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تهران Tehrān
Tehran skyline

Nickname(s): "The City of Lights"

"Persian Capital"

"The Great Tehran"
Tehran is located in Iran
Coordinates: 35°41′46″N 51°25′23″E Coordinates: 35°41′46″N 51°25′23″E
Country  Iran
Province Tehran
County Tehran
Bakhsh Central
 • Mayor Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf
 •  City Council Chairman: Mehdi Chamran
 • Urban 730 km2 (280 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,274 km2 (492 sq mi)
Elevation 1,200 m (3,900 ft)
Population (2012) 12,223,598
 • Density 10,327.6/km2 (26,748.3/sq mi)
 •  Metro 13,828,365
 • Population Rank in Iran 1st
  Population Data from 2006 Census and Tehran Municipality. Metro area figure refers to Tehran Province.
Time zone IRST ( UTC+03:30)
 • Summer ( DST) IRDT ( UTC+04:30)
Area code(s) 021

Tehran (pronunciation) ( Persian: تهرانTehrān; pronounced  [tehˈɾɒːn]), sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of 12,223,598 it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, the largest city in Western Asia and the 5th-largest city globally.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tehran has been the subject to mass migration of people from all around Iran. The city is home to many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. Contemporary Tehran is a modern city featuring many structures, of which the Azadi (Freedom) Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself. Tehran is 29th by the population of its metropolitan area. Throughout Iran's history, the capital has been moved many times, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran. Persian is the city's native tongue, spoken by roughly 98% of the population. The majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Tehran was called Ray (which in the Avesta occurs in the form of Ragha).


Tehran map in 1857

Tehran historically was known as Ray which is etymologically connected to the Old Persian and Avesta Rhaga. The city was a major area of the Iranian speaking Medes and Achaemenids. In the Zoroastrian Avesta, Widewdat, i, 15, Ragha is mentioned as the twelfth sacred place created by Ahura-Mazda. In the Old Persian inscriptions (Behistun 2, 10–18), Ragha appears as a province. From Ragha, Darius the Great sent reinforcements to his father Wishtaspa, who was putting down the rebellion in Parthia (Behistun 3, 1–10). Damavand mountain located near the city also appears in the Shahnameh as the place where Freydun bounds the dragon-fiend Zahak. In the Persian mythological and legendary events. Kayūmarṯ, the Zoroastrian prototype of human beings and the first king in the Shahnameh, was said to have resided in Damāvand. In these legends, the foundation of the city of Damavand was attributed to him. Arash, the archer who sacrificed his body by giving all his strength to the arrow that demarcated Iran and Turan, shot his arrow from Mount Damāvand. This Persian legend was celebrated every year in the Tiregan festival. A popular feast is reported to have been held in the city of Damavand on 7 Šawwāl 1230, or in Gregorian calendar, 31 August 1815. During the alleged feast the people celebrated the anniversary of Zahhaks death. In the Zoroastrian legends, the tyrant Zahak is to finally be killed by the Iranian hero Garšāsp before the final days. In some Middle Persian texts, Ray (Ragha) is given as the birthplace of Zoroaster although modern historians generally place the birth of Zoraster in Khorasan. In one Persian tradition, the legendary king Manūčehr was born in Damavand.

A street in Tehran during 1930s. Among the most affluent villages in Tehran are Velenjak, Elahiye and Zaferaniyeh

During the Sassanid era, Yazdegerd III in 641 issued from Ray his last appeal to the nation before fleeing to Khorasan. The sanctuary of Bibi Shahr-Banu situated in modern Tehran spur and accessible only to women is associated with the memory of the daughter of Yazdagird who, according to tradition, became the wife of al-Husayn b. Ali, the third Shi'ite Imam. Ray was the fief of the Persian Mihran family and Siyawakhsh the son of Mihran the son of Bahram Chubin resisted the Arab invasion. Because of this resistance, when the Arabs captured Ray, they ordered the town to be destroyed and ordered Farrukhan b. Zaynabi b. Kula to rebuild the town.

The original Parliament Building built in the 1920s

In the 10th century, Ray is described in detail in the work of Islamic geographers. Despite the interest of Baghdad displayed in Ray, the number of Arabs there was insignificant, and the population consisted of Persians of all classes. but the city recovered during the Saljuqid and Khwarazmian era. The Mongols laid Ray to complete waste and according to Islamc historians of the era, virtually all of its inhabitants were massacared. The city is mentioned in later Safavid chronicles as an unimportant city.

