Tehran


Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province
since 1778. With a population of around 8.3 million and surpassing 14 million in the wider
metropolitan area, Tehran is Iran’s largest city and urban area, and the largest city
in Western Asia. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tehran has
been the subject of mass migration of people from all around Iran. The city is home to
many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. However, modern
structures, notably Azadi Tower and the Milad Tower, have come to symbolise the city. 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. Although a variety of unofficial
languages are spoken, roughly 99% of the population understand and speak Persian. The majority
of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic
times, Tehran was an unimportant village and part of the area of present-day Tehran was
occupied by Rey, now a part of the city of Tehran, which took over its role after the
destruction of Rey by the Mongols in the early 13th century. History An important historical city in the area of
modern-day Tehran, now absorbed by it, is known as Rey, which is etymologically connected
to the Old Persian and Avestan Rhages. The city was a major area of the Iranian speaking
Medes and Achaemenids. Tehran became the capital of Iran in 1778.
In the Zoroastrian Avesta, Videvdad, i, 15, Ragha is mentioned as the twelfth sacred place
created by Ahura-Mazda. In the Old Persian inscriptions, Ragha appears as a province.
From Ragha, Darius the Great sent reinforcements to his father Hystaspes, who was putting down
the rebellion in Parthia. The Damavand mountain located near the city
also appears in the Shahnameh as the place where Freydun bounds the dragon-fiend Zahhak.
Damavand is important in Persian mythological and legendary events. Kayūmarṯ, the Zoroastrian
prototype of human beings and the first king in the Shahnameh, was said to have resided
in Damāvand. In these legends, the foundation of the city of Damavand was attributed to
him. Arash, the archer who sacrificed his body by giving all his strength to the arrow
that demarcated Iran and Turan, shot his arrow from Mount Damāvand. This Persian legend
was celebrated every year in the Tiregan festival. A popular feast is reported to have been held
in the city of Damavand on 7 Šawwāl 1230, or in Gregorian calendar, 31 August 1815.
During the alleged feast the people celebrated the anniversary of Zahhak’s death. In the
Zoroastrian legends, the tyrant Zahhak is to finally be killed by the Iranian hero Garšāsp
before the final days. In some Middle Persian texts, Rey is given
as the birthplace of Zoroaster although modern historians generally place the birth of Zoraster
in Khorasan. In one Persian tradition, the legendary king Manūčehr was born in Damavand.
During the Sassanid era, Yazdegerd III in 641 issued from Rey his last appeal to the
nation before fleeing to Khorasan. The sanctuary of Bibi Shahr-Banu situated in modern Tehran
spur and accessible only to women is associated with the memory of the daughter of Yazdegerd
who, according to tradition, became the wife of al-Husayn b. Ali, the third Shi’ite Imam.
Rey was the fief of the Parthian Mihran family and Siyavakhsh the son of Mihran the son of
Bahram Chobin resisted the Arab invasion. Because of this resistance, when the Arabs
captured Rey, they ordered the town to be destroyed and ordered Farrukhzad to rebuild
the town. In the 10th century, Rey is described in detail
in the work of Islamic geographers. Despite the interest of Baghdad displayed in Rey,
the number of Arabs there was insignificant, and the population consisted of Persians of
all classes. The Ghuzz Turks laid Rey to waste in 1035 and in 1042, but the city recovered
during the Saljuqid and Khwarazmian era. The Mongols laid Rey to complete waste and according
to Islamic historians of the era, virtually all of its inhabitants were massacared. The
city is mentioned in later Safavid chronicles as an unimportant city.
The origin of the name Tehran is unknown. Tehran was well known as a village in the
9th century, but was less well-known than the city of Rhages which was flourishing nearby
in the early era. Najm al-Din Razi known as Dayya gives the population of Rey as 500,000
before the Mongol invasion. In the 13th century, following the destruction of Rey by Mongols,
many of its inhabitants escaped to Tehran. In some sources of the early era, the city
is mentioned as “Rhages’s Tehran”. The city is later mentioned in Hamdollah Mostowfi’s
Nuz’hat al-Qulub as a famous village. There is also a shrine there, dedicated to
commemorate Princess Shahr Banu, eldest daughter of the last ruler of the Sassanid Empire.
