The most important points you need when traveling to Iran

You can read the most important points you need when traveling to Iran on this page. We have tried to answer your most important mental concerns and the most vital information you need.

 

Security in Iran

Contrary to the negative propaganda of some Western media, Iran is a safe country and does not pose a threat to citizens and tourists. In recent years, despite the rise of terrorist groups such as ISIS and the Taliban in the Middle East and some of their attacks in the heart of Europe, Iran has become immune to such human rights abuses and has become known as the safe island of the Middle East. Despite the relative insecurity that prevails in the world, not a single case of widespread terrorist incident has been reported in this country.

Iranian money system

You can use Euros, Pounds or Dollars to pay for major travel expenses such as your accommodation or the taxi that will take you from the airport to the hotel. But for more detailed expenses, you need to convert your money into Iranian banknotes. There is a money exchange office at Iran’s international airports. Hotels have the same possibility. Reputable exchange offices are also operating in all major cities of Iran, whose services you can use.

The currency in Iran is officially known as the Rial, and is valued at roughly 40’000 IRL to USD$1. That’s a lot of zeros, so what the locals have started doing is dropping a zero and calling the new value a Toman.

1 Toman = 10 Rial

Residence in Iran

In the tourist cities of Iran, it is customary for the natives to rent their houses to travelers. This type of accommodation may cause problems with accident insurance. Therefore, stay in places that operate under the auspices of the Tourism Organization of Iran. Licensed local hotels, guesthouses and houses are among the approved places. If you are traveling with a tour, trust your tour guide about accommodation.

Gonbad-e Qabus

The city of Gonbad-e Qabus is located in Golestan province, in northeastern Iran. Gonbad-e Qabus Tower is located on top of a hill, north of the city and in the extreme northwest of the national park. Also known as the Tower of Qabus or Maghbar-e Qabus (Mausoleum of Qabus), it is located 3 km southwest of the ruins of the ancient city of Gorgan. It is one of the most magnificent structures of the early Islamic centuries and remains prominent in the chaos of urban life and buildings, attracting the viewer’s eye even from miles away.

The height of the tower has been recorded as greater than 53 m in various sources, however, according to the latest photogrammetric studies it measures 53 m, of which 35 m correspond to the shafts and 18 m to the conical roof. The structure has a transformed circular plan and the radius of the dome is 4.8 m. The inner circumference is 30 m and the outer 60 m. The wall of the dome is 4.8 m thick, half the diameter.

Dezful

A city in the Khuzestan province, located in a region whose history dates back to the ancient Iranian civilization. The name Dezful derives from the words Dez (fortress) and Pol (bridge), which combined could mean fortified bridge. The bridge was built during the reign of Shapur I and according to the legends the king exploited the prisoners, in a war against the Romans, to build the bridge. The city has extremely hot and humid summers and mild winters.

Damghan

It is the capital of the Damghan district in Semnán province, Iran. This city, called Sad Darvazeh (City of Hundred Gates), was the capital of the Arsacid empire. In Greek texts, the name of this city was Hacatopolis. Given its privileged geographical location, Damghan stretches from Alborz in the north to the desert in the south. This historic city is rich in natural and historical attractions and attracts many visitors who manage to reconcile their interest between the mountains and the desert. Semnán was a major endpoint on the Silk Road. Therefore, both in the city and along the way there are still many architectural elements, caravanserais, mosques, bazaars and the famous desert lighthouses. Headlights marked the direction of caravans traveling on dark nights.

Damghan is the second largest pistachio-producing city in Iran and a large part of its economy depends on the production of pistachios. The pistachio processing and production units of Damghan, located 30 km north of the city, which thanks to its fertile land and pleasant climate, have become the main industries and occupations of the inhabitants of Damghan.

Bushehr

The capital of the Bushehr province, also known as Bandar-e Bushehr. The city is situated on an extensive plain along the Persian Gulf coastal region in southwestern Iran. The city is located near the ancient Sassanid port city, Rishahr. It was the main maritime port of the country and the administrative center of its province. It is about 1,218 kilometers south of Tehran. Bushehr has been the main commercial center of Iran for centuries.

