Major facts need to know before traveling to Iran

Iran is a diverse land of climate where everyone can experience all four season in a single day. Also, Iran is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country and due to its variety of ethnic groups, it is like a puzzle of different cultures which considered one of its attractions. 

This article attempts to point out some of the Iran major facts. These facts include the historical, cultural, climatic, religious, artistic and legal issues that tourists need to know about Iran.

Iran fast facts

Iran (ایران‎), also called Persia with a history of eight thousand years is one of the oldest civilization in the world. This country has 80 million inhabitants and is the second populated country in the Middle East. In the opinion of UNESCO specialists, it is  in the list of the top-ranking countries with the wealthiest cultural and historical heritage in the world (23 sites). Rich history, numerous ancient cities, old markets, and magnificent monuments are just a small piece of the beauty of Iran. Regardless of numbers and counts, where is Iran?

Iran UNESCO Sites

Iran UNESCO Sites

Iran borders the Caspian Sea as the largest lake in the world and the Persian Gulf. This country connects to high seas through the Oman Sea (Gulf of Oman). Iran is one of the oldest civilized countries that locates in the Middle East region. The land connects to Europe via Turkey which is the most critical link between East and West from the past to now.

Cyrus, the Great | Pasargadae

Cyrus liberated Babylon and Jews were able to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple.

The four-season Iran

Iran is a diverse land of climate where everyone can experience all four season in a single day. The temperature of the mountainous zones which leads to the west can drop below freezing in the winter and heavy snow covers the land all over. Against the mountainous regions, the southern coastal plains are mild in the winter. Any time of the year, Iran has its own specialties to present. You can find the lush forests and evergreen landscapes on its north, the Persian Gulf with hot and humid weather on its south, desert basins and salt lakes on its east and mountainous areas on its west.

iran facts

Iranian culture and ethnic groups

Iran is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country. The main ethnic groups you can find in Iran are Persians, Azaris, Kurds, Lors, Turkmen, and Baluchis. The majority of the population speaks Farsi (Persian), but a significant portion of Iranians speak other languages or dialects such as Azeri (Turkic and Turkic dialects), Kurdish, Lori, Arabic, Baluchi, Gilaki, and Mazandarani. Everyone misses the beauty of Iran without talking about its people. Iranians are reputable as friendly and hospitable people in the world. They will extend a helping hand to even strangers, so you need not to worry when you ask someone for help. Iranians are family oriented people who take pride in their heritage, and you will almost always find families hanging out together.

Iran Culture

Due to its variety of ethnic groups, Iran is like a puzzle of different cultures which considered one of its attractions. The country’s rich cultural legacy is deeply interwoven with its long history, especially from the Achaemenid Empire. Iran’s cultural growth has begun for a long time, and visitors can see its remnants in the Iranian art heritage.

Iran's women traditional clothing

Women traditional clothes in Iran | Shalvar, Cummerbund, Headdress, and Long Robes

Be sure to become a cultural shock when you’re in Iran. Of course, we assume that you have increased your information from Iran before traveling. However, paying attention to cultural issues is one of the major facts of traveling to Iran. For example, you naturally shakes hands women and maybe kiss them. It’s better not to shake hands with women unless the female outstretches her hand in Iran.

Persian art

One of the Iran major facts is interweaving Iranian life with traditional arts. For example, when you enter any home in Iran, you will find many carpets on the floor which most of them are handmade carpets or you will undoubtedly see the Divan of Hafiz on the table. Iranians always like to read poetry.

Kalpouregan pottery originated thoughts of Balouch Craftswomen, Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran

The beginnings of art in Iran dates back to a few thousand years ago. Relict historical places from Elamite and Achaemenid periods imply this issue very well. The oldest historical sites of Iran encompass Chogha Zanbil, Persepolis, Pasargad, Necropolis and Takht-e Soleyman. Weaving, metalworking, painting, pottery, architecture, music and calligraphy are among the most important arts in Iran. Perhaps this statement by Xenophon (5th century BC) suggests the importance of carpet weaving in Iran.

Iran music facts

Persian Dance in Wall Painting of Chehelsotoun, Isfahan | Photo by Yaghoub Asadi

He said Iranians use carpets to soften their beds. The oldest rug in the world, derived from Iranian art, is Pazyryk which illustrates the importance of this art in Iran.

Art of carpet veawing

Much of the art and architecture which have come to be associated with Islamic culture. Iran’s few completely roofed mosques with the beautiful Islamic architecture proves this fact. The handicrafts such as Khatamkari and Minakari are still alive and unique. They can be seen in museums or at the bazaars.


Religion is one of the undeniable facts in Iran. The majority of people are Muslim ,and you find out this reality by watching through a lens of community.

Yazd Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Yazd Zoroastrian Fire Temple

Praising the unique and compassionate God has been practiced in Iran for thousands of years. Before the advent of Islam in Iran, the religion of the majority of Iranians was Zoroastrianism which is one of the oldest religions in the world. The foundation of this religion is relying on “good thought, good speech, and good deeds.” The Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion and still exists in Iran with its long history. Nowadays, most of the Zoroastrians live in Yazd (UNESCO Site) and around it. The works of some Zoroastrian faiths have been preserved among Iranians such as the importance of fire and respect to it.

Kara Kelisa St. Thaddeus Monastery

St. Thaddeus Monastery (UNESCO Site) | According to the legends, it dates back to AD 68.

Islam is the dominant religion in this country. Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians as minorities have lived alongside each other in peace and harmony for centuries. They carry their hymns of monotheism from their places of worship to distant corners of the country. Iran has the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Iran facts

Facade of Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

The Jews entered Iran since the time of Cyrus and have been living in this country. Tehran and Isfahan are the main centers of Jewish life in Iran. Christianity is the largest minority religion. The 9th-century Monastery of Saint Stepanos is the part of Iran’s Armenian Monastic Ensembles on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Iran important laws

If you travel to Iran as a tourist, pay attention that some of the Iran laws are entirely different from your country. These special laws are considered as the major facts of Iran.

Iran as a Muslim country implements all laws in an Islamic way. When traveling to Iran, it is useful to know in advance which rules and regulations apply to not get to in trouble.

  • You need to observe the Islamic dress code. Women must cover their heads with a headscarf and put on the clothes which cover their body completely.
  • Drinking alcohol is forbidden.
  • Don’t touch a man or a woman who is in your opposite sex.
  • Try not to shake hands with Iranian women except if they initiate this.
  • Affection in public places is impermissible.
  • Taking a photo near the military and other government installations is illegal.
  • Importing pork products is illegal.

It is just the list of important laws in Iran that the visitors need to know when traveling to Iran for the first time. Keep in mind, Iran is more open and comfortable to visit than you think.

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