She gave birth to Ali Zayn al Abidin, the fourth holy Imam of the Shia faith. This was
through her marriage to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
A nearby mountain is also named after her. However, some sources attribute the shrine
to the goddess of water and fertility, Anahita, claiming it was renamed in Islamic times to
protect it from any possible harm after the conversion of Iranians to Islam.
Don Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, a Castilian ambassador, was probably the first European
to visit Tehran, stopping in July 1404, while on a journey to Samarkand the capital of Timur,
who ruled Iran at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.
In the early 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, and a government 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 Iran in 1795, when the Qajar
king Agha Mohammad Khan was crowned in the city. It remains the capital to this day.
In the 1920s and 30s, the city essentially was rebuilt from scratch under the rule of
the Shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah believed that ancient buildings such
as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Takieh-ye Dowlat, the Toopkhaneh Square, the city fortifications
and the old citadel among others should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically
demolished and modern buildings in the pre-islamic Iranian style, such as the National Bank,
the Police Headquarters, the Telegraph Office and the Military Academy were built in their
place. The Tehran Bazaar was divided in half and many historic buildings were demolished
in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many Persian gardens also fell
victim to new construction projects. During World War II, Soviet and British troops
entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference in 1943, attended by U.S.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill. In the 1960s and 70s Tehran was rapidly developing
under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Modern buildings altered the face of Tehran
and ambitious projects were envisioned for the following decades. The majority of these
projects were continued after the Islamic revolution of 1979 when Tehran’s urbanization
had reached its peak, and the new government started many other new projects, such as Milad
Tower. During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran
was the target of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes.
City development Up through the 1870s, Tehran consisted of
the walled “arg”, the roofed bazaar, and “sharestan”. The first development plan
of Tehran in 1855 emphasized the traditional spatial structure. Architecture, however,
found an eclectic expression to reflect the new lifestyle. The second major planning exercise
in Tehran happened under supervision of Dar ul-Funun. The map of 1878 included new city
walls, in the form of a perfect octagon with an area of 19 square kilometers, which mimicked
the Renaissance cities of Europe. As a response to the growing social consciousness
of civil rights, on June 2, 1907, the first parliament of Persian Constitutional Revolution
passed a law on local governance known as “Ghanoon-e Baladieh”. The second and third
articles of the law, on “anjoman-e baladieh”, or the city council, provide a detailed outline
on issues such as the role of the councils in the city, the members’ qualifications,
the election process, and the requirements to be entitled to vote.
After the First World War, Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, immediately
suspended the “Ghanoon-e Baladieh” of 1907 and the decentralized and autonomous
city councils were replaced by centralist/sectoralist approaches of governance and planning.
The changes in the urban fabric started with the street-widening act of 1933 which served
as a framework for changes in all other cities. As a result of this act, the traditional texture
of the city was replaced with cruciform intersecting streets creating large roundabouts, located
on the major public spaces such as the bazaar or the hussainia.
As an attempt to create a network for the easy movement of goods and vehicles in Tehran,
the city walls and gates were demolished in 1937 and replaced by wide streets cutting
through the urban fabric. The new city map of Tehran in 1937 was heavily influenced by
modernist planning patterns of zoning and gridiron network. The establishment of the planning organization
of Iran in 1948 resulted in the first socio-economic development plan to cover 1949 to 1955. These
plans not only failed to slow the unbalanced growth of Tehran but with the 1962 land reforms,
that Shah called the White Revolution, Tehran’s growth was further accentuated.
To bring back order to the city and resolve the problem of “hashyehneshini”, which
is the Persian equivalent of marginality, the first comprehensive plan of Tehran was
approved in 1968. The consortium of the Iranian consultants Abdol-Aziz Mirza Farmanfarmaian
and the American firm of Victor Gruen Associates identified the city problems to be high density,
expansion of new suburbs, air and water pollution, inefficient infrastructure, unemployment,
and rural-urban migration. Eventually, the whole plan was marginalized by the 1979 Iranian
Revolution and the subsequent Iran-Iraq war. Climate Tehran features a semi-arid, continental climate.
Tehran’s climate is largely defined by its geographic location, with the towering Alborz
Mountains to its north and the central desert to the south. It can be generally described
as mild in the spring and autumn, hot and dry in the summer, and cold in the winter.
Because the city is large with significant differences in elevation among various districts,
the weather is often cooler in the hilly north than in the flat southern part of Tehran.
