Iran, mythical land of the Persians at the crossroads of civilizations and cultures, is also a beautiful country of trekking. Huge mountain ranges, wild and preserved territories, fabulous cities with eternal history and a warm welcome are the promise of an exceptional adventure.
Population: about 80 million inhabitants.
Area: 1 648 195 km2.
Main towns: Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz.
Climax Damavand: 5 671 m.
Official languages: Persian
Religion: Islam Shiite (89%), Sunnite (9 %).
“Iran is bordered to the north by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the west by Turkey, and to the northwest by Iraq. The country is bathed by the Caspian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Iran is traversed by three mountain ranges: the Sabalan and Talesh to the northwest, fertile and volcanic, the long chain of Zagros (1800 km with peaks reaching 4400 m), along the western border, and the Alborz, north of Tehran, from which emerges Mount Damavand, the highest point of the country at 5,670 meters.
Two deserts – Dasht-é Kavir (200 000 km²) and Dasht-é Lut (166 000 km²) – occupy most of the northeastern and eastern areas of the central plain. In the north of the country, the Caspian Sea, with an area of 370,000 km², is the largest “”lake”” in the world.”
Because of its size and its mountainous terrain, Iran has a great diversity of climates, but mostly arid or semi-arid. The coastal plain of the Caspian Sea enjoys a subtropical climate where temperatures never fall below 0 ° C and do not exceed 29 ° C. The mountains experience largely negative temperatures in winter and heavy snowfall, and very hot summers
Iran is a four season country with variety of different climate , in the same time you can do an ski tour in mount Damavand and do swimming in south of iran . there are two big desert : Dasht-e Kavir and Lut desert and two huge mountain range :Zagros and Alborz.
“Agriculture occupies about a quarter of the assets. Wheat is, along with barley, the dominant cereal. Tea, sugar cane, cotton, tobacco, rice are supplemented by fruits and vegetables and Iran has become an exporter. In the north and west, rainfed agriculture is possible; elsewhere dominates a very extensive sheep and goat farming, largely linked to a declining nomadism.
Oil remains the essential wealth; Iran is the world’s fourth largest producer (5% of the world total), two-thirds of which is exported; it has 10% of the world’s oil reserves and 20% of the world’s natural gas reserves. The oil rent has allowed Iran to have adequate infrastructure (power plants, roads, railways, telecommunications), allowing an active industrial policy under the leadership of the powerful organization of the Plan and Budget. Iran has a strong industrial base, especially concentrated in the Tehran-Karadj area, ranging from heavy production to consumer goods: steel, automobile assembly, chemicals, household appliances, heavy machinery, aluminum. An active policy is conducted to develop new industrial centers. Iran is a highly centralized planning mix where the state controls oil, natural gas and big business, and small private businesses in trade, crafts and agriculture.
The Islamic Republic of Iran combines two legitimacies: a “”democratic”” and political legitimacy, on the one hand, resulting from popular suffrage, and a religious legitimacy, on the other hand, incarnated in priority by the Guide of the Revolution. It is an Islamic theocratic republic divided into 30 provinces of which each governor is appointed by the Minister of the Interior”
“Around 2000 BC, Aryans and Elamites settled on the territory of present-day Iran; these two peoples give rise to three distinct ethnic groups: the Medes, the Persians and the Parthians. As early as 550 BC, the Persians dominate, Darius the Great will extend Persian authority to Turkey, Iraq, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt. The defeat in 331 BC against the armies of Alexander the Great marks the end of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, to which we owe the monuments of Persepolis. At the death of Alexander the Great, his empire is divided between three dynasties, Persia returns to the Seleucids who will not succeed in curbing the rise to power of the Parthians. In the third century AD, the Sassanid dynasty, born in central regions far from power, gained in power. The Sassanid Empire is considered the second largest Persian empire. It disappears in the seventh century, with the arrival of the Umayyads (Arabs of Damascus) who bring the writing and the Arabic language. The revolt of 750 resulted in the accession to the throne of the Abbasid dynasty (Baghdad). The dynasty of the Safavids, considered as the third great Persian dynasty, sees its apogee at the beginning of the XVIIth century under Abbas I. The economy and the arts are developing; Abbas I is at the origin of the splendor of Isfahan, of which he makes his capital. The mediocrity of his successors led to the decline of the empire that did not resist the arrival of Sunni Afghans (1722). In 1779 came the Turkish-Mongol tribe of the Qajars, who made Tehran their capital and founded a dynasty that lasted until 1925.
