Tehran (or Teheran) is the capital and largest city of Iran, and the administrative center of Tehran Province. Tehran is a sprawling city at the foot of the Alborz mountain range (the highest point in the Middle East ) with an immense network of highways unparalleled in Western Asia. Tehran is famous for its numerous ski resorts on the Alborz slopes, large museums, art centers, and palace complexes equal to the ancient Iranian/Persian cities of Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz. Tehran is the largest city in the Middle East and is the most populated city in South Western Asia with a population of 7,404,515 and approximately 15 million in Greater Tehran.
Most Iranian industries are headquartered in Tehran. The industries include the manufacturing of automobiles, electrical equipment, military weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading center for the sale of carpets and furniture. There is also an oil refinery located in south of the city. Tehran Oil Refining Company Official Website. Tehran Oil Refining Company Official Website
In the 20th century, Tehran faced a large migration of people from all around Iran. Today, the city contains a mix of various ethnic and religious minorities, and is filled with many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples.
Excavations place the existence of settlements in Tehran as far back as 6000 BCE. Tehran was well known as a village in the 9th century, but was less well-known than the city of Rhages (Ray) which was flourishing nearby in the early era. In the 13th century, following the destruction of Ray by Mongols, many of its inhabitants escaped to Tehran. In some sources of the early era, the city is mentioned as "Rhages's Tehran" . The city is later mentioned in Hamdollah Mostowfi's ''Nuz'hat al-Qulub'' (written in 1340) as a famous village.
Don Ruy Gonzales de Clavijo, a Castilian ambassador, was probably the first European to visit Tehran, stopping in July 1404, while on a journey to Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan) and the Mongol capital at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.
Tehran became a residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th century. Tahmasp I built a bazaar and a wall around the city, but it somewhat fell out of favor after Abbas I turned sick when he was passing the city to go to a war with the Uzbeks.
In the early of 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, a harem, and a government office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city his capital, but later moved his government to Shiraz. Tehran finally became the capital of Persia in 1795, when the Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan was crowned in the city. It remains the capital to this day.
During World War II, British and Soviet troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference in 1943, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.
Following the war, the city's older landmarks suffered under the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah. The Shah believed that ancient buildings such as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Takieh-ye Dowlat, the Toopkhaneh Square (pictured to the right), the magnificent city fortifications and the old citadel among others should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically destroyed and modern 1950s and 1960s buildings were built in their place. Tehran bazar was divided in half and many historic buildings were destroyed in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many excellent examples of Persian Gardens also became targets to new construction projects. The decision to carry these out is presently largely seen as a foolish mistake that hurt the visual fabric and the cultural identity of the city beyond repair. Apartment blocks are introduced in this period.
During the 198088 IranIraq War, Tehran was the scene of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes against random residential and industrial targets within the city, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties. Material damage was repaired soon after each strike. Tehran attracted war refugees by the millions.
After the war, cheap Soviet-style apartments multiplied throughout the city without any plan. At present, little is left of Tehran's old quarters. Instead, modern high-rise buildings dominate the city's skyline and new modern apartments have and are replacing the few remaining old houses at a rapid pace. Tehran-style home architecture has almost vanished completely. This is often referred to as "Tehran Identity Disaster".
Tehran is also home to many grand mansions in the north of the city and the Shahrak-e Gharb District.
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, hot and dry in the summer, cool and rainy in autumn and cold in the winter. As a large city with a significant differences in elevation among various districts, the weather is often cooler in the hilly north as compared to the flat southern part of Tehran.
Summer is usually hot and dry with very little rain. The majority of precipitation occurs from mid-autumn to mid-spring. The hottest month is July and the coldest is January
Although compared to other parts of the country, Tehran enjoys a moderate climate, weather conditions can sometimes be unpredictably harsh. The record high temperature is 48C and the record low is -20C. On January 5 & 6, 2008, after years of relatively little snow, a wave of heavy snow and low temperatures shocked the city covering it in a thick layer of snow and ice, forcing the Council of Ministers to officially declare an state of emergency and calling the following two days (January 6th and 7th) off for the capital.
