A Trip To Tehran
Tehran is the capital and largest city in 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.
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, Saadabad, and Niavaran, as well as the country's most important governmental buildings of the modern period.
Large scale demolition and rebuilding began in the 1920s, and Tehran has been a destination for the mass migrations from all over Iran since the 20th century.
The most famous landmarks of the city include the Azadi Tower, a memorial built during the Pahlavi period, and the Milad Tower, the world's 17th tallest freestanding structure which was built in 2007. The Tabiat Bridge is considered the third symbol of the city and it was built in 2014.
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.
Tehran is served by the Mehrabad and Khomeini international airports, a central railway station, the rapid transit rail system of the Tehran Metro, as well as a trolleybus and a BRT system, and has a huge network of highways.
Location and Subdivisions
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.
Northern Tehran is the wealthiest region of the city, consisting of various smaller districts from northeast to northwest, such as Zaferanie, Jordan, Elahie, Kamranie, Ajodanie, Farmanie, Darrous, Qeytarie, and Qarb Town.
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.
The city of Tehran had a population of approximately 7.8 million in 2006 With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Tehran is home to diverse ethnic and linguistic groups from all over the country. The native language of the city is the Tehrani accent of the Persian language, and the majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians. However, historically, the original native dialect of the Tehran–Rey region is not Persian, which is linguistically Southwest Iranian and originates in Fars (Pars) in the south of the country, but a (now extinct) Northwest Iranian dialect belonging to the Central Iranian group.
The majority of Tehranis are officially Twelver Shia Muslims, which has also been the state religion since the Safavid conversion of Iran and Azerbaijan. Other religious communities in the city include followers of the Sunni and Mystic branches of Islam, various Christian denominations, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the Baha'i Faith.
There are many religious centers scattered around the city from old to newly built centers, including mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples.
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 traditional 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.
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, Sadabad, and the Niavaran complexes.
There are several historic, artistic and scientific museums in Tehran, including the National Museum, the Malek Museum, the Ferdows Garden, the Glassware and Ceramics Museum, the Qasr Prison Museum, the Carpet Museum, the 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, located in the City of Tehran.
The oldest surviving architectural monuments of the city are from the Qajar and Pahlavi eras. Although, considering the area of Greater Tehran, monuments dating back to the Seljuk era remain as well; notably the Toqrol Tower. There are also remains of the Rashkan Castle, dating back to the ancient Arsacid era, of which some artefacts are housed at the National Museum.
Tehran only had a small population until the late 18th century, but began to take a more considerable role in Iranian society after it was chosen as the capital city. Despite the regular occurrence of earthquakes during the Qajar period and after, some historic buildings have remained from that era.
Tehran is served by the international airports of Mehrabad and Khomeini. Mehrabad Airport, an old airport in Western Tehran which doubles as a military base, is mainly used for domestic and charter flights. Imam Khomeini Airport, located 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of the city, handles the main international flights.
Railway and Subway
Tehran has a central railway station which connects services round the clock to various cities in the country, along with a Tehran–Europe train line also running.
The feasibility study and conceptual planning of the construction of Tehran's subway system were started in the 1970s. The first two of the eight projected metro lines were opened in 2001.
Tehran's transport system includes conventional buses, trolleybuses and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Buses have served the city since the 1920s. There are four bus terminals that also provide connections at low rates. The terminals are located on the south, east, and west, and Bei-haqi Park-Drive.