Zoroastrianism is becoming increasingly popular in Iran

Interesting facts about Iran

General

Iran, one of the oldest civilizations of mankind, offers the visitor a wealth of opportunities for discovery. For centuries, this country has drawn travelers under its spell and inspired e.g. Goethe, Herder and Nietzsche. The treasures of prehistoric, ancient and Islamic sights are immeasurable. That is why Iran is one of the ten most important countries in the world in terms of art history. As an ancient transit country, the most diverse cultures and peoples have been integrated here again and again. Even today, the cosmopolitan Tehran and the originally living nomad live only a few hours' drive away from each other.

The exotic magic of its villages with turquoise domes, bazaars and friendly people is fascinating. In addition, there are dreamlike landscapes that can hardly be imagined more differently. The coastal regions on the Caspian Sea are densely forested, the large desert regions are barren and almost uninhabitable. Two huge mountain ranges, which rise to almost 5,700 meters, cut through the country. A pleasant, sunny climate awaits you in the extensive central plateau.

Country name

Since the earliest times the country has been referred to as Iran by its people. The ancient Iranian form of this name, Aryanam, means land of the Aryans. The name Persia, which was used in the Occident until the 20th century, goes back to the time of the Achaemenids, who lived in the 6th century BC. Created a first Persian empire. Its core area was what the Greeks called the Persis landscape, today's Fars province around Shiraz. The name Farsi for the Persian language is also derived from it.

history

The name Iran appears for the first time as Eran (Land of the Aryans) in 243 BC. In Persian royal inscriptions. The East Indo-European tribes referred to here as Aryans, the Persians, Medes, Parthians, Choresmians, Sogder, Saks, Arachosians and Drangians, were around 1000 BC. Immigrated to western Iran with other Indo-Iranian tribes from Central Asia. As a result of the migration, the carriers of older cultures were overlaid. The first, up to the 3rd millennium BC The state structure in western Iran that went back to the 3rd century BC was Elam. Under Elamite pressure, migrated in the 8th century BC. Persian tribes, probably under their leader Achaimenes (Achaemenids), from their residential areas around Lake Urmia to the south. In the 7th century BC BC Teispes, king of Parschuma, conquered the south-east adjoining Anschan and the landscape Parsa (the actual Persia), but had to recognize the sovereignty of the Medes. These came into the light of history at the same time as the Persians. Cyrus II established the supremacy of the Persians in the Middle East with the victory over the Medieval king Astyages (550 BC). He expanded the empire through his victory over the Lydian king Croesus (547 BC) and Babylonia (539 BC). His son Cambyses II conquered in 525 BC. BC Egypt. Darius I (521–485 BC), who came from a sideline, defeated the usurper Gaumata and established a unified administration of the empire. He subjugated the Greek colonies in Asia Minor and Macedonia. His defeat at Marathon (490 BC) prevented the Persians from advancing further west. His successors Xerxes I and Artaxerxes lost the Greek territories in the Persian Wars (490–479 BC). Revolts and disputes over the throne among the following rulers weakened the empire, so that it was under the last Achaemenid Darius III. by Alexander the Great after the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. Could be destroyed. Alexander's successor in Syria and Iran was Seleucus I (312–280 BC), his dynasty (Seleucids) until 160 BC. Ruled in Iran. 190-164 BC The western provinces of the Seleucid Empire were lost to the Romans.

Around 250 BC The Parthian Arsakid dynasty came to power in Eastern Iran. Ruled all over Iran until around AD 224. She successfully resisted the Romans. In 224, Ardaschir I from the province of Persis (Fars) defeated the last Parthian king and established the rule of the Sassanids in Iran with the Zoroastrian state religion. Under Shapur I (241–272) and Shapur II (310–379) the Persian Empire again became a strong opponent of the Romans and Byzantines. Under Chosroes I (531–579) and Chosroes II (590–628), the Persians once again conquered the entire Middle East and, for a short time, Egypt. Under the onslaught of the Islamic Arabs, the Sassanid Empire collapsed in 642 and became part of the Islamic Empire.

