The Pearl of the Orient – Iran’s Path
Iran’s almost 7,000-year old history is characterized by various highs and lows. These don’t only take place within the country’s borders, but also reach beyond to various countries in the region, over India, China and Central Asia up to the Caucasus, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. The ancient cultures and civilizations that inhabited Iran were quite diverse, and they have their traces in many places of the country and even in the contemporary population themselves. These traces can be found in archeological sites that that have been preserved for 7,000 years, such as the “burnt city” in Zabol (Shahr-e soukhteh Zabol), in Persepolis (“Takht-e Jamshid”), “Pasargad”, located near the city of Shiraz, as well as in the city Bistoun in Kermanshah, which been there for 2,500 years. Other archeological gems can be found on the plaza “Naghshe-Jahan” in Isfahan, with its beautiful mosques, palaces, and churches, which have been built 500 years ago, in Hegmataneh close to Hamadan, and in the various intriguing museums in each and every city.
Iran’s variety in climate and geography also attracts many visitors. The cold plateaus and impressive mountains create a fantastic mountain range in the northern and western regions of the country, with the highest elevation (on the Damavand mountain) being up to 5,670 meters in height. The flatlands lying at the coast of the Caspian Sea often dip below sea level. Crossing the dry, hot desert areas in the center of the land can often prove to be an intriguing adventure, provided one has the proper equipment and experienced travel guides. In the northern regions close to the Caspian Sea one can discover a couple of skiing slopes that they covered in snow even in the summer, as well as some beautiful forests. A trip into these areas surely to be a pleasing experience for all nature enthusiasts, especially those who like adventure in travels.
Other breathtaking sights include the islands in the Persian Gulf, the caves in the central regions that can often be many kilometers long, as well as the many rivers, lakes and warm springs. Visitors will also appreciate the uniqueness of the architectural diversity found in the buildings of cities and villages, each one of which represents the characteristics of Iran’s different climate zones. People today still live in “Abyaneh” and in the rock village of “Kandowan”.
The culture is quite impressive too. Every tribe has its own center or city with its own traditions, foods, clothes, and dialect or language. Iranian science, art, and literature are world-renowned. There is barely anyone who has never heard of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Abu Reyhan Biruni, Hafez and Saadi, Kharazmi, or Zakarya Razi, or hasn’t been interested in visiting the country that brought forth these talented persons. Iran is also an epicenter for handicrafts, such as the knotting of silk rugs, the making of miniatures and carvings, inlay work, clay artifacts, and hundreds of other handicrafts which are very reminiscent of the stories of “A Thousand and One Nights”.
Since Iranians have always put a great value on religion throughout their history, religious sites as well as Islamic, Christian, and Zoroastrian pilgrimage sites too, belong to the top tourist attractions of the country.