The origin of the name Tehran is unknown. 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. Najm al-Din Razi known as Dayya gives the population of Ray as 500,000 before the Mongol invasion. 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.

There is also a shrine there, dedicated to commemorate Princess Shahr Banu, eldest daughter of the last ruler of the Sassanid Empire. She gave birth to Ali Zayn al Abidin, the fourth holy Imam of the Shia faith. This was through her marriage to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. A nearby mountain is also named after her. However, some sources attribute the shrine to the goddess of water and fertility, Anahita, claiming it was renamed in Islamic times to protect it from any possible harm after the conversion of Iranians to Islam.

The "Big Three": From left to right: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill on the portico of the Soviet Embassy during the Tehran Conference of 1943.

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) the capital of Timur, who ruled Iran at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.

Green Palace at the Sadabad Palace complex

In the early 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, 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.

Azadi square and tower, 1971

In the 1920s and 30s, the city essentially was rebuilt from scratch under the rule of the Shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah believed that ancient buildings such as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Takieh-ye Dowlat, the Toopkhaneh Square, the city fortifications and the old citadel among others should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically destroyed and modern buildings in the pre-islamic Iranian style, such as the National Bank, the Police Headquarters, the Telegraph Office and the Military Academy were built in their place. The Tehran Bazaar was divided in half and many historic buildings were destroyed in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many Persian gardens also fell victim to new construction projects.

During World War II, Soviet and British troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference in 1943, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

In the 1960s and 70s Tehran was rapidly developing under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Modern buildings altered the face of Tehran and ambitious projects were envisioned for the following decades. The majority of these projects were continued after the Islamic revolution of 1979 when Tehran's urbanization had reached its peak, and the new government started many other new projects, such as Milad Tower. During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the target of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes.


Tehran features a semi-arid, continental climate ( Köppen climate classification BSk). 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 and autumn, hot and dry in the summer, and cold in the winter. Because the city is large with significant differences in elevation among various districts, the weather is often cooler in the hilly north than in the flat southern part of Tehran. For instance, The 17.3 KM Vali E Asr street runs from the Tehran's railway station than (1117 meters elevation above see level) in the south of the city to the Tajrish square (1612 meters elevation above see level) in the north.

"Although the elevation can even getting up to 1900 meters in end of the Velenjak street in north of Tehran."

View of Mount Damavand as seen from the Dizin ski resort.

Summer is usually hot and dry with very little rain, but relative humidity is generally low and the nights are cool. Most of the light annual precipitation occurs from late autumn to mid-spring, but no one month is particularly wet. The hottest month is July (mean minimum temperature 26 °C; mean maximum temperature 36 °C) and the coldest is January (mean minimum temperature −1 °C; mean maximum temperature 8°C).

Although Tehran enjoys a more moderate climate than other parts of the country, the weather can sometimes be unpredictably harsh. The record high temperature is 43 °C and the record low is −15 °C. Winters are becoming snowless, but it still snows every year. On January 5 and 6, 2008, after years of relatively little snow, a wave of heavy snow and low temperatures covered the city in a thick layer of snow and ice, forcing the Council of Ministers to officially declare a state of emergency and closing down the capital on January 6 and 7.

Tehran in 1985 and 2009

In February 2005, heavy snow covered all of part of the city. Snow depth was 15 cm (6 in) in south part of the city and 100 cm (39 in) in the north of city. More than 70 flights were cancelled on Tuesday alone, and many others have been delayed. One newspaper said it was the worst weather for 34 years, and the forecast is for more snow in the coming days. 10,000 bulldozers and 13,000 municipal workers deployed to keep the main roads open.

Tehran has seen an increase in relative humidity and annual precipitation in the last ten years. This is most likely because of the afforestation projects which also include expanding parks and lakes. The northern parts of Tehran are still more lush than the southern parts.

Climate data for Tehran
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 19.6
Average high °C (°F) 7.9
Average low °C (°F) −1
Record low °C (°F) −15
Precipitation mm (inches) 34.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 166.6 172.7 210.9 267.0 287.8 348.2 366.4 351.4 327.4 278.6 147.4 141.2 3,065.6


A snowy day in Tehran

The city of Tehran (not to be confused with the larger, Metropolitan Tehran) had a population of approximately 7.8 million in 2006. With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Tehran is home to diverse ethnic and linguistic groups from all over the country. The native language of the city is the Tehrani accent of Persian and the majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persian. Minority groups include Azeri, Kurds, Arabs, Baluch, Armenians, Bakhtiari, Assyrians, Talysh, and more. According to a 2010 census conducted by the Sociology Department of Tehran University in many districts of Tehran across various socio-economic classes in proportion to population sizes of each district and socio-economic class, 63% of people in Tehran were born in Tehran, 98% know Persian, 67% identify themselves as ethnic Persian, and 13% have some degree of proficiency in a European language.