For instance, the 17.3 km Vali E Asr street runs from the Tehran’s railway station than,
1,117 m elevation above sea level, in the south of the city to the Tajrish square, 1,612 m
elevation above sea level, in the north. However, the elevation can even rise up to 1,900 m
at the end of the Velenjak street in the north of Tehran.
Summer is usually hot and dry with very little rain, but relative humidity is generally low
and the nights are cool. Most of the light annual precipitation occurs from late autumn
to mid-spring, but no one month is particularly wet. The hottest month is July, mean minimum
temperature 26 °C; mean maximum temperature 36 °C, and the coldest is January, mean
minimum temperature −1 °C; mean maximum temperature 8 °C.
Although Tehran enjoys a more moderate climate than other parts of the country, the weather
can sometimes be unpredictably harsh. The record high temperature is 43 °C and the
record low is −17 °C. On January 5 and 6, 2008, after years of relatively little
snow, a wave of heavy snow and low temperatures covered the city in a thick layer of snow
and ice, forcing the Council of Ministers to officially declare a state of emergency
and closing down the capital on January 6 and 7.
Tehran has seen an increase in relative humidity and annual precipitation since the beginning
of the 21st century. This is most likely because of the afforestation projects, which also
include expanding parks and lakes. The northern parts of Tehran are still more lush than the
southern parts. Tehran’s climate can be described to have
some monsoon influences; the summers are very dry, and the spring and fall are rather lush,
with the main precipitation occurring at this time.
Circumstances In February 2005, heavy snow covered all of
part of the city. Snow depth was 15 cm in south part of the city and 100 cm in the
north of city. One newspaper said it had been the worst weather for 34 years. 10,000 bulldozers
and 13,000 municipal workers deployed to keep the main roads open.
On February 3, 2014, Tehran reached an heavy snowfall specifically in the northern parts
of the city along with an height of 2 meters. Within the 1 week successive snowfall roads
have been made impassable in some areas in north of Tehran along with a temperature variety
of -8°C to -16°C On June 3, 2014, A powerful thunderstorm and
hurricane created a sandstorm in the city. About 5 persons were killed and more than
57 injured. This disaster also knocked numerous trees and power lines down. It struck between
5 and 6 PM, sending temperatures from 33°C to 19°C in just an hour. Along with the dramatic
temperature drop, wind gusts reached nearly 118 km/h. Demographics The city of Tehran had a population of approximately
7.8 million in 2006. With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Tehran is home to diverse ethnic
and linguistic groups from all over the country. The native language of the city is the Tehrani
accent of Persian and the majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persian.
However, historically, the original native dialect of the Tehran–Rey region is not
Persian, which is linguistically Southwest Iranian and originates in Fars in the south
of the country, but a Northwest Iranian dialect belonging to the Central Iran group. and Azerbaijanis
about 25% to 1/3, and other ethnic Minority groups included, Jews and more. According
to a 2010 census conducted by the Sociology Department of Tehran University in many districts
of Tehran across various socio-economic classes in proportion to population sizes of each
district and socio-economic class, 63% of people in Tehran were born in Tehran, 98%
know Persian, 75% identify themselves as ethnic Persian, and 13% have some degree of proficiency
in a European language Tehran saw a drastic change in its ethno-social
composition in the early 1980s. After the political, social and economic consequences
of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 and the years that followed, some Iranian
citizens, mostly Tehranis, left Iran due to mounting political, social and religious pressure.
Many Iranians moved to countries such as Canada, the United States, France, Sweden and other
European countries. The highest Iranian emigration has been to the United States, France, Germany,
Sweden and Canada. With the start of the Iran–Iraq War following
an Iraqi invasion, a second wave of inhabitants fled the city, especially during Iraqi air
offensive on the capital. With most major powers backing Iraq at that time, economic
isolation caused even more reasons for the inhabitants to leave the city. Having left
all they had and having struggled to adapt to a new country and build a life, most of
them never came back when the war was over. During the war, Tehran also received a great
number of migrants from the west and the southwest of the country bordering Iraq.
