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Thursday, July 24, 2003

Abadeh


The city of Abadeh is located 280 kilometers northeast of Shiraz on the way to Isfahan. It is an old city with remains of historical fortresses around it. The people in this area are primantly farmers and cattle breeders. Woodwork, cotton shoemaking and carpet weaving are among the crafts practiced in this city. Abadeh has a guest house for tourists.

Amol

The ancient city of Amol is at the gateway to the road which heads to Tehran and dates back to times before the Safavid dynasty. Some historians say the city was a highly developed town even in pre-historic times. There are a number of historically and religiously significant buildings in Amol.



Ardabil

Located on the fertile slopes of Mount Sabalan in northwestern Iran, Ardabil is the capital of a new province with the same name. Most of the tourist attractions in Ardabil come from mother nature. The city and its countryside's natural beauty; the abundant mineral water springs that sometimes have therapeutic attributes; the triple peaks of Sabalan and their lake ; and the fertile Moghan plain to name a few.

The shrine of Sheikh Safieddin Ardebili , and the city's traditional Bazar (which supplies many colorful domestic goods, beautiful clothing and delicious honey.)

Gavmish Guli (The Bull Spring), a natural hot water pool owing its warmth to dormant volcanoes in the region, is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Ardabil.


Assadabad


This highland city was the birth place of militant clergyman Seyed Jamaleddin Assadabadi who advocated Islamic solidarity. Assadabad is the site of Iran's telecommunications satellite center.


Astara

Located on the border between Iran and the republic of Azerbaijan, the city of Astara subsists on agriculture and tourism. It is a city of many attractions and its located on the road that links Tehran to Ardabil.

There are 58 villages around Astara with inhabitants whose way of life is unique in each village.

At the city's market place one can find goods from both sides of the border at competitive prices.


Babol

Since the time of the Safavid dynasty Babol located near the Caspian sea, has been one of the biggest cities of the province of Mazandaran. The shrine of Emamzadeh Ebrahim is one of the city's major tourist sights. A short distance from Babol is the city's beautiful seaside resort, named Babolsar.



Baft

The small city of Baft is located in highlands of Iran about 170 kilometers south of Kerman; Baft an alpine climate. Baft is situated in a nomadic tribal area where weaving carpets, felt carpets, gelims and jajims is the major handicraft.


Bam

The enchanting and historical city of Bam is located 200 kilometers southeast of Kerman and has a tropical climate which enables and excellent farming, citrus gardens and palm plantations. Bam's historical background dates back to legendary times. The remains of the old city of Bam (which was inhabited until the early Qajar period) are located in a six square kilometer wide area on top of a hill in the vicinity of Bam. It is called Arg-i-Bam (The Citadel of Bam). The citadel is one of the most interesting historical sights of Iran and an example of the style of urban planning and social life in the regions that were designed to protect the poeple threatened by the invasion of enemies; tall walls and ditches around the citadel, circles of residential quarters and the ruler's building on a hilltop at the center. Parts of the buildings at the citadel are still intact.

Bam was a highly reputed city along the silkroad. Today's city has both visitors and residents, tourist guest houses, restaurants and the other services serving. A main road links Bam to the center of the province.


Bandar Abbas

Only 10 meters higher than sea level, Bandar Abbas has been a major harbor since the time of the achaemenids when it was called Gamberon and its importance came mainly from being a commercial center.

Among the many historical buildings of Bandar Abbas are the Kolah Farangi Building, The Khajeh Khezr Shrine, the old Green Mosque , The Indian Temple, The Shrines of Seyed Mozaffar and Emamzadeh Kamel and Emamzadeh Shah Mohammad Taghi at the Imam Mosque.



Bandar Anzali

35 kilometers north of Rasht, at the Caspian sea Bandar Anzali is the most ignificant Iranian port city. The gulf of Anzali provides a natural harbour for incoming and outgoing ships and plays a major role in bilateral trade between Iran, Russia and the Central Asian Republiccs.

For tourists, the city is surrounded by an extremely beautiful countryside, exotic wild life and a traditional fish market.


Bandar Langeh

Located in a mountainous region 251 kilometers far from Bandar Abbass, Langeh has a historical background of 2500 years.


Bandar Turkman

Less than 70 years old, this port city is the eastern extreme point of the northern wing of Iran's cross country railways. The city's economy is based on fisheries ; and its markets are abundant in turkoman handicrafts.


Bardsir

Bardsir is a small city 55 kilometers southwest of Kerman on the road to Sirjan and has a mild climate, several rivers, lakes and springs. Bardsir is an old city. It was called Ardashir at the time of the Sassanids. It was totally destroyed during the invasion of Mongols. Bardsir's location on the Kerman-Sirjan- Bandar Abbas road makes important as a crossroads of trade.


Behshahr

Located at the border between the upper Mazandaran region and the plain of Gorgan, Behshahr is an industrial and agricultural town.


Birjand


It is located 500 kilometers south of Mashad in a dry desert area with varying climatic conditions. There are a number of interesting sights in Birjand like the Jami' Mosque, the tomb of Hakim Abu Hamed the poet, the citadel, the Akbarieh building, the tomb of Ibn Hessam and several old ortresses. There is a tourist guest house in Birjand.

Bojnourd


Bojnourd is located 250 kilometers northwest of Mashad along the Tehran-Mashad road and on the slopes of Mount Aladagh. This old city of Khorassan province has a moderate climate. It was a significant governorate at the time of the Qajars. Interesting historical buildings have remained from that time including Ayeneh Khaneh (The Mirror House) and Mofakham Hospital. The tomb of Baba Tavakkol the 10th century poet, the shrine of Imamzadeh Sultan Seyed Abbassi, Baba Aman recreation center and Besh Ghardash mineral water spring. Bojnourd has a hotel and a tourist guest house.



Damavand


The city of Damavand is located 75 kilometers northeast of Tehran on the slopes of the magnificent Mount Damavand with enchanting natural scenery, several orchards and a pleasant climate that makes it a desirable summer resort. Many springs of cold and hot mineral water around Damavand have therapeutic qualities. Damavand is an historical city. Its grand Jami' Mosque (which dates back to 15th century) and a number of shrines in the city are evidence of the great history of this city.

Firouzkouh, one of the districts of Damavand city is a cold mountainous area with vast pastures ideal for raising animals.


Darab


One of the largest and oldest cities of Fars province, Darab is located 280 kilometers east of Shiraz on the road to Bandar Abbas. In old times the city was called Darabgerd. The ruins of the old city are located on the southwestern of the present city. There are Sassanid reliefs like the portrait of Shapur, the Azarju fire temple, as well as a number of shrines in Darab and its suburbs. Among the handicrafts of this city are carpets, Gelims, Jajims, Ceramic works and cotton shoes. Darab's major agricultural products are dates and citrus fruits. The city has a tourist guest house.



Daregaz


Located in a hot weather highland 270 kilometers northwest of Mashad, Daregaz is located at the border of the Republic of Turkmenistan (previously called Mohammadabad).



Esfarayen


This city called Mehrjan in olden times is located 370 kilometers west of Mashad with a distance of 50 kilometers from the railway station.




Estahban


This mountainous city has borrowed its name from the word "Stah" meaning grapes. Located 190 kilometers east of Shiraz it is an old city in which carpets and felt carpets are woven, ceramics and cotton shoes are made and the main agricultural activity is gardening. There are many holy shrines for pilgrims in Estahban; and there is a guest house that hosts tourists.


Eghlid


This is also a mountainous city located in the highlands near Abadeh on the road to Shiraz. It is an old city with many historical monuments like the Jami' Mosque and several epigraphs with towers around it. There is a tourist guest house in Eghlid.



Fassa


Fassa is located 160 kilometers southeast of Shiraz along the main road from Darab to Bandar Abbas. Fassa is a very old city. There are still Sassanid period remains in the ruins of the ancient city now known as Tall-i-Zahhak. People of this region work in the agriculture and animal husbandry; their major agricultural products are date and citrus fruits. Carpet weaving, cotton shoe making and ceramics are among the city's handicrafts while there are also some modern industries including a sugar mill and some industrial workshops in the city. There are a number of holy shrines in Fassa. There is also a guest house to host tourists.



Ferdows


A small city in the southern part of Khorassan province, Ferdows was previously called Tun. It is located in a distance of 180 kilometers from Tabas on the road from Tabas to Yazd and Kerman. This city plays a significant role in the area. The 16th century buildings of Ulia and Habibieh schools, the Seljuk period Jami' Mosque, the Koushk Mosque and the Ismaeilid fortress of Hassanabad are among the historical monuments of this city.


Firouzabad


Firouzabad is located in a mountainous region ten kilometers south of Shiraz on the way to the city of Lar. It is an old city built next to the ancient city of Gur. The name of the city dates back to the time of Deylamite dynasty. There are several Sassanid period monuments like an old tower, the ruins of Gur, Ghaleh Dokhtar, and Fire Temple in Firouzabad. Most of the people of Firouzabad work in agriculture and animal husbandry. Carpets and Gelims are among the area's handicrafts. Firouzabad has a tourist guest house.



Ghaem Shahr


Although Ghaem Shar is one of the industrial cities of Mazandaran province, it has beautiful handicrafts like ceramics and textiles.



Ghayenat


This city is made up of several districts with Ghayen as the center located at a distance of 400 kilometers from Mashad, Ghayen is an old city that has been mentioned in the travelogues of Nassir-i-Khosrow and Marco Polo. The Jami' Mosque of Ghayen is an old monument which was reconstructed in the 14th century. The major agricultural product of this region is saffron.


Ghazvin


A one hour drive Northwest of Tehran on a modern expressway one will find Ghazvin. A traditional city from every respect, Ghazvin is at the crossroads that leads to Kurdistan, Hamadan, Gilan or one of the three Azerbaijan provinces.

One The country's capital (before Tehran), Ghazvin is rich Qajar period architecture. There are also older buildings and monuments in the city including its enchanting mosques and market place.

In the vicinity of Ghazvin, A number of Iran's major industrial sites are located in the Alborz Industrial Township.


