Tehran, Iran Tourist Attractions and Travel

Iran is not blessed with one of the world's loveliest capitals. Pollution, traffic snarls, chronic overcrowding and a lack of responsible planning have all helped to make Tehran a metropolis that even the most effusive travel agent would have difficulty praising.

If you're expecting an exotic crossroads steeped in oriental splendour, you'll be sadly disappointed. The main sights are spread out, but the hotels are good, the variety of restaurants is impressive, the facilities are far ahead of those anywhere in the provinces, and the Tehranis are friendly.

Tehran travel, Iran Tourist Attractions

There is no real central area, though many budget travellers base themselves near Emam Khomeini Square in the less appealing south of the city, where there's cheap accommodation, fine kebab and good access to bus and train transport. Getting lost in Tehran is easy. If you need landmarks, the Alborz mountains, known as the 'North Star' of Tehran, are to the north£» and the huge telephone office at Emam Khomeini Square dominates inner southern Tehran. Fortunately, most streets that travellers are likely to take are signposted in English. Other than that, many streets, such as those around the Tehran Bazaar , have no signposts at all.


Tehran, Iran

Tehran attractions


The best times to visit are during late spring (mid-April to early June) and autumn (late September to early November). Avoid coming in winter and the Iranian New Year (about 21 March) and two weeks after it. Many restaurants close between dawn and dusk during the month of Ramazan.

Human settlement of the region dates from Neolithic times , but the development of Tehran was very slow and its rise to prominence largely accidental. In AD 1197, after Mongols sacked and destroyed nearby Rey - the major urban centre in Persia at the time - Tehran began to develop in its place. From the mid-16th century, Tehran's attractive natural setting and good hunting brought it into the favour of the Safavid king, Tahmasb I. It developed from a moderately prosperous trading village into an elegant, if dusty, Tehran travel city, and European visitors wrote of its many enchanting vineyards and gardens. In 1789, Agha Muhammed Khan declared Tehran his capital, and six years later had himself crowned as shah of all Persia. The town continued to grow slowly under later Qajar rulers.Apollo temple


From the early 1920s, the city was extensively modernised on a grid system, and this period marked the start of phenomenal population growth and uncontrolled urban development. An educated and cosmpolitan middle class elite, with an open attitude towards Western influence, flourished under the Shah, but the growth of the city began a Tehran tourism trickle of poor, rural migrants that soon turned into a flood.

The depopulation of the surrounding regions continues to this day as the rural poor continue to stream into Tehran in ever greater numbers. This migration has put the city's infrastructure under enormous pressures. In 1930 the population was 300,000; in 2001 it was estimated to be 12 million. These pressures often translate into Iran Tourist Attractions popular revolt, hence Tehran's central role in the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and in more recent protests against the clerical monopolisation of political power.


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