The unstable situation and the war in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq prompted a rush of refugees
into the country who came in millions, with Tehran being a magnet for modest workers who
helped the city to recover from war wounds, charging far less than local construction
workers. Many of these refugees are being repatriated with the assistance of UNHCR but
there are still sizable groups of Afghan and Iraqi refugees in Tehran who are reluctant
to leave, being pessimistic about the situation in their respective country of origin. Afghan
refugees are mostly Persian-speaking Hazara or Tajiks, speaking a dialect of Persian,
and Iraqi refugees, who are mainly Shia Muslim Mesopotamian Arabic-speakers often of Iranian
origin. The majority of Tehranis are followers of
Twelver Shia Islam, which is also the state religion. Religious minorities include followers
of various sects of Sunni Islam, Mystic Islam, Christianity, Armenian Evangelical Church,
and the Presbyteran Church), Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and some from the Bahá’í Faith.
Tehran also has very small number of third generation Iranian Sikh community that has
a gurudwara visited by Indian Prime Minister in 2012.
Capital relocation A plan to move the capital has been discussed
many times in prior years. In 2010, the government of Iran announced that “for security and administrative
reasons” the plan to move the capital from Tehran has been finalized. The Majlis named
Shahroud, Esfahan and Semnan as three of main candidates to replace Tehran as the capital.
There are plans to relocate 163 state firms to the provinces and several universities
from Tehran to avoid damages from a potential earthquake. President Ahmadinejad suggested
that 5 million residents should migrate out of Tehran. As a starting point, Iranian authorities
are relocating all defense-related industries out of the capital.
Location and subdivisions Tehran county borders Shemiranat county to
the north, Damavand county to the east, Eslamshahr, Pakdasht, and Rey counties to the south, and
Karaj and Shahriar counties to the west. Neighbourhoods and districts of Tehran
The city of Tehran is divided into 22 municipal districts, each with its own administrative
centres. Within these 22 districts, Tehran contains
the following major neighbourhoods: Abbas Abad, Afsariyeh, Amaniyeh, Amir Abad,
Aryashahr, Bagh Feiz, Baharestan, Darakeh, Darband, Dardasht, Dar Abad, Darrous, Dehkadeh
Olampik, Ekhtiyariyeh, Ekbatan, Elahiyeh, Evin, Farmanieh, Fereshteh, Gheitariye, Gholhak,
Gisha, Gomrok, Hasan Abad, Jamaran, Jannat Abad, Javadiyeh, Jomhuri, Jordan, Lavizan,
Mehran, Narmak, Navab, Nazi Abad, Niavaran, Park-e Shahr, Pasdaran, Piroozi, Punak, Rey,
Sa’adat Abad, Sadeghiyeh, Seyed Khandan, Sohrevardi, Shahrara Shahr-e ziba, Shahrak-e Gharb, Shemiran,
Tajrish, Tehranno, Tehranpars, Tehransar, Vanak, Velenjak, Yaft Abad, Yusef Abad, Zafaraniyeh,
etc. Older neighborhoods
Tehran’s old city fabric changed dramatically during the Pahlavi era. Some of the older
remaining districts of Tehran are: Oud-lajan, Sangelaj, Bazaar, Chaleh Meydan, Dowlat, Pamenar.
Chaleh Meydan is the oldest neighbourhood of the aforementioned. Districts during Pahlavi
era are: Sepah str., Toopkhaneh, Laleh-Zaar str. & Eslambol str.. Other old districts
are Doushan-Tappeh, Doulab, Sabzeh-Meydan, Seyed Khandan, Zarab-Khaneh and Galou-Bandaak.
North Tehran North Tehran is a wealthy region in Tehran.
North Tehran consists of various smaller districts from north east to north west; such as Zaferanieh
district, Jordan, Elahieh/Elahyeh, Kamranieh, Ajoudanieh, Farmanieh, Darrous, Gheitarieh,
etc. North Tehran is known as an area of liberal Iranians who wear more moderate clothing and
have more secular ideas. Shopping
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 “luxurious” shopping centers like Zafaranieh or Farmanieh
shopping center. Food and restaurants 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. 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. Economy Tehran is the economic centre of Iran. About
30% of Iran’s public-sector workforce and 45% of large industrial firms are located
in Tehran and almost half of these workers work for the government. Most of the remainder
of workers are factory workers, shopkeepers, laborers, and transport workers. Few foreign companies operate in Tehran because
of the Iranian government’s relations to the west. But before the Islamic revolution many
foreign companies were active in this region. Today many modern industries of this city
include the manufacturing of automobiles, electronics and electrical equipment, weaponry,
textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading center for the sale of
carpets and furniture. There is an oil refinery near Rey, south of the city. Tehran has four
airports : Mehrabad International Airport, Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport,
and Doshan Tappeh Air Base. The former Ghale Morghi Air Base has been converted to an amusement
park named Velayat Park. Tehran relies heavily on private cars, buses,
motorcycles, and taxis, and is one of the most car-dependent cities in the world. The
Tehran Stock Exchange, which is a full member of the Federation Internationale des Bourses
de Valeurs and a founding member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges, has been one
of the world’s best performing stock exchanges in recent years.
