Photo: Sam Anvari.


Photo: Hamed Saber

Capital of Iran, officially with 7.5 million (2005 estimate), but with perhaps as much as 10 million inhabitants or more (governmental control here is not working anymore). Teheran is situated on a sandy plateau north in Iran, about 1,200 meters above sea level and just south of the Alborz Mountains and north of Central Plateau of Iran. The Jajrud and the Karaj rivers run on each side of the city. The capital forms its own province, called Teheran.

Teheran is also the capital of Teheran province with 12 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 19,196 km².
Teheran is the economic and administrative center of Iran.

The economic base of the city is food-processing, textiles, cement, bricks, sugar, chinaware, pottery, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals in addition to cars being assembled. Teheran is also the administrative center of the country’s oil industry.

About half of the manufactured goods of Iran are produced in Teheran. Half of the workforce of Teheran work for the national or the local governments.

The shape and organization of the city were strongly modified during the Pahlavis reign (1925- 1979) while most of modern Teheran are new constructions and houses.

The major landmarks of Teheran are the Sepah-salar Mosque, the Baharstan Palace (now parliament), the Shams ol-Emareh, and the Niavaran Palace. Some major houses have been turned into museums, like the Golestan Palace, the Saadabad Palace, and the Marmar Palace.

Teheran is connected by road to all major cities in Iran, but distances are often vast. The railway reaches large parts of the country. There is one international airport and 2 smaller airports. Connections to other Iranian cities are well-developed.

The Iran University of Science and Technology was founded in 1928, the University of Teheran in 1932, Shahid Beheshti University was founded in 1959. Altogether there are about 40 institutions for higher education.

The spelling of Teheran is going more and more in direction of “Tehran”. The name comes from Old Persian “teh ran”, meaning “warm place.” Teheran has warm summers and cold winters, often with snow. Rainfall is only 200 mm annually.

In modern times, Teheran suffers from extreme air pollution, most of it originating from the heavy traffic and the use of oil by the industry. Some measures have been taken to help this problem, like encouraging buses and taxis to use compressed natural gas instead of petroleum. A 3 line underground rail system also helps reduce the heavy traffic.

The majority of Teheran’s population are Persians, but Azerbaijanis represent about 25% of the inhabitants. Other important minority groups are Kurds and Gilakis. About 99% are Muslims, the rest are Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews.

4th century: Historical evidence indicating that Teheran is a suburb of Rayy (now Shahr-e Rey) about 10 km south.
1221: Teheran is established as the most important regional town after the destruction of Rayy by the Mongols.
16th century: Teheran becomes the residence of Safavid rulers.
1722: Teheran is occupied by the Afghans.
1729: Nadir Shah frees Teheran.
1788: Agha Mohammad Khan, the founder of the Qajar Dynasty, makes the Teheran capital of Persia.
1925: With the fall of the Qajar dynasty, the new shah, Reza Pahlavi starts a wide expansion of the country’s capital.
1980’s: Strong increase of the population of Teheran, which in 1976 was 4.5 million.
1999: The Teheran metro opens.


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