NOTES FOR SHORT-TERM VISITORS TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
Iran is one of the most ancient countries of the Earth planet, so It has a great civilization throughout the years, so It is interesting to mention some spectacular historical cities & remains , glorious mountains & landscapes. The unique geopolitical location of Iran has enabled various forms of culture to interact. Thousands of monuments & picturesque attractions make Iran a hot tourism spot. Iran is the cradle of most religions. It has many religious attractions. Holy shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad ,Stepanus in Jolfa & vank in Isfahan would be mentioned. Best of all Iranian people are extremely hospitable and warm hearted ,so they will always make you feel welcome .
The Islamic republic of Iran ,In its present political & geographical territories ,covers an area about 1648000 square kilometers. It is situated in the southwest of Asia. The country of Iran extends over a great part of the Iranian plateau. It has around 7744kilometers of ground & mirine borders with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, & Armenia in the north, Afghanistan & Pakistan in the east & Turkey & Iraq In the west. The length of the southern coastlines of Iran ,apart from the Persian gulf & the sea of Oman ,is 1952 kilometers .The most strategic energy throat out of the world ,called the strait of Hormoz ,is situated in this region .
The northern coastal region of Iran is covered with dense forests while in the center part the deserts provide you a tranquilizing silence. Northern & southern coasts with their different climates mild & humid in the Caspian region but warm & humid in the southern shores at one side, and cold and humid north-western & cold and dry north-eastern areas at the other side have made it more wonderful. For this complexity in climate, Iran is famed for having 4 distinct seasons at the same time, so one can go skiing in the northern mountains and swimming in the southern waters in the same season.
Plant and animal life is of great variety in Iran. Wild life includes leopards, bears, ibex, wild ass, and wild boars. Studies have revealed the presence of a remarkably wide variety of reptiles like crocodiles and turtles. Some 200 varieties of fish live in Persian Gulf. Sturgeon is one of 30 species found in the Caspian Sea. Caviar-with no doubt many Asian and European people love it - come to hand of some special kinds of fish which live just in this sea.
Archeological studies indicate that in 10,000 BC there was tribes lived on southern shores of the Caspian Sea, one of the few regions of the world, which according to scientists escaped the Ice Ages. They were probably the first men in the history of mankind to engage in agriculture and husbandry. It was in the late 4 th and early 3 rd millennium BC that Elamite civilization rose on the low land of Khuzestan, in the southwest of I ran. In the late 2 nd millennium BC the Aryan migrating southward from the central Asian steppes, began to settle in the Iranian plateau. By the mid-9 th century BC. two major groups of Iranians rose to be the dominant force on the plateau: 1- The Medes 2- The Persians
Later, Persians defeated the Medians and Achaemenid Kings appeared on the international scene in 550 BC. And also Muslim armies defeated the S?ss?nides in 652 BC and this caused the vast majority of Iranians' convert to Islam. The infusion of rich national heritage with the innovation of new beliefs of Islam once again brought a new dawn of civilization and progress in culture, science, and spirituality for Iran. Before Islam, the most majority of Iranians were Zoroastrians. After that in 1216 the Mongols attacked, destroyed and plundered many Iranian cities. However, in the Saffavid Period (1501-1736) Iran gained a powerful dynasty and the country made great progresses. In the 19 th century just after the great king of Zand, the Qajars reigned and the country was disintegrated .
In 1925 after the decline of the last Qajars' king, Reza Khan transferred power to himself and founded the Pahlavi Reign which was later delivered to his son. Then in 1979 the Islamic Republic of Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini gained victory over the Pahlavi Reign.
Iran enjoys a wide variety of cultural style of people' life. There are several traditions in Iran that NowRuz is one of the most important of them. Iranian people celebrate the beginning of New Year that is at the beginning of spring-the most beautiful season in Iran- as NowRuz. This celebration starts from 21 st of March and continues to 13 th day of new year which has its own customs -the day for going on a pick nick in the country side. At the beginning of NowRuz Celebration and at the time of transition to new year all members of family sit around a piece of cloth called "Sofreh". There are seven objects being of symbolic value on Sofreh whose name of each symbol begins with [s] sound. Therefore, this Sofreh is called "Haft Sin "(seven "s"). At the beginning of each lunar Islamic year the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, Imam Ali'son, at Kabala, Iraq, at the hands of the Umayyads, is commemorated by passion plays, called "Ta'ziyeh". These two mentioned customs are the most important traditions that at the beginning of each new lunar and solar year perform.
Population & People
Iran's population is near 70 million people. More than 50 percent of this population is the youths under 20 years old. Therefore, it is a young country. About 50 percent of Iranian are ethnic Persian and the rest of them, on the base of majority, are ethnic Azerbaijani, Kurd, Gilaki, Luri, Mazandarani, Baluch, Arab and Bakhtiarithat each of them speak in their own native languages. It's worth mentioning that the official language of Iran is Persian.
The official religion of Iran is the Shiite branch of Islam, which is followed by more than 95 percent of Iranian population. About 4 percent of Iranian population is Sunni Muslim . it's worth mentioning that many Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians live freely in Iran.
The national language of Iran is Persian (Farsi) & the main foreign language spoken by Iranian is English. A few of the more frequently used phrases are:
Haale Shoma Khoobe? How are you?
Khaste Nabaashid May you not be tired (a polite greeting)
Khahesh Mikonam Please
Befarma-id A polite phrase, meaning "after you", "your turn"
Merci Thank you
Motshakeram Thank you
Khoda Hafez Good-bye
Iranians are a very polite people, and appreciate formal courtesy (in Persian "ta'arof").