Transportation Cars According to the head of Tehran Municipality’s
Environment and Sustainable Development Office, Tehran has a capacity almost for 700,000 cars
but currently more than 3 million cars are on the roads in the capital.The automation
industry has recently developed but international sanctions influence the production processes
periodically. Airport Tehran is served by two main airports. Mehrabad
Airport, an old airport which doubles as a military base, is used for domestic and charter
flights. This airport is located in the Western part of the city. Tehran Imam Khomeini International
Airport located 50 kilometres south of the city, handles all scheduled international
flights. Metro Tehran claims to have one of the cleanest
and most convenient metro systems, in terms of accessibility to different parts of the
city, in the region. The feasibility study and conceptual planning of the construction
were started in 1970s. In 2001, the first two of the eight projected metro lines were
opened.Now Tehran Metro has five operative lines and is 152 km long with another two
lines under construction . Train Tehran also has a central railway station
with connecting services round the clock to various cities in the country. A Tehran-Europe
train line is also running. Bus Tehran’s transport system includes conventional
buses, trolleybuses and Bus Rapid Transit. Buses have served the city since the 1920s.
There are four bus terminals that also provide connections at low rates. The terminals are
located on the South, East, West, and Bei-haghi Park-Drive.
The trolleybus system opened in 1992, using a fleet of 65 articulated trolleybuses built
by Skoda. This was the first trolleybus system in Iran and remains the country’s only such
system. In 2005, trolleybuses were operating on five routes, all starting at Meydan-e-Emam-Hoseyn,
near Imam Hossein station of the Tehran Metro Line 2. Two routes running northeastwards
operate almost entirely in a segregated busway located in the middle of the wide carriageway,
stopping only at purpose-built stops located about every 500 metres, effectively making
these routes trolleybus-BRT. The other three trolleybus routes run south from Meydan-e-Emam-Hoseyn
and operate in mixed-traffic. Both route sections are served both by limited-stop services and
local services. A 3.2-km extension from Meydan-e-Shush to Meydan-e-Rah Ahan and the railway station
there opened in March 2010. Tehran Bus Rapid Transit was officially inaugurated
in 2008 by Tehran’s mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. BRT has three lines with 60 stations
in different areas of the city. As at 2011, BRT had a network of 100 kilometres, transporting
1.8 million passengers on a daily basis. The city has also developed a bike share system
which includes 12 stations in one of Tehran’s districts. Highways and streets
The metropolis of Tehran enjoys a huge network of highways and of interchanges, ramps, and
loops. In 2007 there were 130 km of highways and 120 km of ramps and loops under construction. While the center of the city houses the government
ministries and headquarters, the commercial centers are more located toward Valiasr Avenue,
Taleghani Ave, and Beheshti Ave further north. Although administratively separate, Rey, Shemiran,
and Karaj are often considered part of the larger Tehran metropolitan area. A number of streets in Tehran are names after
international personalities: Henri Corbin Street – downtown Tehran
Edward Browne Street – near the University of Tehran
Gandhi Street – northern Tehran Muhammad Ali Jinnah Expressway – western
Tehran Iqbal Lahori Street – eastern Tehran
Patrice Lumumba Street – western Tehran Bobby Sands Street – western side of British
Embassy Simón Bolívar Street – north western Tehran
Air pollution Tehran suffers from severe air pollution and
the city is often covered by smog making breathing difficult and causing widespread pulmonary
illnesses. It is estimated that about 27 people die each day from pollution-related diseases.
