For more than three thousand years Persia was a melting pot of civilizations and demographic movements between Asia and Europe.
Under Cyrus the Great, it became the centre of the world's first empire. Successive invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols and Turks developed the nation's culture through rich and diverse philosophical, artistic, scientific and religious influences.
Most people today, know Persia or Iran through its carpets, its caviar, its costly war with its neighbor Iraq, or through its importance as one of the world's major oil-producing nations.
(Iran holds the largest natural gas reserves in the Middle East, and ranks second in the world) also petroleum, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur..Yet, Persia has one of the richest and oldest cultures in the world.
Iranians are a people of considerable ethnic and linguistic diversity, heirs to the many peoples that invaded the Iranian plateau over the millennia. The Indo-European speaking (or Aryans), Turks, Mongols, Arabs and others all contributed to today’s racial and ethnic mix.
The Iranian minorities include the Azaris who form the largest minority at 25%, the Kurds at 9%, the Arabs at 4%, the Lors at 2%, the Turkmens at 2%, Assyrians, Armenians 1%.and the nomads (the Bakhtiaris, the Baluchis, the Qashqais...), together with a few groups along the Caspian Sea, such as the Gilani, the Mazandarani and the Taleshi.
The national language of Iran is Persian (Farsi). Other Iranian dialects include Turkish Azari in Azerbaijan, Turkish Turkmen in the north-east, Arabic in Khuszestan, Kurdish, Baluch, Bakhtiari, and Lor., Armenian, Assyrian.
Since the dawn of history, Persia has been a distinct and important cultural entity. Its position as a vast natural fortress, with mountain ranges, enabled the Persians to preserve their individuality inspite of the conquests by the Arabs (7th century), the Turks (10th century), and the Mongols (13th to 15th centuries).
The country has always been known to its own people as Iran (land of the Aryans), although for centuries it was referred to as Persia (Pars or Fars, a province in southern Iran) by the Europeans, mainly due to the writings of Greek historians. In 1935 the Government specified that it should be called Iran; however, in 1949 they allowed both names to be used.
The population is about 65 million and increasing rapidly at an annual rate of around 3.28 per cent .
The largest cities after Tehran are Isfahan, Mashad, Tabriz, Shiraz and Qazvin.
The currency is the Iranian Rial (IRR). The "Toman" (10 rials) is the monetary unit commonly used. Prices are usually quoted in Tomans.
On arrival at an Iranian home, or a business meeting, visitors are served tea, often with pastries and followed by fruit and possibly nuts.
Today, Iran remains a country rich in traditions, with a culture which has had great influence on other countries, both in Central Asia, and throughout the world.
PERSIAN EMPIRE founded by Cyrus The Great 560 B.C.
Inscribed on a clay cylinder in cuneiform discovered in 1879
by Hormoz Rasam in Babylon and now in The British Museum.
. .When my soldiers in great numbers peacefully entered Babylon... I did not allow anyone to terrorize the people...
I kept in view the needs of people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being... Freed all the slaves
I put an end to their misfortune and slavery ...
Iran has a total land area of 1.6 million square kilometres.
It has common borders with 7 countries Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
To its immediate south lie Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Oman. The western and northern areas
are very mountainous. Stretching from the north western corner to the south is the broad Zagros range, with
ridges consistently above 1,500 metres and up to 3,600 metres. Across the north lies the Alborz range, which
is narrower but higher (one peak, Damavand, is more than 5,400 metres).
Tehran is situated at the foot of the southern slopes of the Alborz. Between the two systems lies a great plateau, covering
two-thirds of the country and up to 1,800 metres in altitude, itself bisected by many smaller mountain ranges.
In South of Iran, Khuzestan the center of the Iranian oil industry suffered heavily during the Iran-Iraq war.
The dryness of much of Iran south of the Alborz contrasts with the small but heavily populated provinces of Mazandaran
and Gilan along the Caspian Sea, where the average rainfall ranges up to 212 cms and the vegetation is green and
lush. Forests, tea plantations, rice paddies and citrus groves stretch down to the grey expanses of the Caspian sea.
Azerbaijan, in the north west, and northern Khorassan, in the north east, also enjoy enough rainfall for a reasonably
flourishing agriculture, although winters are very severe.
Over the rest of the country where rainfall is low, water resources are generally limited to irrigation or oasis farming .
Elam of Ancient Persia
Iran, Historical Background
More Abut IRAN
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