|Iran: The Country of The Nobles|
The name of Iran comes from an ancient term
in Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, meaning the land of the
Aeers'. This term refers to a certain plateau which the Indo-Iranians,
a branch of Aryans selected for their settlement. By passage of time,
the term "Aeer"
changed to "Er" and later to "Ir". "Er" or "Ir", in the ancient
languages of the time, meant NOBLE. The official name of our country
in the Sassanid period (400-600 A.D.) was Iranshatr or
Iranshahr. "Shatr" or "Shahr" means country. Thus Iranshahr
means The Country of The Nobles.
Iran which has an area of 1,648,000 km2, and 64,878,000 (1994 est.) population is one of the most strategically located countries in the world. Just as a clue, Iran's population tops the total population of all the other Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, UAE and Jordan! Iran occupies the entire 2,440 km eastern coast of the Persian Gulf that borders six other oil-rich Gulf states. Iran also borders Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Iraq, and shares its 740 km coast line Caspian Sea with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Iran was a constitutional monarchy, and turned to a republic due to an Islamic movement, in 1979.
Iran has a very colorful and diversified landscape, ranging from high plateau to mountain ranges, and to plain bordering the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. The dominant color is a delicate high brown, like the coat of a dear, but the countryside can vary enormously according to the altitude and vegetation.
Iranian plateau is very high, ranging an average between 1,000 and 2,000 meters (3,000 to 6,000 feet) in fact the plateau, besides being of varying heights, also includes many peaks, it is edged by two big mountain chains, the Alborz to the north, rising to 5,670 meters and forming a continuous wall above the banks of the Caspian sea; and the Zagross perhaps less impressive than the Alborz, which forms a formidable barrier on the west and south, with peak rising to 4,500 meters. The massive volcanic peak of Damavand, of the Alborz mountain range, separates the Iranian plateau from the moist coastal regions bordering the Caspian Sea.
As well as the plateau and the mountains, the central desert covering one-third of the surface of the country, as big as the whole of France, must also be taken into account. Its two parts, the Dasht-e-Kavir and the Dasht-e-Lut represent practically impassable barriers of pebbles, sand and salt.
Iran is a vast country made up of very different climate regions, so that the climate can change from one time of the year to another, as well as between different regions at the same time of the year.
There are generally four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring starts from mid March and the weather is pleasant with warm and sunny days and occasional spring showers. The average temperature during Spring is around 20-25C degrees. In summer the heat is often overwhelming, with the temperature frequently rising above 35C degree in Tehran. In summer time, pleasant weather and beautiful sceneries in the Northern Iran and Caspian Sea attracts many people to escape from the heat and spend holidays in the mountain areas and the sea side. Autumn starts from mid September with rather cool and sunny days. Beautiful sceneries with colorful yellow, red and brown autumn leaves can be found by just an hour drive from Tehran. In winter, the cold can be intense and the thermometer frequently drops below zero centigrade to -5 or -10 centigrade at night, even in Tehran. Shemshak and Dizin Ski slopes in Northern Tehran are popular during winter.
Iran is very rich in terms of natural resources. Almost one-tenth of the world's oil and one-fifth of the world's natural gas reserve are in Iran. Iran's total oil reserves stands at 92.9 billion barrels. At the present extraction rate, it will last 70 years. Iran is ranked second in the world in view of its natural gas reserve, totaling 20.7 trillion cubic meters, and at the current daily consumption rate, it will take Iran 360 years to exhaust it! Besides natural resources, unlike many other Middle Eastern countries, Iran possesses strong agricultural and service sectors. These together with a population of more than 60 million make Iran a substantial domestic power from the political and economical point of view.
Official Iranian calendar is Jalali calendar, which was designed by Omar Khayyam (1048-1122), a famous philisopher, poet and a mathematician. Iranian Calendar has 365 days and 12 months. The Iranian new year begins on March 21 and is dated from the Hejira in 622 A.D. when the prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina. In religious matters, the Moslem calendars usually give three systems, Jalali, Islamic and Georgian. The official weekend holiday in Iran is Friday.
Iranian school year starts from September 21, with either 3 quarters in junior or 2 semesters in senior level education. Iranian school year usually ends around the end of June.
Iran's official flag has three equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red.
Iran's currency is Rial. It has a fluctuating exchange rate between 2000-8000 Rials to 1 US Dollar.
Here is a collection of some data and facts about Iran.
A note for individuals planning to visit Iran: The government of Iran practices strict dress and behavioral code on females appearing in public. Also males above 18 years old born to Iranian parents should consider the Iranian government's viewpoint on naturalization law.
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This page was created by B.H. Far.