Ferdowsi square

Tehran saw a drastic change in its ethno-social composition in the early 1980s. After the political, social and economic consequences of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 and the years that followed, some Iranian citizens, mostly Tehranis, left Iran due to mounting political, social and,religious pressure. Many Iranians moved to countries such as Canada, the United States, France, Sweden and other European countries. The highest Iranian emigration has been to the United States, France and Canada.

With the start of the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988) following an Iraqi invasion, a second wave of inhabitants fled the city, especially during Iraqi air offensive on the capital. With most major powers backing Iraq at that time, economic isolation caused even more reasons for the inhabitants to leave the city (and the country). Having left all they had and having struggled to adapt to a new country and build a life, most of them never came back when the war was over. During the war, Tehran also received a great number of migrants from the west and the southwest of the country bordering Iraq.

Tehran's skyline in night

The unstable situation and the war in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq prompted a rush of refugees into the country who came in millions, with Tehran being a magnet for modest workers who helped the city to recover from war wounds, charging far less than local construction workers. Many of these refugees are being repatriated with the assistance of UNHCR but there are still sizable groups of Afghan and Iraqi refugees in Tehran who are reluctant to leave, being pessimistic about the situation in their respective country of origin. Afghan refugees are mostly Persian-speaking Hazara or Tajiks, speaking a dialect of Persian, and Iraqi refugees, who are mainly Shia Muslim Mesopotamian Arabic-speakers of Iranian origin.

The majority of Tehranis are believed to be moderate followers of Twelver Shia Islam, which is also the state religion, but it cannot be confirmed independently for lack of independent statistics. Religious minorities include followers of various sects of Sunni Islam, Mystic Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity (including the adherents of the Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian Apostolic Church, Roman Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic Church, Iranian Protestant churches like Jama'at-e Rabbani (Assemblies of God), Armenian Evangelical Church, Armenian Brotherhood Church, Russian Orthodox Church, and the Presbyterian Church) and some from the Bahá'í Faith. Tehran also has small number of third generation Iranian Sikh community that has a gurudwara visited by Indian Prime Minister in 2012. Despite being the seat of a theological government and the fact that most important religious unions and academies of the country are based in Tehran, half of the city (northern area) remains the most liberal in the nation, a fact that attracts many young people from elsewhere to study in the capital.

Capital relocation

Plan to move the capital has been discussed many times in prior years. In 2010, the government of Iran announced that "for security and administrative reasons" the plan to move the capital from Tehran has been finalized. The Majlis named Shahroud, Esfahan and Semnan as three of main candidates to replace Tehran as the capital. There are plans to relocate 163 state firms to the provinces and several universities from Tehran to avoid damages from a potential earthquake. President Ahmadinejad suggested that 5 million residents should migrate out of Tehran. As a starting point, Iranian authorities are relocating all defense-related industries out of the capital.