Ghouchan


A main road (150 kms in distance) links Mashad to Ghouchan, mountainous city with temperate summers and very cold winters. The city's old name was Khaboushan. There is a hotel and a tourist guest house in this city.



Gonabad


This city includes the districts of Bidokht and Bajestan and the central district of Gonabad (previously called Jouymand). The 13th century Jami' Mosque, Imamzadeh Sultan Mhammad Abed in Kakhak, the ancient Jami' Mosque of Jouymand and the tomb of Joghtay the Mongol Ilkhan are among the historical monuments of this city. Gonabad has a tourist guest house.


Gonbad Kavoos

Located on the extreme point in the eastern wing of Mazandaran, this city which was built more than a thousand years ago was ruined twice by Mongols and the Timurids before its reconstruction in present times. Most of the dwellers of this region are Torkman tribesmen. The shrine of Yahyabbn-e Zaid is one of its historical buildings.


Gorgan

Objects dating back to more than 6000 years ago have been unearthed in excavations in Gorgan. Among the historical buildings of this city are the Ammarieh School , the Jame Mosque, and the Agha Mohammad Khan building. One of the largest natural parks of the country is located in the vicinty of Gorgan on the way to Mashad in Khorassan province.



Hamadan


Hamadan is one of the oldest cities of not only Iran but of the world. Its historical origins date back to several centuries before Christ. Hamadan, which was the summer capital of the Median and Achaemenid empires was then called Ekbatan or Heg mataneh; meaning a place for gathering together. Hamadan is one of the cradles of Oriental civilization with legendary background.

The Hamadan of today is located in a distance of 36 kilometers from Tehran on the slopes of Mount Alvand. The city is stretched around a star-like square named after Imam Khomeini (PBUH). Out of this square which has preserved its old and beautiful style of architecture, six avenues diverge from the angles of the star. Hamadan has been developed and renovated to a great extent in recent years and this has changed the city's old texture gradually. There are still old neighborhoods with nostalgic names in Hamadan besides its large modern streets and beautiful parks. There are plenty of historical monuments and places in Hamadan to be visited by everybody. These include the Stony Lion or the stone lion which is a big Parthian period monument that was made to look like a lion. It is believed that there once was a counterpart for this monument.

In the city's suburb, at the end of the beautiful Abbassabad valley, thee are two stone reliefs on the rocks of Mount Alvand. One of them had been carved at the time of King Darius and the other at the time of King Khashayarsha, both of the Achaemenid dynasty, and their contents praise God, Ahura Mazda, reveal the family tree of the monarchs and pray for their country's integrity.

The Alavid Dome is the most important Islamic period monument in Hamadan. It is a square building of late Seljuk period with a masterly plaster- worked interior. A basement in this building contains the tombs of two Alavid noblemen.

Ghorban Tower is a 12 sided plain brick building with a pyramid shaped dome. It is located in the eastern part of the city; and there is a tomb in its basement.

The Tombs of Estar and Merdkhay are the graves of two Jewish noblemen whose names appear in the Old Testament. The building is made with bricks and stone on the graves of Khashayarsh's wife (Estar) and his uncle (Merdkhay). There are antique wooden boxes and manuscripts of the Old Testament inside the building.

The tomb of great Iranian scientist, Avicenna, is in Hamadan with a building and dome built in 1954. The design of the dome is inspired by the Shape of Ghabous Voshmgir Tower. There is a library with a number of manuscripts in this building. In the court yard of the building, there is the tomb of late Qajar period poet and song writer Abolghassem Aref.

The tomb of the writer of many romantic couplets, Baba Taher Orian, is in Hamadan. The building of the great mystic's tomb has been built in a beautiful park northwest of Hamadan in recent years.

The devotedly faithful people of Hamadan have always paid respectful attention to holy shrines. There are several mosques, mausoleums and shrines in Hamadan including Imamzadeh Farzand-i-Ali, Imamzadeh Esmaeil, Imamzadeh Abdullah, the Jami' Mosque and Khaneghah.

There is a regular bus service from Tehran's bus terminal to Hamadan everyday. There are also three flights to Hamadan every week. Hamadan has two hotels (Bu Ali and Yas) and several guest houses and hostels.

Bu Ali Hotel Tel: 081 - 33070 - 2
Yas Hotel Tel: 081 - 23464

The General Department of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Hamadan (Tel: 20093 and 27022) will put more information at the visitors' disposal.



Isfahan


Isfahan prbably is one of the few Iranian cities that stand almost close to a tourist's expectation of a Persian town. It is a monument of Safavid period with a large number of elements that are reminiscent of the glory and splendour of Islamic and Persisan civilization.

Situated on the slopes of mount Zagross in the center of Iranian plateau, Isfahan is a city taken shape on a fertile land which is irrigated by Zayandeh Roud (the life-giving river). Yet, the city has a rather industrial outlook now owing to the rising number of large and small industries in and around it.

It is only a 400 km journey far from the capital, less than one hour of an air trip by numerous flights that leave Tehran and many other Iranian cities for Isfahan everyday. A trip by road may be a very good opportunity to find out even more about the colorful variety of environment in Iran.

The world famous Persian Art is still living in Isfahan where there are many practicing artists in different fields of the fine arts that are seen on textile, clay, ceramics, metals and tapestry. Watching a traditional artisan at his workshop can be one of the many enjoyable things one can do in an afternoon in Isfahan. On the other hand, a walk anywhere in the town is next to visiting a living museum.

Highlights of that living museum can be visited at Maidan-e Naghsh-e Jahan where there is an abundance of examples of Safavid period Persian architecture, including the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the Imam Mosque, the Ali Qapu, and the main gate to the Bazar. All this is located in the vicinity of the Chehel Sotun (fourty pillars) palace. Elswhere in the town, but not too far from Naghsh-e Jahan, are places like the Jame Mosque, and several ancient bridges that cross Zayandeh Roud; and there are even more to see during a peaceful walk in Avenue Chahar Bagh.

There are many hotels and guest houses in Isfahan to meet the taste of every tourists. Definitely one of the bests is Hotel Abbasi (tel:226011) to be followed by Kossar (tel: 2402309), and Ali Qapu (tel: 231382).



Jahrom


Jahrom, which is located 193 kilometers southeast of Shiraz on the way to the city of Lar, is an old city that is famous for its citrus fruit orchards, palm plantations and tobacco farms. It is an agricultural city that produces carpets and exports date, lemon juice and citrus fruits. There are many holy shrines and historical monuments like the Sassanid Zoroastrian Fortress (Ghaleh Gabri) in Jahrom.

Jiroft

This city is located in a tropical area 265 kilometers south of Kerman. Extensive agricultural activities go on in the region with both tropical and cold region output along activities in the area of animal husbandry. Jiroft is linked to Bandar Abbas and Bam by a main road. Sabzevaran, center of Jiroft region, is one of the major pillars of agriculture in the province.

An interesting monument in Jiroft is the tomb of Akhund in Kouhbonan.


Kabudarahang


Located 50 kilometers north of Hamadan, Kabudarahang is a water-rich agricultural zone whose development started a few years ago.

Kahnouj

Kahnouj is located 350 kilometers south of Kerman after Jiroft at an altitude of only 505 meters above sea level. Its climate is hot. The river Halil Roud flows across this region and pours into Jazmourian swamp. Kahnouj produces citrus fruits, date and vegetables. The city is linked to Bandar Abbas by a main road.


Karaj


The city of Karaj is located 48 kilometers west of Tehran with a population of nearly one million and two hundred thousand people and an increasing rate of development and population growth. Karaj region consists of Taleghan, Savajbolagh, Shahryar, Robat Karim, and Eshtehard districts; all considered to be recreation resorts for the people of Tehran and Karaj. This city has a high capacity for agricultural and industrial activities. The Karaj river and valley are among the country's most beautiful scenery. Meanwhile, the city is highly important from as far as communication is concerned; because it is the crossroads of all the westerly and northerly routes of the country. The Karaj dam supplies a major part of Tehran's power and water requirements; and its beautiful lake with several sports facilities is a major tourist attraction.



Kashan


Famous for its precious Persian carpets and astounding rose gardens, Kashan in central Iran and on the outskirts of the country's central salt desert is destination to several sightseeing tours almost everyday, particularly in mid spring when a monumental rosewater making festival s going on in the gardens and villages around it.

The Fin Garden and Bath, scores of mosques in the city as well as the attributes of the city's vernacular architecture are among the tourist attractions of Kashan.

For many centuries the small village of Ardahal in the vicinity of Kashan has been witness to a unique ritual ceremony which is held in that village every year on a certain day. The people of this village go to Ardahal on that day rom anywhere they happen to be in order to take the carpet at the shrine of Imamzadeh Sultan Ali Bin Mohammad Bagher (AS) to a spring named after Shahzadeh Hussain and to wash it there in the course of a ritual ceremony. The ritual ceremony has been regularly held since thirteen centuries ago.


Kashmar


Kashmar is located 240 kilometers southwest of Mashad in a mountainous desert region with fluctuating climatic conditions. The city's old name was Torshiz, a city with prolonged historical background. The books of history say there is a cedar tree planted by prophet Zoroaster in Kashmar. The 13th century Firouzabad Minaret, the Seljuk period Aliabad Tower, Bagh-i-Mazar and the Safavid period shrine of Imamzadeh Hamzeh are among the cultural monuments of Kashmar. The late Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Modarress was exiled to, and later martyred and buried in Kashmar.

Kazeroun


Kazeroun is located 150 kilometers west of Shiraz on the mountainous road to Bushehr. It is a city of ancient background in the vicinity of the ruins of Shapur city. The name Kazeroun is somehow linked with the profession of the dwellers of the old city: washing cotton clothes. The Shapur Cave, the site of a huge statue of the Sassanid king Shapur, is a major sight to be seen by tourist who come to Kazeroun. The city has many holy shrines. Its people work in the areas of agriculture and animal husbandry and their most important products are date, citrus fruits, grains and tobacco. There are urban facilities and a guest house in Kazeroun.