In the 9th century, governor dynasties only nominally dependent on the caliph became independent. The cultural influence of the Persians in the Islamic Empire became more and more significant during this period. Around 1040 the Turkish Seljuks subjugated the empire. The invasion of the Mongols under Hülägü 1256–1258 destroyed the medieval Persian Empire. Hülägü's successors, the Ilchane, ruled until 1335 (or 1353). Their rule meant a period of economic and cultural prosperity. 1382-1393 Timur conquered the country and made it part of his empire. His heirs, the culture-promoting Timurids, ruled northern Iran until 1506.

In 1502, Ismail I, originally a master of a religious order, created the New Persian Empire; he established the rule of the Safavids. Under him, the Shiite form of Islam became the state religion. Shah Abbas I (1587–1629) strengthened the interior of the empire and averted the constant danger of the Uzbek invasions. He moved the residence from Tabriz to Isfahan. In 1722, Isfahan was conquered by Afghan tribes. Nadir Shah (1736–1747), originally a military leader, drove them out in 1729, rebuilt the New Persian Empire and forced the last Safavid, Hussain, to abdicate. The Qajare Aga Mohammed (1786–1797) emerged victorious from later turmoil. The Qajar dynasty ruled until 1925, during which time the capital was relocated to Tehran. In the east, Ahmed Shah Durrani (1747–1773) created the independent empire Afghanistan. Under the Qajar Fath Ali (1797–1834), Iran had to cede large areas in Armenia, Georgia and the Caucasus to Russia. In 1907, Great Britain and Russia divided Iran into Russian (northern) and English (southern) spheres of interest, which were occupied by Russian and British troops in World War I, respectively. In 1919, Great Britain contractually secured patronage over Iran. In 1921 the commander of the Persian Cossack Brigade, Riza Shah Pahlewi, carried out a coup d'état. He became Prime Minister in 1923, deposed the last Qajar Ahmed in 1925 and was proclaimed Shah. The government of Riza Shah implemented a series of modernizations at the expense of the mostly rural population.

During World War II (1941) British and Soviet troops occupied the country and the Shah, who sympathized with Germany, had to resign. He was followed by his son Mohammed Riza Pahlewi. After the Second World War, the British troops withdrew, the Soviet troops followed in 1946. In 1951, Prime Minister M. Mossadegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The loss of oil revenues led to a severe economic crisis. In 1953 Mossadegh was overthrown. An agreement was reached with Great Britain on the nationalized oil industry, through which Iran received half of the revenues. In 1955, Iran joined the Baghdad Pact (CENTO). The Shah ruled from then on as sole ruler. In 1963 he initiated the "White Revolution" to modernize the country (including land reform, women's suffrage). However, there was no political democratization. The Shah used the rising oil income to buy armaments and to precipitate industrialization, which heightened social tensions. Resistance to "Westernization" arose especially among devout Muslims (Shiites). Riots began in 1978, forcing the Shah to leave the country in 1979. The Shiite leader R. Khomeini became the highest authority. On April 1, 1979, he proclaimed the Islamic Republic of Iran. His position of power as "ruling scholar of God" was enshrined in the constitution.

location

Between 25 ° and 40 ° north latitude and between 44 ° and 64 ° east longitude. Bounded in the north by the Caspian Sea, in the south by the Persian Gulf. Neighboring countries in the west Turkey and Iraq, in the east Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, in the north Azerbaijan and Armenia.

surface

1,648,000 square kilometers (land 1,636,000 square kilometers, water: 12,000 square kilometers)

geography

Iran borders the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea to the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to the south, and Iraq and Turkey to the west. The country, about four and a half times the size of Germany, is dominated by three mountain ranges: the fertile, volcanic Sabalan and Talesh Mountains in the northwest, the long Sagros mountain range on the western border and the dominant Elburs Mountains with the highest peak in Iran, the Demawend, which is constantly covered by snow (5670 m) north of Tehran. The two great Iranian deserts, the Dasht-é Kavir (over 200,000 square kilometers) and the Dasht-é Lut (over 166,000 square kilometers), occupy most of the northeast and east of the central plain.

