Tehran (Persian: تهران Tehrān, pronounced [tʰehˈɾɒn]) is the capital and largest city of Iran, and the administrative center of Tehran Province. Tehran is a sprawling city at the foot of the Tochal mountain range with an immense network of highways unparalleled in Western Asia. The city is famous for its numerous resorts on the Alborz slopes, large museums, art centers, and palace complexes.
Tehran is the largest city in the Middle East and is the 16th most populated city in the world with a population of around 7,800,000 people. Most Iranian industries are headquartered in Tehran, including the manufacturing of automobiles, electrical equipment, military weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. Tehran is also a leading center for the sale of carpets and furniture. There is an oil refinery located south of the city.
In the 20th century, Tehran faced a large migration of people from all around Iran. Today, the city contains various religious minorities, and has many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. Contemporary Tehran is a modern and expensive city featuring many skyscrapers, of which the Azadi Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself.
The origin of the name Tehran is unknown. Excavations place the existence of settlements in Tehran as far back as 6000 BC. Tehran was well known as a village in the 9th century, but was less well-known than the city of Rhages (Ray) which was flourishing nearby in the early era. In the 13th century, following the destruction of Ray 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 (written in 1340) as a famous village.
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 (now in Uzbekistan) and the Mongol capital at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.
Tehran became a residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th century. Tahmasp I built a bazaar and a wall around the city, but it somewhat fell out of favor after Abbas I turned sick when he was passing the city to go to a war with the Uzbeks.
In the early of 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, a harem, 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.
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, hot and dry in the summer, pleasant in the autumn, and cold in the winter. As a large city with a significant differences in elevation among various districts, the weather is often cooler in the hilly north as compared to the flat southern part of Tehran. Summer is usually hot and dry with very little rain, but relative humidity is generally low and the nights are cool. The majority of the light annual precipitation occurs from late-autumn to mid-spring, but not any month is particularly wet. The hottest month is July (mean minimum temperature 23°C, mean maximum temperature 36°C) and the coldest is January (mean minimum temperature -1°C, mean maximum temperature 8°C).
Art and Culture
As Iran’s capital city, Tehran, has a wealth of culture attractions. Many of the well-known museums of Iran such as the Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran, The Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran’s Underglass painting Museum, Sa’dabad Palace Complex, Niavaran Palace Complex and Safir Office Machines Museum are located inside Tehran. Golestan Palace in Tehran is the home to the Peacock Throne, and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art features the works of great international artists such as Andy Warhol, Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.