Tehran is the capital of Iran With a population of around 8.4 million in the city and 14 million in the wider metropolitan area, Tehran is Iran’s largest city and urban area, the largest city in Western Asia and one of the largest three cities in the Middle East (along with Istanbul and Cairo).
In pre-Islamic times, part of the area of present-day Tehran was occupied by Rey. It was destroyed by the Mongols in the early 13th century. In 1796, Agha Mohammad Khan chose Tehran as Iran’s new capital, in order to remain in close reach of Iran’s territories in the Caucasus, at that time still part of Iran, and to avoid vying factions of previous Iranian dynasties. Throughout Iran’s history, the capital has been moved many times; Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran.
Large scale demolition and rebuilding took place beginning in the 1920s and 1930s, and Tehran has been the subject of mass migration of people from all over Iran up until the present. The city is home to many historic mosques as well as several churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples. However, modern structures, notably Azadi Tower and the Milad Tower, have come to symbolize the city. Tehran is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area. Although a variety of unofficial languages are spoken, roughly 99% of the population understand and speak Persian.
The majority of the inhabitants of the city are Persians, but there are also populations of other Iranian ethnicities such as Azerbaijanis, Lurs, Armenians, Kurds and other ethnic groups who speak Persian as their second language. The majority of people in Tehran identify themselves as Persians.
Tehran, as Iran’s showcase and capital city, has a wealth of cultural attractions. The Sun Throne (also known as the Peacock Throne) of the Persian Kings (Shahs) can be found in Golestan Palace. Some well-known museums are National Museum of Iran, Sa’dabad Palaces Complex, Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran, The Carpet Museum of Iran, Tehran’s Underglass painting Museum, Niavaran Palace Complex, and Safir Office Machines Museum. The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art features works of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The collection of these paintings was selected by former Empress Farah Diba.
Tehran is also home to the Iranian Imperial Crown Jewels, also called the Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, it is claimed to be the largest, most dazzling and valuable jewel collection in the world. The collection comprises a set of crowns and thrones, some 30 tiaras, numerous aigrettes, jewel-studded swords and shields, a vast amount of precious loose gems, including the largest collections of emeralds, rubies and diamonds in the world. It also includes other items collected by the Shahs of Iran during the 2,500 year existence of the Iranian Kingdom. The Imperial Crown Jewels are still on display in the Iranian Central Bank in Tehran.
Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) is known to the international publishing world as one of the most important publishing events in Asia.