Tehran, the latest and current capital of the land of Persia is considered by archaeologists to have a Neolithic history. However, if you track the written history of this region, you’ll find out that much is not written about this metropolis before the 13th century. The first records regarding the existence of Tehran mentions this city as an environ of the ancient city of Rey in the 11th. Findings show that Rey existed since 5000BC.  Until recently, Tehran was considered as a modern city with no ancient records, but in 2015 a 7000 years old skeleton of a woman discovered in sewage diggings changed everything.

Tehran was selected as the capital of Iran by the king of Qajar, Aqa-Mohammad-Khan around 200 years ago. His main reasons for selecting Tehran as his capital were its good climate, its beautiful gardens, its closeness to the fertile lands of Varamin, and most importantly, the presence of western tribes who were supporters of his reign, in that region.  Actually, at that time Tehran was a small village developed later, and today, as the economic and political capital of Iran, it is the largest city of the country.

Weather and language

The weather is almost mild in Tehran during April, May, September and also November.  In Tehran, people speak official and original Persian language. Since, there are various tribes because of immigrating in Tehran so, naturally there will be different dialects especially Turkish accent.

Although the village of Tehran was lost in the old history of Iran, but it was quite well-known for pomegranate since historians start to write about this city.

Being the administrative center of the country with the largest job market, Tehran has grown continuously in size and constructions. Today, the population of the capital is 14 million people and therefore it is considered as one of the bustling cities of the world.

The largest groups of people have moved to Tehran from corners of Iran, as a result, you can find a rich linguistic collection there. Native people of different language, such as different dialects of Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Lori, Mazandarani, Gilaki are living in Tehran.



Golestan Palace

Golestan palace is indeed a group of gardens and royal buildings built, reconstructed, expanded and renewed in many eras, from Shah Abbas, the king of Safavid, to Mohammad Reza Shah the last king of Pahavi dynasty.

As mentioned earlier, the beginning of Golestan construction is attributed to Shah Abbas, the king of Safavid dynasty, but Golestan as we know it now with its several building and environment was mostly constructed in Karim Khan Zand era. Its importance becomes the most in Qajar dynasty.

This palace is one of the palaces constructed by Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last King of Iran, before the revolution. The architectural style of Golestan Palace is inspired by European style and architecture.

It was built in the 18th century in the time of Qajar. There was the fortress of Nasser al-Din Shah in this site.  He erected it based on ‘Palace of Flowers’ in European. This citadel contained many sections such as offices, ministries and private living quarters. Golestan Palace is registered in UNESCO as a world heritage.

There are several parts and buildings in Golestan complex:

  • Ivan-e Takht-e Marmar

Ivan-e Takhte Marmar is a hall made in the time of Fath Ali Shah used as a place for holding ceremonies. Kings and nobles gathered there in Nowrouz and granted handsel to the common people.  It is decorated with mirror; it has open-fronted audience rooms. One of this building’s belongings is a marble throne, made off 65 pieces of marble stone. Agha Mohammad Khan, the king of Qajar made this throne and did his coronation ceremony on this marble throne too.

  • Khalvat-e Karim Khani

It is located in the northwest corner of Golestan complex. It is constructed in Karim Khan Era but most of it has been destroyed when Nasser al-Din Shah ordered the construction of Taler-e Salam, and only a small part of it remains. There is another marble throne here smaller and simpler than the main marble throne. It is said that Nasser al-Din Shah liked this place very much and often spent his time there smoking his Qalyan.

Nasser al-Din Shah’s gravestone is also kept in Khalvat-e Karim Khani. He was buried in Ray, but after the revolution, his gravestone was transferred to this place.

  • Negar Khane Art

Nagar Khane Art museum is a complex containing a collection of arts from Qajar era.  Nasser al-Din Shah established this museum. There are jewels and crowns and portraits of the King and also pictures of Iranian people showing their life style in 19th century drawn by Kamal-al-Molk.