Uncontrolled urban and industrial development and the Iranian-Iraqi war have caused irreparable damage to the environment, particularly on the southern slopes of the Elbursgebirge, along the Caspian Sea and around the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government has set up a number of national parks, but has acted rather half-heartedly: There are neither fenced areas nor park rangers. The northern slopes of the Elbe river chain are densely forested with deciduous trees and form the largest vegetation zone in Iran. There are some beautiful remaining forest areas around Khalkhal, south of Ardabil, and Nahar Khoran, a little south of Gorgan. Mammals such as wolves, jackals, wild boars, hyenas, black bears and lynxes make their home in the unexplored interior of the forests in Mazandaran Province. In the deserts and mountains you are more likely to come across squirrels and mongoose, crop gazelle (Persian gazelle), porcupine, badger and the endemic Persian wild ass (onager). Two fascinating animals are the giant Alborz Ibex with its black beard and snail-shaped horns and the Urial with a white beard and enormous horns. The lion, which often appeared on ancient Persian works of art, has long since died out.

Due to its size, topographical diversity and height differences, very different climates can be found in Iran. Winters (December to February) can get uncomfortably cold in most parts of the country, while temperatures of up to 40 ° C are not uncommon in summer (June to August). Regular rainfall is largely limited to the far north and west, which are also the coldest regions of Iran.

Form of government

Iran has been a presidential Islamic republic since 1979, the constitution dates from the same year, amendments were added in 1989. The 12-member Constitutional Council (Guardian Council) has been monitoring the conformity of laws since 1989. The Iranian parliament consists of 290 members.

Administrative structure

Iran is currently divided into 30 provinces, which are called Ostans (Persian: ostān, plural ostānhā). Each provincial administration is headed by a governor called Ostandar (Persian: ostāndār). This is appointed by the Minister of the Interior with the approval of the Cabinet. Provinces are further subdivided into administrative districts (comparable to a German district) which are called Schahrestan (Persian: schahrestān, plural: schahrestānhā). Administrative districts are in turn divided into districts, which are called bakschs (Persian: baksch). In 2006 there were 30 Ostans, 336 Shahrestans, 889 Bakschs, 1016 cities and 2400 villages in Iran. The largest cities include Tehran (city 7.1 million; metropolitan area 12 million), Mashhad (2.3 million), Isfahan (1.5 million), Karaj (1.4 million), Tabriz (1 , 4 million), Shiraz (1.2 million), Qom (1.0 million), Ahwaz (850,000) and Kermanshah (770,000).

vegetation

53% of Iran is desert (Kavir in the north, Lut in the south), 27% pasture land, 9% arable land (a good 1/3 irrigated), 11% forest. The forests are mostly overexploited, but between the Elburs Mountains and the Caspian Sea there are large-scale primeval beech forests, which have only survived in this extent in the far east of the beech area.

There are around 8200 plant species in Iran, of which almost 1900 species occur only in Iran. The northern slopes of the Elburz Mountains are densely covered with deciduous forests, including beech, oak, elm, linden and walnut. The Zagros Mountains are characterized by sparse forest. Native oak as well as elm, maple, walnut and wild pistachios are found there. Persian juniper, wild almonds and various native shrubs cover the central mountain ranges. There are some attractive protected forest areas northeast of Tabriz (Arasbaran), west of Gonbade Qabus (Golestan) and northwest of Shahrud (KhoshYeylagh). Poplars, plane trees, willows and mulberry trees grow in the valleys. In the steppes and deserts there are acacias, palms, tamarisks, oleanders and myrtles. Mangrove forests are mainly found in the north of Qeshm Island. There are around 500 bird, 160 mammal and 180 fish species, of which the sturgeon is of particular economic importance.