Food and Drink
At its best Iranian cuisine is very good indeed, with its emphasis on the freshest ingredients, especially vegetables and fruit. The Iranian diet is heavily based on rice, bread, fresh vegetables, herbs, fruit – and meat. Iranian bread is one of the highlights, and is always fresh; it can be bought in a bakery for between 500 and 1000 rials. Iranian long-grained rice, grown in the Caspian region, is superb.
The comest main dish in Iran is kebab; this is served in most eating-houses. It is good, either beef or chicken, but it is possible to have too many. When served with rice it is called Chelo Kebab.
Dishes that are well worth trying are:
Ghorme Sabzi: a stew with lamb or veal with spinach and other herbs, beans anddried les.
Abgoosht: a thick "soup" with lamb, lentils and potatoes served in a special container. The soup is poured out into a bowl and the meat and vegetables are pounded. Usually eaten with bread as a main course.
Baghali Pulo: rice mixed with broad beans and dill with either veal, lamb, chicken or fish.
Tea, drunk without milk, could be said to be the national drink. Doogh (a yoghurt drink usually served with meals) makes a pleasant change from other soft drinks, while non-alcoholic beer is usually available. Alcohol is strictly forbidden.
The best Iranian food is usually found in Iranian homes. However there is a large number of restaurants serving good Iranian food. Where there is music. A sample of recommended restaurants is given in below.
Pizzas – often of good quality – and hamburgers are widely available.
There are numbers of restaurants serving western food, none of them of particular quality.
There is a good, but expensive (by Tehran prices) Japanese restaurant the soon restaurant provides some Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Japanese food .
Handicrafts, in Iran, have had an especial position among people. Making handicrafts has begun from many years ago. We can divide the life of handicrafts in three parts.
The first part in which people pay attention a lot to make different handicrafts and try to improve it in all fields, but in the second part the youths preferred to use new and modern things so they did not interest in those traditional things. Now, in these days, which is the third part of handicrafts' life, Iranians try to protect this heritage which has remained from our ancestors.
This is worth mentioning that almost each locality has an especial handicraft. For example, pottery of Hamadan is well-known, but other cities which located just around this city have many other handicrafts. Sometimes a certain handicraft is made in different places and localities but even in this case, each locality makes it in its own style e.g. Carpet. As you know Iranian carpets are so famous all over the world but the carpet of each region is different from the other one and also on the base of its place of woven its name changes because of the different style and design of weaving e.g. Carpet of Kashan, Kerman and Isfahan.
Gelims & Gabbas are also the other kinds of carpets, which have been woven in Iran. The designs and colors of any kind of carpets are so delight and lively that make you think outdoors have come indoors.
Each handicraft shows the art, feeling and soul of its maker and also each one of them has a long story behind itself.
Dress & what to wear
Currency & money
Rial is the Iran's currency. Tourists can exchange their money. The easiest type of money for exchanging is American Dollar. There is some problem with traveling check so for facing no problem in exchanging it is better to bring your money in cash.
Citizens of countries are required to apply visa. Persons interested in traveling to Iran through excursion tours may contact our travel agency to obtain their visa, other wise if you are going to travel individually you are required to directly contact to embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran.
If your visa is expires and you wish to extend it you must go to the department of Aliens Affairs in the major cities in Iran which is affiliated to police Department. If you lose your passport You should immediately contact the police to make arrangements for leaving Iran.
Electronic & weight
The electronic voltage is 220V with 50 Hertz frequency. The unit of Weight used in Iran is Kilogram.
At the time of writing there are no compulsory vaccinations for entry into Iran.
Pharmacies in Iran stock many European patented drugs, though if you are currently taking a particular medicine it is only sensible to bring the necessary supplies with you.
Iran is not an unhealthy country. You can drink the tap water in most towns, and stomach upsets, though they occur, are not com. Fruit and vegetables should be washed before eating.
The sun can be fiercely hot. Beware both of dehydration and sunburn.
There are all kinds of transportation facilities available for tourists .they include travel by air, by train, by bus, by car, & by ship. most established airlines have direct daily flights to Iran &have their independent offices in the country. Iran air has daily flights from Tehran and other major Iranian cities to most part of the worlds .Iran air has offices almost in all countries .several domestic airlines are also active in Iran .They are Asseman ,Kish air, Mahan, Caspian, Saha, Iran air tour.
Iran roads have good quality & have been built in compliance with international standards .Traveling by bus is the most economical mode of transportation inside Iran because fuel is inexpensive in here. (You can arrange your transportation by us as we have different vehicle such as Bus, Minibus, van ,…).
There are many. Official holidays to the end of . are:
March 21 - 24 Nowruz
March 25 Ashoora
April 1 Islamic Republic Day
May 11 Death of Prophet Mohammad
May 13 Martyrdom of Imam Reza
May 30 Birth of Prophet Mohammad
June 4 Death of Imam Khomeini
June 5 15 th of Khordad Uprising
August 12 Martyrdom of Prophet's Daughter
September 21 Birth of Imam Ali
October 5 Mab'as
October 22 Birth of 12 th Imam
November 26 Martyrdom of Imam Ali
December 30 Martyrdom of Imam Ja'far
Definitely to be avoided is the period of NowRuz (New Year); little to no work can be done from around 20 March to 5 April.
It is better if you can avoid traveling to Iran during the mourning month of Moharram (c 16 March - 13 April .) and the fasting month of Ramadan (c 28 October – 25 November .).