Iran is home to incredible historical attractions from one of the earliest civilizations on the planet. Although you may have to overcome harsh travel conditions to get to them, the effort is well rewarded. Visitors will be awe struck by extraordinary past of the Persian Empire and its richness and depth are still depicted in many archeological wonders and UNESCO World Heritage sites throughout Iran today.
Carpet Museum of Iran
Since most travelers start their visit in Tehran, it makes sense to explore the bustling capital's attractions first. The Carpet Museum was established in 1976 and houses one of the most extensive collections of antique Persian rugs, the oldest dating back to the 5th century. Weaving is an important element in Iranian culture and the designs depict a range of themes from religious to historical. Centuries later, these naturally dyed pigments are just as vibrant and beautiful and it is possible to see a demonstration of how they are made.
Address: Dr. Fatemi Road, Tehran, Iran
Malik National Museum of Iran
This museum is also the biggest library in Iran and home to many historical and precious manuscripts. Showcasing incredible literature and calligraphy in modern displays, some of the manuscripts are works of art in their own right. The museum is home to over 19,000 books, coins, stamps, and paintings.
Address: off Imam Khomeini Road, Tehran, Iran
Grand Bazaar Tehran
The biggest bazaar in Tehran is the Grand Bazaar, located right in the center of the city. It is a great place to browse, explore and shop. The market is split into sections selling jewelry, handicrafts, carpets, spices, appliances, and miscellaneous odds and ends. Haggling is a must and always keep an eye on your belongings when walking through the bustling crowds.
Address: between Molavi and Abu Sa’id streets, Tehran, Iran
A key componenet of the Tehran skyline, the Azadi Tower was built in 1971 to commemorate the Persian Empire’s 2500th anniversary and is considered the symbol of the city. Built completely out of marble, it is part of a bigger cultural complex. Below is the Azadi Museum, home to some of the most incredible and most valuable Persian artifacts. The tower is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and Azadi Square.
Address: Azadi Sqaure, Tehran, Iran
Built in 2007, the Milad Tower, with a height of 1,427 feet, is the tallest structure in Iran. The observation deck offers stunning views of Tehran and there is a revolving restaurant, an art gallery and a VIP dining area. The tower is surrounded by the International Trade and Convention Center, which includes a hotel and exhibition area. There is a restaurant at the top of the tower, as well.
Address: Off Skeykh Fazollah Highway, Milad Tower Road, Tehran, Iran
Golestan Palace, or "Palace of Flowers," dates back to the 16th century. The complex is actually made up several palaces, halls and museums, and was once the home of the Qajar rulers. The buildings are incredibly beautiful, intricately decorated with mosaics and inlays. Among the most amazing architectural features are the Orosi stained-glass windows and the royal balcony.
Address: Ark Square, Tehran, Iran
Probably the most famous archaeological site in Iran is Persepolis, the center of the Achaemenid Empire. Persepolis dates back to 500 BC and is an important cultural site made up of various buildings. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979, the main building to explore is the Apadana (Audience Hall), which is the largest in the city, and was once considered big enough to accommodate 10,000 people. The detail on the many reliefs adorning the buildings is truly astounding for how old and well preserved they are.
Address: Fars Province, Iran
Built in 1250 BC, the Chogha Zanbil, or "Basket Mound," is an ancient Elamite town. Various elements of the town are still in excellent condition and the ziggurat, a stepped pyramid, is considered to be one of the most well preserved in the world. The remnants of the royal palace and the royal tomb were Iran’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.
Address: Khuzestan province, Iran