population

The population of Iran (75 million - as of 2011) consists of approx. 51% Persians, approx. 24% Azerbaijanis, approx. 7% Kurds, 8% Gilaki and Mazandarani, approx. 3% Arabs, 2% Turkomans, 2% Lurs and 2% Baluch and some smaller minorities, such as Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Georgians. The largest cities (over 700,000 inhabitants) include Tehran (7.1 million), Mashhad (2.3 million), Isfahan (1.5 million), Karaj (1.4 million), Tabriz (1, 4 million), Shiraz (1.2 million), Qom (1.0 million), Ahwas (850,000) and Kermanshah (770,000). About 62% of the people live in cities. Iran has a very young population, 36% are under 15 years of age. Population density: 39 inhabitants / km²
Population growth: 1.66%
Birth rate: 2.76 births / woman

language

The official language of Iran is New Persian, locally also called Farsi. It is an Indo-European language and at the same time the most important of all Iranian languages, which together with the Indian languages ​​form the East Indo-European language branch. Persian is even more advanced than English in the development of its grammar, i.e. in its simplification. Persian is the only official language of Iran, spoken by around 58% of the Iranian population, but it is not the only national language. The proportion of Azerbaijani and Turkmen speakers is estimated at 26%; Kurdish with 9%; Lurian with 2%; and others, including Arabic speakers, with 1%

religion

98% of Iranians are members of Islam, of which about 92% are Shiites and 6% Sunnis, the rest are: 0.4% Christians, 0.1% Jews, 0.04% Zoroastrians (adherents of the ancient religion of Persia before the Islamic period ), 0.8 Bahaiis, which originated in Persia in 1844.

Art and culture

Here is the beginning of the world! "Is said to have exclaimed the legendary first Aryan King Keyvan the Knowing when he arrived 7000 years ago. And here over the millennia in kingdoms and city-states, despite overturns, wars and migrations of peoples, art treasures of breathtaking beauty were created: Already in early horizons finest polished alabaster bowls; thin-walled pottery with often strongly stylized painting, mostly with animal shapes, sometimes also abstract; expressive busts and statuettes of gods, people and animals made of ceramics; chlorite vessels with incised decoration; diverse jewelry Beaked ceramics were created whose bold, sweeping shapes betray a special artistic imagination and high technical mastery of the potters. This style was probably already a "fad." Another anticipation of later developments are "cubist" female idols in form a statue and of a vessel. The Luristan bronzes from western Iran, dating from around 1000 BC, are particularly expressive. A closed ensemble of unmistakable forms and artistic ideas of people, animals and demons, often copied and often falsified for the modern art trade. The exhibits include standards and attachments, ceremonial axes, shield and quiver fittings, bracelets, horse bridles and pectorals for decoration and protection, a figuratively decorated needle in a particularly haunting design. Fighting and hunting scenes were particularly popular. It was the golden age of the empire: Cyrus the Great had united the Persian tribes, founded the dynasty, released the Jews from captivity, made the Zarathustra fire cult the state religion, the continued worship of the ancient god of light and creator Ahura Mazda, the Marduk -Cult of Babylon, Christianity, Judaism, Manichaeism and Buddhism but tolerated. His successor Cambyses had conquered Egypt, but lost an army of 50,000 soldiers in the desert on the way to the Siwa oasis. Now Darius the Great extended the imperial borders to the Danube and India. He began the construction of Persepolis with the half-reliefs of 23 tribute-bringing country delegations on the large stone stairs.With the conquest by Alexander the Macedonian, the then known Eastern world and its culture became Greek. It was followed by the Seleucid and Arsacid (Parthian) dynasties. They are represented in the exhibition by a selection of expressive statues made of stone, marble and bronze. The facial expressions of an Elyma prince, an adorant and that of Heracles are particularly memorable. The time of the Sasanids (3rd-7th centuries AD) brought a return to the great cultural tradition of the Achaemenid heyday. Magnificently decorated silver bowls, sculptures, ceramics and early pieces of glass of high technical and aesthetic perfection document the artistic creation of this "Renaissance". A silver, partly gold-plated plate, the inside of which is designed as a lake with fishermen, putti, ducks, fish and all sorts of winged mythical creatures, is enchanting with its playful imagination. The triumphant advance of Islam brought a new imagery. Objects made of silver, ceramics and glass of captivating beauty were created under the green banner. In addition, of course, manuscripts from the Koran. A particularly elaborate illuminated writing on parchment in landscape format from the 9th / 10th centuries. Century marks the end of the exhibition. The writing is black, the auxiliary vocalization symbols are red and the separations of the 114 suras (chapters) are decorated in gold. by: Dr. Klaus G. Müller: Occasion; 7000 years of Persian art.