The city of Tehran had a population of about 11 million people at the time of the last official census in 2006 .
With its cosmopolitan air, Tehran houses diverse ethnic and linguistics groups from all over the country and represents the ethnic/linguistic composition of Iran (though with a different percentage). More than 60 percent of Tehranis were born outside Tehran.
Today the majority of Tehran residents are known as Persians who speak many different dialects of Persian corresponding to their hometown, including Esfahani, Shirazi, Yazdi, Khuzestani, Dari, Judeo-Persian, etc. The second largest linguistic group is that of the Azeri-speakers.
Other minority linguistic groups include Kurds, Baluch, Qashqa'i, Turkmen, Armenian, Bakhtiari, Assyrian, Talysh, etc. There are also a number of a few long established linguistic minorities such as Punjabi-speaking traders from Punjab (India) & Domari-speaking Romas as well as a small amount ethnic Georgians who have resided in Northern Iran for centuries. A number of Levantine Arabic speakers of Lebanese origin also live in Tehran.
Tehran saw a drastic change in its ethno-social composition in early 1980s. Following the political, social and economic consequences of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 and onwards, many Iranian citizens, mostly Tehranis left Iran due to mounting political, social and most importantly religious pressure. Many Iranians fled to countries such as Canada, U.S, many European countries, Japan and even as far as Australia and Sweden. It should be noted that highest Iranian immigration is recorded to be to the United States and Canada.
With the start of the IranIraq War (1980-1988) following an Iraqi invasion, a second wave of inhabitants fled the city especially under Iraqi air offensive on the capital. With most major powers backing Iraq at that time, economic isolation caused even more reasons for the inhabitants to leave the city (and the country). Having left all they had and having struggled to adopt to a new country and build a life, most of them never came back when the war was over. During the war, Tehran also received a great number of migrants from the west and the southwest of the country bordering Iraq.
The unstable situation and the war in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq prompted a rush of refugees into the country who came in millions, with Tehran being a magnet for modest workers who helped the city to recover from war wounds, charging far less than local construction workers. Many of these refugees are being repatriated with the assistance of UNHCR but there are still sizeable Afghan and Iraqi refugees in Tehran who are reluctant to leave, being pessimistic about the situation in their country. Afghan refugees are mostly Persian-speaking Hazara or Tajiks, speaking a dialect of Persian, and Iraqi refugees, who are mainly Shiite Mesopotamian Arabic-speakers of Iranian origin.
The majority of Tehranis are the followers of Twelver Shia Islam which is also the state religion. Religious minorities include followers of various sects of Sunni Islam, Zoroastrianism, Baha'i Faith, Judaism, and Christianity (including the adherents of the Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian Apostolic Church, Roman Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Iranian Protestant churches, Kelisa-ye Khanegi-ye Iraniyan, Armenian Evangelical Church, Jama'at-e Rabbani (Assemblies of God), Armenian Brotherhood Church, Russian Orthodox Church, and the Presbyterian Church). There are also small groups of Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Mandeans, Spiritualists, Atheists, Azalis, Yazidis, Yarsan, Ismaili, Secular Muslims and the followers of Mystic Islam.
Despite being the seat of a theological government and the fact that most important religious unions and academies of the country are based in Tehran, the city remains the most secular and liberal in the nation, a fact that attracts many youngsters from elsewhere to study in the capital.
Architecture and landmarks
See also Architecture of Tehran
Tehran is a relatively old city; as such, it has an architectural tradition unique to itself. Archaeological investigations and excavations in Tehran demonstrate that this area was home to civilizations as far back as 6,000 years BC. Tehran served only as a village to a relatively small population for most of its history, but began to take a more considerable role in Iran after it was made the capital in the 19th century. Despite the occurrence of earthquakes during the Qajar period and before, some buildings still remain from Tehran's era of antiquity. Tehran Capital City of Iran. Tehran Today Tehran is Iran's primate city, and has the most modernized infastructure in the country; however, the gentrification of old neighborhoods and the demolition of buildings of cultural significance has caused concerns.