Location and subdivisions

District 1:
 • Čizar
 • Dar Abad
 • Darake
 • Darband
 • Džamaran
 • Velenjak
 • Gejtarije
 • Nobonjad
 • Tadžriš
 • Zafaranije
District 2:
 • Farahzad
 • Shahrara
 • Giša
 • Punak-e
 • Sadat Abad
 • Sadegije
 • Šahrak-e Garb
 • Šahrak-e
 • Tarašt
 • Tovhid
District 3:  • Darus
 • Davudije
 • Ehtijarije
 • Golhak
 • Vanak
 • Žordan
District 5:
 • Bulvar-e
 • Džanat Abad
 • Ekbatan
 • Punak
District 6:
 • Amir Abad
 • Aržantin
 • Jusef Abad
 • Park-e Lale
District 4:
 • Hak Sefid
 • Hakimije
 • Lavizan
 • Ozgol
 • Pasdaran
 • Resalat
 • Šams Abad
 • Šemiran No
 • Tehranpars
 • Zargande
District 7:
 • Abas Abad
 • Behdžat
 • Emam
 • Sabalan
District 8:
 • Moalem
 • Narmak
 • Samangan
District 13:
 • Dušan Tape
 • Niru Havaji
 • Teheran No
District 14:
 • Čaharsad
 • Dulab
 • Esfahanak
 • Horasan
 • Sad Dastgah
District 10:
 • Berjanak
 • Haft Čenar
 • Salsabil
District 11:
 • Dohanijat
 • Laškar
 • Monirije
 • Šejh Hadi
District 12:
 • Baharestan
 • Bazar-e Tehran
 • Firdusi
 • Gorgan
 • Park-e Šar
 • Pič-e Šemiran
District 17:
 • Emamzade
 • Hazane Falah
 • Kale Morgi
District 15:
 • Afsarije
 • Bisim
 • Havaran
 • Kijanšar
 • Masudije
 • Moširije
District 16:
 • Ali Abad
 • Bag-e Azari
 • Hazane
 • Jahči Abad
 • Nazi Abad
District 19:
 • Abdol Abad
 • Hava Niruz
 • Nemat Abad
District 20:
 • Dovlat Abad
 • Džavanm.-e
 • Ebn-e
 • Hazrat-e
 • Sizdah-e
District 9:
 • Džej
 • Sar-Asjab
District 18:
 • Čahar Bari
 • Jaft Abad
 • Šad Abad
 • Šahrak-e
 • Tolid Daru
District 21:
 • Iran Hodro
 • Tehransar
 • Vardavard
District 22:
 • Bag-e
 • Kan
 • Kuj-e
 • Parc Čitgar
 • Pejkanšar
 • Stadium-e
 • Šahrak-e
 • Šahrak-e

Tehran county borders Shemiranat county to the north, Damavand county to the east, Eslamshahr, Pakdasht, and Ray counties to the south, and Karaj and Shahriar counties to the west.

Neighborhoods and districts of Tehran

The city of Tehran is divided into 22 municipal districts, each with its own administrative centers.

Within these 22 districts, Tehran contains the following major neighborhoods:

Abbas Abad, Afsariyeh, Amaniyeh, Amir Abad, Aryashahr, Bagh Feiz, Baharestan, Darakeh, Darband, Dardasht, Dar Abad, Darrous, Dehkadeh Olampik, Ekhtiyariyeh, Ekbatan, Elahiyeh, Evin, Farmanieh, Fereshteh, Gheitariye, Gholhak, Gisha, Gomrok, Hasan Abad, Jamaran, Jannat Abad, Javadiyeh, Jomhuri, Jordan, Lavizan, Mehran, Narmak, Navab, Nazi Abad, Niavaran, Park-e Shahr, Pasdaran, Piroozi, Punak, Ray, Sa'adat Abad, Sadeghiyeh, Seyed Khandan, Sohrevardi, Shahrara, Shahr-e ziba, Shahrak-e Gharb, Shemiran, Tajrish, Tehranno, Tehranpars, Tehransar, Vanak, Velenjak, Yaft Abad, Yusef Abad, Zafaraniyeh, etc.

For a map of the relative locations of the neighborhoods and the full list, see List of the localities around Tehran.

Older neighborhoods

Tehran's old city fabric changed dramatically during the Pahlavi era. Some of the older remaining (Qajar era) districts of Tehran are: Oud-lajan, Sangelaj, Bazaar, Chaleh Meydan, Dowlat, Pamenar. Chaleh Meydan is the oldest neighbourhood of the aforementioned. Districts during Pahlavi era are: Sepah str. (Imam Khomeini), Toopkhaneh, Laleh-Zaar str. (the architecture of this street was European style) & Eslambol str. (shopping centre of northern Tehran). Other old districts are : Doushan-Tappeh, Doulab, Sabzeh-Meydan, Seyed Khandan, Zarab-Khaneh, Galou-Bandaak.

North Tehran

North Tehran is a wealthy region in Tehran. North Tehran consists of various smaller districts from north east to north west; such as Zaferanieh district, Jordan, Elahieh/Elahyeh, Kamranieh, Ajoudanieh, Farmanieh, Darrous, Gheitarieh, etc. North Tehran is known as an area of liberal Iranians who wear more moderate clothing and have more secular ideas.

Shopping In Tehran

Hyperstar shoping centre

There are many shopping centres in Tehran; amongst the most popular shopping centers are Golestan Shopping Center and Tirajeh Shopping Center & Hyper Star, located in north-western Tehran, and Tandis Center & Safavieh Shopping Center, located in northern Tehran. Almase Iran Shopping Centre, located in eastern Tehran, is also popular.there are shopping centres and complexes around the city and they have a wide variety of items but there is also the bazaar(market) which is the traditional market of tehran .

