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About city What to see Gallery Where to stay

Tehran is a true pearl of the East, slightly intimidating and not yet discovered by European tourists. Lately, however, thanks to its uniqueness, isolation and, believe it or not, safety, the capital of Iran has been attracting more and more people from all around the world.

This is the meeting place of both Eastern and Western civilizations. Tehran, home to over 7 million people, leaves no one unmoved: museums and parks, noisy and colourful streets, black-veiled women and a multitude of motorcycles.

Tehran, situated in the northern part of Iran, is the largest city in the country, its metropolitan area being home to over 14 million inhabitants. The city is located on the slope of the Alborz Mountain Range, which gave it its name – Tehran means “warm slope”. It was established around 9th century AD near the famous city of Ray, which is now part of the city. In late 18th century, it became the capital of Iran.

Tohid Tunnel in Tehran
Photo taken by  Tohid Tunnel in Tehran

Formally, Iran has banned a great many things, which is exactly the reason why so many Christians and Europeans are scared of it. However, all that is banned here still exists either openly or covertly – especially in Tehran. Alcohol is available to everyone who pursues it, and politicians who prohibit the use of social networking sites have personal profiles on them. The locals watch satellite TV, and the satellite dishes can be seen on most roofs. According to the law, Iranian women have to wear clothing that covers their hands, hair and legs. However, the streets of Tehran are full of girls wearing scarves that barely conceal their hair, and pretty belts that emphasise their waists.

The city is divided into two parts – the northern and the southern. The northern districts are more modern and flourishing, while the southern part is less attractive, but also less expensive.

Milad Tower and Alborz Mountains, Tehran, Iran
Photo taken by  Milad Tower and Alborz Mountains, Tehran, Iran

The Golestan Palace (18-19th centuries) – the former royal residence – is especially worthy of mention. The name means “rose garden”. In 1894, the palace became home to a fine arts museum. It’s an excellent place to take a walk and hide from the city’s unceasing hubbub. Here you can also sit down at one of the small tearooms and enjoy some rose tea, served with local sweets and jams.

Tehran’s other two palaces – the Niavarano and Saadabado – are also worthy of your attention. We also recommend you visit at least a few mosques, as these might help you discover the subtleties of Oriental art. The Royal (Shah) Mosque (19th century AD) is one of the most beautiful in the whole city.

Jewel enthusiasts also like to visit the Treasury of the National Jewels – here you can see some of the world’s most expensive jewels.

One of the most popular means of transportation in Tehran is motorcycles. Because of the smog they generate – which is so thick it often obscures the mountains on the horizon – they’re also among the city’s biggest problems. According to some estimates, Tehran is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Traditionally dried and processed sour plums, sour cherries and forest fruitsin Tehran
Photo taken by  Traditionally dried and processed sour plums, sour cherries and forest fruitsin Tehran

If you’re looking for large shopping centres here, you won’t find any. Tehran relies on market culture, and that’s exactly where people do their shopping. Markets are also among the most interesting parts of the city for tourists. Here you can not only buy the most necessary of things, but also experience Tehran’s way of life, meet the locals, try some traditional dishes, and drink Iranian tea sitting on the most beautiful carpets you’ll ever see in your life. Iran, after all, is famous for its carpets and hospitable people.

Just don’t be surprised if you get seated on the floor at a locals’ home – people here don’t use chairs or tables, preferring to eat their food sitting on carpets and special pillows.

No other city in the world has as many female taxi drivers as Tehran. This means that women travellers can feel safe, knowing they won’t be harassed by men.

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