The Azadi Tower has been the longstanding symbol of Tehran. It was constructured to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian empire, and was originally named "Shahyad Tower"; after the Iranian revolution, its name changed to "Azadi Tower," meaning "Freedom Tower." The recently constructed Milad Tower may eventually replace the Azadi Tower as Tehran's new symbol. The Milad complex contains the world's fourth tallest tower, several restaurants, a five star hotel, a convention center, a world trade center, and an IT park. Milad Tower Official Website. Milad Tower Traditionally a low-lying city due to seismic activity in the region, modern high rise developments in Tehran have been undertaken in order to service its growing population.
The tallest residential building in Iran is a 54-story building located North of Youssef Abad district, the Tehran International Tower. It is architecturally designed similar to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, USA. Tehran International Tower Wesite. Tehran International Tower Website Appealing to the principle of vertical rather than horizontal expansion of the city, the Tehran International Tower is bound to the North by Youssef Abad, to the South By Hakim Highway, to the East by Kordesstan Highway and to the West by Sheikh Bahai Highway, all of which facilitate access to various parts of the city.
Location and subdivisions
Tehran county borders Shemiranat county to the north, Damavand county to the east, Eslamshahr, Pakdasht, and Ray counties to the south, and Karaj and Shahriar counties to the west.
Neighborhoods and districts of Tehran
The city of Tehran is divided into 22 municipal districts, each with its own administrative centers.
Within these 22 districts, Tehran contains the following major neighborhoods:
Abbas Abad, Afsariyeh, Amir Abad, Bagh Feiz, Baharestan, Darakeh, Darband, Dardasht, Dar Abad, Darrous, Dehkadeh Olampik, Ekhtiyariyeh, Elahiyeh, Evin, Farmanieh,Gheitariye, Gholhak, Gisha, Gomrok, Hasan Abad, Jamaran, Jannat Abad, Javadiyeh, Jomhuri, Jordan, Lavizan, Narmak, Navab, Nazi Abad, Niavaran, Park-e Shahr, Pasdaran, Punak, Ray, Sa'adat Abad, Sadeghiyeh, Seyed Khandan, Sohrevardi, Shahrara, Shahr-e ziba, Shahrak-e Gharb, Shemiran, Tajrish, Tehranpars, Tehransar, Vanak, Velenjak, Yaft Abad, Yusef Abad, Zafaraniyeh, etc.
For a map of the relative locations of the neighborhoods and the full list, see List of the localities around Tehran.
Tehran's old city fabric changed dramatically during the Pahlavi era. Some of the older remaining districts of Tehran are: Udlajan, Sangelaj, Bazaar, Chaleh Meydan, Doulat. Chaleh Meydan is the oldest neighborhood of the aforementioned...
About 30% of Irans public-sector workforce and 45% of large industrial firms are located in Tehran and almost half of these workers work for the government. Most of the remainder of workers are factory workers, shopkeepers, laborers, and transport workers. Few foreign companies operate in Tehran because of the Islamic government and its poor relations with the west. But before the Islamic revolution many western companies were active in this region. Today many modern industries of this city include the manufacturing of automobiles, electronics and electrical equipment, weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading center for the sale of carpets and furniture. There is an oil refinery near Ray, south of the city. Tehran has four airports, including Mehrabad International Airport, Imam Khomeini International Airport, Ghal'eh Morghi airfield and Doshan Tapeh airbase.
Tehran relies heavily on private cars, buses, motorcycles, and taxis, and is one of the most car-dependent cities in the world. The Tehran Stock Exchange, which is a full member of the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs (FIBV) and a founding member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges, has been one of the world's best performing stock exchanges in recent years.