architecture

Most of the architectural evidence from ancient Iranian history comes from the Achaemenid period. They are in Susa and Estakhr (Istachr), but especially in Persepolis; they show Greek, Assyrian and Babylonian influence. The buildings owe their preservation to the first use of hewn stones. Brick and mortar construction came into use under the Parthians; the architectural style that was shaped by this reached its peak under the Sassanids. The outstanding architectural achievement of this period is the development of the domed structure, which was later adopted by the Romans. The aiwan, a rectangular, vaulted room, which became a characteristic of Iranian mosques and significantly influenced Islamic architecture, also dates from the Sassanidia period. After the Arab-Islamic conquest, Iranian architecture reached new heights in the Seljuk and Safavid periods.

painting

Objective painting, which - according to literary sources - was in full bloom in the Sassanid period, was never completely suppressed: the Sassanid school of painting continued into the Abbasid period (9th century AD); it was replaced by Manichaean book illumination, which found its way to Baghdad and then to Central Asia with the Manichaeans displaced from Iran; representational painting also flourished at the courts of the Sassanid and Ghaznevid rulers in eastern Iran. With the conquest of Iran by the Turkish Seljuks in the 11th century, one of the most brilliant art epochs began for Iran. the miniature style of painting and decorating pottery emerged. From it - presumably in Iran - the miniature style of illumination developed in the 12th century, which experienced its first climax in the Mesopotamian school of the 13th century, after the Mongol invasion (time of the Il-chane, 13th / 14th century) Chinese influences and under the Timurids (15th and 16th centuries) developed into the actual Persian style of miniature painting. As in theatrical representation, the Muslim ban on images was not consistently applied in the area of ​​Shia: in book illumination, human representation has always been represented, albeit predominantly in a depersonalized, decorative form. In the centuries that followed, miniature painting continued to be cultivated without any significant new impulses. It is still alive today in a conventionalized form.

Persian miniature painting

The subject areas of Persian art and thus also of Persian miniature painting mostly relate to Persian mythology and poetry. Western artists discovered the Persian miniatures at the beginning of the 20th century. Persian miniature painting uses clear geometric shapes and powerful colors. The lure of Persian miniatures lies in the captivating complexity and surprising way in which big questions of the nature of the arts are addressed and the perception of the masterpieces of Persian miniatures.

It's hard to trace the origins of the art of miniature painting. However, it is known that it reached its peak mainly during the rule of the Mongols and Timurids (13th - 16th centuries). Mongol rulers of Iran introduced Chinese painting. Paper reached Iran from China as early as 753. The strong Chinese influence is evident from these developments.

carpet

Carpets were probably invented by nomadic tribes to cover floors in tents. It is uncertain whether carpet weaving was first developed by the Egyptians, the Chinese or even the Mayans; it is likely that different tribes began knotting carpets around the same time! What is certain, however, is that carpet weaving began in the 5th century BC. had reached a high artistic level.

calligraphy

The art of calligraphy is of outstanding importance in Iran. Iranian calligraphy is more diverse than that of any other nation and was not only appreciated by Iranologists. Works of art by famous Iranian calligraphers can be found in museums and private collections around the world.

