6 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Tehran
Many first-time visitors to Iran are initially overwhelmed by the vastness of the country, its dramatic mountains, sweeping deserts, and thousands of years of historical and cultural significance.
But with Iran's equally eye-catching and exotic traditions and culture, an endless supply of fascinating places to visit, from UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins to fresh, local dishes and everything in between, the ancient and modern city of Tehran is a top destination, and one of the most rewarding countries in which to travel.
Many of the top places to visit in Iran are found close to the capital, making this one of the world's most convenient vacation destinations. With beautiful landmarks, a fascinating historical appeal, and an exciting food culture, not to mention ancient cities and ruins, Iran is all the travel excitement you can handle. Explore this fascinating destination with our list of the top places to visit in Iran.
The sprawling Grand Bazaar, the largest bazaar in the world, stretches between the Old and New Enclosures in central Tehran, and offers shoppers the chance to buy anything from exotic spices to traditional Iranian rugs. Covering over 700,000 square meters (7.5 million square feet) and built on over 100 floors, the bazaar is almost inconceivably busy, so come prepared to lose hours as you browse the numerous shops.
This magnificent former royal residence lies within the city of Tehran and can be reached by metro. It was originally constructed in 1754-55 by the architect, Abbas I Mirza, who was also the first Shah of the Qajar dynasty. The main building was a structure of red brick and white stone and later added to by marble. Among the highlights of the palaces sights are its tiled courtyard and the glorious domes. Despite the palace's central position in the city, the views of the sprawling city are extensive, as Tehran was a citadel built to defend Tehran from attacks. You will find the Sediqeh Shahrestan in Tehran on Chahar Shur.
National Museum of Iran
This amazing gallery is housed in the stunning glass and brick Parvin Hall, which once was the Shah of Iran's private audience chamber. Inside, Iranian treasures include the 7-meter-high silver jade Imam Khomeini globe, the second largest jade object ever discovered and a dandy red carpet with precious royal state crown jewels from 1507. There are also items of furniture, paintings, musical instruments and some memorabilia relating to the country's history. Although you can't actually go inside the museum to walk around the galleries, you can use one of the various audio-visual guides to share your views with the exhibits and, most importantly, be able to spot some of the other things on display.
Museum of Contemporary Art
This massive, cool museum in Iran has the largest collection of contemporary art in the Middle East. It features more than 300 works by about 100 international artists, including 25 by Shirin Neshat, Iran's most prominent visual artist. There are installations and shows, as well as a sculpture park, and the largest cafe in Iran.
Imam Reza shrine
Located in the northeast of Tehran, near Golestan Park, the Imam Reza shrine was built on the spot where the eighth and twelfth Caliphs, Imam Reza I and II, are believed to have been buried. The main structure is surrounded by a huge garden of cypress trees. Its first great luster is due to the founding of the shrine by the eighth Caliph (651-656 AD), the third-greatest Shi'ite religious figure after Imam Ali (one of the two great successors of the Prophet Muhammad), and his daughter, Fatimah. It is he who is buried in the secluded wing of the sanctuary and whose tomb is represented by a huge tomb monument crowned by an architrave.
Tajrish Bazaar is one of the oldest in Iran, having been in use since the time of the Sassanid dynasty. The bazaar has a number of beautiful mosques, including the Friday Mosque of Shah Waliullah, which is enclosed in a huge surrounding square known as Tahchan. The mosques themselves date back to the 13th and 15th centuries. Many of the shops in the bazaar are antiques shops selling the beautifully ornate workmanship of the time. The market is traditionally held three times a week, and all of its goods are sold by local sellers who prefer to engage in non-bazaar activities. In addition to the bazaar, however, you can also visit an even older bazaar, that of Pishgaman, and the Chahar-Mansur area, both a few kilometers outside of town.