Iran’s great metropolis and capital city, Tehran is well worth a stop for visitors interested in learning about Persian history and modern Iran. Filled with museums, parks and welcoming locals, Tehran is the perfect introduction to the Middle East.
A vast contrast stands between the north and south ends of the city. The north is widely known for its affluence and modernity, while the south offers glimpses into traditional Iranian life. A trip to Tehran should include the Treasury of the National Jewels, the National Museum of Iran and Golestan Palace. Iran’s National Rug Gallery offers an expansive look at Persian rugs, while the largest collection of crown jewels awaits at the Crown Jewels of Iran.
Standing 148 feet (45 m) above the city, Azadi Tower has come to symbolize Tehran, and its square is a must-stop for photo opportunities. At Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, a seemingly endless array of aisles teems with exotic spices, colourful carpets and sparkling jewellery, beckoning shoppers to haggle hard for the best deals.
Throughout Tehran, lushly maintained parks and outdoor spaces welcome locals and visitors alike to find a moment of rest in the heart of this busy cosmopolitan city. Hundreds upon hundreds of these green spaces can be found amidst the high rises that define Tehran’s skyline, and it is in these parks where tourists can sit back and absorb the myriad of contrasts — modern and historic, rich and poor, nature and urban development — that make up Tehran.
When to fly to Tehran
The best time to visit Tehran is between April and September. These months are filled with warm and sunny days, and rainfall is practically nonexistent. The city also hosts the Tehran International Book Festival in June. November through February tend to be the cheapest months to visit Tehran, due to high rainfall and cold temperatures.
Getting around Tehran
Tehran has gained notoriety for its congested streets and constant traffic, so getting around the city will take some patience. Shared taxis, in which you hitch a ride with other passengers with the same destination, are common in Tehran. To hail them, stand on a street corner and wait for a cab to slow down. Tell the driver your destination, and he will stop if he agrees. You may also negotiate to hire the taxi privately, i.e. without other passengers, but you will be expected to pay several times more what you would pay for a shared taxi ride.
Tehran also maintains a public bus system, but because routes and schedules are only posted in Persian, it can be difficult to navigate the buses as a visitor. The metro system