Iranian cinema

Iranian cinema has been and is honored internationally with numerous prizes and festivals. Many critics regard films by Iranian authors, directors and actors such as those of the filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf or Majid Majidi as artistically leading and compare them with Italian neorealism and similar currents of recent decades. [1] In addition to the actual Iranian cinema, the term also refers in a broader sense to the film culture of countries that are culturally closely interwoven with Iran, such as Tajikistan and Afghanistan. It also includes Persian-language films that appear in Europe or the USA, as well as works by Iranian filmmakers who use languages ​​other than Iranian.

Iranian music

The roots of Iran's musical tradition go back to the time of the Elamite kingdom. A distinction must be made between musicology (Elm-e Musighi), which has always been highly regarded as a branch of mathematics in Iran, and the practical performance of music (Tarab, Navachteh, Tasnif, Taraneh and more recent music), which is always in a tense relationship stood for religious authority and strictly religious ethnic groups and still stands today. The music of Iran does not mean the music of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but that of the Iranian cultural area (Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan). A distinction would cause problems, similar to the question of whether Mozart is to be assigned to German or Austrian music.

economy

The economy of Iran is predominantly in the hands of the state or religious foundations (over 80% of the value added). The Iranian government plans to increase the private share noticeably. The government formulates its economic goals in five-year plans. The fourth five-year plan has been in force since March 21, 2005. In the 2007/08 fiscal year, gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated to be around 308 billion US dollars. This corresponds to a per capita income of around 4,307 US dollars. The most important industries in Iran include the oil and gas industry, petrochemical industry, agriculture, metal industry and automotive industry. Oil and gas exports generated 84% of Iran's export earnings in 2007/08. Further export goods are agricultural and traditional goods (carpets, fruits, pistachios) and increasingly industrial products (automotive parts, steel, petrochemical products). According to official figures, non-oil exports have risen sharply since 2006.

Calendar, holidays

In Iran, a solar calendar is used that goes back to the Achaemenid period (approx. 5th century BC). It has 365 days and is very similar to the Gregorian calendar. The Iranian solar calendar was brought into its current form in 1079 under the direction of Omar Khayam. It should be noted that it is more accurate than the Gregorian calendar introduced in 1582. While the Iranian calendar has an error of one day every 141,000 years, this error occurs in the Gregorian calendar every 3,226 years. The Iranian New Year (Now Ruz) starts on March 21st.

Now Ruz: The Iranian New Year

Now Ruz, the New Day or New Year, is celebrated on March 21st. This day was a holiday for all the great cultures of Mesopotamia. The Sumerians (3000 BC), the Babylonians (2000 BC), the Elamans in southern Persia (2000 BC) and the Kassites celebrated this day in a similar way. As a spring festival, it already had a tradition among the immigrating Aryan tribes of the Medes and Persians. It is also rooted in the Zoroastrian religion. It found great importance in the Achaemenid epoch 2500 years ago. The Achaemenids created the first world empire from the Fars region and built the magnificent complex of Persepolis (Takhte Djamschid) there. They owned 4 large residences, in which they stayed depending on the most suitable season of the year. Persepolis was her spring residence and the site of the Now Ruz festival. The stone reliefs show the enthroned king receiving his subjects, governors and envoys from various nations. Persepolis was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Chr. Destroyed.

Today's Persians celebrate the New Year for 13 days. In the first few days you visit the elderly family members, relatives and friends. One congratulates one another, presents are given. Sweets and feasts are consumed. On the last day - the 13th of the first Iranian month - almost all Persians leave their homes and go to the parks or the open countryside and spend the day there in good company.

