Tehran is the buzzing capital of Iran, a fascinating juxtaposition of modern and ancient cultures, an entrepreneurial spirt and a traditional mind-set; the West colliding with the East. With half the population under 30 years old, this vibrant city offersa true gateway into the modern Persian culture, which is still very firmly set in a historical land; only here it is possible to go from shopping in a giant modern mall, across the road to the Shah’s legendary palace, into the ancient, winding alleys full of shisha smokers and bazaar stalls, and finally ending up in one of the many art galleries arising on Tehran’s contemporary cultural scene.
Here at Magic Carpet Travel, let us show you the five attractions that you must see, should you ever get the chance to visit this fascinating modern city, in the ancient land of Persia.
1. Golestan Palace
A jewel of Tehran; the palace and gardens of the former Shah of Iran. Golestan Palace was used as a centre for power and art since the Safavid Dynasty, and now consists of a group of Royal buildings displayed as museums and acres of tranquil gardens. You could easily spend a day here wandering through the King’s courts, and visiting each of the nine museums to gain a glimpse of the extravagances and marvels of the palace under the formerKing’s rule. No trip to Tehran would be complete without a visit.
2. The Holy Defence Museum
If you are looking for an interesting way to spend half a day in Iran, The Holy Defence Museum will certainly provide you with that. This is an impressive museum, set on 21 hectares of land, that takes you through the entire history of the 1980 Iran-Iraq war. You are able to walk through the timeline of events, displayed in giant air hanger spaces, and gain a fascinating perspective on the events. This is a well put together museum, with a large variety of displays, surreal artwork and sensory effects, that take you back in time to one of the most important events in Iran’s modern history. English speaking guides available.
3. Contemporary Art Museum
A place for art lovers, located next to Park e-Laleh in downtown Tehran, this museum holds one of the greatest collections ofIranian modern and contemporary art. A truly fascinating place to visit, where traditional Persian art is displayed amongst its Western counterparts such as Vincent van Gogh. In a city teaming with pop up art galleries, come here for a concentration of rotating exhibitions, films and performance art.
The museum is currently showing the world renounced Parviz Tanavoli, The Lions of Iran Exhibition, a fantastic display of abstract, symbolic lions.
A little-known fact is Tehran’s amazing Ski resorts; Shemshak, Dizin, Darbandsar and Tochal, all just a short drive from Tehran. During the winter, you can find powdery mountains to rival any European ski slope. If you are a fan of skiing, why not ride out your next ski season in Tehran, with a multitude of boutique hotels located on sight, and over 4 resorts to choose from surrounding Tehran, you can spend the entire Winter discovering new runs. All ski equipment can be rented at the resorts and a day ski pass is around the equivalent of £10.
5. Azadi Tower
Literally meaning Freedom Tower, Azadi Tower is the modern symbol of Iran. You will likely drive past this landmark on your way into Tehran from the airport, though it is worth a visit in itself as, underneath the tower lies an art museum displaying artefacts of Iranian cultural and national heritage. If you are lucky, you may also be able to attend a Persian modern music or comedy performance, in its underground theatre!
The list definitely doesn’t end here; we hope it’s just enough to get you started!
Author: Loretta Rice