of 1977 in north side of Laleh Park. In its three floor building constructed in mixed architecture styles both traditional and modern, are many galleries and other parts such as library, studio of photography, lecturing and cinematic halls. During the year several exhibitions are held in the Museum which are generally allocated to visual arts and graphics.
Museum of Nature and Wild Life of Iran: This museum which is the richest natural history of Iran is located in one of the northern parts of Tehran in Dar Abad and has been opened since 1993, In its two floor building, there are 8 halls in which live animals, taxidermies, animal pictures and landscapes of different periods of geology are seen. In its prosperous area animals such as: lion, panther, rabbit and peacock are preserved.
Museum of glass and earthenware of Iran: Eight sided, two floor beautiful building of this museum is located at the beginning of Si-ye- Tir Ave. and its antiquity reaches to 80 years. This place which once was the private house of Qavam-ol-Saltaneh was changed to museum in 1976 and right now has 5 halls to exhibit the glass and earthen art works.
For the first time in the era of Mohammad Shah Qajar, a building was constructed in Niavaran village which was destroyed in Naser-ed-Din Shãh’s period and replaced by Niavaran palace and its name changed into Sahebqeraniyeh palace. Right now the collection of Niavaran palace which is located in the east side of Bahonar square and at the end of Pasdãran Ave. consists of two palaces and there are also Jahan Namã and Nations’ Art museums.
It is the first palace built in the complex during Pahlavi dynasty by Reza Shah`s order. The building is called green palace because of the color of its faced. The palace is a very nice museum of Persian arts like mirror marquetry, carpets, and illumination and plaster work. It was served as Mohammad Reza`s private palace where Some private meetings were held before the Islamic Revolution.
The idea of building a tall structure came to Naser-ed-Din Shah before his first visit to Europe and from pictorial images of European buildings. The Monarch wanted a structure from which he could have panoramic views of the city. Designed by Mo`ayyer-ol-Mamalek, construction of the Shams-ol-Emareh began in 1865 and was completed two years later. The architect was Master Ali Mohammad Kashi.
Tourist attractions around Tehran enjoy a great variety and in different seasons attract residents of Tehran, passengers and tourists with different cultures and tastes. Hiking and mountain climbing are of the items which have their own admirers all through the year and several mountain climbing routs of north mountains of Tehran are full of people at weekends coming from all corners of the city. The beginning points are usually Darband, Darakeh, Velenjak, Dar Abad and Jamshidiyeh Park that end to Kolakchal, Shervin, Shirpala, Towchal, Espid Kamar, Palangchal and Usun shelters. The highest point of these places is Towchal Summit with 3933-meters height from sea level that has an active ski piste in winters too. Towchal Cable Car which begins from Velenjak has 7 stations. The height of the third station reaches to 2000 meters, fifth to 3000 and the seventh to 3700 meters. Also the facilities and the 5-star hotel of Towchal provides a good complex for the visitors’ welfare and relaxation.
Tehran City is not only the political but also the economic, cultural and social center of Iran and because of its so many attractions, it attracts many immigrants moved here throughout the country. The numerous population, increase of private and public vehicles and the focus of the administrative affairs in Tehran and so on have caused lots of problems besides social problems, pollution and traffic which have been disturbing Tehran’s residents for more than 3 decades. In spite of the construction of several highways in different areas of Tehran, specifying a limited area for limiting the traffic of private vehicles, specifying special lines for buses, three underground lines, increasing, taxies and eliminating important crossroads and intersections by providing turning points still the knot of Tehran’s traffic hasn’t been solved yet.
Although the rate of air pollution increases the most in summer, the dangerous days take place in October, November and December because of conversion phenomena, as well as the fact that the traffic gets heavier, ln recent years, some precautions have been taken to handle and supervise the transportation more and abandon the pollutant cars and take them out of the civil transportation cycle.
Tehran city expands in southern foothills of Alborz Mountains and has covered an area in the length of approximately 50 km in 51° 2′ to 51° 36′ east longitude and approximately 30 km between 35° 34′ to 35° 50′ north latitude.
The height of the city in the northern parts is 1800 m, in Tajrish 1548, in Ferdowsi Square about 1200 m, and in the very southern parts reaches to 1050 m from the sea level, Actually Tehran is surrounded between the mountainous area from north and desert from south and under the effect of these two areas, Tehran enjoys variety of climates. Places near to the Alborz Mountain have dry and cold and places near desert have dry and warm weather. Within a period of 30 years between 1966 up to 1996 the average of the maximum temperature was 22.5° C and the minimum was 11.9° C. The absolute maximum was 43° C, the absolute minimum -15° C, and the average was 17.2° C. The average annual rainfall was 240 mm and the frozen days were 48 days in a year. The features registered for the year 2003 were orderly 23.3°,13.5°, 42.6°, -2.6°, 18.4° C and 240 mm and 12 days.
In Tehran, the cold season begins around late December and lasts until March. The warmest month in the mid-summer is August, during late July and August. Mountains around Tehran are effective obstacles in penetration of the mass of various weathers and so Tehran in comparison with other vicinities enjoys more tranquillity. In the other hand, the location of mountains in north and plains at the edge of the desert in south and south east causes a slow and slight current of the air from plain to mountain in day time and from mountain to plain at night.
The main source of the water of Tehran is provided by the Karaj, Jajrud and Lar rivers and the three dams constructed over them and a part is also provided from the underground waters by deep wells. There also flew some seasonal rivers in Tehran but have not any direct influences in providing the city’s water of which the most important ones are: Golabdarreh, Darband, Hesarak and Kan.
The main geological feature of Tehran is its location between the Alborz Mountain (belonging to the third geological period) and Iran plateau (belonging to the forth geological period). The most important exposure of this case, is the existence of active faults such as Mosha fault, fault of the north of Tehran and Rey fault which are the cause of slight earthquakes in these areas but there were no serious earthquakes in Tehran since 100 years ago. Moreover, from the seismic stand point, Tehran is among the high hazardous zones (is accounted as 8 up to 10 in Mercalli scale).