The most important custom is the arrangement on a table of seven objects whose names begin with "S", the Haft Sin (seven times "S"). Traditionally these are: Sabze (wheat sprouts), Sir (garlic), Serke (vinegar), Sib (apple), Sendjed (whitebeam), Samanu (a wheat dish) and Somagh (spice). Also used are: Saat (clock), Sekke (coin), Sonbol (hyacinth) and Sepand (an incense plant). There are also goldfish, eggs, mirrors, candles and, for the Muslims, a Koran and for the Zoroastrians, an Avesta. Symbolically mean: garlic, incense and mirror (defense against evil), goldfish (luck), egg (wealth) and coin (wealth).

Why did this solemnity survive?

It is an ancient tradition and in harmony with the rebirth of nature at the spring solstice, the Iranian New Year begins on the first day of spring. It symbolizes "end" and "rebirth" and the victory of "good" over "evil".

money

The national currency is the RIAL. 10 rial units are colloquially called "tuman". Since payments by checks and credit cards are only possible to a limited extent, you should take cash in US $ or EURO with you. It is recommended to only exchange this at banks, e.g. when entering the airport

Persian cuisine

Persian cuisine is considered to be the French cuisine of the Orient. It is less garlic-oriented than the Turkish, not as spicy as the Indian and: it is still based on the teachings of Zarathustra, who divided dishes into "warm" and "cold" according to the warm or cold nature of humans. A principle that can also be found in Asian cultures and is continued in Yin and Yang.

Meat plays a minor role in Persian cuisine. One secret is the long and slow simmering of the extremely popular stews made from a variety of vegetables with or without meat. As a result, ingredients and spices combine particularly intensely in terms of taste. The staple food is rice, from which you can coax a special treat: a hard crust at the bottom of the pot that tastes extraordinarily delicious - if it's not burnt. This is a fine art that can only be mastered after a lot of practice.

White cheese with herbs and bread is very popular as a snack. And of course there are also sweets in Persian cuisine: the saffron cake halwa, rice pudding with saffron and almonds or a saffron cream. However, these desserts are not necessarily served for dessert, but rather on special occasions. Halva is used, for example, at funeral ceremonies and is then distributed to neighbors and those in need.

Most important drink: tea, flavored with spices: cinnamon, cardamom or cloves. As a symbol of love, saffron tea sweetened with honey is served to a future bride and her parents. Incidentally, Persia had a long wine tradition: Crusaders brought the famous Shiraz grape to Europe. But the conquest of Persia by the Arabs in the 7th century and the subsequent Islamic religion prohibited the production of wine. At least officially.

Handicrafts

Iranian handicrafts include silver and copper ware, miniature paintings, calligraphy, wood carving, ceramics, inlays and woven textiles such as brocade. One of the most important Iranian handicrafts is the manufacture of carpets. Carpet knotting is as old as the history of Persia. Iran is the leading carpet producer in the world. Iranian carpets with their real colors, fine patterns and unique fabrics are in great demand all over the world

Security, crime

Iran is a safe country to travel to. Even today, crime hardly manifests itself towards tourists. Nevertheless, it is advisable not to leave any valuables lying around. As a woman, you can feel safe in Iran. In contrast to Arab countries, you will not be looked at all the time, provided you are properly dressed. Compliance with Islamic laws largely prevents men from behaving improperly towards women.

Health, vaccinations, pharmacy

No vaccinations are required; However, it is recommended to vaccinate against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A (infectious jaundice) or to renew the vaccinations. Malaria prophylaxis: Please inquire at the Tropical Institute or a tropical doctor which malaria prophylaxis is indicated. The medication recommendation can change at any time. This is the information you should obtain when visiting Khuzistan. Here are a few more tips that you should take to heart for the sake of your health: Water can be drunk in many places, but it is advisable to buy water in sealed bottles and not to drink drinks that are too cold. A head covering (obligatory for women anyway) against the blazing sun makes sense, as well as sunscreen and sunglasses. Pharmacy: Your own personal medication, painkillers, eye drops (sand), nasal ointment (very dry air), antibiotics, disinfectants, bandages or adhesive plasters, malaria prophylaxis (for khuzistan), diarrhea medication, remedies for travel sickness, sunscreen with a high protection factor.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure is good. All major cities can be reached with an extensive network of scheduled flights. The road network is well developed and mostly in pristine condition. Rail connections are available. The extensive electrification also reaches remote mountain villages.

