Overview: If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might just be the most rewarding destination on Earth. If you fancy travelling somewhere neither East nor West, and exotic and fascinating yet perfectly comfortable, read on..
Deep in Empire: Walking around the sublime, turquoise-tiled domes and minarets of Esfahan’s Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan), the awesome power and beauty of the Achaemenid’s ancient capital at Persepolis, the mud-brick alleys and rooftops in Yazd, and the wonderfully immense Elamite ziggurat at Choqa Zanbil will put you in the footsteps of some of history’s most outstanding figures. These highlights, together with the atmospheric teahouses, bustling bazaars, deserts punctuated by historic oases and rugged mountain ranges, gives Iran more than its fair share of fantastic places to see. But to think of Iran only in terms of ‘sights’ is to miss the real story.
As well as spiritual richness at the north east there is a city of Mashhad, where Imam Reda (as) Holy Shrine attracts millions of visitors yearly.
Redefining Hospitality: If you like people, you’ll like Iran. The Iranians, a nation made up of numerous ethnic groups and influenced over thousands of years by Greek, Arab, Turkic and Mongol occupiers, are endlessly welcoming.
At a glance:
- Population: approximately 81 million
- Capital city: Tehran (population 8.2 million)
- Area: 1,648,195 square kilometers
- Currency: Iranian Rial (IRR)
- Time zone: UTC + 3.5, summer UTC + 4.5
- Religion: Islam 98% Muslim, 2% consists of Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Baha’i faiths.