Tehran, economical, scientific and cultural center of Iran

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  9 minutes

Tehran Towers and buildings in the northern part of Tehran with the Alborz mountains © Shervan Karim/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tehran Towers and buildings in the northern part of Tehran with the Alborz mountains © Shervan Karim/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of about 8,800,000 and about 15 million metropolitan area, it is Iran’s largest city and urban area, and one of the largest cities in Western Asia.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tehran has been the subject to mass migration of people from all around Iran. The city is home to many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. Contemporary Tehran is a modern city featuring many structures, of which the Azadi (Freedom) Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself. Tehran is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area. Throughout Iran’s history, the capital has been moved many times, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran although it has been Iran’s capital for about 220 years. Persian is spoken by the people and is understandable by roughly 98% of the population. The majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians.

Tehran is a relatively old city; as such, it has an architectural tradition unique to itself. Archaeological investigations and excavations in Tehran demonstrate that this area was home to civilizations as far back as 6,000 years BC in the village of Ray which is now incorporated into the city. Tehran served only as a village to a relatively small population for most of its history, but began to take a more considerable role in Iran after it was made the capital in the late 18th century. Despite the occurrence of earthquakes during the Qajar period and before, some buildings still remain from Tehran’s era of antiquity. Today Tehran is Iran’s primate city, and has the most modernized infastructure in the country; however, the gentrification of old neighborhoods and the demolition of buildings of cultural significance has caused concerns.

The Azadi Tower has been the longstanding symbol of Tehran. It was constructed to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian empire, and was originally named “Shahyad Tower”; after the Iranian revolution, its name changed to “Azadi Tower,” meaning “Freedom Tower.” The recently constructed Milad Tower may eventually replace the Azadi Tower as Tehran’s new symbol. The Milad complex contains the world’s sixth tallest tower, several restaurants, a five star hotel, a convention center, a world trade center, and an IT park. Traditionally a low-rise city due to seismic activity in the region, modern high rise developments in Tehran have been undertaken in order to service its growing population. There have been no major quakes in Tehran since 1830.

The tallest residential building in Iran is a 54-story building located North of Youssef Abad district, the Tehran International Tower. It is architecturally similar to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Appealing to the principle of vertical rather than horizontal expansion of the city, the Tehran International Tower is bound to the North by Youssef Abad, to the South By Hakim Highway, to the East by Kordesstan Highway and to the West by Sheikh Bahai Highway, all of which facilitate access to various parts of the city.

Tehran - Golestan Palace © Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0 © مانفی/cc-by-sa-4.0 Tehran skyline © Amir1140/cc-by-sa-3.0 St. Sarkis Church © flickr.com - Vahid Rahmanian/cc-by-2.0 Entrance to the Great Bazaar © Mr.minoque/cc-by-sa-3.0-de City Theatre © Zereshk Azadi (Freedom Tower) Monument © Nima Moghaddam/cc-by-sa-3.0 Tehran Towers and buildings in the northern part of Tehran with the Alborz mountains © Shervan Karim/cc-by-sa-3.0 College of Fine Arts of the Tehran University © Zereshk/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Tehran Towers and buildings in the northern part of Tehran with the Alborz mountains © Shervan Karim/cc-by-sa-3.0
Tehran, as Iran’s showcase and capital city, has a wealth of cultural attractions. The Peacock Throne of the Persian Kings (Shahs) can be found in Tehran’s Golestan Palace. Some of the well-known 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, and Safir Office Machines Museum. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art features the works of great artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The collection of these paintings were selected by the former Empress Farah Diba.

Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, also called the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, it is claimed to be the largest, most dazzling and valuable jewel collection in the world. The collection comprises a set of crowns and thrones, some 30 tiaras, numerous aigrettes, jewel-studded swords and shields, a vast amount of precious loose gems, including the largest collections of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran during the 2,500 year existence of the Iranian Kingdom. The Imperial Crown Jewels are still on display in the Iranian Central Bank in Tehran.

Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) is known to the International Publishing World as one of the most important publishing event in Asia

Tehran has a wide range of shopping opportunities, from traditional bazaars to shopping districts and modern shopping malls. The great Bazaar of Tehran and the Tajrish bazaar are the biggest traditional bazaars in Tehran. Shopping districts such as Valiasr, Shariati, Mirdamad have shopping with a wide range of different shops. Big malls like Tirajeh, Golestan, Hyperstar and smaller shopping centers like Tandis, Golestan and Safavieh are popular among Tehran’s population and visitors. Most of the international brands and upper class shops are located in the northern and western part of the city, and the rest of the shops are distributed in all the areas of the city. Tehran’s retail business is growing with new malls and shopping centers being built. The biggest malls under construction are The Tehran Mega Mall, Kourosh Mall and Tehran Mall and smaller “luxurios” shopping centers like Zafaranieh or Farmanieh shopping center.

Tehran has many modern and chic restaurants, serving both traditional Iranian and cosmopolitan cuisine. The most popular dish of the city is the chelow kabab (kabob/kebab is originally a Persian word meaning grilled or roasted meat). However, Western-style fast food is becoming popular, especially within the younger generation. Pizza, sandwich and kebab shops make up the majority of other food outlets in the city.

Even if it is hard to imagine today, the Lebanon‘s capital Beirut, Iran‘s capital Tehran or Afghanistan‘s capital Kabul were not only the most progressive cities in the Near and Middle East, but in some cases even more western and more open-minded than some cities in the west and that in the Muslim world. This also included efforts to achieve equality between men and women, some of which went further than the movements in Europe and the USA. Today you can only watch it in old films and documentaries. Tragically, however, that was also the beginning of the downfall of the countries or the rise of Islamist extremists and terrorists. While the country’s elites gathered in the capitals, mostly well to very well educated, poor religious illiterates continued to live in the provinces, who lived on meager agriculture, representimg the exact counter-model of the way of life in the capitals. On the one hand they felt rightly left behind, on the other hand they had the impression that the only thing they had, namely their religion, would be denigrated by the western way of life. So one thing led to another via various detours and to today’s situations in which almost everyone is equally poor and has no serious prospects for the future, led by a badly corrupt elite.

Read more on Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA), Wikitravel Tehran and Wikipedia Tehran (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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