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Encyclopedia > Teheran
Map of Iran and surrounding lands, showing location of Tehran

Tehran (also spelled Teheran) (تهران in Persian), population 8,000,000 (metropolitan: 10,000,000), is the capital of Iran and one of the major world cities.

Tehran is a metropolis of 10 million situated at the foot of the towering Alborz range.

More than half of the country's industry is based there. Industries include manufacturing cars, electronic and electrical equipment, weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading center for the sale of carpets and furnitures. There is an oil refinery nearby. Tehran has two international airports and a number of military airports. Among the cities which are reckoned as part of Tehran agglomerate are Rayy, Shemiran and Karaj.

Tehran is a lively city at the foot of the Alborz mountain range with metro lines and an immense network of highways unparalleled in western Asia. It is also the hub of country's railway network. The city possesses also numerous large museums, art centers, palace complexes and many cultural centers. Besides Persians, there are also Armenian, Jewish and Afghani communities in Tehran. The city is dotted with mosques, churches and synagogues.



Toopkhaneh Square, Tehran, the early 1900s.

It seems that Tehran has existed as a village since the 9th century, but wasn't well-known because of the flourishing Rages nearby in the pre-Mongol era. In the 13th century, following the destruction of the city of Rages by Mongols, many of its inhabitants fled to Tehran. In some sources of the Mongol era the city is mentioned as "Rages's Tehran" (طهرانِ ری). The city is later mentioned in Hamdollah Mostowfi's Nezhat ol-Gholoob (written in 1340) as a famous village.

Tehran became a residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th century by Tahmasp I who built a bazaar for it, and a wall around the city, but was later abandoned a little because Abbas I started to hate the city deeply, after he turned sick when he was passing the city to go to a war with Uzbeks.

In the early 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, a harem, and a governmental office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city his capital, but later moved his government to Shiraz. Tehran finally became the capital of Persia in 1795, when the Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan was crowned in the city. It remains the capital to this day.

During World War II, British and Soviet troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Teheran Conference in 1943, attended by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin.

In 1978, on September 8, demonstrations against the shah led to riots. The army reportedly opened fire on the demonstrating mob. Martial law was installed in the wake of the ensuing revolution, from 1978-80.

During the 1980-88 Arab aggression against Iran, Tehran was the scene of repeated Scud missile, and air strikes against random residential and industrial targets within the city, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties.

Attractions and facilities

Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Arts holds collections from Monet, Picasso, and Andy Warholl

The most impressing building in Tehran is the Azadi Tower, the symbol of Tehran. This huge symbolic building is located amidst the giant Azadi Square in the west of Tehran and welcomes all the visitors arriving from the West. Tehran is a paradise for a full ski vacation. With its 5 large ski resorts it hosts thousands of skiers during many months of the year. Dizin and Shemshak ski resorts around Tehran are reckoned among the best in the world. A long cable car facility brings you right from the city to higher than 3000m elevation on the Tochal Mount where you can ski or snowboard from november to the end of the cold season.

The Peacock Throne of the Persian Shahs can be found in Tehran's Gulistan Palace. Some of the important museums are National Museum of Iran, Sa'dabad Palaces Complex, Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran, The Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran's Underglass painting Museum, Niavaran Palace Complex etc. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is also appealing to many because it features the works of great artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol which have become almost unknown to the rest of the world over the past decades. The huge Tehran International Fair organises many expositions. Its book expositions are especially popular.

Tehran city theater, Iran. An example of Pahlavi era architecture.

Tehran is also a city of parks and possesses more than 800 well-kept parks. Tehran is the site of the most important universities in Iran, and most specifically Sharif University of Technology, University of Tehran, and Amirkabir University of Technology. It also contains a college of fine arts, a military academy, and several religious schools. Tehran is also home to the Tehran Stock Exchange which is a full member of the FIBV and a founding member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges.

Among unusual attractions in Tehran (especially for tourists) are its many electronic stores and the buildings encompassing them where unlicensed copies of CDs are sold at very low prices.