Food and restaurants

Tehran has many modern and chic restaurants, serving both traditional Iranian and cosmopolitan cuisine. The most popular dish of the city is the chelow kabab (kabob/kebab is originally a Persian word meaning grilled or roasted meat). However, Western-style fast food is becoming popular, especially within the younger generation. Pizza, sandwich and kebab shops make up the majority of other food outlets in the city.


Central Bank of Iran building

Tehran is the economic centre of Iran. About 30% of Iran's public-sector workforce and 45% of large industrial firms are located in Tehran and almost half of these workers work for the government. Most of the remainder of workers are factory workers, shopkeepers, laborers, and transport workers. Few foreign companies operate in Tehran because of the Iranian government's relations to the west. But before the Islamic revolution many foreign companies were active in this region. Today many modern industries of this city include the manufacturing of automobiles, electronics and electrical equipment, weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading centre for the sale of carpets and furniture. There is an oil refinery near Ray, south of the city. Tehran has four airports : Mehrabad International Airport, Imam Khomeini International Airport, Ghal'eh Morghi airfield and Doshan Tappeh Air Base.

Tehran relies heavily on private cars, buses, motorcycles, and taxis, and is one of the most car-dependent cities in the world. The Tehran Stock Exchange, which is a full member of the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs (FIBV) and a founding member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges, has been one of the world's best performing stock exchanges in recent years.



According to the head of Tehran Municipality's Environment and Sustainable Development Office, Tehran has a capacity for 700,000 cars but currently more than 3 million cars are on the roads in the capital.


Mehrabad Airport

Tehran is served by two main airports. Mehrabad Airport, an old airport which doubles as a military base, is used for domestic and charter flights. This airport is located in the Western part of the city. Imam Khomeini Airport located 50 kilometers (31 mi) south of the city, handles all scheduled international flights.


A station of Tehran Metro
Tehran Subway arriving into Vali-e-asr station.

Tehran claims to have one of the cleanest and most convenient metro systems, in terms of accessibility to different parts of the city, in the region. The feasibility study and conceptual planning of the construction were started in 1970s. In 2001, the first two of the eight projected metro lines were opened. Tehran Metro has four operative lines and is 130 km (81 mi) long with another two lines under construction. Tehran has the fourth longest metro in Asia.


Tehran also has a central railway station with connecting services round the clock to various cities in the country. A Tehran-Europe train line is also running.


A Tehran Bus System station

Tehran's transport system includes conventional buses, trolleybuses and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Buses have served the city since the 1920s. There are four bus terminals that also provide connections at low rates. The terminals are located on the South, East, West, and Bei-haghi Park-Drive.

Tehran Rapid Transit Bus Renault at the West passenger terminal

The trolleybus system opened in 1992, using a fleet of 65 articulated trolleybuses built by Skoda. This was the first trolleybus system in Iran and remains the country's only such system. In 2005, trolleybuses were operating on five routes, all starting at Meydan-e-Emam-Hoseyn ( Imam Hossein Square), near Imam Hossein station of the Tehran Metro Line 2. Two routes running northeastwards operate almost entirely in a segregated busway located in the middle of the wide carriageway (along Damavand Khiyaban), stopping only at purpose-built stops located about every 500 metres, effectively making these routes trolleybus- BRT (but they are not called such). The other three trolleybus routes run south from Meydan-e-Emam-Hoseyn and operate in mixed-traffic. Both route sections are served both by limited-stop services and local (making all stops) services. A 3.2-km extension from Meydan-e-Shush to Meydan-e-Rah Ahan and the railway station there opened in March 2010.

Tehran Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was officially inaugurated in 2008 by Tehran's mayor, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. BRT has three lines with 60 stations in different areas of the city. As at 2011, BRT had a network of 100 kilometers, transporting 1.8 million passengers on a daily basis. The city has also developed a bike share system which includes 12 stations in one of Tehran's districts.

Highways and streets

Valiasr Street
Valiasr St., Tehran

The metropolis of Tehran enjoys a huge network of highways (280 km) and of interchanges, ramps, and loops (180 km). In 2007 there were 130 kilometers of highways and 120 kilometers of ramps and loops under construction.

Hemmat underpass
View of tehran from Chamran Exp

While the centre of the city houses the government ministries and headquarters, the commercial centers are more located toward Valiasr Avenue (formerly known as Pahlavi Avenue), Taleghani Ave, and Beheshti Ave further north. Although administratively separate, Rey, Shemiran, and Karaj are often considered part of the larger Tehran metropolitan area.

