AS THE CAPITAL OF IRAN, TEHRAN IS A BUSTLING METROPOLIS WITH A POPULATION OF AROUND 14 MILLION. THIS DYNAMIC CITY BUILT ON THE FOOT OF THE ALBORZ MOUNTAIN AND SERVES AS AN EXOTIC DESTINATION FOR TRAVELLERS LOOKING FOR A BIT OF ADVENTURE WHILE ON HOLIDAY. HERE ALL THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT MIDDLE-EAST SETTLEMENT CONVERGE, FROM BAZAARS TO MUSEUMS AND PALACES.
Of all the strictness of Middle-Esatern religious culture, Tehran is considered as one of the most liberal cities. Students from all over the country have gravitated to Tehran and its universities. This eager youth with their liberal views have helped to soften an intransigence to change of the countrie’s ruling powers. In the last couple of years Iran has begun to attract tourists from all parts of the world. Some to revel in the city’s new found adventures in art and theatre and others to explore the history of the Old Persian Empire. Things are starting to happen in Tehran and while the southern parts are have still a way to go the northern districts are prosperous, modern, cosmopolitan and expensive.
Visitors to this city should not miss the Grand Bazaar located on Arg Square. This is an historical market built with majestic Persian architecture; the root of this bazaar can be traced back to the 4,000 BCE. The site is split into several corridors over 10 km in length, each specializing in different types of goods and have several entrances with Sabze Meydan as the main one. In addition to the traditional goods on sale, such as carpet and indigenous clothing, one can also find jewellery and watches. Visitors here are encouraged to haggle for goods so a bit of revision on Persian numbers will help to get the best prices.
For a bit of history and cultural reference, the Azadi monument is well worth a visit. This longstanding symbol of Tehran was constructed to commemorate the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire and now combines the finest elements of Sassanid and Islamic architecture. There is a museum located on the basement area of this monument, right under the main vault.
For history enthusiasts wishing to learn the fascinating backstory of Tehran, there are a couple of must-visit spot in the capital. First, the Golestan Palace a.k.a Rose Garden Citadel, it is one of the most visited places in Tehran, in which the Qajars’ royal family once resided. Its garden is an oasis of coolness and peace in the middle of the city’s choking smog and manic street activities. The second of these sites is the National museum of Tehran. Here precious and significant artefacts from ancient Persia (dating back to 5000BC) and post-Islamic Persia (800AD) are preserved. The museum building itself is a masterpiece on its own right, built in Iran’s golden era of the 1930s.
One of the best hotels in Tehran is Parsian Azadi Hotel, providing a 5-star service and located close to some of the city’s historical sites. The hotel offers 483 rooms including Presidential suites, duplex and double rooms.
For those who wish to experience this city, AirAsia X now provides a direct flight to the Iranian capital of Tehran from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. More info visit www.airasia.com