Surprising Iran Facts That You Didn’t Know About
“A traveller without knowledge is a bird without wings.”
– Saadi Shirazi (Sa’di)
This famous 12th century quote by the “Master of Speech” Saadi Shirazi popularly known as Sa’di, holds true even today. As a world traveller, it is important to know some facts about Iran, the land of the ancient Persian Empire.
Contrary to popular media, travel in Iran is quite safe and the Iranian hospitality and warm friendly locals will soon make Iran a new top travel destination. Iran has a lot to offer; from beautiful beaches and amazing architecture, to lush dishes and much more.
Can you count how many Iran facts you know? Not too many? Don’t worry we’re here to help you with some interesting facts about Iran to prepare for your visit to this historical land.
Iran facts #1
Iranians speak Farsi, not Arabic.
Iranians are not Arabians, and vice versa. They speak their own language, which is Farsi aka Persian. Although the numerals used in Farsi and Arabic are similar, the languages are not the same. If you try to speak to an Iranian in Arabic, they won’t understand you.
Iranian facts #2
Autumn and Spring are the best time to visit Iran.
Although you can visit Iran any time of the year, one of the facts about Iran is that Spring and Autumn have the best weather conditions. The temperature from March to May and from September to November varies from 7 to 20 degrees Celsius. A bonus for visiting in May is the blooming landscape. Beautiful flowers grow everywhere. And the national flower, the tulip can even be seen growing wild along the roadside. One of the most interesting fact about Iran is that it is beautiful in May.
There are also a lot of activities to do in summer and winter thanks to geographical features such as islands ( Kish and Qeshm) and snow-covered mountains (Damavand).
Iran facts #3
Iran may be one of the friendliest countries on the planet.
An Iranian culture facts, is that the people of Iran are open, friendly, warm and welcoming. Almost anywhere you go in Iran, you’ll find someone coming up to chat with you or to help you along your way. Be it in stores, in markets or just in the streets, Iranians love visitors. They will do everything they can to make you feel welcome and at home in their country.
Iranian facts #4
You can taste real Iranian food in people’s homes.
Every city of Iran has a unique cuisine and the variety of foods is amazing.
From Ghormeh Sabzi to Dizi, Persian food has a lot to offer. Of course you know about Haleem because it’s famous the world over. But what about the Persian baked rice cakes called Tahchin, or the Kabab Koobideh made of ground lambs and onions. Or the lush tasting Sabzi Polo ba Mahi which is herb rice and fish.
If you’re a foodie, it’s pretty easy to book a culinary tour to Iran to learn how to cook Moshti Kebab, Ab Ghoost or Kalam Polo with local families in Esfahan, Tehran, Shiraz or other cities. The local families open their homes to you, welcome you warmly into their midst and teach you the secrets to their cuisine.
Another facts about Iran is that Persian food includes a lot of meat. So if you’re a vegetarian, you might find the number of dishes limited. You will find lentils and or eggplant dishes along the tourist routes though.
There are also various foods for vegetarians including local and international ones.
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Iran facts #5
Alcohol is banned in Iran.
This is one of the most important Iranian facts. You won’t find booze in Iran. Not a drop. You may find beer on the menu of restaurants, but it’s non-alcoholic. It tastes quite like the real thing though and there are many flavors to try.
And really, who needs booze when you have a variety of sharbats to try? Some famous Persian sharbats are the Tokhm-e-Reyhan, Khak-e-Shir, Bahar Narenj and the Sekanjabin.
Iranian facts #6
Iran has 23 UNESCO sites and many natural wonders.
Iran is much more than a desert. One of the fun facts about Iran is that the terrain and landscapes vary in different parts of the country. From mountains parks at one end the turquoise beaches at the other, facts on Iran are that this country has everything including rich culture and ancient history.
Another interesting facts Iran is the presence of 23 UNESCO World heritage sites here. The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System and the amazing city of Persepolis built by Darius the Great in the 5th century BC. The Ancient Persian Qanat water systems, the city of Yazd, the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape from circa 224 CE to 658 CE, and many more historic sites and landmarks.
Architectural beauties of different eras and religions and enthral and mesmerize. Mosques with beautiful vibrant mosaics, churches and cathedrals that take you back in time, fire temples and even synagogues. Iranian facts is that Iran has citizens of all ethnicities and they live together in a culture of harmony; and all of the religious places are open to locals and tourists.
Iran facts #7
Visas for Iran are really simple processes.
One might think that being located in the Middle East, obtaining a visa for countries like Iran is a difficult task. But it really isn’t.
Citizens from most countries can get tourist visas on arrival or in advance. This allows them to have their visa on a separate piece of paper and not in their passports to avoid the limitations the US government has set.
Tourists from the US, UK, and Canada must join private or group tours to be issued a visa. To avoid the risk of rejection, it’s better to apply in advance. The easiest way to get the tourist is through a travel agency. The agency applies for your visa authorization codes, and you then go to your local embassy or consulate the get the visa.
Iranian facts #8
Exchanging currency in Iran makes you feel rich.
The currency in Iran is Rials, but day to day money exchange happens in Toman.
Currency in Iran really makes you feel a lot richer. Trips to Iran aren’t too heavy on the pocket either.
While travelling to Iran, keep in mind that foreign debit or credit cards won’t work here. So you either need to carry only cash or use one of the new prepaid travel debit cards called MahCards.
One thing to watch out for is the difference in currency while buying souvenirs or other keepsakes. Be careful not to pay 5 Toman for something that actually costs 5 Rials. It’s happened to quite a few travelers.
Other interesting Iranian facts
- Iran facts is that Chai or Black Tea is popular in Iran and is consumed many times a day.
- YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are blocked here. So you either need to install a VPN before getting to Iran, or take a break from your social life. But an Iran interesting facts is that Instagram and Gmail are not blocked. So you can share as many selfies as you want.
- You’ll save money by using an Iranian SIM card while there.
- Like in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, Iran culture facts is that the toilets in Iran are squat toilets. And water is used instead of toilet paper. So stock up on rolls before going.
- One vital Iran facts is that Iranian women are only required to cover 80% of their hair. This leaves a lot of room for fashion and style.
- A great facts on Iran is that women have the right to vote, drive, attend university and own property.
- Iranian women can also divorce! Isn’t that an amazing Iranian facts?
- Baklava or Baghlava, is a layered pastry filled with nuts and covered with honey.
- The famous traditional Persian saffron ice-cream is called the Bastani Sonnati. It’s delicious!
- And the last one. If you look, you’ll see amazing street art on the walls across the cities. There are thriving art museums as well.
Did you like this list of facts on Iran? What do you think of the Iranian country and culture? Comment and let us know!