A number of streets in Tehran are names after international personalities:

  • Henri Corbin Street – downtown Tehran
  • Edward Browne Street – near the University of Tehran
  • Gandhi Street – northern Tehran
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah Expressway – western Tehran
  • Iqbal Lahori Street – eastern Tehran
  • Patrice Lumumba Street – western Tehran
  • Bobby Sands Street – western side of British Embassy
  • Simón Bolívar Street – north western Tehran

Air pollution

Tehran's air pollution

Tehran suffers from severe air pollution and the city is often covered by smog making breathing difficult and causing widespread pulmonary illnesses. It is estimated that about 27 people die each day from pollution-related diseases. According to local officials, 3,600 people died in a single month due to the hazardous air quality. 80% of the city's pollution is due to cars. The remaining 20% is due to industrial pollution. Other estimates suggest that motorcycles alone account for 30% of air and 50% of sound pollution in Tehran.

In 2007 Iran imposed fuel rations but the plan has met little success in reducing the pollution levels. In 2011, with the improvements in the public transport system and the rise in fuel prices due to the new subsidies reform plan, the Government is hoping to be able to improve the problems of pollution and traffic.

The air pollution is due to several different reasons:

  • Economical: most Iranian industries are located on the outskirts of Tehran. The city is also overrun with old and aging cars which do not meet today's emission regulations. Furthermore, Iran's busiest airport, Mehrabad International Airport, is located in the west of the city;
  • Most people are then obliged to either use private cars or hire taxis. This has created severe traffic congestion;
  • Geographical: Tehran is bound in the north by the massive Alborz mountain range that is stopping the flow of the humid Caspian wind. As a result, thermal inversion that traps Tehran's polluted air is frequently observed. The lack of humidity and clouds makes Tehran a very sunny city. The UV radiations then combined with the existing pollutants significantly raise the level of the ozone. In fact one of the urban landmarks in central Tehran is a giant air quality gauge. Furthermore, the reportedly poor quality of Iranian-manufactured gasoline may also be contributing to the pollution.
Tehran's view from Gheytarieh

However, the government, is engaged in a battle to reduce air pollution. It has, for instance, encouraged taxis and buses to convert from petrol engines to engines that run on compressed natural gas. Furthermore, since 1979 the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has set up a "Traffic Zone" (Tarhe Trāfik) covering the city centre during peak traffic hours. Entering and driving inside this zone is only allowed with a special permit.

Tehran and the Alborz Mountains seen on a day of relatively clean air

The government is also trying to raise people's awareness about the hazards of the pollution. One method that is currently being employed is the installation of Pollution Indicator Boards all around the city to monitor the current level of particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). The board also displays the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), which is a general indication of air quality based on the measurements of the above-mentioned five pollutants. The Pollution Indicator Boards classify the level of each pollutant as either safe, hazardous or dangerous.

Education and research

Dar ul-Funun is one of the first modern institutions in the world, established by Amir Kabir

Tehran is the largest and most important educational centre of Iran. Today there are a total of nearly 50 major colleges and universities in Greater Tehran.

Since the establishment of Darolfonoon in the mid-19th century, Tehran has amassed a large number of institutions of higher education. Some of these institutions have played crucial roles in the unfolding of Iranian political events. Samuel M. Jordan, whom Jordan Avenue in Tehran was named after, was also one of the founding pioneers of the American College of Tehran. Among major educational institutions located in Tehran, University of Tehran, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology are the most prestigious universities of Iran. University of Tehran is also the oldest university in Iran and one of the oldest in Central and South Asia.

University of Tehran

Allameh Tabatabaei University, Amirkabir University of Technology ( Tehran Polytechnic), Shahid Beheshti University ( Melli University), K.N.Toosi University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology, Iran University of Medical Sciences which dissolved in Tehran University of Medical Sciences in October 2010, Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute, Shahed University and Tarbiat Modarres University are other highly ranked universities of Iran located in Tehran.

Tehran is also home to Iran's largest military academy, and several religious schools and seminaries. Notable high schools in the city include Allameh Helli High Schools, Alavi High School, Nikan High School, Ehsan High School, Allameh Tabatabaei High School and Toloo High School.


Tochal Telecabin, Tochal

Tehran was the first city in the Middle East to host the Asian Games. The 7th Asian Summer Games in 1974, was held with the participation of 2,363 athletes and officials from 25 countries.