Sports

Soccer is the most popular team sport in Iran. The Iranian national team took part in the soccer world championships in Argentina in 1978, in France in 1998 and in Germany in 2006. Iran was always eliminated in the preliminary round and was only able to win one game (1998: 2-1 against the USA). Iran drew twice (1978: 1: 1 against Scotland and 2006: 1: 1 against Angola), six games were lost (1978: 0: 3 against the Netherlands and 1: 4 against Peru, 1998: 0: 1 against Yugoslavia 0: 2 against Germany and in 2006: 1: 3 against Mexico and 0: 2 against Portugal). Iran won the Asian Cup three times (1968, 1972 and 1976).

Indoor football (futsal) is also popular in Iran. The Iranian national team has won the title in Asia seven times in a row since the Asian Cup was launched in 1999. Only in 2006 did a different team from Japan win the Asian title than the Iranian team. Iran took part in four of the five futsal world championships held so far. The greatest success of the Iranian indoor soccer players at world championships remains 4th place at the 1992 Futsal World Cup in Hong Kong. At that time, Iran lost to Spain 6: 9 in the game for third place. In the tournaments in 1996 (Spain), 2000 (Guatemala) and 2004 (Taiwan), Iran was eliminated in the preliminary round. Iran did not take part in the 1989 World Cup in the Netherlands.

Popular team sports are volleyball, basketball and water polo. In volleyball, Iran even managed to qualify for the men's volleyball World Cup, which took place in Japan in autumn 2006. The Iranians were eliminated in the preliminary round.

Wrestling and weightlifting are important and traditional individual sports. Numerous Iranian Olympic and world champions testify to the strength of Iranian athletes in these two sports. For example, the Iranian weightlifter Hossein Rezazadeh holds the current world record in the +105 kg class. In addition, Rezazadeh won a gold medal each at the Summer Olympics in Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004), making him the only Iranian athlete to have been Olympic champion twice.

Recently, successful sports have also included Taekwondo and Judo. In Athens, Hadi Saei Bonehkohal was the first Iranian to win the Olympic gold medal in Taekwondo (class 58-68 kg). The Iranian judoka and world champion Arash Miresmaili, on the other hand, was the tragic figure in Athens: The lot won the favorite for the gold medal in the first round of the judo competitions, the Israeli fighter Ehud Vaks. Since it is forbidden for Iranian athletes to compete against Israeli athletes, Miresamili deliberately disregarded the weight limit in his class and was thus disqualified. Subsequently, he was rewarded with around $ 125,000 by the Iranian government just like the two Olympic champions from Athens Rezazadeh and Saei Bonehkohal.

The Iranian Olympic team won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals in Athens and took 29th place in the unofficial nation ranking together with Slovakia. The six medals for Iran were won in wrestling (2 silver and 1 bronze medal), weightlifting (1 gold medal) and Taekwondo (1 gold and 1 silver medal).

According to tradition, polo comes from what is now Iran. The game was already extremely popular under the name "Chaugán" in Persia during the time of Alexander the Great. The women also played “Chaugán”.

Persia also played an important role in the development of the game of chess. The game reached Persia via India, where it was modified. With the Islamization of Persia, the Arabs finally brought the game of chess to Europe. The name of the game refers in the German language to the Persian word "shah", which means something like king.

Even if motorsport is more of a marginal sport in Iran for cost reasons, at least the national rally championship received disproportionate attention, as Laleh Sadigh, who is very popular in her home country, was able to triumph against her male opponents in both 2004 and 2005. She was then hailed as an “icon of feminism”.