The metropolis of Tehran enjoys a huge network of highways (280 km) and of interchanges ramps & loops (180km). In 2007 there were 130 kilometers of highways and 120 kilometers of ramps and loops under construction. Tehran. An Educational Website about Tehran
Tehran has one of the cleanest and most convenient metro systems, in terms of accessibility to different parts of the city, in the region. The feasibility study and conceptual planning of the construction were started in 1970s. In 2001, the first two of its seven envisaged lines of metro were opened to public usage.
Development of the Tehran metro system had been interrupted by the Islamic Revolution and the IranIraq War. Problems arising from the late completion of the metro led to buses taking on the role of the metro lines, serving mainly long distance routes. Taxis filled the void for local journeys. The taxis only drive on main avenues, and only within the local area, so it may be necessary to take several taxis to get to one's final destination. This has all led to extreme congestion and air pollution within the city. Since the completion of the first 3 phases of the Metro, some of these above problems have been mitigated.
Tehran is served by Mehrabad national Airport, an old airport which doubles as a military base located in the Western part of the city, and Imam Khomeini International Airport, 50 kilometers South, which handles international flights.
Tehran also has a central train station with connecting services round the clock to various cities in the country. There are four bus terminals that also provide connections at low fares. These are the South, East, West, and Bei-haghi Park-Drive Terminals.
While the center of the city houses the government ministries and headquarters, the commercial centers are more located toward Valiasr Street (formally known as Pahlavi street), Taleghani Ave, and Beheshti Ave further north. Although administratively separate, Rey, Shemiran, and Karaj are often considered part of the larger Tehran metropolitan area.
See also: List of Tehran metro stations, Tehran Monorail.
Tehran suffers from severe air pollution and the city is often covered by smog making breathing difficult and causing widespread pulmonary illnesses. It is estimated that about 27 people die each day from pollution-related diseases. According to local officials, 3,600 people died in a single month due to the hazardous air quality.
The air pollution is due to several different reasons: 1) Economical: most Iranian industries are located on the outskirts of Tehran. The city is also overrun with old and aging cars which do not meet today's emission regulations. Furthermore, Iran's busiest airport, Mehrabad International Airport, is located in the west of the city; 2) Infrastructure: Tehran has a poor public transportation network. Buses and metros do not cover every area of the city. Most people are then obliged to either use private cars or hire taxis. This has created severe traffic congestion; 3) Geographical: Tehran is bound in the north by the massive Alborz mountain range that is stopping the flow of the humid Caspian wind. As a result, thermal inversion that traps Tehran's polluted air is frequently observed. The lack of humidity and clouds makes Tehran a very sunny city. The UV radiations then combined with the existing pollutants significantly raise the level of the ozone.
The government, however, is engaged in a battle to reduce the air pollution. It has for instance encouraged taxis and buses to convert from petrol engines to engines that run on compressed natural gas. Furthermore, since 1979 the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has setup a "Traffic Zone" ( ) covering the city center during peak traffic hours. Entering and driving inside this zone is only allowed with a special permit. The government is also trying to raise people's awareness about the hazards of the pollution. One method that is currently been employed is the installation of Pollution Indicator Boards all around the city to monitor the current level of particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). The board also displays the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), which is a general indication of air quality based on the measurements of the above-mentioned five pollutants. The Pollution Indicator Boards classify the level of each pollutants as either safe, hazardous or dangerous.
In 2007 Iran imposed fuel rations and since the use of cars has thereafter declined, streets are less congested and the air quality has improved. The main reason for this rationing was to reduce fuel consumption, so that fuel is not imported eventually.
Education and research
Tehran is the biggest and most important educational center of Iran. Today there are nearly 50 major colleges and universities total in Greater Tehran.
Since the establishment of Darolfonoon in the mid 1800s, Tehran has amassed a large number of institutions of higher education. Some of these institutions have played crucial roles in the unfolding of Iranian political events. The University of Tehran and Tehran University of Medical Sciences are the oldest state university and the largest university of Iran. Samuel M. Jordan, whom Jordan Avenue in Tehran is named after, was also one of the founding pioneers of the American College of Tehran.
