Tehran is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, and warm friendly people. It deserves at least a few days of your travel plan in Iran.
The city can be roughly divided into two different parts - north and south. The northern districts of Tehran are more prosperous, modern, cosmopolitan and expensive while southern parts are less attractive but cheaper.
At the time of the Zand dynasty, it was a little town that was significant from a strategic point of view. The first of the Qajar kings, Agha Mohammed Khan, named Tehran as the country's capital in 1778, and most of its growth started during the reign of a subsequent Qajar monarch, Fath-Ali Shah. The castle which Agha Mohammed Khan had built was to contain the new majestic buildings.
At the same time, the city's populace was redoubled. Due to the increasing significance of the city, gates, squares and mosques were built and it was at the time of Nassereddin Shah that the city's master sketch was prepared and modern streets were constructed. Later, huge central squares like Toopkhaneh square (now Imam Khomeini) and quite a few military buildings were built. Even though the Qajar dynasty was in a period of decline, Tehran soon took the shape of a modern city. The structure of large government buildings, new streets, recreation centers, urban service organizations, and academic and methodical centers were started, even as most of the old gates and buildings were destroyed and the city's old architectural fabric replaced by a contemporary one.
Tehran has also earned itself the rather unenviable reputation as a smog-filled, traffic-clogged and featureless sprawl of concrete bursting at the seams with 14 million residents. But you can also find an endless number of nice and cozy places in and around the city - if you know where to look. Tehran is also a city of parks and possesses more than 800 of them, all well-kept. The city is nearly a mile high above sea level and as a result is cooler than other cities in the Middle East. Summer temperatures are around 36°C or about 95-100°F. The air tends to be very dry.
A combination of factors make Tehran a pleasant place to visit: The dry climate which is constantly cool (at least in the evenings), the proximity of the mountains, the parks and gardens where flowers blossom all through the year, the alleys of trees in the avenues or even smaller streets, and even the water that runs down from the upper city along deep and wide gutters which look like small rivers during spring. The Alborz range on the north of Tehran, which hosts the highest peak in Iran, provides fantastic conditions for ski lovers in the winter. In winter, the mountain hotels and ski-clubs at Shemshak, and Dizine are full several days a week. Some specialist skiers consider the snow value in northern Tehran to be some of the best in the world.
Tehran’s most highlighted attractions
The cultural and historical complex of Niavaran is situated in a great garden in an eleven hectare area, with historical and natural attractions. The monuments of this complex belong to the Qajar and the Pahlavi eras.
At the beginning the Qajar rulers used this place for their summer resort. Fath Ali Shah Qajar instructed building of a garden in the Tehran outskirts. This garden was built near the “Gordevey’ or “Gordebeh’ village which was situated in today’s Niavaran. This garden was built on the reed-bed (neyzar) place. This garden was called “Neyavaran” which later became famous as Niavaran. Mohammad Shah as well erected a small building in this garden. Following him Naser ed din Shah erected the Sahebqaranieh Palace in this garden. The last building which was built in this garden is famous as Kooshk Ahmad Shahi.
During the reign of Pahlavi II, some of the small monuments of this garden were ruined and the Niavaran Palace was built with a modern style for the residence of the Shah and his family members. Presently, the palace area consists of Niavaran Palace, Sahebqaraniyeh Palace, Kooshk Ahmad Shahi, small gardens and special Pahlavi school.
National jewelry Museum
The Imperial crown jewels of Iran (also known as the Imperial crown jewels of Persia) include elaborate crowns, thirty tiaras, and numerous aigrettes, a dozen bejeweled swords and shields, a number of unset precious gems, numerous plates and other dining services cast in precious metals and encrusted with gems, and several other more unusual items (such as a large golden globe with the oceans made of emeralds) collected by the Iranian monarchy from the 16th century (Safavid dynasty) on. The collection is housed at The Treasury of National Jewels (the official name) but is known colloquially as the Jewellery Museum. It is situated inside the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran on Tehran's Ferdowsi Avenue. The museum is open to the public from 14:00 to 16:30 hrs except on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The museum has onsite guides with knowledge of Persian, English, French and Russian languages. There are also guide booklets available in English, Persian, French, Russian, German, Japanese and Arabic.
The lavish Golestan Palace is a masterpiece of the Qajar era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences. The walled Palace, one of the oldest groups of buildings in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Teheran the capital of the country. Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date from the 19th century. It became a centre of Qajari arts and architecture of which it is an outstanding example and has remained a source of inspiration for Iranian artists and architects to this day. It represents a new style incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts and elements of 18th century architecture and technology.
Souvenirs of Tehran are actually mixed of souvenirs from all around Iran and it can be easily found in Tehran traditional bazaars like Grand Bazzar, Tajrish bazzar and Parking Parvaneh.