A huge city in the north of Iran with pre-Islamic influences, Tehran is now a bustling, buzzing megalopolis. In much the same way that Beirut is reaping the benefits of supporting and promoting a bright, young generation of natives, Tehran has set its eyes on the road to modernity.
So what can visitors expect to see? It’s hard to ignore the giant 435m Milad Tower, the centrepiece of an international area and a shining example of the forward-thinking attitude of the city. But of Tehran’s numerous monuments, the most iconic is the Azadi Tower, the true gateway to the city.
For a throwback to the Persian era, the Golestan Palace and its numerous structures provide a great educational base. The mosaic walls of Karim Khani Nook are among the most beautiful in the region.
In Tehran modern shopping malls jostle for your attention alongside traditional souks like the Tajrish marketplace. The Grand Bazaar is the city’s busiest shopping area, where food, clothing, jewellery, rugs and trinkets spill out from shops into the streets.
The range of restaurants puts Tehran is the same league as some of the best foodie cities in the world. On one end of the scale there are humble kebab houses welcoming thousands of people a day. On the other sits Black Gold, or caviar; a popular export which can be found in Tehran’s best restaurants.
Traditional teahouses are the hub of the social scene for locals and visitors alike. Live music accompanies dinner in these atmospheric settings, which often host guests around large tables – making them great places to meet some of Iran’s friendly locals.