Kerman

The capital of Kerman province is the old and historical city of Kerman, located in a distance of 1060 kilometers fro m Tehran. The name of this city appears in the pre-Islamic period texts. It was a large and prosperous city at the time of the Sassanids. The remains of monuments like the Ardashir Fortress, Ghaleh Dokhtar and a number of fire temples that date bak to that period witness this historical background. The city's prosperity continued in the post-Islamic period as it was the country's capital during the reign of Gharakhataees, Atabaks and a number of the Seljuks. The city was further developed at the time of the Safavids when the Ganj-Ali Khan complex, named after the city's ruler, was built; and the flourishing went ahead at the time of Zand dynasty monarchs. Some urban establishments like the bazar, mosque and caravansrai have remained from that period. However, after the Qajars rose to power and Agha Mohammad Khan the Qajar monarch killed many of the city's people for their support of Lotf-Ali Khan Zand, the city underwent a major decline and its recovery took scores of years.

Besides its old texture; with its long shady streets, clay and straw roofs, and dusty arches and penthouses the new city of Kerman has been developed and reconstructed . Now it is a city with every facility for travelling and urban life like hotels, travel agencies, airport, railway station, city transportation, restaurants,etc. Further to a grand tourist guest house, Kerman has several first and second class hotels like Sahra, Amin, Kerman, Naz, Pariz and Akhavan to host incoming tourists.

The historical monuments of Kerman include ,among other monuments, the Ganj-Ali Khan complex including the bath, school, bazar and caravansrai; the Ibrahim Khan complex including the school, bath and caesarea; the Vakil Bazar and Srai, the 14th century grand Jami' mosque, the 11th century Imam Khomeini (Malek) mosque, the 12th century Pamenar mosque, Moshtaghieh Dome (the tomb of Moshtagh-Ali Shah), the Jabalieh Dome, Ghaleh Dokhtar, the Fortress of Ardashir, the tomb of Atabak, the fine architecture and plaster works at the shrine of Imamzadeh Shahzadeh Hassan, and the Chehelsotoun Mosque of Haj Ali Agha. However, a visit to the bazar and carpet weaving workshops would be very interesting. Kerman's grand bazar which is about 3 kilometers long, is by itself a historical work of art dating back to the times of the Safavids and Zands.


Kermanshah


The capital of Kermanshahan province in western Iran has its roots deep in the Sassanid period. The older part of the city which is built in the Islamic style is located on a U shaped slope. Mount Bisotun and the river Gharasu are part of the city's identity.

The stone relief on Bisotun is reminiscent of an age old tragic love story whose protagonists are Khosrow and Shirin. Many children in Kermanshah are named after them. Gypsies around the town usually wear black to mark their mourning for the ancient lovers. In fact , one of the most colorful rituals in Kermanshah is that of mourninng by women who pretend to be whirling their hair around their wrist and scratching their faces.

One of the historical monuments of Kermanshah is Tagh Bostan and the lake in its vicinity is one of the most beautiful places in the province. People in the region believe that Jam-i Jam, an ancient cup that reveals the secrets of the whole world is now at the buttom of the lake, however, it comes to surface very once in a while.


Kish Island

This is one of the most beautiful Islands of the Persian Gulf region with several tourist attractions and scores of shopping centers that are unmactched all across the region. The Island's climatic conditions are favorable at least for 8 months every year. The Island is known as pearl of the Persian Gulf and is a free trade zone.



Kordkoooy

This 250 year old city has the roots of its history in the days of the Safavid dynasty. The Radkan Tower of Kordkooy has Kufic inscriptions on it that date back to about a thousand years ago.


Lahijan

Once a flourishing silk producer, Lahijan now is Iran's tea country with beautiful tea plantations that play a highly significant role in the city's economy. In fact , 8700 out of the country's 30000 hectares of ploughed lands are in Lahijan.

Located in the vicinity of Rasht , Lahijan has several historical monuments including the Jame Mosque, Akbarieh Mosque, the Golshan Bath and the tomb of Sheikh Zahed Gilani.


Lar


Located 360 kilometers southeast of Shiraz, Lar is the province's second largest city after Shiraz. It is an ancient city which had a certain importance as a focal point at the time of the Sassanids. The new city has been built near the ruins of an ancient city by the same name whose urban texture is still visible as a sight to see. The shortage of water has limited the city's agricultural activities; however, its major products are mainly grains, date and cotton. Lar has a tourist guest house.



Mahan

The tomb of renowned mystic and sufi, Shah Nematollah Vali, with its beautiful architecture and masterly tile works by Safavid period artists is located in Mahan, in a distance of 35 kilometers from Kerman. Mahan has one of the most beautiful desert scenaries; and at night time its sky is so limpid and inspiring with big bright stars. There is a tourist guest house in Mahan.

Marvdasht


Marvdasht is located on a smooth plain by the river Kor in a distance of 45 kilometers from Shiraz. Its importance is owing to the existence of sugar, petrochemical, meat processing and some other industries while handicrafts like carpet and rug weaving are also prevailing in Marvdasht. The city's importance from the viewpoint of tourism is its proximity to Persepolis, Naghsh-i-Rustam and Passargada.



Mashad


The holy city of Mashad, with the shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) , the eighth Imam of shiite sect as its focal point, is located in a distance of 850 kilometers from Tehran. Millions of people pay pilgrimage to the holy shrine , undoubtedly the largest and most magnificent of its kind, every year. The city of Mashad and its suburbs have a population of more than two million. The city's climatic conditions are unstable with very cold winters , usually mild summers and pleasant springs and autumns.

The magnificent holy shrine of Imam Reza and the historical cultural complex attached to it including the arenas, porticos and porches , The Goharshad Mosque (of Timurid period) as well as its rich museum and library are the most significant sight to be seen by any visitor and pilgrim. There is magnificent golden dome over the shrine's building; surrounded by several porches. To the west of the shrine, there is the Grand Goharshad Mosque , to the southeast the museum and the tomb of Sheikh Bahaee; and on the west there are Parizad and Balasar Schools. There are plenty of priceless objects and unique manuscripts at the shrine's library.

Other than a number of large beautiful parks, the other sights of Mashad are: the tomb of Nader Shah , the national park, Kooh Sangi pool and recreation center. There are also some other shrines and sights outside the city. These include the tomb of Khajeh Morad in a distance of 15 kilometers from Mashad along the road to Tehran, the tomb of Khajeh Rabi' located 6 kilometers north of the city where there are some inscriptions by renowned Safavid calligrapher Reza Abbasi , the tomb of Khajeh Abasalt in a distance of 20 kilometers from Mashad along the road to Neishabur. The three personalities were the disciples of Imam Reza. Among the other sights are the tomb of great poet Ferdowsi in Tus, 24 kilometers from Mashad; and the recreation resorts at Torghabeh, Torogh, Akhlomod, Zoshk and Shandiz. Mashad is a tourist city with several hotels of various classes as well as scores of hostels for the pilgrims who come to this city from the other parts of the country everyday by tens of flights, trains and buses.



Masuleh


This beautiful village of Gilan province is the destination of several organized tours every week particularly in summer time. The most important feature that highlights the tour is the village's distinct style of architecture. There are numerous rows and rounds of houses on the slopes of a hill with every house's rooftop being another's court.

Other features of Masuleh are the traditional crafts of its people who usually work as carpenters who make beautiful woodwork on doors and windows.

Masuleh is situated along Talesh mountains in a distance of 36 km from the city of Fuman.



Mamassani (Nourabad)


It is located 158 kilometers northwest of Shiraz in a mountainous area where most of people work as farmers or cattle breeders. There is an abundance of historical remains from the Parthian, Sassanid and earlier times in Mamassani and Nourabad regions. These include Ilamid reliefs, the Dragon Tower fire temple, the Parthian tower of Nourabad and the Sarab Bahran reliefs.



Malayer


The city of Malayer is located about 90 kilometers southeast of Hamadan on highlands with mild temperature. Although it is a very old city, yet the new city which was formerly called Dowlatabad was built in early Qajar period. It is a city significant from the commercial point of view as it is located on the way to Khuzestan. There are some caves like Darreh Farakh and Sardkouh as well as the remains of some old fortresses around this city. Malayer has urban and medical facilities as well as guest houses and parks.


Nahavand


Located 150 kilometers south of Hamadan, Nahavand is a historical city. It was the site of the last war between Iranian Sassanid troops and the Arab muslim warriors. There are still some remains of ancient Nahavand on the slopes of a hill. Nahavand had been one of the centers of pre-Arian civilization. The precious objects unearthed in Gian Hill region reveal that there lived pre-historic civilized people with progressive arts and culture in this region. Meanwhile, Achaemenid and Sassanian remains have been found in Gara Chogha village in the vicinity of Nahavand. This city has old neighborhoods with urban establishments to meet the people's requirements. It is a cold city with agricultural products like grains and fruits and handicrafts like rugs.

Nayriz


This city is located 220 kilometers east of Shiraz in the vicinity of Lake Bakhtegan. Excavations made in the region have revealed the area's age-old civilization. At the time of the Achaemenids Nayriz was a major producer of weapons. The city's Grand Jami' Mosque has probably been a Zoroastrian fire temple before being turned into a mosque. The main occupations of the region's people are agriculture and animal husbandry, but the shortage of water constitute their main problem.



Neishabur


The historical and famous city of Neishabur is located in a distance of 150 kilometers from Mashad by the Khorassan Railways. The pre-Islamic period background of Neishabur is evidenced by the ancient hills and the remains of fire temples as well as the name Neishabur. This is a well developed city with flourishing agriculture and varying climatic conditions.

Neishabur was first the center of Khorassan province ,but it was totally ruined and its people massacred during the invasion of Mongols. This city is the birth and burial place of a number of leading Iranian poets and mystics like Omar Khayam and Faridoddin Attar. Among the sights in this city are the tomb of Imamzadeh Mahrough, the Jami' Mosque and the tomb of renowned Iranian painter Kamalolmolk in the vicinity of the tombs of Khayam and Attar. Neishabur has several hotels and tourist guest houses.



Nowshahr

An ideal tourist resort by the Caspian, Nowshahr accomodates thousands of private villas that belong to people from all over the country for its mild climate and beautiful natural environment. Nowshahr has several rivers passing through it.