Tehran is also the site of Iran's national football stadium on Azadi Sport Complex with 100,000 seating capacity. Azadi Football Stadium is one of the largest in Southern and Central Asia and one of the biggest in the World. Many of the top matches of Iran's Premier League are held here. In 2005, FIFA ordered Iran to limit spectators allowed into Azadi stadium because of a fatal crush and inadequate safety procedures. Other stadiums in Tehran are Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium, Takhti Stadium, and Shahid Shirudi Stadium, among others.

Azadi Stadium is the 3th biggest football stadium in the world and the 2nd largest in South Asia.

The ski resort of Dizin is situated to the north of Tehran in the Alborz Mountains. Tochal Ski Resort is the world's fifth highest ski resort, at over 3,730 metres (12,240 ft) at its highest 7th station. The resort was completed in 1976 shortly before the overthrowing of the Shah.

Here, one must first ride the eight kilometre (five mile) long gondola lift which covers a huge vertical and is probably the longest line in the world. The 7th station has three slopes. The resort's longest slope is the south side U shaped slope which goes from the 7th station to 5th station. The other two slopes are located on the north side of the 7th station. Here, there are two parallel chair ski lifts that go up to 3,900 metres (12,795 ft) near Tochal's peak (at 4,000 m/13,125 ft), rising higher than the gondola 7th station. This altitude is higher than any of the European resorts.

From the Tochal peak, one has a spectacular view of the Alborz range, including the 5,610 metres (18,406 ft) high Mount Damavand, a dormant volcano.

At the bottom of the lifts in a valley behind the Tochal peak is Tochal Hotel, located at 3,500 metres (11,483 ft) altitude. From there a T lift takes skiers up the 3,800 metres (12,500 ft) of Shahneshin peak, where the third slope of Tochal is.

Tehran Indoor Stadium

Tochal 7th station has skiing eight months of the year. But there are also some glaciers and year-round snow fields near Tehran where skiing began in 1938, thanks to the efforts of two German railway engineers. Today, 12 ski resorts operate in Iran, but the most famous are Touĉāl, Dizin, and Ŝemŝak, all within one to three hours of Tehran.


Tehran is the host to four major football clubs in Iran's Premier Football League, namely:

Club Sport Founded League Head Coach
Rah Ahan F.C. Association football 1937 Iran Pro League (IPL) Ali Daei
Esteghlal F.C. Association football 1945 Iran Pro League (IPL) Amir Ghalenoei
Persepolis F.C. Association football 1963 Iran Pro League (IPL) Yahya Golmohammadi
Naft Tehran F.C. Association football 1950 Iran Pro League (IPL) Mansour Ebrahimzadeh

Tehran is also host to many small clubs.

Club Sport League
Parseh Tehran F.C. Association Football Azadegan League
Niroye Zamini F.C. Association Football Azadegan League
Sanati Kaveh Tehran F.C. Association Football 2nd Division
Moghavemat Tehran F.C. Association Football 2nd Division
Oghab F.C. Association Football 3rd Division
Entezam Tehran F.C. Association Football 3rd Division
Naftoon Tehran F.C. Association Football 3rd Division

Main attractions

Tehran International Tower

Tehran is a relatively old city; as such, it has an architectural tradition unique to itself. Archaeological investigations and excavations in Tehran demonstrate that this area was home to civilizations as far back as 6,000 years BC in the village of Ray which is now incorporated into the city. Tehran served only as a village to a relatively small population for most of its history, but began to take a more considerable role in Iran after it was made the capital in the late 18th century. Despite the occurrence of earthquakes during the Qajar period and before, some buildings still remain from Tehran's era of antiquity. Today Tehran is Iran's primate city, and has the most modernized infastructure in the country; however, the gentrification of old neighborhoods and the demolition of buildings of cultural significance has caused concerns.

The Achaemenid collection of The National Museum of Iran in Tehran

The Azadi Tower has been the longstanding symbol of Tehran. It was constructed to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian empire, and was originally named "Shahyad Tower"; after the Iranian revolution, its name changed to "Azadi Tower," meaning "Freedom Tower." The recently constructed Milad Tower may eventually replace the Azadi Tower as Tehran's new symbol. The Milad complex contains the world's sixth tallest tower, several restaurants, a five star hotel, a convention center, a world trade centre, and an IT park. Traditionally a low-rise city due to seismic activity in the region, modern high rise developments in Tehran have been undertaken in order to service its growing population. There have been no major quakes in Tehran since 1830.