In 2001 a metro system that had been in planning since the 1970s opened the first two of seven envisaged lines. Development of Tehran metro system had been interrupted by the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Problems arising from the late completion of the metro led to buses taking on the role of the metro lines, serving mainly long distance routes. Taxis filled the void for localised routes, not carrying passengers to their final destinations but operating routes along main routes and arteries. This has all led to extreme congestion and air pollution within the city.

Tehran is served by Mehrabad International Airport, the old airport located in the western part of the city, and Imam Khomeini International Airport, outside the city and to the south, which was scheduled to be operational in 2004 but currently resides in the hands of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).


Entrance to Azadi Sports Complex, where the 1974 Asian games were held.

Tehran was the first city in the Middle East to host Asian Summer Games. The 7th Asian Summer Games in 1974, was held with the participation of 2363 athletes and officials from 25 countries.

In football (soccer), Tehran is host to six premier clubs, namely, Saba Battery, SAIPA, Peykan FC, Paas, Esteghlal and Pirouzi/Persepolis. These clubs have on numerous occasions won Asian titles, and many of their players are well known internationally.

Tehran is also the site of Iran's national football stadium Azadi Stadium with 100000 seating capacity. Many of the top matches of Iran's Premier League are held here.

Azadi Stadium, Iran's largest stadium.

Within 10 minutes of driving distance from Tehran also lies an excellent ski resort. Tochal is the world's 5th highest skiing resort at over 3730m at its highest 7th station. The resort was completed in 1976 shortly before the overthrow of the Shah.

Here, one must first ride the 8 km (5 mile) long gondola lift which covers a pretty huge vertical. The 7th station has 3 major slopes. One, the resort's longest slope, is the south side U shaped slope which goes from the 7th station to 5th station. The other two slopes are located on the north side of the 7th station. Here, there are two parallel chair ski lifts that go up to 3900m near Tochal's peak(at 4000m), rising higher than the gondola 7th station station. This altitude is higher than any of the European resorts including Mont Blanc.

The Swiss (Poma) built gondolas that carry tourists and skiers to Tochal mountain.

From the Tochal peak, one has a spectacular view of the Alborz range, including the 5671 metre (18606 ft) high Mt. Damavand, an extinct volcano.

At the bottom of the lifts in a valley behind the Tochal peak is TOCHAL hotel, located at 3500m altitude. From there a T lift takes skiers up to 3800m of Shahneshin peak, where the 3rd slope of Tochal is.

Tochal 7th station has snow for skiing 8 months of the year. But there are also many glaciers and year-round snow fields near Tehran where skiing began in 1938, thanks to the efforts of two German railway engineers. Today, 12 different ski resorts operate in Iran, but the most famous are Tochal, Dizin, and Shemshak, all within an hour or so of Tehran.

See also: Kilan

External links

  • Tehran Avenue (English) (http://www.tehranavenue.com/)
  • Farsinet's information on the history of Tehran (http://www.farsinet.com/tehran/history.html)
  • Tehran Metro (http://www.tehranmetro.com)
  • Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (http://www.ir-tmca.com/)
  • WikiTravel - Travel guide to Tehran (English) (http://www.wikitravel.org/en/article/Tehran)
  • About Tehran (http://www.iles.umn.edu/faculty/bashiri/Courses/Tehran.html)
  • Tehran Cultural Heritage Organization (http://www.tehranmiras.ir/)
  • Golestan Palace (http://www.golestanpalace.org/)
  • Niyavaran Palace (http://niavaranpalace.org/)
  • Sa'd Abad Palace (http://www.saadabadpalace.org/)
  • Sa'd Abad Gallery (http://www.saadabadpalace.org/)
  • Glassware Museum of Tehran (http://www.glasswaremuseum.org/)
  • Iran's National Carpet Museum (http://carpetmuseum.ir/)
  • Reza Abbasi Museum (http://www.rezaabbasimuseum.ir/)
  • Iran National Library (http://www.nli.ir/)
  • Tochal Ski resort (http://www.tochalcomplex.com)
  • Tehran Traffic Control (http://www.tehrantraffic.com/) (with live webcams)

  Results from FactBites:
Teheran (535 words)
Teheran is also the capital of Teheran province with 12 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 19,196 km².
Teheran is the economical and administrative centre of Iran.
Teheran is connected by road to all major cities in Iran, but distances are often vast.
  More results at FactBites »



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