According to local officials, 3,600 people died in a single month due to the hazardous
air quality. 80% of the city’s pollution is due to cars. The remaining 20% is due to industrial
pollution. Other estimates suggest that motorcycles alone account for 30% of air and 50% of sound
pollution in Tehran. In 2007 Iran imposed fuel rations but the
plan has met little success in reducing the pollution levels. In 2011, with the improvements
in the public transport system and the rise in fuel prices due to the new subsidies reform
plan, the Government is hoping to be able to improve the problems of pollution and traffic.
The air pollution is due to several different reasons:
Economical: most Iranian industries are located on the outskirts of Tehran. The city is also
overrun with old and aging cars which do not meet today’s emission regulations. Furthermore,
Iran’s busiest airport, Mehrabad International Airport, is located in the west of the city;
Most people are then obliged to either use private cars or hire taxis. This has created
severe traffic congestion; Gasoline Quality: Due to international sanctions,
the Iranian government allowed its refineries to manufacture sub-par gasoline.
Geographical: Tehran is bound in the north by the massive Alborz mountain range that
is stopping the flow of the humid Caspian wind. As a result, thermal inversion that
traps Tehran’s polluted air is frequently observed. The lack of humidity and clouds
makes Tehran a very sunny city. The UV radiations then combined with the existing pollutants
significantly raise the level of the ozone. In fact one of the urban landmarks in central
Tehran is a giant air quality gauge. Furthermore, the reportedly poor quality of Iranian-manufactured
gasoline may also be contributing to the pollution. However, the government, is engaged in a battle
to reduce air pollution. It has, for instance, encouraged taxis and buses to convert from
petrol engines to engines that run on compressed natural gas. Furthermore, since 1979 the government
of the Islamic Republic of Iran has set up a “Traffic Zone” covering the city center
during peak traffic hours. Entering and driving inside this zone is only allowed with a special
permit. The government is also trying to raise people’s awareness about the hazards of the
pollution. One method that is currently being employed is the installation of Pollution
Indicator Boards all around the city to monitor the current level of particulate matter, nitrogen
dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. The board also displays the Pollutant
Standards Index, which is a general indication of air quality based on the measurements of
the above-mentioned five pollutants. The Pollution Indicator Boards classify the level of each
pollutant as either safe, hazardous or dangerous. Education and research Tehran is the largest and most important educational
center of Iran. Today there are a total of nearly 50 major colleges and universities
in Greater Tehran. Since the establishment of Darolfonoon in
the mid-19th century, Tehran has amassed a large number of institutions of higher education.
Some of these institutions have played crucial roles in the unfolding of Iranian political
events. Samuel M. Jordan, whom Jordan Avenue in Tehran was named after, was also one of
the founding pioneers of the American College of Tehran. Among major educational institutions
located in Tehran, University of Tehran, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University
of Technology are the most prestigious universities of Iran. University of Tehran is also the
oldest university in Iran and one of the oldest in Central and South Asia.
Allameh Tabatabaei University, Amirkabir University of Technology, Shahid Beheshti University,
Kharazmi University, K.N.Toosi University of Technology, Iran University of Science
and Technology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Iran Polymer
and Petrochemical Institute, Shahed University and Tarbiat Modarres University are other
highly ranked universities of Iran located in Tehran.
Tehran is also home to Iran’s largest military academy, and several religious schools and
seminaries. Notable high schools in the city include 1. NODET which has two parts one for
girls, and one for boys. Sports Tehran was the first city in the Middle East
to host the Asian Games. The 7th Asian Summer Games in 1974, was held with the participation
of 2,363 athletes and officials from 25 countries. Tehran is also the site of Iran’s national
football stadium on Azadi Sport Complex with 100,000 seating capacity. Azadi Football Stadium
is one of the largest in Western Asia and one of the biggest in the World. Many of the
top matches of Iran’s Premier League are held here. In 2005, FIFA ordered Iran to limit
spectators allowed into Azadi stadium because of a fatal crush and inadequate safety procedures.
Other stadiums in Tehran are Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium, Takhti Stadium, and Shahid Shirudi
Stadium, among others. The ski resort of Dizin is situated to the
north of Tehran in the Alborz Mountains. Tochal Ski Resort is the world’s fifth highest ski
resort, at over 3,730 metres at its highest 7th station. The resort was completed in 1976
shortly before the overthrowing of the Shah. Here, one must first ride the eight kilometre
long gondola lift which covers a huge vertical and is probably the longest line in the world.
