Gone are the days of many misconceptions about Iran as an unsafe and inhospitable destination. The country is slowly becoming a popular tourist haunt. Home to 24 UNESCO heritage sites and a varied climate, Iran has plenty of adventures to offer travel enthusiasts. Soak up the atmosphere of its ancient buildings and marvel at the engineering wonders like the qanats, which are underground channels. As you time travel, immerse yourself in the local culture. From the 5th-century city, Persopolis, with its incredibly breathtaking landscapes to the trendy capital Tehran, visitors will have plenty to explore and experience. Iran’s architecture, literature, and ancient civilizations for thousands of years will take you back in time. Visit Eshafan, Yazd, Khazan, and Tabriz to experience Iranian culture. Here’s a look at some of the top things Iran is famous for.
The one place to not miss during an Iran trip is the ancient Persian qanats i.e. underground channels that transported water. These dates back to around 3,000 years. There are many UNESCO registered qanats at various locations in Iran. It is because of ingenious engineering that these water channels below the ground were able to transport water from the mountain tops to long distances. Visit the Zarch Qanat in Yazd City, which is the longest Iranian qanat stretching over 80 km (50 miles) and dates back to the pre-Islamic era.
2. Four season climate
Iran is not only a desert country, but one with a four-season climate. It is due to its location at the intersection of four geo-climatic zones. Visitors will experience a temperature difference of 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) between two locations in Iran. It is hot in the north, near the Caspian Sea and the southern Persian Gulf during the summer. However, in the west, you will be able to ski in the snowy mountains. In winter, you may swim in an outdoor pool near the Persian Gulf and enjoy skiing in Tehran.
Minakari or enamel work is an art practiced in Iran for thousands of years. Mina means the azure color of heaven, and its male form Minoo is heaven in the Persian language. Therefore, it is basically an ancient art of painting, coloring, and ornamenting metal surfaces with flowers and birds. This art is native to Iran. Metals, mostly copper surfaces, are decorated with intricate designs and brilliant colors. Minakari Iranian handicrafts are popular with tourists and a perfect memento to take back home.
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Iranian hospitality is something travelers need to experience first-hand. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and a shopkeeper may even offer you an invitation to tea so that you can experience the hospitality. Iranians welcome guests with an open heart and share their traditions like they would with family.
Iranian literature includes many ancient works in Persian, considered the oldest literature of the world. It dates back to the 6th century BC, and there is only little proof of it due to the Islamic invasion of Iran in 7 century AD. Works in Kurdish, Pashto, Ossetian, and several other regional languages are also available. The Persian poet, Rumi, is famous for his philosophical writings that made Sufism popular in the world. The other well-known literary giants from Iran include Omar Khayyam, Ferdowsi and Nezami, among others.
6. Persian language
The Persian language is the official and national language of Iran. It is a real Iranian identity that is more than 2500 years old. Over 120 million people speak this language, which is also known as Farsi, in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, among other countries. Many ancient empires, in many parts of Asia, spoke this prestigious language from the 4th century BC. The Persian language has three stages, depending on its time of use. Until 6th century BC, the old Persian was used. Then, the middle Persian was used until 8th century, and from the 9th century onward up until today, the new Persian is practiced.
Iranian architecture dates way back to 5,000 BC and is used widely in many parts of Asia, Caucasus, and Zanzibar. It is synonymous with symbolism and sacred geometry, using squares and circles in structures. The buildings frequently have halls and courtyards that are symmetrical. The architecture imbibes aesthetics and beautifully uses minimalism. The use of Iwans in Persian architecture is quite common — it is essentially a vaulted space or archway that opens into a courtyard. The use of fountains, blue mosaics and gardens add to the beauty. The use of domes is also very common as the circular structure was considered to be a representation of eternity and symbolized the heavens. The use of Muqarnas, Mashrab and calligraphy are also an integral aspect of the architecture.
If you visit Iran in the summer, you will be surprised to see many Iranians wearing colorful shoes. It is the practical and traditional footwear that has been worn by Iranians for nearly a 1000 years now. The upper part comprises breathable fabric made of wool or cotton. The sole or lower part is made of leather or rubber to make it stronger. Giveh is famous for the ancient nalbinding technique, which is not weaving the nail bound cotton or wool for the upper part. It is cool, light, and washable, along with the colorful creativity of Iranian design using beads.
Do not miss a trip to the historical Ardabil city when in Iran. Situated in the north-western region of Iran, it has one of the many UNESCO heritage sites, including Sheikh Safi al-din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble. There are many ancient bridges built across Ardabil city, many of which are around 500 years ago and were erected during the Safavid dynasty rule. There is also the beautiful grand bazaar built during the Safavid period. You can buy the famous Ardabil carpets and silks to take back home as a souvenir.
10. Ancient Civilizations
Visit the standing proof of Iran’s ancient civilization, the city of Persepolis during your trip. It was the capital of the Achaemenid empire during the 5th century BC. A UNESCO site, sprawling over 13 hectares (32 acres), is one of the world’s greatest and oldest archaeological sites. The ancient civilizations advanced in agriculture and architecture, along with art, poetry, and innovative ideas.
Get mesmerized in Iran
The historic landmarks and the rich culture of Iran attracts thousands of tourists each year. The people are welcoming that adds to the comfort of visitors. Iran has many things to do and to experience, but here are some things that Iran is most famous for.
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