Although getting to known Tehran at a glance might sound improbable, yet, there are a few useful tips for getting acquainted with this impressive city. First of all, each major Iranian city has one or two major features distinctive of its history, architecture and lifestyle. Tehran has two. First, its unrivalled Qajar period (1789–1925) heritage and second, its major Pahlavi-period developments, including high-rise buildings, dating to the 1960s and 70s. With this in mind, Tehran at a glance can be divided into two parts: north and south of Taleqani Street. This, of course, is approximate, but is a reliable guide at a glance for anyone visiting the city for the first time.
Southern Tehran at a glance – historical Qajar residencies and bustling bazaar
- Be mesmerised by the mirror artwork and fine style of the opulent Golestan Palace, epitomising the glory of the Qajar monarchy.
- Marvel at the exhibits from Persepolis, Susa and other history-defining sites on display in the National Museum of Iran; and of course, make sure to visit the Islamic Art Museum next door. Their collections of Islamic art will captivate your imagination.
- Leaving cameras and personal belongings at the entrance, descend into the vaults of the National Bank of Iran to be amazed at some of world’s finest and even unthinkable gems at the National Jewels Museum.
- Take a break in the leafy garden of the Qajar-period Moghadam Museum, once home to Mohsen Moghadam, an outstanding artist and author of the emblem of the University of Tehran.
- Wander around, or rather let yourself be carried away amid the endless maze of alleys, khans, sarays and everything and anything of the Tehran’s fascinating and expansive bazaar.
Northern Tehran at a glance – avant-garde at Alborz foothills
- Iranians are foodies – start exploring Tehran with a delicious meal in one of the city’s finest and atmospheric traditional restaurants.
- Explore the vast Niavaran Palace and its numerous museums at the foothills of Alborz Mountains. Formerly residence of the last Pahlavi monarch, it is from Niavaran that Mohammad Reza left Iran in 1979 never to return.
- Wander around the narrow alleys and high-rise apartment buildings of the upmarket Fereshteh and Elahiyeh districts to uncover some of Tehran’s best museums, including the Tehran Music Museum and the cosy Art Museum Garden, whose High Noon restaurant is highly recommended.
- Take a lift up the Milad Tower, the 6th tallest tower in the world – the view from its open observation deck allows you not only to appreciate the sheer size of this wonderful city, but get a sneak peak of Damavand, the highest mountain in the Middle East.