Noor

This is one of the biggest and most beautiful cities of Mazandaran which is named after the river Noor. There is a 4000 hectare forest park in the vicinity of Noor. The city attracts more tourists than some other cities of the province.

Qeshm Island

Another free trade zone in the Persian Gulf, Qeshm Island is 1577 square kilometers wide. There are a number of historical sites on the Island but its importance is mainly attributed to commercial and industrial activities.

While visiting the coasts of the Persian Gulf, sightseeing in the enchanting forest of Harra is a must. Harra is a forest irrigated by the sour waters on the sea ather than sweet water. It is sometimes on the water; and under the sea at ther times. It moves, not with the breeze, but with the waves of the sea. Even any of Iranians do not know the strange forest which is a unique tourist attraction in southern Iran with its waterways, beautiful birds, virgin natural setting and untouched wildlife. The panoramic view of Harra forest is fantastic particularly when seen from the port of Laft by the Persian Gulf. The total area of Harra forest is 7500 hectares with 2400 hectares in the Qeshm Island region.


Rafsanjan

It is located 127 kilometers west of Kerman in a desert area with dry and semi-desert climate. There is little water in the city and its agriculture is mainly based on the rich pistachio product. There are mines of copper and marble stone in afsanjan. Rafsanjan is particularly important for its location along the roads from Tehran to Kerman, Hormozgan and Sistan & Baluchistan. A tourist guest house at Imam Khomeini street hosts tourists that visit Rafsanjan.


Rasht

The capital of Gilan province, Rasht, has its historical roots in the pre-Islamic era of Iranian history, particularly in the Sassanid period.

Rasht is a city with many beautiful gardens. Until late 19th century Rasht was Iran's gate to Europe. Today, however, the city is the administrative center of one of the country's richest agricultural and industrial provinces; the one that stands only next to Tehran as far as population density is concerned.

When tourism is concerned, Rasht is one of the major gateways to the Caspian coasts with a distance of 320 kilometers from Tehran. Three of the major tourist attractions in Rasht are the shrine of Emamzadeh, Hashem, Dana Ali and the Mohtasham Garden.


Ramsar

Located in the extreme west point of the province , Ramsar is a city with more than 700 years of history Two of the most beautiful buildings in the city are the two old and new wings of Hotel Ramsar, both overlooking the Caspian sea.


Roudbar

Most of the ancient monuments of Gilan province are in Roudbar, a city built by Sefid Roud (the white river) on the province's highlands. A significant part of the archaelogical findings have been made on two hills namely Marlic and Cheragh-Ali Tappeh.


Sanandaj

Sanandaj was a big village until about 400 years ago when Kurdistan's overnnor Suleiman Khan Ardalan pronounced it capital of the province. The city has cold winters but its weather is fine in the other three seasons.

The city's countryside incluudes some of the finest scenaries of Iran. Mount Abidar , located west of Sanandaj has several mineral water springs that attracts many visitors from Sanandaj and elsewhere.

Darol Ehsan or the Jame Mosque, the Khosrowabad building, and the old and crowded spiral Bazar of Sanandaj are among the city's historical monuments. Another noteworthy tourist attraction of Sanandaj is the Gheshlagh dam and lake and its small islands. They are located 15 kilometers south of Sanandaj.

Sirjan

Sirjan is located in a desert area 180 kilometers southwest of Kerman with hot summers and cold winters. The name Sirjan is the Arabic version of the city's old name Sirgan. There are traces of the old city's historical background around the new city. These include the Firouz fire temple and the stone fortress which is the site of ruins of an ancient city. There are several holy shrines in Sirjan. Among them, the tomb of Seyed Mohammad (Pir-i- Barhagh) which dates back to the Mongol era is historically significant. Modern plaster, plastic and ceramic industries have been established in Sirjan. This city has a guest house for tourists.

Shahr Babak

This is a small city based on agricultural economy and handicrafts, particularly carpet weaving. It is located in the western part of Kerman province along the Tehran-Bandar Abbas road. This and the links with Yazd, Rafsanjan and Sirjan give Shahr Babak a certain importance.

As it is evident fro its name, Shahr Babak is an old city that dates back to the time of the Sassanids. Among its agricultural products are grains and pistachio. One of the interesting sights of this region is Meymand village in a distance of 40 kilometers from Shahr Babak. The interconnected houses of this village have been made in the rocks several centuries ago.



Shahr-i-Rey


Rey, the southern gate of Tehran, has been on of the largest and most significant centers of Iranian civilization with a background dating back to the times of the Achaemenids. The governorship of Rey has always been a top state position. There are many remains from the ancient Rey. In the post-Islamic era Rey lost its previous prosperity; however, it became once again a holy center following the martyrdom and burial of Hazrat Abdol-Azim, a son of Imam Hassan (PBUH) in that city. The shrine, one of the most maginficient of its kind, attracts tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims everyday. The shrine consists of a golden dome, minarets with tile work, as well as several arenas and porticos and mosques. the oldest part of the building has been made in the year 725 Hejira. The shrines of Imamzadeh Hamza, the son of the seventh Imam of the shiite sect, and Imamzadeh Taher are also located in the vicinity of the shrine of Hazrat Abdol-Azim.


Other sights of Rey, too, witness the city's historical background. Among the remains in this city are the ruins of the ancient Rey of Achaemenid and Parthian periods on the Cheshmeh Ali Hill, a Sassanid relief, The Tower Hill, Tabarak Fortress, Toghrol Tower, the Seljuk Drummers' House, the shrine of Bibi Shahrbanou, the tomb of Ibn Babvaih and Harun's prison, a Buyid period building.

Kahrizak and Fashapouyeh are two of the districts of Shahr-i-Rey.


Shemiranat


Shemiranat is locate North of Tehran on the Alborz slopes and includes various areas like the central part, Roudbar & Ghassran (Fasham, Ushan, Meygoon, etc.) , Lavassanat and Galanduak . Located among the central Alborz ranges have a beautiful natural setting with a highland cold weather that makes them an ideal summer recreation resort for the people of Tehran. There are several remains of Qajar monuments in these areas.

Shiraz


The capital of Fars province is the world famous historical and beautiful city of Shiraz; the birth and resting place of the greatest of Persian poets, Hafiz and Sa'di. This makes the city one of the most important tourist attractions of the country. Shiraz is about 900 kilometers far from Tehran at an altitude of 1540 meters above sea level.

This city is located next to the ancient city of Estakhr. Shiraz was mainly flourished and developed in the post-Islamic period. The architectural texture of the city's older neighborhoods mark its age-old historical background. The city witnessed the peak of its prosperity at the time of Karim Khan Zand when it became the country's capital. The city's modern texture has found a new beautiful outlook with large streets, modern buildings and a grand university. Shiraz is the birth place of many great Iranian men of science and letters including Ibn Moghafa, Sibovaih, Sa'di, Ghotbeddin Shirazi, Hafiz, Sheikh Rouzbehan, Molla Sadra and Gha'ani.

The tombs of Hafiz and Sa'di located in two deservingly pleasant gardens by the names of Hafizieh and Sa'dieh are visited everyday by thousands of fans of Persian poetry and literature. The tomb of Khaju, the 14th century poet is also located in Shiraz at Tang-i-Allahu Akbar. The magnificient holy shrine of Hazrat Seyed Mir Ahmad, son of Imam Mussa (PBUH) - the seventh imam of the Shiite sect - better known as Shah-i-Cheragh which is a major site of Shiite pilgrimage has lent a certain religious significance to Shiraz. There are also a number of other holy shrines in Shiraz including those of Hazrat Seyed Mir Mohammad - Shah-i-Cheragh's brother , Hazrat Seyed Aladdin, Hazrat Shah Mir Ali Hamza and Imamzadeh Ibrahim. Meanwhile, Christian and Jewish minorities have their own churches and synagogues in Shiraz.

Shiraz has been always famous for its pleasant gardens, tall cypress trees and heart ravishing rose gardens. The most well known gardens of Shiraz are Bagh-i-Eram with its enchanting building, Bagh-i-Khalili, Bagh-i-Farsi, Bagh-i-Delgosha and Bagh-i-Takht. All of these gardens are recreation resorts for both the people of Shiraz and the tourists that come to this city. They are all remarkable examples of the art of Persian gardening.

The city's status as a place where knowledge was disseminated; and its people's religious commitment have led to the building of major mosques and schools in Shiraz since a very long time ago. Among these buildings are the ancient Jami' Mosque that dates back to the time of Amr-Leiss of Saffari dynasty, Masjid-i- Vakil and its fourty column nocturnal prayers quarter, Masjid-i-Now (Martyrs' Mosque), Masjid-i-Nassirulmolk and Masjid-i-Shiraz of the Qajar period, The splendid Khan School (Madrassa-i-Khan) of Safavid period, Madrassa-i-Vakil, Madrassa-i-Mansurieh, The Haft Tanan Mausoleum and the Chehl Tanan Mausolum.

There are many beautiful old public buildings in Shiraz. The Quran Gate (Darvazeh Ghor'an), Sara-ye-Moshir, Bazar-i-Vakil, The Karim Khan Fortress (Arg) and the Narenjestan Building are just some of them.

The highly significant Persepolis complex that dates back to the time of the Achaemenids, Naqsh-i-Rustam (including the tombs of Achaemenid kings, Sassanid epigraphs and reliefs, and the Zoroastrian Kaba monument) in the vicinity of Shiraz; as well as Passargada, the site of Syrus' tomb in Morghab plain, are among the important sights of Shiraz and Fars.

There are regular bus services and everyday flights to Shiraz by domestic airlines. In this great tourist city, there are various types of hotels and other luxury hospitality establishments of various classes as well as plenty of recreation centers, restaurants, parks, movie houses, etc. at the disposal of tourists.



Sabzevar


The desert city of Sabzevar was previously called Bayhagh. It is located within a distance of 70 kilometers from the Mashad railways and 250 kilometers far from the provincial capital. It is a historical city and the main site of Sarbedaran movement. Pamenar Mosque in Sabzevar dates back to the same period. The 13th century Jami' Mosque and Khosrowgerd Minaret are two monuments that have remained from the time when the city was still being called Bayhagh. The tomb of Haj Molla Hadi Sabzevari is in this city. Sabzevar has a tourist guest house.





