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About Iran
Iran: A Tapestry of Culture, Architecture, Tradition, and Food

Iran boasts a rich and diverse culture, with a history spanning several millennia. From ancient empires to vibrant contemporary communities, the country offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity.

Culture:

Hospitality:
  • Iranians are renowned for their warm hospitality. Guests are treated with respect and generosity, often invited to share meals and participate in cultural events.

  • Strong Family Ties: Family is central to Iranian life. Respect for elders is deeply ingrained, and families gather regularly for celebrations and social gatherings.

  • Art and Literature: Iran has a long and distinguished history in art and literature. Persian poetry and calligraphy are celebrated worldwide, while traditional music and dance continue to thrive.

  • Religion: Islam plays a significant role in Iranian society. The vast majority of Iranians are Shia Muslims, and Islamic values are reflected in daily life and customs.

Architecture:
  • Unique Styles: Iranian architecture is characterized by its distinctive use of geometric patterns, intricate mosaics, and vibrant colors.

  • Historical Sites: Iran is home to countless historical sites, including the ancient city of Persepolis, the magnificent mosques of Isfahan, and the wind towers of Yazd.

  • Traditional Homes: Traditional Iranian homes are designed around courtyards, providing a cool and comfortable space for families to gather.

  • Modern Developments: While traditional architecture remains important, Iran also boasts modern architectural marvels, showcasing a blend of past and present.

Traditions:
  • Norouz: This ancient spring festival is the most important celebration in Iran. Families gather for feasts, exchange gifts, and participate in traditional games and ceremonies.

  • Yalda Night: Celebrated on the winter solstice, this festive night involves gathering with loved ones, sharing fruits and nuts, and reciting poetry.

  • Tea Culture: Tea is deeply ingrained in Iranian culture. Families and friends gather daily to enjoy tea and engage in conversation.

  • Chaharshanbe Suri: This pre-Norouz fire festival involves lighting bonfires and jumping over them to ward off evil spirits.

Traditional Foods:
  • Chelo Kebab: This national dish features saffron-infused rice served with grilled meat.

  • Ghormeh Sabzi: This hearty stew is made with lamb, kidney beans, herbs, and dried limes.

  • Fesenjan: This sweet and sour stew combines chicken or duck with pomegranate paste and walnuts.

  • Dizi: This traditional stew is cooked in a clay pot and includes lamb, vegetables, and legumes.

  • Baghlava: This sweet pastry is made with layers of filo dough, filled with nuts and honey.

  • Faloodeh: This refreshing dessert is made with rosewater, vermicelli noodles, and ice cream.

Tehran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 12 million in the city and 15 million in its larger metropolitan area, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and it has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

In the Classical era, part of the territory of present-day Tehran was occupied by Rhages, a prominent Median city. It was subject to destruction following the ArabTurkic, and Mongol invasions. Its modern-day inheritor remains as an urban area absorbed into the metropolitan area of Greater Tehran.

Tehran was first chosen as the capital of Iran by Agha Mohammad Khan of the Qajar dynasty in 1796, in order to remain within close reach of Iran's territories in the Caucasus, before being separated from Iran as a result of the Russo-Iranian Wars, and to avoid the vying factions of the previously ruling Iranian dynasties. The capital has been moved several times throughout the history, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran.

The city was the seat of the Qajars and Pahlavis, the two last monarchies of Iran. It is home to many historical collections, including the royal complexes of GolestanSa'dabad, and Niavaran, as well as the country's most important governmental buildings of the modern era.

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.

Tehran's most famous landmarks include the Azadi Tower, a memorial built under the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty, and the Milad Tower, the world's sixth-tallest self-supporting tower which was completed in 2007. The Tabiat Bridge, a newly-built landmark, was completed in 2014.

Esfahan

For everyone going to Iran, Esfahan is a certain stop, and it’s one of the places that you will remember for a long time. Forget Paris, Esfahan is the most beautiful city in the world. The Persians called it “Nesf-e-Jahan”, meaning “Half World”. From 1592 to 1722, Esfahan was the Capital of Persia.


Esfahan got so much to offer so you can easily spend a week if not more there. The city covered with beautiful hand-painted tiling and magnificent public square.

This mosque is dating back to 1629. It is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian architecture and an excellent example of Islamic era architecture of Iran. The Shah Mosque of Isfahan is one of the everlasting masterpieces of architecture in Iran and become one of UNESCO World Heritage Site (first photo in this page).

Construction of the mosque started in 1603 and finished in 1619. The mosque is an architectural masterpiece from the Safavid era. This mosque also considered to be the most beautiful in Iran.

 On the back side of the square is one of the biggest bazaars in the middle east.

Esfahan is a perfect city to just walk around the small streets and alleys. They are interesting sights everywhere. Also, a big opportunity and chance that locals will treat you with some cups of tea. I’ll recommend you to say yes! The locals in Iran is by far, some of the friendliest and welcoming people on earth.

Yazd: Gem of Desert

People of Yazd are the most particular about their traditions and customs in all over the plateau of Iran. Here there are not Turks, Arabs, nomads, real palaces (only exception) or greens pastures. This  is the city of the plaster of clay and  straw domes, wind towers, ab-anbar (cisterne for water) and the caravanserrai,and also the city of walls and the oasis, of Zoroastrian dakhme (the towers of Hush) and the nakhl city. (wood structures that is only used in Yazd  in the month of the Moharram for the mourning traditions.

