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Iran is a country full of surprises. Straddling the border between East and West, it is home of one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Formerly known as Persia until the 1930s, it became an Islamic republic in the late 1970s following a revolution. It was this event that caused political problems with the West but in recent years relations have thawed.
What this has meant is that Iran has remained relatively untouched by tourism, providing travellers with an opportunity to experience a culture in its purest sense. It also means that most visitors are surprised by a country that they have heard little or nothing about, other than through the news media.
Iran is a real people’s place. There are numerous ethnic groups exuding influences from a number of the great civilisations of history, including Greek, Arab, Turkish and Mongol empires. Everywhere you go you’ll find welcomes warm and people intrigued to find out where you have come from, and happy to show you their own country at its best. This is a hospitality culture unlike any other.
Visitors can enjoy two different sides of the country. Modern Iran is a progressive place, making strides in the sciences and architecture. Yet around every corner you’ll find remnants of ancient civilisations.
The capital Tehran is an ancient city, bustling with marketplaces and cultural highlights. But it is just one must-visit destination in a country that’s overflowing with them. Stroll around ancient sites, including Persepolis, and Naqah-I Rustam on the outskirts of beautiful Shiraz. Stroll around ancient sites, including Persepolis - on the outskirts of beautiful Shiraz. Explore timeless Isfahan, the centre of Iranian architecture and known locally as ‘half the world’. Spend hours in Naghsh-e Jahan Square, one of the largest squares in the world and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with world famous mosques, many of which have been standing since the days of Genghis Khan and even Alexander the Great.
This ancient land has had its problems in recent years, but is emerging as a stronger and more appealing place than ever before. At a time when the wider Middle East is suffering, Iran stands as a solid example of how a nation can maintain its cultural identity and thrive.
Places of interest in Iran
There’s a good reason Isfahan is one of Iran’s most popular tourist destinations. Its unique appearance,...
Known as the heart of Persian culture for more than 2,000 years, Shiraz was one of the most important cities of the...