Savadkooh

Although not too close to the Caspian sea , Savadkooh has a very favorable imate almost in all four seasons. Beautiful forests and rivers have lent a ectacular scenery to Savadkooh. The shrine of Emamzadeh Abdolhaq and the Lajim Tower are among the most visited sights of Savadkooh.



Sari

Built in the first century of the Islamic era, most of the historical buildings of Sari date back to the times of the Safavid. Sari is the capital city of Mazandaran province.



Sepidan (Ardakan)


Located 100 kilometers north of Shiraz, Sepidan is a high mountain city with beautiful natural scenery, forests, waterfalls and many springs providing a recreation resort for the people in Fars province. The holy shrine of Imamzadeh Sultan Noureddin is in this city.

Shirvan


It is a small city about 210 kilometers far from Mashad at the border with the neighboring Republic of Turkmenistan. The occupation of most of the people in this city is relating in one way or another to agriculture and animal husbandry.


Tabas


The small historical city of Tabas located on the margins of Iran's central desert 600 kilometers southwest of Mashad. It was absolutely ruined by a quake in 1978 and was later reconstructed. Tabas has a desert climate and hot weather and most of its people are farmers.

Taibad (Bakharz)


It is an old city located 250 kilometers southeast of Mashad in the vicinity of the border with Afghanistan. Among the historical monuments in this city are the tomb of Mawlana Zainolabedin Taibadi and a Seljuk brick Minaret by the name of Karat Tower.




Tehran


The metropolitan city of Tehran on the slopes of the mountains of Shemiran and at the foot of the magnificent Mount Damavand is the world famous capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the province of Tehran. It has been the country's capital city for only 200 years now. With an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level , Tehran is a city of all four seasons with hot summers, freezing winters , and brief springs and autumns. The highest registered summer temperature in Tehran has been 42 degrees centigrade; while the low has been registered as 8 degrees below zero. Tehran's central position and economic flourishing has attracted great numbers of immigrants from other Iranian cities justifying the nickname "the city of 72 nations." Tehran is Iran's political and administrative center, a major focal point of the middle-east and a city of international reputation.

Tehran's grand Bazar is a network comprising of several kilometers and thousands of shops that are run in the traditionally specialized way. Hundreds of thousands of people visit this huge shopping center everyday. The oldest historical monuments of Tehran date back to the Qajar period. Some of them are: the Golestan Palace and Museum, the Shamsolemareh Building, the Imam Khomeini Mosque (ex-Shah Mosque), parts of the Bazar, the shrines of Imamzadeh Saleh in Tajrish, Imamzadeh Ghassem, Imamzadeh Seyed Esmaeil, Imamzadeh Yahya, Imamzadeh Zeid, and Seyed Nassreddin as well as the Bagh-i-Ferdows Building, Sorkheh Hessar Palace (Hospital), Firouzeh Palace, Shahid Motahari (Sepahsalar) Mosque and School, the building of ex-National Assembly, The Pamenar Minaret, and Marvi School and Bazar. Some of the famous museums of Tehran are: the National Iranian Museum (ex-Ancient Iran Museum), the Anthropological Museum, Abgineh (Glass) Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Central Bank's Treasury Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, Decorative Arts Museum and the Carpet Museum. There are also several large beautiful parks in Tehran and its suburbs beside the city's natural parks located in the mountains around the capital.


Tonekabbon

On the slopes of Alborz in western Mazandaran, Tonekabon is a Safavid city with favorable climate, shallow shores suitable for swimming and recreation make it a desirable resort.



Torbat-i-Jam


This city is the place of birth and burial of the renowned 11th century mystic Sheikh Ahmad Jami, better known as Zhendeh Pil (ragged elephant). The city is in fact named after the great mystic. Located in a highland 163 kilometers east of Mashad, Torbat-i-Jam has a desert climate with wild pistachio forests and vast pastures. The tomb and the Khaneghah of Sheikh Ahmad Jami and Shah Ghassem Anwar are among the city's historical sights. Torbat-i-Jam and its neighboring areas have a rich and beautiful tradition of mystical music.


Torbat-i-Haydarieh


It is a new city located 140 kilometers south of Mashad and named after the 13th century mystic Ghotbeddin Haydar after whom the city was named as his tomb is in this city. The sights in this city include Masjid-i-Gonbad, the remains of Sangan city ( of the first century Hejira) and Ghiassieh School in Khargard ( of the 15th century).


Twiserkan


Twiserkan, located about 100 kilometers south of Hamadan, is the outcome of the merger of three old villages, namely Twi, Serkan and Meshkan. However, it was formerly called Roudlar.
The latter was ruined in the invasion of Mongols and its people fled to those three villages. The ancient hills of Baba Kamal, Roudlar, Shahrestaneh, the remains of a Sassanid city in Velashjerd, the Seljuk Dome, the Safavid Building of Sheikh Ali Khani School and the Qajar period indoors bazar , are all indicative of Twiserkan's historical background.


Varamin


Located 40 kilometers southeast of Tehran, Varamin has been in fact one of the largest and oldest villages of Iran. The grand Jami' Mosque with its Ilkhan period architecture and tile work, as well as the Sultan Aladdin Tower, Imamzadeh Yahya and Iraj Tower , are all witnesses to Varamin's historical background. Varamin is a highly fertile plain for agriculture. Its main districts are Pishva and Gharachak.



Yazd

Many people, including Iranians themselves, remember the city of Yazd with the sight of its traditional architectural logo, Badgir (the wind tower) which is some sort of built in air conditioning device.

Located in central Iran on the road that connects Isfahan to Kerman, Yazd is an economically lively city that accomodates hard working people. Among the sights and monuments to be seen by tourists that visit Yazd are Masjid-i-Jame', Masjid-i-Mir Chakhmagh, the tomb of Molla Emam, the tomb of Shamseddin, the tomb of Seyed Rokneddin, the tomb of Sheikh Joneid, Chak Chak, Pir-i-Naraki, Masjid-i-Davazdah Emam, Zendan-i-Sekandar, and the Nakhl at Meidan-i-Amir Chakhmagh.


Zanjan

Next to Ghazvin on the road from Tehran to Tabriz is the city of Zanjan which is famous, first and foremost, for the finely decrated knives made by its skillful craftsmen.

Internationally well known, however, is the enormous Sultanieh Dome, an historical monument which is the burial place of Sultan Oljaito of Mongol origin who died there in 1316. According to Jean Hureau, the proportions of this tower with a hexagonal base, surmounted by a dome, are so harmonious that it is only when you are at the foot of its walls or inside it that you realize how gigantic a monument it is.

Zarand


Located 83 kilometers west of Kerman on the main provincial road and by the railway, Zarand is a mineral-rich area with coal mines (particularly in Pabedana), Iron ore mines and a coal washing factory whose output is sent to Isfahan by trains to be used at the Isfahan Steel Mill. The city's handicrafts are carpets and gelims, and its agricultural products grains, pistachio and cotton. Zarand has a moderate semi-desert climate.
Language


The language spoken in Iran is Persian (wrongly known as Farsi). Also spoken in Afghanistan, Tadjikistan and certain parts of China and Uzbekistan, Persian belongs to the Indo-Iranian family of languages.An old form of this
language prevailed in the Persian Empire as early as the 6th century BC, when the language was written in cuneiform. Later,in the 2nd century BC the Persians created a new alphabet known as Pahlavi which remained in use until the Arab invasion of Persia in the 7th century. Since then, Persian has been written in the Aabic script.However,although Persian and Arabic alphabet may be similar to some extent today ,the languages themselves are absolutely different from each other.

There are 32 letters in the Persian (Farsi) alphabet but every one of them take between 2 to 4 different shapes in a written text so that some scholars believe there are in fact something about 100 characters in Farsi.

There are more in this book about the Persian language in the phrase book section at the end of tis volume.

Iranian Calendar

The Iranian year begins on March 21 ending on March 20 in the next christian year. It is based on the Hejirah solar calendar beginning from the migration of prophet Mohammad (SAWA) from Mecca to Medina in 621-622 A.D. The solar year consists of the duration of one full orbit of the Earth around the Sun. The lunar Hejirah year based on which religious feasts and rituals are observed, on the other hand consists of the duration of one full orbit of the Moon around the Earth.

Owing to this difference the days in the lunar and solar calendars do not overlap and there are 32 solar years in every 33 lunar years. A solar year consists of 365 days while there are only 354 days in every lunar year.

Furthermore, the new moon is seen in Arab countries one day earlier,thus,there is a difference of one day in important religious days in Iran and the Arab states.

The months on the solar calendar are:
Farvardin (March 21-April 20).
Ordibehesht (April 21-May 21).
Khordad (May 22-June 21).
Tir (June 22-July 22).
Mordad=Amordad (July 23-August 22).
Shahrivar (August 23-September 22).
Mehr (September 23-October22).
Aban (October 23-November 21) .
Azar (November 22-December 21).
Day (December 22-January 20).
Bahman (January 21-February 19).
Esfand (February 20-March 20).

The first six months of the solar year have 31 days,the next five 30 days and the last one 29 days. However, the month of Esfand will be 30 days in the leap years in which case the year will be 366 days .

The months on the lunar calendar are : Moharram, Safar, Rabi-ol-Aval, Rabi-ol-Thani, Jamadi-ol-Aval, Jamadi-ol-Thani, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shavval, Zilqada and Zilhajja.

To convert lunar and solar years into Christian dates, one may use the following formula:
Lunar year - 41 +*621=Christian year
Solar year +621*=Christian year
* if a date falls between Day 11 and March 20, the figure changes to 622. In the case of lunar years the resulting figure may contain an almost 1/600 error.