Tehran from Milad Tower

The tallest residential building in Iran is a 54-story building located North of Youssef Abad district, the Tehran International Tower. It is architecturally similar to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in the Paradise community of Clark County, Nevada, United States. Appealing to the principle of vertical rather than horizontal expansion of the city, the Tehran International Tower is bound to the North by Youssef Abad, to the South By Hakim Highway, to the East by Kordesstan Highway and to the West by Sheikh Bahai Highway, all of which facilitate access to various parts of the city.

Tourism and attractions

Milad Tower

Tehran, as Iran's showcase and capital city, has a wealth of cultural attractions. The Peacock Throne of the Persian Kings ( Shahs) can be found in Tehran's Golestan Palace. Some of the well-known museums are National Museum of Iran, Sa'dabad Palaces Complex, Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran, The Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran's Underglass painting Museum, Niavaran Palace Complex, and Safir Office Machines Museum. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art features the works of great artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The collection of these paintings were selected by the former Empress Farah Diba.

Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, also called the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, it is claimed to be the largest, most dazzling and valuable jewel collection in the world. The collection comprises a set of crowns and thrones, some 30 tiaras, numerous aigrettes, jewel-studded swords and shields, a vast amount of precious loose gems, including the largest collections of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran during the 2,500 year existence of the Iranian Kingdom. The Imperial Crown Jewels are still on display in the Iranian Central Bank in Tehran.

Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) Is known to the International Publishing World as one of the most important publishing event in Asia.


The most popular social activity, especially among the younger generation is cinema. Most cinema theatres are located downtown. The Azadi Cinema was inaugurated in 2008. It is the largest cinema complex in Tehran with ten theatres. The Tehran Zoological Garden (Eram Zoo) and Eram City Game are also popular meeting points, especially for families with children. A new larger zoo is planned for 2010.

Artists often mingle at the House Of Artists. Theatre Shahr was opened in 1962. It is the largest theatre in Tehran. Tehran TV 1, Tehran Cinema TV, Omid TV and Tehran Show TV are among the most popular TV stations in Tehran. Tehran TV2, Tehran TV3 and Tehran Sport are planned to be launched in 2012.

The following table shows some places for outdoors activities in Tehran:

Tochal Ski resort Darband hiking trail Chitgar Park Niavaran Park Sa'ei Park Daneshju Park Goft-o-gū Park
Mellat Park Laleh Park Jamshidieh Park Shatranj Park Darakeh hiking trail Jahan-e Kudak Park Azadi Sports Complex
Enghelab Sports Complex and Golf course Latyan Lake Lavizan Forest Park Vardavard Forest Park Khajeer National Park Kavir National Park Lavizan
Tar Lake Amir Kabir Lake Lar Protected Natural Habitat Varjeen Protected Natural Habitat Pardisan Tangeh Savashi Farahzad

Religious centers

St. Sarkis Church

There are many religious centers scattered around the city from old to newly built centers. There are mosques, churches, and synagogues where followers of these religions can practice their faith.

The Friday prayer in Tehran is usually hosted by University of Tehran which is led by a Friday prayer leader and on special occasions by the Supreme Leader of Iran. Hundreds of thousands of people participate in the prayers, during which the city of Tehran comes to a standstill.

Graffiti in Tehran

Many styles of Graffiti are seen in Tehran. Many are slogans painted by governmental organizations. In recent years Tehran Municipality has been using graffiti in order to beautify the city.


  • The 7th Asian Games were held from September 1, 1974 to September 16, 1974 in Tehran, Iran. The Azadi sports complex was made for the Games. The Asian Games were hosted in South Asia for the second time. Tehran, the capital of Iran, played host to 3,010 athletes coming from 25 countries/NOCs, the highest number of participants since the inception of the Games.
  • The 1976 AFC Asian Cup was the sixth edition of the Asian Nations Cup, the football (soccer) championship of Asia (AFC). It was hosted by Iran. The field of six teams was split into two groups of three. Iran won their third title in a row, beating Kuwait in the final 1-0.
  • The first West Asian Games was first organized in Tehran from 19 to 28 November 1997. It was considered the first of their kind. The success of the games led to the creation of the West Asian Games Federation (WAGF) and the intention of hosting the games every two years.
  • Tehran was the host city for the 4th West Asian Games in 20.
Panoramic view of Tehran in winter
Panoramic view of Tehran
Panoramic view of Tehran
Panoramic view of Tehran at night

Sister cities

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