The structures of the city are traditional in style, modest and adapted to the hot climate of the city. Despite tradition, today most Iranian cities are modernizing and adapting to the market. Just consider the high rate of urbanization, over 70%, that has emerged in Iran since the country’s development years after the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

Borujerd

Borujerd county capital in Lorestan province, western Iran. Among the cities of Iran, Borujerd is one of the oldest since the 9th century. In the Sassanid Empire, Borujerd was a small town near Nahavand. Borujerd attracted much attention during the Seljuk empire of the 9th and 10th centuries. It was a commercial and strategic city in the Zagros Mountains until the 20th century. In its golden age, during the Qajar dynasty (18th and 19th centuries), Borujerd was chosen as the capital of the Lorestan and Khuzestan region.

Today Borujerd is the second largest city in Lorestan and the main industrial, tourist and cultural center of the region. The city has preserved its ancient architecture and way of life, mainly thanks to the mosques, bazaars and houses built during the Qajar era. Its inhabitants are mainly of Lur origin, but there is a minority of Laks who also live in Borujerd and speak Laki, such as the Balavand, Ghisavand, Shahivand.

Birjand

Capital of the province of South Khorasan and center of Birjand county. This city is known for its export of saffron, barberry, handmade carpets and tapestries. Being close to the Afghan border, Birjand was on the “Silk Road” linking Afghanistan to the European continent. The city has a dry climate with a lot of difference in daytime and nighttime temperatures. This city is developing more and more, which makes it one of the main centers of eastern Iran.

Bandar Abbas

It is a port city and the capital of Hormozgan province, on the southern coast of Iran. The city dominates the Persian Gulf and occupies a strategic position in the Strait of Hormuz. The earliest traces of Bandar Abbas date back to the reign of Darius the Great (522-486). Darius’s commander, Silacus, sailed from Bandar Abbas to India and the Red Sea. During Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire, Bandar Abbas was known as Hormirzad.

Arak

Arak is the capital of the Marazi province. Originally called Soltán Abad, the modern city of Arak was founded in 1808. Arak is surrounded by mountains to the south, west and east, and its average altitude is about 1,750 m above sea level. It is located 260 km from the city of Tehran.

The main agricultural products of the city are wheat, barley and fruits such as grapes, apple, walnut and almond. Arak also exports hand-knotted rugs, known as Sarouk rugs, named after a small town on the outskirts of Arak.

Abadan

The capital of the county of Abadan, province of Khuzestan, is located on the border of Mesopotamia inferior. It is a vast plain at the foot of the Zagros Mountains, overlooking the Persian Gulf.

It is located on the island of Abadan (68 km long, 3-19 km or 2-12 miles wide), bounded by the Shatt al-Arab River to the west, the Karun River to the north, and the Persian Gulf to the south. In medieval times it served as a source of carpets, woven straw, a supplier of salt and a navigation center for travelers and sailors.

The modernization of the city began in 1910 due to the oil industry. The first oil refinery, opened by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1912, with an annual capacity of 120,000 tons, became one of the largest refineries in the world in the 1960s. In 1948, the refinery’s employees accounted for one third of the city’s population, which was about 100,000, making Abadan the fifth largest city in the country.

The Night of Yalda

The longest night of the year

The winter solstice marks the longest night in the Persian calendar, Yalda (December 21 or 22), celebrated by Iranian families since ancient times and as Nowruz – Persian New Year, March 21 – is a festival whose origin dates back to the pre-Islamic period.

The festival celebrates the birth of a sun goddess, Mitra. This festival symbolizes the triumph of light against darkness. Starting tonight, the days get longer and longer. According to the Persian calendar, tonight welcomes dey, the first month of winter.

Families often meet at grandparents’ homes on that night. Before, people sat around the korsí, a piece of furniture with a table as a brazier and a blanket on it, and there they placed food and fruits.

That night’s foods consist of watermelon, pomegranate, grapes, walnuts and pistachios, dried fruits, sweets, and tea. Eating watermelon is believed to strengthen the body’s immune system during winter.

That night is celebrated not only in Iran, but also in neighboring countries such as Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia. One of the customs of this ritual is to taste food and fruits and learn about their destiny through Hafez, a Persian mystical poet. Each person with a longing opens Hafez’s Book (Divan Hafez) at random and reads a poem from him.

This tradition is so important in Iranian culture that it was included in the National Heritage of Iran in 2008 and is pending addition to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.