Sightseeing / WHAT TO SEE IN:

Isfahan

Masjid-i-Imam
Masjid-i-Sheikh Lotfollah
Ali Qapu
Chehelsotoon
Menar Jonban
Naghsh-i-Jahan Square
Si-0-Seh Pol
Pol-i-Khajou
Chahar Bagh Avenue

Tehran

Masjid-i-Imam
Madrasa Sepahsalar (Shahid Motahari)
Gulistan Palace
Sadabad Palaces (royal palaces turned into museums)
Niavaran Palaces (royal palaces turned into museums)
Old Majlis Building
The Grand Bazaar
Vahdat Music Hall
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts
Museum of Decorative Arts
Reza Abbasi Museum
Carpet Museum
Late Imam Khomeini's Shrine
Shah Abdul Azim Shrine in Shahr-i-Ray
Tochal Telecabin
Mount Damavand
Shemshak Ski Resort
Dizin Ski Resort
Ab Ali Ski Resort
Iran Bastan Museum
The Cinematown
Emamzadeh Saleh in Shemiran
Niavaran Cultural Center
Azadi Monument & Cultural Center
Masjid-i-Jame'

Shiraz
The Tomb of Hafiz
The Tomb of Sa'di
Darvazeh Qoran
Shah Cheragh
Masjid-i-Vakil
Bazaar-i-Vakil
Saray-e-Moshir Teahouse
Persepolis
Pazargad
Sa'at-i-Gol
Madrasa-ye-Khan
Eram Garden

Mashad

The Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (AS)
Masjid-i-Goharshad
Masjid-i-Dodar
The Tomb of Sheikh Bahai
Kooh Sangi
Borj Maqbara
Saghakhaneh Esmaeil Talaei
The Tomb of Nader Shah
The Tomb of Ferdowsi
The Holy Shrine's Museum
The Holy Shrine's Inn


Tabriz

Ark Ali Shah
Msjid-i-Kabud (The Blue Mosque)
The Tomb of Khaghani
The Tomb of Shahryar
Museum of the constitution
Shah Goli

Yazd

Masjid-i-Jame'
Masjid-i-Mir Chakhmagh
The Tomb of Molla Emam
The Tomb of Shamseddin
The Tomb of Seyed Rokneddin
The Tomb of Sheikh Joneid
Chak Chak
Pir-i-Naraki
Masjid-i-Davazdah Emam
Zendan-i-Sekandar
The Nakhl at Meidan-i-Amir Chakhmagh


Hamadan

The Tomb of Avicena
The Tomb of Baba Taher Oryan
The Tomb of Astar
Masjid-i-Jome'
Shir-i-Sangi
Ganjnameh
Ekbatan
Ali Sadr Cave

Bakhtaran

Bisotoon
Tagh-i-Bostan
The Selukid Temple
Farhad's Pass

Kerman

The Tomb of Shah Nematollah Vali in Mahan
The Summer Palace in Mahan
Gonbad-i-Cheshmeh
Gonbad-i-Sabz
Madrasa Ibrahim
Masjid-i-Jame' Mozaffari
The Ganjalikhan Bath
Ghal'eh Akhtar
The Ruins of Ark in Bam


Shahr-i-Ray

The Shrine of Emamzadeh Abdul Azim
The Shrine of Emamzadeh Hamze
The Tomb of Nassereddin Shah
The Tugrul Tower
Cheshmeh Ali Hills


Neishabur

The Tomb of Omar Khayam
The Tomb of Kamalolmolk
The Tomb of Sheikh Attar
Masjid-i-Jome
The Torquoise Mines of Neishabur
The Alb Ars alan Hills


Places to see in other cities:

Mohtasham Garden Rasht
Falakol Aflaak Fortress Khoramabad
Fin Market Kashan
Fin Garden Kashan
The Tomb of Prophet Daniel Susa
The Tomb of Sheikh Safi Ardebil
Tatavoos Church Maku
Shapur's Statue Kazeroon
Ghaleh Dokhtar Firuzabad
Carpet Washing Ritual Ardahal
Distilling Rosewater(Golab) Kashan
Fish Market Bandar Anzali

Handicrafts


There are a vast variety of handicrafts in Iran from silkwork to tapestries and from ceramics to woodwork. There are many handicraft shops in Tehran, however, you may find the most reasonable quality and prices at the shops affiliated with the Iranian Handicrafts Organization. Of particular interest in those shops are the fine Gelims woven by Iranian tribesmen and women. And the good news is that the amount of handicraft allowed to pass the Iranian customs is unlimited.

Here is a list of IHO affiliated handicraft shops in Tehran:

Shop No. 1
381, East Taleghani Ave.
Tel: 8826600

Shop No. 2
226, Nejatollahi (Villa) Street
Tel: 891919

Shop No. 3
Hotel Esteghlal
Tel: 2045600

Shop No. 4
669, Valiasr Square
Tel:893328

Shop No.5
Gharani Ave.
Tel:8821802

Shop No. 6
Hassanabad Square
Tel: 676083

International Airlines

Aeroflot 8808672
Air France 674110-19
Alitalia 8719606
Austrian Airlines 8737821
British Airways 670100-9
Emirates 8711257
Gulf Air 8808162
Iran Air (Homa) 9111
KLM 8731995-8732447
Kuwaiti Airlines 8808442-8826234
Lufthansa 8723382-7
PIA 8824095-8824097
Swiss Air 8809126-9
Syrian Airlines 835057-9
Turkish Airways 8737383



Iranian Airlines

Iran Air 9111
Iran Air Tour 8756062-8743444
Caspian 6454763-6459198
Kish Air 8083889
Asseman 6035310-14
Mahan Air 6419900
Saha 6691011-6694450




Mehrabad Airport


Iran Air 9111
Iran Air Flight Information 6012945-6
Domestic & International Flight Information 91027-91028
Airport Taxi Service 6466763



Iran Air International Flights

In the following table ED stands for Everyday,
SU for Sunday, MO for Monday , TU for Tuesday , WE for
Wednesday, TH for Thursday , FR for Friday and SA for Saturday. For
detailed information please call Iran Air Flight Information at
the number given hereabove.


Destinations Days of Departure

Almata FR
Amsterdam SU
Ashkabad SU
Athens TU
Bahrain SA
Baku MO
Bombay FR
Damascus MO, TH
Dubai SA, MO, TH
Frankfurt SA, SU, WE, FR
Geneva TU
Hamburg SU, TH
Istanbul MO, FR
Karachi WE
Kuala Lumpor SA, TU
Kuwait TU, TH
Larnaka WE
London SU, TH, TH
Masquat (via Sharja) WE
Moscow TU
Paris FR
Paris (via Geneva) TU
Peking SU, WE
Rome TH
Sharja WE
Tashkent (via Ashkabad) SU
Tokyo (via Peking) SU, WE
Vienna SA




Railways

Railway Information Service 556114-5
5122555-6


Several trains leave Tehran for various destinations across Iran
everyday. In the following table ED stands for Everyday,
SU for Sunday, MO for Monday , TU for Tuesday , WE for
Wednesday, TH for Thursday , FR for Friday and SA for Saturday. For
detailed information please call the Railway Information Service at
the number given hereabove.


Trains from Tehran

Destinations Days of Departure

Mashad ED
Mashad via Semnan SA, MO, WE
Ahwaz ED
Andimeshk ED
Zanjan ED
Mianeh ED
Tabriz ED
Maragheh ED
Isfahan SA, MO, WE
Kerman MO, WE, FR
Bandar Abbas SU, TU, TH
Firuzkuh ED
Gorgan ED




Shipping

Shipping Organization 8893369
Ticket Sales Office 8891015




Intercity Bus and Taxi Services

There are about 20 bus services that provide shuttle service between
Tehran and other Iranian cities as well as a few destinations abroad
including Turkey, Syria and Armenia. However, all those bus services
have their own office and establishment at the three terminals located
West, South and East of Tehran. Passengers wishing to travel to
Northern provinces must take their bus or car at the Tehran-East
terminal. Telephone numbers of bus terminals and cooperatives for
intercity taxi cars are listed in this section.


Tehran-West Bus Terminal 6054058-9
Tehran-South Bus Terminal 550047-8
Tehran-East Bus Terminal 7864010
Vahdat Intercity Taxi Service 7410907 (Tehran-East)
Shabdiz Kaveh Intercity Taxi Service 556736 (Tehran-South)
Gharb Intercity Taxi Service 6054055 (Tehran-West)


ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS
(PROVINCES)
__________________________________________________
province area(km2) population center
__________________________________________________
total 1643509.7 49764874 ----
Tehran 29933.4 8719480 Tehran
Central 29080.0 1092214 Arak
Gilan 14709.0 2086659 Rasht
Mazandaran 46456.0 3449359 Sari
East-Azerbaijan 67102.0 4180376 Tabriz
West-Azerbaijan 38850.0 1989935 Orumieh
Kermanshahan 23666.5 1471224 Kermanshah
Khuzistan 67282.0 2702533 Ahwaz
Fars 133298.0 3229226 Shiraz
Kerman 179916.0 1639031 Kerman
Khorassan 313337.0 5312991 Mashad
Esfahan 104650.0 3317081 Isfahan
Sistan & Baluch-181578.0 205980 Zahedan
isatan
Kurdistan 24998.0 1091064 Sanandaj
Hamadan 19784.0 1533885 Hamadan
Hormozgan 66870.4 760014 Bandar-
Abbas
Chaharmaha & 14870.3 637167 Shahr-e-
Bakhtiari Kurd
Lorestan 28803.2 1369897 Khorram-
abad
Ilam 19044.0 384417 Ilam
Kohkiloyeh & 14261.0 413096 Yasuj
Boyer Ahmad
Bushehr 27653.0 578556 Bushehr
Zanjan 36398.0 1600237 Zanjan
Semnan 90958.0 418152 Semnan
Yazd 70011.0 582300 Yazd
__________________________________________________
*Source:Statistical Center of Iran.



The statistics presented hereunder obviously belong to the latest census poll which was carried out in mid '80s. The country's population has had a rather rapid growth and is believed to be around fifty six to fifty seven million.
_______________________________________________________
population total male female sex ratio
_______________________________________________________
Total Country 49857384 25491645 24365739 105
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Urban Areas 26991543 13868837 13122706 106
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rural Areas 22611241 11495408 11115833 103
_______________________________________________________

*source:A Statistical Reflection of the Islamic Republic of
Iran,No.6,Aug.1990,Tehran.