Talar-e Ayeneh Museum

Talar-e Ayeneh (Hall of Mirrors) was built in 1877. It is one of the beautiful buildings of Golestan palace, located in the west side of Golestan complex. It is constructed simultaneously with Talar-e Salam. It is popular mostly because of a portrait of Nasser al-Din Shah, standing in this Talar, by the great Iranian painter, Kamal-al Mulk. This painting took 5 years to complete. It was the place where the coronation of Muhammad Reza Shah took place.

Azadi Tower

The famous Y-shaped tower which is located center of a vast Square was built under the command of Muhammad Reza Shah, the last king of Iran. It was built in 1971 as the symbol of modern Iran by Iranian architect, Hussein Amanat. Muhammad Reza Shah built this tower as a memorial of 2500th anniversary of Persian Kingdom. It was called Shahyad until Iran revolution. The architecture of this tower is a mixture of Achaemenid, Sassanid and Islamic architecture. Almost all over the world consider Azadi square as the symbol of Iran or at least the symbol of Tehran.

This building has 3 floors, four elevators, two staircases and 286 stairs. It is 45 meters high and 63 meters wide. The design of interior space is a mixture of tradition and modernism.

 It was reopened in 2006 after being closed for years.

The interior space of this tower contains City Theatre, Carpet Museum and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Milad Tower

Milad tower is a telecommunication and multifunctional tower with 435 meters height, including 120 meters of antenna.  Now in 2017 it is the tallest tower of Iran and the world’s sixth tallest free standing tower. But it was the highest tower in the world in 2012.

It was inaugurated in 2008. This octagonal-shaped tower includes 12 floors. There are many parts in Milad Tower including shopping centers, entertainment and tourism complex including dolfinarium, observation deck, sky dome, cinemas, theater, restaurants, museums, cafeterias, etc.

In recent years it is somehow changed into the symbol of Tehran.

Imamzadeh Saleh

Imamzadeh Saleh, is one of Moslems’ Eighth Imam’s brothers.  Imamzadeh Saleh is a holy mausoleum located at Tajrish Square in the north of Tehran. The mausoleum was built in Qajar Era in the 13th century. This Mausoleum has a courtyard, several family tomb chambers, a mosque, a sepulcher, a tomb and a cupola. This place has been repaired many times until now.

This mausoleum consists of two sepulchers which one of them is bigger and the other one consists of square panels. The former has three eastern, western and northern sides with a cover of silver-lattice, and the southern side is clad with wooden cage. In the northern entrance of the courtyard, you can see couplets on the background of tiles in praise of Imamzadeh Saleh. There are beautiful paintings inside of the sanctuary dated back to Qajar era.

Saad Abad Complex

Saad Abad is a palace which was a summer home in the time of Pahlavi with 104 hectares of spectacular mountainside parkland. This site has 18 royal buildings containing the royal dishware, royal automobiles and miniature paintings.

Tickets are sold separately for each place. For easier guidance, you can get an English map of the Museum. There are also free minibuses to take you in different directions of the museum outside the Palace. Below some of the buildings are listed:

  • White Palace (Mellat Palace Museum)

White Palace (National Palace) was a residence for Pahlavi at that time. It was built in the year of 1931. This Palace with 5000-sq-meters involves 54 rooms.

There is a carpet with 143-sq-meters in the ceremony hall. Dining Hall also contains a similar carpet and a table at the center of it and it is here that the shah, convinced the palace was bugged, dragged a table into the middle of the room and insisted both he and the American general he was entertaining climb on top before they spoke. At the back of the ground floor, there is a stainless-steel staircase.

  • Green Palace (Shahvand Palace)

Shahvand Palace is the most beautiful royal palace of Iran. Previously it belonged to Alikhan who was a land owner. The building was not finished yet while Reza Shah bought it, completed and furnished it. This palace is 1203 square meters in two stores. Its construction took 7 years to complete. Unique pearl green stones are used in tis palace and this is why it is called Green Palace or Stone Palace. It has been used by Reza Shah as place of residence and work office simultaneously. The most eye catching part of the Green Palace is the Mirror Hall (Talaar-e Ayneh) with a 70m2 carpet on its floor.