The 7th station has three slopes. 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 3,900
metres near Tochal’s peak, rising higher than the gondola 7th station. This altitude is
higher than any of the European resorts. From the Tochal peak, one has a spectacular
view of the Alborz range, including the 5,610 metres high Mount Damavand, a dormant volcano.
At the bottom of the lifts in a valley behind the Tochal peak is Tochal Hotel, located at
3,500 metres altitude. From there a T lift takes skiers up the 3,800 metres of Shahneshin
peak, where the third slope of Tochal is. Tochal 7th station has skiing eight months
of the year. But there are also some glaciers and year-round snow fields near Tehran where
skiing began in 1938, thanks to the efforts of two German railway engineers. Today, 12
ski resorts operate in Iran, but the most famous are Tochal, Dizin, and Shemshak, all
within one to three hours of Tehran. Football Tehran is the host to four major football
clubs in the Iran Pro League, namely: Tehran is also host to many small clubs.
Main attractions 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 Rey 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 infrastructure 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
in the Paradise community of Clark County, Nevada, United States. 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. Tourism and attractions Tehran, as Iran’s showcase and capital city,
has a wealth of cultural attractions. The Sun Throne of the Persian Kings 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 works of famous artists such as Van Gogh,
Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The collection of these paintings was selected by 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 is known to the international publishing world as one
of the most important publishing events in Asia.
Recreation The most popular social activity, especially
among the younger generation is cinema. Most cinema theatres are located downtown. The
Azadi Cinema was inaugurated in 2008. It is the largest cinema complex in Tehran with
ten theatres. The Cinema Farhang in the north is the only official theatre that plays foreign
films in Tehran. The Tehran Zoological Garden and Eram City
Game are also popular meeting points, especially for families with children. A new larger zoo
is planned for 2010. Artists often mingle at the House Of Artists.
Theatre Shahr was opened in 1962. It is the largest theatre in Tehran. Tehran TV 1, Tehran
Cinema TV, Omid TV and Tehran Show TV are among the most popular TV stations in Tehran.
Tehran TV2, Tehran TV3 and Tehran Sport are planned to be launched in 2012.
The following table shows some places for outdoors activities in Tehran:
Religious centers There are many religious centers scattered
around the city from old to newly built centers. There are mosques, churches, and synagogues
where followers of these religions can practice their faith.
The Friday prayer in Tehran is usually hosted by University of Tehran which is led by a
Friday prayer leader and on special occasions by the Supreme Leader of Iran. Hundreds of
thousands of people participate in the prayers, during which the city of Tehran comes to a
standstill. Graffiti Many styles of Graffiti are seen in Tehran.
Many are slogans painted by governmental organizations. In recent years Tehran Municipality has been
using graffiti in order to beautify the city. Events
The 7th Asian Games were held from September 1, 1974 to September 16, 1974 in Tehran, Iran.
The Azadi sports complex was made for the Games. The Asian Games were hosted in West
Asia for the first time. Tehran, the capital of Iran, played host to 3,010 athletes coming
from 25 countries/NOCs, the highest number of participants since the inception of the
Games. The 1976 AFC Asian Cup was the sixth edition
of the Asian Nations Cup, the football championship of Asia. It was hosted by Iran. The field
of six teams was split into two groups of three. Iran won their third title in a row,
beating Kuwait in the final 1-0. The first West Asian Games was first organized
in Tehran from 19 to 28 November 1997. It was considered the first of their kind. The
success of the games led to the creation of the West Asian Games Federation and the intention
of hosting the games every two years. Sister cities
Tehran has also signed Mutual Cooperation and Understanding with a number of cities
including Baghdad, Kabul, Paris, Milan and St. Petersburg.
See also City Council of Tehran
International rankings of Iran Iran International Exhibitions Company
References External links
Google Map: Tehran Tehran Municipality website
Tehran Geographic Information Center Tehran Traffic Control Center
Official Tehran Yellow pages Tehran travel guide from Wikivoyage
Tehranimages. Contemporary photos taken in some of the oldest districts of Tehran.
Videos Tehran’s detailed development plan PressTV
Tehran today – Part I Part II Part III PressTV Modernized Iranian architecture in Tehran
Press TV Tehran’s hazardous air quality PressTV

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