Iran – Modern Persia
Iran is an Islamic republic in southwestern Asia. It was the center of a mighty empire in ancient times. It shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Iran also borders the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Caspian Sea. The country’s area is 1,648,000 square kilometers. Its official name is Islamic Republic of Iran. The ancient city of Tehran is the country’s capital.
Iran means “land of the Aryans”. The Aryan people settled in the region sometime after 2000 BC. In about 550 BC Cyrus the Great created the Persian Empire, which lasted for more than 200 years. Then Alexander the Great defeated Persia. Greeks, Turks, Arab-Muslims, Mongols, and Tamerlane all came to this land. Arab conquerors brought Islam to Iran in 640.
The main language is Farsi, or Persian.
Omar Khayyam was one of Iran’s best-known poets.
Iran is also famous for its miniature paintings, silver work, and Persian rugs.
The religion of Zoroastrianism was founded in Iran by a man named Zoroaster, or Zarathushtra, more than 2,500 years ago.
The highest point in Iran is Mount Damavand in the northern Elburz Mountains. It reaches a height of 5,671 meters.
Lake Urmia is Iran’s largest intact lake, with an average surface area of 4,868 square kilometers.
The Kārūn River (890 kilometers) is Iran’s longest river and its only navigable one.
More than 300,000 square kilometers of the country is covered with deserts.
Iran is one of the world’s leading producers of petroleum. It also produces natural gas, chemicals, metals, food products, cloth, and machinery.
The modern flag of Iran was adopted as a symbol of the nation in 1980 and it has three equal horizontal bands – green, white and red. Green is the main color of Islam, symbolizing growth, white represents honesty and peace, and red is for courage and readiness to accept the torment. In the center of the white strip there is the inscription La ilaha illa Allah, which means “There is no god but Allah”.
The Iranians have been weaving beautiful carpets for two and a half millennia. Creating their works, carpet makers often deliberately make some “mistake” to show that “only Allah can be perfect”.