Churches, Synagogues, Adrians

Religious minorities in Iran have their own facilities to perform their rituals. Some of these facilities are listed in this chapter. Although all those listed here are in Tehran, there are many others in other cities. One of the most well known establishments of this kind is the historically significant Vank Church in Isfahan.

1. Zoroastrian Adrians


Teran 3
The Grand Adrian of Tehran
Vanak Endowment Estate


Tehran 4
Rostam Bagh Adrian
Rostam Give Estate, 2nd Sq., Tehran Pars Tel.:772835


Tehran 11
Shah Varahram Izad
# 20 Sheibani st., Valiasr Ave. Tel.:5387922


Tehran 12
The Adrian of Tehran
Mirza Kouchak Khan st. Tel.:676865



2. Jewish Synagogues


Tehran 1
Tafian (Hakim) Synagogue
# 30 Third Sharestan st., Pessian st., Valiasr Ave. Tel.:2044968


Tehran 2
The Synagogue of Gisha
Javad Fazel st., Nassr (Gisha) Ave. Tel.:639172


Tehran 6
Abrishami Synagogue
4th st., North Felestin Ave. Tel.:659906

Ettefagh Synagogue
Ghods st., Enghelab Ave. Tel.:6461868

Rah-e Danesh Synagogue
Seyed Jamaleddin Assadabadi Ave. Tel.:8716711

Rafi Nia Synagogue
# 7 Malek st., Vessal Ave., Tel.:6462589

Zargarian Synagogue
Jamalzadeh st. Tel.:936907

Khorassaniha Synagogue
# 96 West Zartosht st., Valiasr Ave. Tel.:658541-657521

Abdollah Zadeh Synagogue
4th st., North Felestin Avve. Tel.:653598

Nosrat Synagogue
Forsat st. Tel.:929948

The Synagogue of Yousefabad
15th st., Seyed Jamaleddin Assadabadi Ave. Tel.:8710149


Tehran 7
The Synagogue of Bagh Saba
Bagh Saba st., Shariati Ave. Tel.:764655


Tehran 10
Kohan Synagogue
Aghili st., Navab Crossing, Azadi Ave. Tel.:924902


Tehran 11
Kourosh Synagogue
# 58 Hatef st., Sheikh Hadi Ave. Tel.:677736

Lubian Synagogue
Sezavar Crossing, Daneshgah st. Tel.:6404457


Tehran 12
Ettehad Synagogue
Shohada Ave. Tel.:393439

Fakhrabad Synagogue
Fakhrabad st. Tel.:3116313

Haim Synagogue
Simin st., Aziiz Khan Crossing, Haffez Ave. Tel.:675587



3. Christian Churches


Tehran 1
Nur Evangelican Church
Mojdeh Street, Dr. Shariati Ave. Tel.:273425


Tehran 2
Assyrian Brothers Church
Next to Passport Dept., Sharara, Sattar Khan Ave. Tel.:922266


Tehran 3
The Evangelican Church
Farshid st., Ghavam St., Yakhchal st., Gholhak Tel.:266117

Emanuel Evangelican Church
Fereshtegan st., Hafez st., Nilu St., Vanak sq. Tel.:2260254

The Convent of Sisters
Shahid Abkar st., Mirdamad Ave.

St. Mary's Church
# 29 The 6th st., Shahid Abkar st., Mirdamad Ave. Tel.:

St. Minas Church
The Armenian quarter, Vanak Village Tel.:2262640


Tehran 4
St. Gregor Losarovitz Church
Jamshid Royan st., 2nd 16m. st., Majidieh Tel.:2528615


Tehran 6
The Assyrian Evangelical Church (St. Thomas)
# 157 Shahid Khosravi st., North Kargar Ave. Tel.:8726135

The Armenian Evangelical Church (St. John)
# 3 the 4th street, Mirza-ye Shirazi Ave. Tel.:7893458

St. Abraham Church
# 100 Jamalzadeh street Tel.:929203

St. Mary's Church
# 26 Amir Tehrani st., 21st st., Seyed Jamaleddin Tel.:
Assadabadi

St. Joseph Church
# 91 Forsat st., Enghelab Ave. Tel.:8823549

St. Sarkis Church
Nejatollahi st., Karim Khan ZZand Ave. Tel.:7891634-5



Tehran 7
The Russian Orthodox Church
Shahid Mofatteh Ave., Taleghani Ave. Crossing Tel.:8826640

The Greek Orthodox Church
# 3 Taleghani Crossing, Shahid Mofatteh Ave. Tel.:7898719

St. Mary's Church
# 158 Khoramshahr Ave. Tel.:543353

St. Mary's Church
# 121 Babbakhani Bros. st., Sepah sq. Tel.:768080

St. Vartan Church
Aramaneh st., Shahid Ejarehdar Ave. Tel.:7560665


Tehran 8
St. Targmanchass Church
Kelissa st., Vahidieh st., Tehran Now Ave. Tel.:7816635


Tehran 11
The Jesus Christ Convent
# 74 Jami st.

St. Margukis Church
# 65 Saed Agha Balazadeh st., South Kargar Ave. Tel.:542406


Tehran 12
St. Peters Evangelican Church
# 1/7 , 30 Tir st. Tel:678569

The Korean Presbyterian Church
# 1/7 , 30 Tir st. Tel.:678569

St. Tadeus Church
Shahid Musavi Bazaar, Shahid Mostafa Khomeini Ave.
Mowlavi Ave.

St. Mary's Church
# 75 Next to Italian Embassy, Nofle le Chateau st. Tel.:673210

Jean d' arc Church
# 40 Shahid Taheri st., Ferdowsi Ave. Tel.:

St. Gregor Losarovitz Church
# 22 Ghazali street

St. George Church
Bazaarche Ghavamoddoleh, Vahdat Eslami Ave. Tel.:5607113

St. Mary's Church
Mirza Kouchak Khan st., Jomhouri Ave. Tel.:676318
agogue
# 7 Malek st., Vessal Ave., Tel.:6462589

Zargarian Synagogue
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Ö p 2 he Convent of Sisters
Shahid Abkar st., Mirdamad Ave.

St. Mary's Church
# 29 The 6th st. ² Simplified Arabic Arial Tel.:

St. Minas Church
The Armenian quarter, Vanak Village Tel.:226

Persian Miniature

As early as the 11th century,the Iranians were the undisputed masters of the art of miniature.Although the art was inspired by Chinese motifs following the Mongol invasion of Persia, Iranian originality once again dominated later in skilfully composed and pathetic illustrations inspired by the national epic Shahnameh or Ferdowsi's The Book of Kings.

Early in the year 1991, as Iranians celebrated the millennium of composition of Shahnameh, several Iranian publishers published beautiful Iranian miniatures which were released along with their new editions of the book.

Hotels

The hotels in Tehran are usually booked for months to come. The following list includes the names and addresses of only some of the best hotels of Tehran. The city has scores of other hotels for various tastes and budgets. Even the two star hotels (not included here) are reasonably clean, comfortable and convenient.


Hotel Class Phone address

5 stars

Azadi ***** 2073021 Chamran Expway
Esteghlal ***** 2040021 - 5 Chamran Expway
Homa ***** 2263021 - 39 Khoddami St., Vanak
Laleh ***** 655021 - 9 Dr. Fatemi Ave.

4 stars

Enghelab **** 6467251 - 4 Taleghani Ave.
Kossar **** 898121 - 5 Valiasr Sq.
Tehran Grand Hotel **** 8719610 No.15, Motahari Ave.

3 stars

Darya-ye Shomal *** 834066 - 9 Taleghani Ave.
Evin *** 8090124 Chamran Expway
Ferdowsi Grand Hotel *** 8859991 - 3 Foroughi St., Ferdowsi Ave.
Howizeh *** 894813 - 7 Taleghani Ave.
Jahan *** 6400442 Valiasr - Taleghani Crossing
Kian *** 650235 - 7 77, Zartosht Street
Marmar *** 830083 - 7 Ferdowsi Ave.
Mashad *** 8825145 - 7 Mofatteh Street
Naderi Now *** 673761 Goharshad St., Jomhouri Ave.
Ramtin *** 8727856 1081, Valiasr Ave.
Roudaki *** 679421 - 2 Arfa St., Hafez Ave.

Religion


According to the 1986 population census, a great majority of Iranians are moslems while there are also religious minorities who believe in different faiths.

Total Population %100
______________________________________
Moslems % 99.38
Zoroastrians %0.02
Jews %0.05
Christians %o.30
Other Religions %0.17
______________________________________

* Source : Population Geography of Iran ,A.A.Nazari ,Gita Shenassi Publications,1989,Tehran.

Persian Calligraphy

The aesthetic attributes of written words have been always appreciated in Iran. The advent of Islam redoubled the aesthetic value of words in the eyes of Iranians owing to the high significance they attached to Islamic texts.

During the 15th and 16th centuries calligraphy gained even more importance when it found its way into two other significant artistic forms of that period namely architecture and miniature.

The art of Persian calligraphy reached the peak of its perfection with the emergence of the Nastaliq style which display's the art's unique Persian characteristics. Initiated in mid 15th century, this fine style of Persian calligraphy was further completed by masters of the art during 16th and 18th centuries. The greatest master of this style was Mir Emad who died in the year 1617.

Beside Nastaliq, more classic styles like Kufi , Naskh and Thulth, as well as the newer style of Shikasta Nastaliq are still being practiced by thousands of aspiring Iranian calligraphers who are being trained by masters of the art across the country.

Agriculture


The agricultural products of Iran has sharply increased between the years 1979 and 1994. During those years the production capacity of Iran’s agricultural sector was boosted through the improvement of farming and gardening methods, controlling of superficial waters, and extraction of water from underground resources increasing the country’s irrigated farmlands from 5 million hectares in 1979 to 7.5 million hectares in 1994.












More farming and gardening products were produced during those years with a particular emphasis on the production of strategic products like wheat, barley, rice, cotton, sugar beet, grains , potato, onion and oil seeds.

