A trip to Iran – one of the countries that most likely does not come to mind first when you think about a future travel destination. But it’s the countries without expectations that often excite you the most. Let yourself be captivated by Iran’s economic center, the largest city and capital Tehran and experience the pulsating metropolis, which reflects the contrast between modernity and tradition. Tehran is about 50 kilometers wide and just as long and is home to almost 15 million inhabitants. A city full of color, culture and exoticism awaits you. The countless museums, monuments and palaces provide evidence of a fascinating, millennia-old history of the city and the entire country.
Tip 1: Golestan Palace
Shimmering colorful facades tell cultural and historical stories from Iran and offer a unique glimpse into the splendor of days gone by. Golestan Palace crowns the many historical highlights in Tehran and is not called a tiled beauty or the Palace of the Rose Garden for nothing. In addition to the orientally designed, colorfully tiled and ornately depicted scenes on its facades, the former government palace has a wealth of treasures to offer inside as well. The magnificent Golestan Palace is a must-see when visiting the city of Tehran.
Today, Golestan Palace is one of the oldest historical buildings in Tehran and was built at the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Thereby the Golestan Palace belonged to a group of buildings, which can be assigned to the old Persian ruling family. The name “Golestan Palace” can be translated as “Palace of Flowers” or “Palace of the Rose Garden”, in any case the word Golestan has a floral meaning.
The former government palace of the Quadshars includes a total of 17 buildings and halls and is a unique sight in Tehran. After the era of the Quadshars or Kajars, Golestan Palace was used only for official occasions between 1925 and 1979 in the Pahlavid era. In Golestan Palace, Reza Khan was crowned Shah in 1925 and his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1967; Mohammed was also the last Shah of Persia. Golestan Palace is thus not only a masterfully designed former seat of government, but also a place of enormous historical significance in Tehran.
In keeping with its name, the Golestan Palace was built in the middle of a lush garden and is thus today a highlight in Tehran not only architecturally, but also due to its very well-kept gardens.
Tip 2: Azadi Tower
The landmark of modern Tehran is located in the western, old district of Tarasht. The Freedom Monument has a height of 45 meters and is part of the Azadi Cultural Complex on the 50,000 square meter Azadi Square.
The architectural masterpiece in Iran’s cultural center was built in 1971 by Iranian-Canadian architect Hossein Amanat on the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Monarchy. Conceived at the time as a monument to the Shah, it was then called Shahyad Tower. After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, it was renamed Azadi Tower and is now a symbol of freedom and peace.
The design of the landmark is said to represent the connection between Islamic architecture and that of the Sassanids. The tower, designed in the shape of a triumphal arch, stands on four pillars: Each of them was supposed to stand for one of the original civilizations Egypt, China, Iran and Rome. The structure consists of 46,000 worked stones; 25,000 white marble stones from Isfahan form the magnificent shell of the monument. 4 elevators as well as 2 staircases lead to the observation deck, which offers a wide view over Tehran.
Tip 3: Darband
Far too often, the Iranian capital suffocates in smog and between traffic chaos and crowds of people it is difficult to breathe. The Elbrus Mountains around Tehran offer you a good opportunity to escape the exhaust fumes of the city for a short time. The snow-covered peaks around the city are up to 5,600 meters high and winter sports are becoming increasingly important in Iran. If you brought your ski gear and equipment with you to Iran, you can set some lines in the white snow at Mountain Tochal Ski Resort.
However, if you don’t have any skiing gear up your sleeve due to the Iranian weather conditions, we can alternatively recommend the climatic resort of Darband as a destination in the nearby mountains. From here you not only get a phenomenal view of the Iranian metropolis, but you can also take a deep breath and enjoy the cool mountain air. Especially in Darband there are numerous restaurants and tea houses between rocks and waterfalls, which will put you in a vacation mood with delicious fish and meat dishes. Sometimes, however, the waiters here are a bit pushy.
Tip 4: Tabiat Bridge
Since 2014, Tehran records a very special structure: the Tabiat Bridge. The pedestrian bridge connects the parks “Ab-o Atash Park” also called Park-e Ebrahim (Abraham Park) and “Taleghani Park”, which are separated by a wide city highway, and is crossed by numerous people every day. The design can be traced back to the young Iranian engineer Leila Araghian, who took over the planning of this impressive bridge at the age of just 26.
The Tabiat Bridge is located above a city highway in Tehran and has a total length of around 270 meters. In addition to its function as a traffic route, the structure also serves primarily as an experience and meeting place. Thanks to the special form language, one has the feeling of being directly in an experience space. The Tabiat Bridge has several levels, one of which is designed for joggers and cyclists, one of which is equipped with several cafés, and one of which is designed as a viewing platform. Thus, one has a magnificent view of the northern surroundings of the city as well as of the TV tower and the sports arena.
Tip 5: Grand Bazaar
Supposedly, the Grand Bazaar of Tehran is the largest bazaar in the world. We can’t say if that’s true, but with over 10,000 merchants, there’s at least all sorts of selection of spices, clothing, jewelry and all sorts of odds and ends here. The bazaar in the heart of the city has several drugstores, pharmacies, banks, money exchange offices and even mosques. Not getting lost here is nearly impossible. As authentic as the Vakil Bazaar in Yazd and as architecturally valuable as the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan in the Tehran Bazaar certainly not, yet a visit is absolutely worthwhile. Old or young, traditional or modern – here the different generations and world views of Iran meet. The Tehran Grand Bazaar is not geared towards tourists, but towards the locals. The seemingly endless aisles are arranged thematically – from food to household goods. Counterfeit brand-name clothing or even shopping bags with American and European labels are also sold here.
Around the bazaar there are numerous snack bars and street kitchens, where you can taste typical Persian dishes at reasonable prices. Don’t let the crowds in front of the bazaar scare you. It seems that all of Tehran is gathered here.