The creator of the dynasty that succeeds the Qajars is Reza Khan, leader of a Cossack regiment, who in revolt in 1921, imposed a new government, then a new regime in 1925 and was crowned in 1926 under the name of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Under its authoritarian impulse, the country consolidates its unity, modernises and westernises. In 1941, the USSR and Britain occupying Iran, the shah is forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Mohammad Reza.
From the 1950s, with the windfall of oil, the sovereign launched a policy of authoritarian modernization and forced westernization, generating social and economic upheavals. In 1963, the White Revolution – agrarian reform, nationalization of forests and pastures, sale of state factories, distribution of 20% of profits to workers, right to vote for women, fight against illiteracy – angered of the trading bourgeoisie, the Shiite clergy and the great landowners. The regime hardens, the Savak, political police, and the army become instruments of government in their own right. Revolts erupt, Ayatollah Khomeini, a spokesman for a clergy who considers himself more and more a counter-power, is imprisoned and exiled (1964). Mohammad Reza was solemnly crowned in 1967, it is the apogee of the Pahlavi dynasty, in a context however of social, economic and political tensions. The shah is trying to save his regime by promising reforms, but the riot is general and, in January 1979, the Shah finally leaves the country.
In 1980, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein annexed a portion of Iran’s oil-rich territory. The USSR and several Western nations, which are anxious about the power of the ayatollahs, support Iraq in this eight-year war. In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini died. In 1993, Ayatollah Rafsanjani was re-elected president. Relations between Iran and the United States, but also many European nations, are very tense. The total embargo imposed by the United States in 1995 against Iran, accused of supporting international terrorism, aggravates economic problems. In 1997, the election of Mohammad Khatami, moderate reformer, is the sign of a beginning of openness of the regime. This “”liberalization”” becomes more precise in the following years. In 2001, Mohammad Khatami, re-elected President of the Republic.”
Good to know about Iran
The art of miniature reached its peak under the Mongols and Timurids (twelfth and fourteenth centuries). The themes are primarily related to Persian mythology and poetry.
Far from being mere ornaments of soil, they symbolize the prosperity of their owner and are an integral part of cultural and religious life. The art of carpeting goes back to Persia five centuries before Christ. Made of wool, cotton or silk, they are now an important source of export income for the country.
Three calendars coexist in Iran: the Persian solar calendar (daily life), the Muslim lunar calendar (religious events) and the Western Gregorian calendar. It is therefore not easy to date precisely the different annual events. Religious holidays are set according to the Islamic lunar calendar, and so, on a variable date.
Rice, bread, vegetables, herbs and fruits are the main ingredients of cooking. Meat – usually thinly sliced mutton – gives flavor to the dishes, but is not the main element, with the exception of kebabs (kebabs). The most common drink is chay (tea), you can also enjoy fruit juice, fresh fruit, milkshakes and yogurts.
The current is 220 V with a frequency of 50 Hz. Provide an adapter for electrical outlets.
What should photo enthusiasts expect?
If you are equipped with a digital camera, plan for a long battery life because electricity is not always available.
Some useful words
Learning a few key words will enable you to gain the respect of your interlocutors, to facilitate and make more pleasant your exchanges with the Iranians met. So do not hesitate to make the effort to use the following expressions:
Thank you: motashakkeram/ Sepas
How are you ? : hal-e shoma chetor ast?
I do not speak Persian: Farsi Balad Nistam
You can ask your guide how to pronounce them, your journey will be even richer! And then smile, it’s often the best way to have good contacts!