From the first moment Yazd seems to have nothing interesting. Particularly dusty and torrid plain and dry climate which are the most disagreeable of all over the plateau. This is little vegetation. The surrounding mountains have no vegetation and are completely made for soil. It doesn’t have any natural beauty or a great history. Yazd has never been destroyed by Mongols; never been disputed over to be conquered by the dynasties.

Yazd is not a city of palaces and the houses of rich and poor people together; the people of this city were all the same from the point of hierarchy and finance. There was not any powerful and rich person who support, protect and develop the city. It hasn’t had a green and good natural atmosphere. There were just ordinary people who have built the city and kept it alive till now. Because of its position in the center of the plateau of Iran, it has typically preserved more Persian characteristics.

People of Kerman and Yazd have the most Zoroastrians compared to all over of Iran. From the total of 60000 Zoroastrian people in Iran, Yazd has 7000 Zoroastrian inhabitants. The spiral roads are the most clean and colorful than anywhere else; the walls around the city are well preserved. The color of main gate is different from of the walls and more attractive. The spiral roads in the city are more beautiful than the other roads .Yazd, if not just the native land, sure one good reservoir of bad-ghir, (wind towers), invented typically by Persians (simple and effective like qanat) that come across in the entire Persian desert Badgirs (tower winds) are like chimneys in Europe which are constructed in the center of the room. This room is built under the level of the ground or isolated from the other parts of the house to stay cooler than any place there. Bagir collects every breeze, combined it with water make the weather in zir zamin always fresh.

Architectonic it inspires to you without average terms to the gotico style, or rather to the reworks of the gotic that we find in the veneziani palaces. Many of these towers, with their long and tightened openings rifinite with arch from the delicate curves and frastagliate they would not be outside place on the Large Canal. Like the interpretation of Pier Paul Pasolini who says: architecture in Yazd and Venice is just different from the materials, Venice was built on the water and Yazd on the soil. If there wasn’t water in the Earth, we wouldn’t have Venice and if there was not soil, we wouldn’t have Yazd.

Water, Earth, Wind and Fire, are the four elements used in traditional architecture of the desert for more than thousands of years. 

Water: In the plateau of Iran is the sacred and vital natural material that is used in architecture, urban, oasis which is preserved in underground channels called the Qanat (equivalents to the small Roman waterfalls, spreading nearly 200,000  Km in all over of Iran). streams and small waterfalls in the famous hanging gardens fills the aria with peace, relaxation and freshness.

Soil: what we have found from archeological excavations, shows that the main material used in building in Yazd is soil. Soil can be formed so easily, so they could build cupolas, uneven surfaces, niches, and so many other things,and as its is inexhaustible and  in desert , they  could built long lasting buildings there like the Citadel of Bam which is going back to 2000 years ago which . You see it gives life to the desert.

Wind: Another natural element, intelligent man has created the Bad-gir or wind towers, with which they can capture more weather.Weather combined with water succeeds to send fresh air waves in all the angles of the house.

Fire: Element that purifies, and is sacred in Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrian put it over alter and kept it alive for centuries, its also used for baking of bricks and mosaic which are always used in Islamic architecture.

All these elements have been joined together with a perfect harmony and created human space in Yazd.

The monuments like Friday Mosque in Yazd, the sanctuary of Davazdah Imam, ilVakt-u-Saat, the mosque of Amir Chakhmaq and the mausoleum of Shams-uddin are very popular and the best ones in Iran. The walls of the city, left from Timur, are magnificent and better conserved. The mosque of the Friday, founded in XII but was finished at the end of XIV, is the most beautiful and has been conserved from that period. It has a remarkable construction with an original design and a particular decoration. The main court is long, with twelve simple arches in every side, dominated to south-east of Ivan from the sanctuary and the south-west from the immense portal entrance.

 

The entrance gate of the mosque was built with an Ivan. This gate is like a filter between outside and inside of the mosque .One of the architectural characteristics of the mosque, its high arc, came back to pre-Islamic, the period of the Sassanian (Partians).They started to build those minarets in 14th century and finished the building in 16th century AD. This mosque, with its minarets which are larger and higher than any other minarets in Iran, is the most beautiful building in Yazd.       

Persian Food
  • The Iranian diet is generally based on rice. Shomal Rice (rice from Caspian sea region in the North of Iran) is known as the best, even in the world.

  • Meat (lamb or mutton, sometimes beef and veal) is used to make different kinds of Persian Khoresht, a stew containing of meat, vegetables and grains. Khoresht is always served with rice. Ghormeh-Sabzi and Fesenjan are the two most common Iranian Khoreshts.

  • In Iranian diet the most important meal is lunch in which usually rice and Khoresht are served.

  • Kebab or Juje-Kebab (Chicken Kabab) are the main Iranian dishes, served in restaurants. Kabab is a long and rather thin strip of meat or chicken mince, served with rice, yogurt, fresh vegetables and rings of onions.

  • Dizi is also a traditional, delicious meal served in teahouses and restaurants. Dizi is a kind of broth eaten with bread and is called also Abgoosht, means water and meat.

  • On the other hand fish and seafood are not part of the main menu of every restaurant and usually are more expensive than meat or chicken.

  • Fast foods are also very popular in Iran. There are lots of fast food Restaurants all around the country while there are not many vegetarian restaurants available. The best available vegetarian food is Kuku, a special Iranian food made of vegetables and egg. Felafel and Samosas are also available in snack bars.

  • Non-alcoholic drinks, soft or fruits can be easily found on every corner. Although tap water is clean and tasty in Iran, bottled water is also available in all super markets in towns, roads and tourist sites.
    Do not miss Doogh! It is a special Iranian drink made from churned yoghurt mixed with water and flavored with salt and mint.

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