Tehran is also home to Iran's largest military academy, and several religious schools and seminaries.
Tehran was the first city in the Middle East to host the Asian Games. The 7th Asian Summer Games in 1974, was held with the participation of 2,363 athletes and officials from 25 countries.
Tehran is also the site of Iran's national football stadium on Azadi Sport Complex with 100,000 seating capacity. Many of the top matches of Iran's Premier League are held here. In 2005, FIFA ordered Iran to limit spectators allowed into Azadi stadium because of a fatal crush and inadequate safety procedures. Other stadiums in Tehran are Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium, Takhti Stadium, and Shahid Shirudi Stadium, among others.
Within 10 minutes driving distance from Tehran lies a ski resort. Tochal is the world's fifth highest ski resort, at over 3,730 metres at its highest 7th station. The resort was completed in 1976 shortly before the overthrow of the Shah.
Here, one must first ride the eight kilometre (five mile) long gondola lift which covers a huge vertical. The 7th station has three slopes. The resort's longest slope is the south side U shaped slope which goes from the 7th station to 5th station. The other two slopes are located on the north side of the 7th station. Here, there are two parallel chair ski lifts that go up to 3,900 metres near Tochal's peak , rising higher than the gondola 7th station. This altitude is higher than any of the European resorts.
From the Tochal peak, one has a spectacular view of the Alborz range, including the 5,671 metre high Mount Damavand, a dormant volcano.
At the bottom of the lifts in a valley behind the Tochal peak is Tochal hotel, located at 3,500 metres altitude. From there a T lift takes skiers up the 3,800 metres of Shahneshin peak, where the third slope of Tochal is.
Tochal 7th station has skiing eight months of the year. But there are also some glaciers and year-round snow fields near Tehran where skiing began in 1938, thanks to the efforts of two German railway engineers. Today, 12 ski resorts operate in Iran, but the most famous are Tochal, Dizin, and Shemshak, all within one to three hours of Tehran.
In Football (soccer), Tehran is host to six football clubs in Iran's Premier Football League, namely:
These clubs have on numerous occasions won Asian titles, and some of their players are known internationally. The prominent matches are usually held at Azadi Stadium.
Tourism and attractions
Tehran, as Iran's showcase and historical capital city, has a wealth of cultural attractions. The Peacock Throne of the Persian Kings (Shahs) can be found in Tehran's Golestan Palace. Some of the well-known museums are National Museum of Iran, Sa'dabad Palaces Complex, Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran, The Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran's Underglass painting Museum, and Niavaran Palace Complex. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art features the works of great artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The collection of these paintings was selected by the former Empress Farrah Diba.
Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, also called the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, its is claimed to be the largest, most dazzling and valuable 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, including the largest collections of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran during the 2,500 year existence of the Iranian Kingdom.
The Imperial Crown Jewels are still on display in the Iranian Central Bank in Tehran.
The following table shows some places for outdoors activities in Tehran:
Soltani Mosque, built by Fath Ali Shah
Atiq Mosque, built in 1663.
Mo'ezz o-dowleh mosque, built by Fath Ali Shah
Haj Seyd Azizollah mosque, built by Fath Ali Shah
Al-javad mosque, Iran's first modernist design mosque.
The Old Sepahsalar mosque, another prominent Qajar era mosque.
The new Sepahsalar mosque (Madreseh e Motahari)
Filsuf o-dowleh Mosque, Qajar era
Moshir ol-Saltaneh Mosque, Qajar era
Mo'ayyer ol-Mamalik Mosque, Qajar era
Shahr Banu Mausoleum
Javan-mard Qassab Mausoleum, a pre-Islamic semi-mythical hero
Dozens of Imam-zadeh shrines, hundreds of years old, including that of Imam Zadeh Saleh.