  • Fine Arts Museum
  • Master Mir Emad Calligraphy Museum ( the residence of Pahlavi children)
  • Royal Custom Museum (belonged to Shams, Mohammad Reza Shah’s daughter)
  • Master Behzad Museum
  • Royal Dishes Museum
  • Royal Albums and Historical Documents Museum
  • Water Museum
  • Royal Cars Museum
  • Royal Weapons Museum
  • Royal Kitchen Museum
  • Military Museum
  • Master Farshchian Miniature Museum
  • Omidvar Brothers Museum
  • Nations Art Museum

Tehran Great Bazaar

The oldest parts of Tehran Great Bazaar date back to Safavid Era, but in different times, for instance in Fath Ali Shah reign and in Naser al-Din Shah, two Kings of Qajar dynasty, several parts were added. The old parts are covered by domes in about 10 kilo meters long lanes. The Bazaar has several entrances. The main entrance is located in Sabze Meydan Square.

Lanes are typically specialized for specific goods and commodities; for example gold, spices, carpets, etc.

Below is the list of historical and natural sites of Tehran. We list them merely for your knowledge. Surfing Persia selects the most important and outstanding ones and manages to cover them in its itinerary. However, if there is a site which you insist on visiting but not included in your tour, please let us know. We will consider adding this item to your tour or replacing it with another site included in your itinerary. 

Golestan Complex

- Ivan-e Takht-e Marmar

- Khalvat-e Karim Khani

- Negar Khane Art

-Talar-e Ayeneh Museum

Saad Abad Complex

- White Palace (Mellat Palace Museum)

- Green Palace (Shahvand Palace)

- Fine Arts Museum

 - Master Mir Emad Calligraphy Museum (the residence of Pahlavi children)

- Royal Custom Museum (belonged to Shams, Mohammad Reza Shah’s daughter)

- Master Behzad Museum

- Royal Dishes Museum

- Royal Albums and Historical Documents Museum

- Water Museum

- Royal Cars Museum

- Royal Weapons Museum

- Royal Kitchen Museum

- Military Museum

- Master Farshchian Miniature Museum

- Omidvar Brothers Museum

- Nations Art Museum

Niavaran Complex

-Saheb Qaraniyeh Palace

- Niavaran Palace

- Ahmad Shahi Pavilion

- Jahan Nama Museum

- Royal Library

- Cars Museum

- Inscriptions Garden Museum


  • Milad Tower
  • Tochal Mountain (known as “Baam-e Tehran)
  • Nature Bridg
  • Khalij-e Fars Lake
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Azadi Tower
  • National Jewelries Museum
  • Imam Khomeini Shrine
  • United States’ former Embassy
  • Contemporary Arts Museum
  • Carpet Museum of Tehran
  • Sepahsalar Mosque
  • Sepahsalar School
  • Glass and Ceramics Museum
  • Sarkis Cathedral
  • Dar al-Fonun Museum
  • Post and Communication Museum
  • Imamzadeh Saleh
  • Toghrol Tower
  • Tejarat Bank
  • Darabad Museum (natural history)
  • Qazzaq Khaneh
  • Tehran Peace Museum
  • Music Museum
  • Qasr Museum Garden
  • The Minatare Garden Park
  • National Museum of Iran
  • Masoudiyeh Mansion
  • Negarestan Garden
  • Birds Garden
  • Gonbad-e Mina Planetarium
  • Aknoon Art Gallery
  • Moghadam house
  • Try Dizi in Darband
  • Try Zoghal akhte in summer and Chaqale Badom (fresh almond) in spring,
  • Try pomegranate juice and fresh walnut in autumn
  • Try Doogh-e Ab Ali
  • Ghormeh Sabzi
  • Fesenjan
  • Dizi
  • Chelo Kabab
  • Raisins
  • Herbs
  • Paintings on leather

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