Tehran: the revival of the Persian capital
Between mountainous landscapes and cities of exceptional beauty, discover the landmarks of Persia and the Iranians' incomparable sense of hospitality.
Tehran is Iran's beating heart. In a country that is several thousand years old, it brims with life and a third of the population is under 25. Many of its cities showcase beautiful Persian style, but Tehran surprises with modern architecture. On weekends, locals shop in malls, gather in the various parks of the city centre or even go skiing in the resorts surrounding the metropolis, where a wind of freedom blows.
With 19 listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Iran has great appeal for cultural travellers. They will be dazzled as much by the fabulous Golestan Palace, a Qajar masterpiece in Tehran as by the ancient city of Persepolis, founded by Darius I in 518 BC; as for Isfahan, the “blue city”, which is also called “half the world” in Persian, prepare to be enthralled by its architecture and many splendours.
The sophistication of the Iranians is reflected through their meticulous craftsmanship in arts such as marquetry, miniatures, ceramics, and carpet weaving, that you may all discover in the labyrinthine streets of the bazaars, or in the splendid palaces of the Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi dynasties. The people are also particularly fond of poetry, and, in Iran, everyone worships the great classical poets Ferdowsî, Hâfez, and Saadi.
Two and a half times the size of France, Iran was once traversed by caravans. Today, the ancient Silk Roads provide the opportunity to enjoy beautiful desert landscapes and to sleep in caravanserais turned into accommodation, such as the wonderful Abbasi Hotel in Isfahan or Zein-o-Din in Yazd.
With time, Tehran is opening up once more to tourism. Which is actually a rightful return to its roots as Iran was always appreciated by intellectuals and art lovers. During the Enlightenment, notorious French philosophers such as Voltaire and Montesquieu already sung its praise.