According to the available statistics, there were only 4844 thousand hectares of wheat farmlands in Iran in 1979. With an annual growth rte of 3.7 percent the figure reached to 6781 thousand hectares in 1994 when more than 11 million tons of wheat was harvested in Iran.

In the meantime, improvement in agricultural methods and practices, the use of better fertilizers and pesticides and the employment of better pest control strategies raised the harvest of vegetables and fruits from less than 10 million tons in 1979 to more than 22 million tons in 19994. There are still more production potentials and capacities whose utilization needs further planning’s and allocation of further resources.

Currently only 20 out of the 51 million hectares of potential farmlands in Iran are productive; while only 32% of the water resources available for farming are being used. Meanwhile, there are more than 90 million hectares of pastures in Iran that can be used for production of fodder. These potentials and still many others are to be used in the second development plan.

In the area of livestock production, thanks to the planned use andent of the country’s production capacities, and the improvement of hygienic nutrition and breeding methods the production f meat, poultry a, egg and milk has risen during recent yeas. The production of meat has increased from 587 thousand tons in 1979 to 658 thousand tons in 1994. The increase in the production of poultry has been even greater. It has risen from 160 thousand tons in 1979 to 613 thousand tons in 1994 with an annual growth rate of 8.2 percent. In the meantime, the production of eggs and milk has been increased from 160 and 2620 thousand tons in 1979 to 466 and 4450 thousand tons in 1994.

At the same time, the production of fish which was only 15 thousand tons in 1979 has been increased to 351 thousand tons in 1994 with an annual growth rate of 20.4 percent marking an overall growth of 2340 percent.

Ecology

The great variety in the natural environment of Iran is enchanting. Every part of the country has its characteristic wildlife and plants thanks to the difference in temperature, climate and geographical attributes..

As far as the environment is concerned, Tehran province has ten protected sites the oldest ones of which are the two hundred-years-old national parks of Khojir and Sorkheh Hessar; two of the oldest of their kind world over. Characteristic of Tehran Province's wild life is the Central Alborz Ram (Ovis Vignei Arkali). The species is a blend of the Armenian and Oreal rams, with black mane and frontwards spiral horns. They live in rough highlands and migrate on seasonal basis. Their breeding time is late autumn, their delivery due in May, bearing usually a couple of cubs.

The best times for visiting these sites, as far as both scenery and wild life are concerned, are in the spring and late autumn.

Hamadan Province has two protected environmental sites, one in the west by the name of Assadabad and another in the east east, named Lashkar. The latter hosts antelope, ibex, ram, ewe and leopard. In the high plain of Assadabad lives the area's famous ewe bird. Among the other forms of wild life in this area are various types of birds of prey like Delijeh falcon, hawk, falcon, sparrow hawk and Balaban falcon as well as various migratory birds like geese, ducks, partridge and yellow partridge. Antelope and ibex are abundantly found in the highlands of this province. The latter has a pair of sword-like horns as long as 140 centimeters with a beard and a dark strap around the lower neck and chest which adds beauty to this animal. The region's antelope and ibex sometimes weigh up to 60 kilograms and live as long as 14 years. They live in rough rocky areas where they move quite easily.

Khorassan Province has six protected environment sites among which Tandoureh National Park located west of Daregaz is the most important one. This park has significant heights, deep valleys and an almost evergreen plant covering which makes it one of the major living places of Oreal ram. Antelope, ibex and leopard are virtually abundant in this region. There are gazelles in Mehrouyeh site located southwest of Esfarayen. Among the other protected zones are Sarigol in the east and Salouk in the west; both mountainous regions with Oreal ram and ewe. Still another is Sarani region on the border between Iran and former Soviet Union where there are plenty of juniper trees which make it an ideal living place for Oreal ram. Gharakhood region is also located in this province.

Major forms of wild life in this region are Oreal ram and ewe, antelope, ibex, Jir, leopard, partridge, Caucasian partridge, yellow partridge, grouse and various types of birds of prey and migratory birds. The Oreal ram is the largest of its kind in Iran. It has long white beard and spiral horns that lend it a certain grandeur. It lives in rocky hills with small trees and is best seen in late autumn. However, we suggest you visit the province's environment also in late spring.

Kerman province has two protected environmental sites. One of them is a wild life resort named Khabar va Rouchoun located south of Baft. To the north of this area there are the Khabar ranges with a covering of tropical trees including wild pistachio. A certain type of deer known by the name of Khabir lives in the southern part of this area.

Another wild life resort is Mehrouyeh in the southern part of the province where the Jiroft Bird, francolin and black bear live. Generally the wild life in Kerman province consists of ram, ewe, antelope, ibex, deer, Jir, leopard, black bear, and birds like partridge, yellow partridge, caucasian partridge, the Jiroft Bird, grouse and francolin as well as migratory birds and birds of prey. The Jiroft Bird which is a little bit smaller than a chicken sings beautifully and lives on tall bushes and trees. Its living places are the Persian Gulf region and the southern parts of Kerman province.

Suggested times of visiting the area are early spring and early autumn.

There are six protected environment zones in Fars province, the most important one of which is Bamu National Park; with its suitable plant covering located in the southeastern part of the province and its major forms of wild life being ram, ewe, antelope, ibex, deer, leopard, partridge and yellow partridge.

The second protected area is Bakhtagan located in the eastern part of the province where the two lakes of Bakhtagan and Teshk have provided the most suitable living place for migratory birds like crane, flamenco and an....

The third area is highly significant as it used to provide shelter for the Persian Lion and yellow deer. This region is located between the cities of Shiraz and Kazeroun and is the venue of the two lakes of Arjan and Parishan in the central part of the province that is host to migratory birds like cranes and geese. Recently, a number of yellow deer have been released in this region across the Zagross area forests.

Still another protected area of Fars province is Bahram-i Gur zone in the eastern part of the province which is one of the living places of the Iranian zebra and panther.

The tropical zone of Hermed in the southern part of the province is another one of the protected areas. Generally, the wild life of Fars province consists of ram, ewe, antelope, ibex, Jir, panther, zebra, partridge, yellow partridge, grouse and various types of migratory birds. One of the most important birds of Bakhtagan and Bahram-i Gur regions is bustard. It is a protected species of birds usually hunted by falcons. This bird which is of high interest in the Persian Gulf area is being extinct elsewhere except Iran. It weighs about two kilograms and lives and lays eggs in southern Iran. It looks like a she turkey.

Early spring is the best season for visiting the environmental zones of this province. The Jiroft Bird which is a little bit smaller than a chicken sings beautifully and lives on tall bushes and trees.

The most colorful variety of wildlife and environment, however, is found where there is a rich natural setting. Among area like this are the areas surrounding lake Uremia in northwestern Iran, the Caspian region in the north and the Hamoon region in the southeast.

ECONOMY




Iran's economy is composed of public, private and cooperative sectors. Although the private sector is very active in the country's industry and businesses , the economic activities of strategic importance are supervised by the government. Heavy industries like steel mills and heavy equipment manufacturing, power supply, oil, military industries, the railways , shipping , telecommunications, airlines and banking are among those overseen by the government, however, the private sector is a reliable contracting partner.

Vast oil and natural gas resources exist across the country. Oil is Iran's leading industry with a number of large refineries in Tehran, Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kermanshah and elsewhere.

While efforts have been under way to boost the country's non-petroleum exports, oil is still the most important Iranian commodity internationally. According to 1993 statistics released by the central bank of Iran, some of the items exported in the year 1992 have been listed here:

Goods Value in U.S. $ 1000
carpets 1133303
fruits 503498
pistachio 363933
leather 74187
caviar 23313
casings 42705
gum 3026
cumin 39879
cotton 4680
detergents 5363
inorganic chemical products 69088
shoes 25403
copper bars 157097
fabrics, stones and tiles 77650
construction material 28200
vehicles 72339


Although planning is under way to promote other industrial exports, agricultural and traditional goods were still on top of the list of the country's non - petroleum export in the year 1992:




Commodity Export Value in U.S. $ 1000
agricultural and traditional goods 2076630
metal ore 35592
industrial goods 682194
other commodities 142073

These figures have consistently increased in recent years and herald a reduction of dependency on oil.
Domesticaly, only five Iranian cities had natural gas supplied before the revolution, now the gas supply network covers 23 cities and 50 villages. Fifteen other cities son will join the network which is planned to encompass about 70 cities.

Several petrochemical complexes are currently producing a wide range of chemical products which includes fertilizers and new plants are expected to boost Iran's capability for export.

To complete the picture of Iran's economic structure let us review the country's gross national product and income by economic sector at current prices in billion Rials in 1990, 1991 and 1992:






SECTOR 1990 1991 1992

Agriculture 84191 112216 153920
Oil 37938 39897 56690
Mining & Manufacturing 64198 97782 130330
Services 173989 241926 325856
The table listed below indicates import - export trade balance.

Continent Import Export Trade Balance/1992

Europe (Germany, 1185641 96073 -1089568
UK, Italy, Switzer-
land, France)

Asia (Azerbaijan, 628632 89634 -538998
UAE, Indonesia,
Turkey, Taiwan)

Africa (Egypt, 11587 4078 -7509
Kenya, Tunisia)

America (Argentina,
US, Brazil, Canada) 159777 4820 -154957

Australia (New 24315 422 -23893
Zealand)

Total 2009925 195027 -1814925



The Iranian Currency: In January 1995 the US dollar was traded for less than 4000 Iranian Rials. The rate of exchange has remained stable for the one year since the new exchange policies were declared by the Iranian Central Bank. The exchange rate is slightly favorable to Rial's when you exchange money or buy things or tickets at your hotel or places other than banks. We suggest that you always trade your money at a bank, as exchanging money outside a bank is illegal.

Iranian coin denominations are: one , two, five, ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred and 250 Rials coins. Bank notes are: 100 , two hundred , 500, a thousand, 2000, five thousand and 10000 Rial notes. In daily conversations and transactions an older term of Iranian currency , Tuman, is more widely used. Every Tuman is valued at ten Rials. But remember you'll never see a Tuman note or coin because the term is used only in conversations.



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