Dozens of Saqa Khanehs: traditional places of prayer
Several Tekyehs: traditional places for mourning Muharram ceremonies for Husayn ibn Ali.
Ebn-e Babooyeh cemetery, where many Iranian giants such as Takhti and Ali Akbar Dehkhoda are buried.
Zahir o-dowleh cemetery, where many Iranian giants of art and culture such as Iraj Mirza, Mohammad Taghi Bahar, Forough Farrokhzad, Abolhasan Saba, Ruhollah Khaleghi, and Darvish-khan are buried.
Kordan Tomb, Seljuqi era, Karaj.
Maydanak Tomb, 13th century, Karaj
The Polish Cemetery 1-north of Tehran in British Gholhak Garden, where numerous World War II western Allied soldiers are buried. 2- Polish cemetery (Catholic cemetery) Dulab south of Tehran
Orthodox Cemetery, Dulab/The Russian Unknown Soldier's Tomb (Cenotaph) is located here with a red star over it
Tower of silence (Dakhme gabrha). Located on Moshiryh Road behind 7th unit of Tehran cement factory. It is circular in shape.
Naghare Khane Tower. Located on a mountain with same name (Nagharekhane) in Haftdastagh District, beside Amin Abad Road. Its age is not clear but it is related to the Seljuk Era. This tower is the tomb of a Seljuk king. Under the tower you can see other historical ruins (Einanj Dome). This place is a royal cemetery and was used in the early years of the Islamic Era in Persia.
Sarkis Cathedral, 1970
Saint George Church, 1790
Thaddeus Bartoqimus Church, 1808
Tatavus Church, from the Qajar era
Enjili Church, 1867
The Mayor of Tehran
See also: List of mayors of Tehran
See also: City Council of Tehran
Beijing, China (planned 2006) [*]
Caracas, Venezuela (2005) [*]
Havana, Cuba (2001) [*]
London, United Kingdom (19 March 1993)
Los Angeles, USA (26 May 1972) [*]
Pretoria, South Africa (planned 2002) [*]
Moscow, Russia (2004) [*]
Minsk, Belarus (2006) [*]
1974 Asian Games: The 7th Asian Games were held from September 1, 1974 to September 16, 1974 in Tehran, Iran. The Azadi sports complex was made for the Games. The Asian Games were hosted in the Middle East for the first time. Tehran, the capital of Iran, played host to 3,010 athletes coming from 25 countries/NOCs, the highest number of participants since the inception of the Games. 7th Asian Games. Asian Games
1976 AFC Asian Cup: The 1976 AFC Asian Cup was the sixth edition of the Asian Nations Cup, the football (soccer) championship of Asia (AFC). It was hosted by Iran. The field of six teams was split into two groups of three. Iran won their third title in a row, beating Kuwait in the final 1-0. AFC Asian Cup. AFC Asian Cup
1997 1st West Asian Games: The 1st West Asian Games was first organized in Tehran from 19 to 28 November 1997. It was considered the first of their kind. The success of the games led to the creation of the West Asian Games Federation (WAGF) and the intention of hosting the games every two year. West Asian Games. West Asian Games
Dr. Sapir Hospital and Charity Center
Tehran Jewish Committee
Tehran Stock Exchange
Architecture of Tehran
List of colleges and universities in Tehran
Tehran International Fairgrounds
City Council of Tehran
Economy of Iran
Shapour Bahrami, Tehran, Iran, Photo Set, flickr.
Shapour Bahrami, The Sepahsalar Mosque, Tehran, Photo Set (the photo stream is to be followed to the right direction), flickr.
Scott Peterson, ''Iran's Peace Museum: The reality vs. the glories of war'', The Christian Science Monitor, December 24, 2007. (On Iran's Peace Museum in Tehran)
Said Rafiee, The Beautiful and Modern City of Tehran, YouTube (3 min 38 sec).
Tehran's Islamic City Council (in Persian)
Great information and pictures of Tehran (in Persian)