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Tehran (Persian: تهران Tehrān pronounced [tʰehˈɾɒn]), is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the 20th largest city in the world.

Tehran is the centre of most Iranian industries including automotive, electrical, military, weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical. Tehran is also a leading centre for the sale of carpets and furniture. There is an oil refinery located south of the city.[3]

In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to mass-migration of people from all around Iran. Tehran has a diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, notably a sizable Armenian community. Many languages are spoken within its boundaries as a result. The city is home to many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. Contemporary Tehran is a modern city featuring many tall structures, of which the Azadi Tower and the Milad Tower have come to be symbols of Tehran itself. In 2009, Tehran was the 33rd most expensive city in the world.[4] Furthermore globally it stands 16th by city population,[5] 56th by the size of its GDP and 29th by the population of its metropolitan area[6].



The original Parliament Building built in the 1920s.

Shams ol-Emāreh was Tehran's first tallest building, built between 1865 and 1867.

Green Palace at the Sadabad Palace complex.

Tehran in 1985 and 2009.

The origin of the name Tehran is unknown. Excavations place the existence of settlements in Tehran as far back as 6000 BC.[7] Tarran 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. 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.

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) and the Mongol capital at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.

Tehran became a residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th century. Tahmasp I built a bazaar and a wall around the city, but it somewhat fell out of favor after Abbas I turned sick when he was passing the city to go to a war with the Uzbeks.

In the early of 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.

In the 1920s and 30's, the city essentially was started 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 with pre-islamic Iranian style, such as the National Bank, Police Headquarter, Telegraph Office and 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 examples of Persian Gardens also became targets to new construction projects.

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

In the 1960s and 70's Tehran was rapidly developing under the reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Modern Buildings altered the face of Tehran and ambitious projects were envisioned for the following decades. The majority of these projects were stopped by the Islamic Revolution 1979, with few elements of them, such as the Milad Tower, being built under the new regime decades later.

During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the scene of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes against random residential and industrial targets within the city, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties. Material damage was repaired soon after each strike. Tehran attracted war refugees by the millions.

Tehran in 2008

After the war, cheap Soviet-style apartments multiplied throughout the city without any plan. At present, little is left of Tehran's old quarters. Instead, modern high-rise buildings dominate the city's skyline and new modern apartments have and are replacing the few remaining old houses at a rapid pace. Tehran-style home architecture has almost vanished completely. This is often referred to as "Tehran Identity Disaster".[citation needed]

Tehran is also home to many grand mansions in the north of the city.(Farmanieh, Zaferanieh, Niavaran, etc.)



Architecture and landmarks

Khalvat Karimkhani

Tehran Skyline

See also Architecture of Tehran

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. 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.[22] 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.[23]

The Azadi Tower has been the longstanding symbol of Tehran. It was constructured 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 fourth tallest tower, several restaurants, a five star hotel, a convention center, a world trade center, and an IT park.[24] Traditionally a low-lying 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.[25]

The tallest residential building in Iran is a 54-story building located North of Youssef Abad district, the Tehran International Tower. It is architecturally designed similar to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in the Paradise community of Clark County, Nevada, United States.[26] 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.[26] Tehran has a beautiful skyline with many midrise buildings and towers. In 2004, 200 cameramen took photos of Tehran's skyline from the mountains outside the city.


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