The maze of bustling alleys and the bazaaris (shopkeepers) that fill them make Tehran Bazaar a fascinating experience. The Tehran Bazaar is the beating heart of the country when it comes to it's people. The bazaar has been active for around 1000 years, the old public Friday Mosque and Bathhouse is located here, when it expanded 10km north of the ancient city of Rey at 5000 yo. It's the place where national trade is discussed along with it's politics, and not surprising where past revolutions have started. Proud families have passed down their stores here for generations. Every category of products and commodities has it's own street, but what usually interests tourists the most is the old Bazaar Architecture, peeping into the Khomeini Mosque, tracing the old City Walls, and navigating deep into the bazaar to find treasures such as the Armenian Church of St Thaddeus. Just try not to get lost!
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: The suppliers and traders in the Tehran Grand Bazaar.
A must for every traveller is seeing at least 2 of 3 important national museums in Tehran. These options include the Golestan Palace, once the heart of Tehran with all the glories and excess of the Qajar Monarch and it's grand buildings full of charming Persian art. The National Jewels Museum is also spectacular, if not for the glory of Iranian culture then for the Islamic Government to parade the corruptible nature of monarchs. Perhaps no other place can you see such a rare and huge collection of royal jewels in one place. The third museum is more unique, like a small Louvre the National Museum of Iran houses what is left from Persia's most prized cultural treasures after it's bumpy history. From ancient Susa, the mirror of ancient Babylonia, to the Achaemenid glory of Persepolis, and the 8th CE BC collection of Lorestan bronze and the 4th CE 'Salt Man' from Zanjan. Each museum is equally as impressive as each other, however you may want to hire a local specialised guide as little information is available in English, just ask at the ticket entrance.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: The architecture and artwork at the Golestan Palace.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: Achaemenid reliefs in the National Museum of Iran.
Once escaping from the busy centre, Tajrish District is a place to unwind with it's trendy shopping and modern restaurants. Get there by taxi or the metro line to Tajrish, then stroll the local bazaar, find a nice meal and nearby snacks, before walking up to Sa'ad Abad Palace. Around the palace is where wealthiest bankers, traders and investors live, so try to spot some of the mansions hidden by walls. If your done snooping, explore the Sa'ad Abad Palace Complex with it's huge parklands, valley streams, scattered museums and cafes. Museum tickets are sold separately at the ticket entrance, probably the best worth seeing is the Pahlavi summer residence White Palace (Palace of the Nation) and Green Palace, along with the Royal Automobile Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, creative Farshchian Museum and perhaps the Military Museum. Once again you'll miss out on a lot of information unless you find a specialist tour guide. Each museum takes at least 30 minutes.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: The Green Palace in Sa'ad Abad Complex, full of stories from royalty, presidents and diplomats.
For a relaxing change, most Tehrani's head up towards Darband every so often to go hiking, sample sweets, meet friends in tea gardens, or dine until early hours of the morning. The serious ones go for long hikes to Jamshidieh Park or just high enough to have a picnic with a great view over the city. But for those who just want to relax in a nice valley environment it's a perfect place to have a chat with friends, watch running water and enjoy traditional Persian food with fresh air.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: Restaurants and tea houses in Darband valley.
If there is a park in Tehran that is famous for local artists and progressives, it's Honarmandan Park (Honar/ Art | Honarmandan/ Artists). It's a place to see the an art gallery and meet young Tehrani's in the House of the Artists, it's also a good spot to try healthier food options at the Veggie Restaurant and Cafe. Once finished exploring the park, stroll just around the corner to the US Den of Espionage, if this sounds anti-western and intimidating, well quite simply it's not. The walls are full of street graffiti, highlighting the local feelings towards the controversial US activities that occurred here against Iran. From the bunker beneath the building, the CIA coordinated the coup d'etat in 1953 that brought down the extremely popular democratic government of Mossadegh, the 1951 Times Man of the Year who nationalised the oil industry after the heyday of colonialism. But that's another story!
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: Honarmandan Park in downtown Tehran.
Built in 1971 in commemoration of the 2,500 th anniversary of the Persian Empire, this "gateway into Tehran" was named the "Shahyad" (King's Memorial) in honour of the Shah, but was changed to "Azadi" (Freedom) after the Revolution of 1979. It is 50 meters (164 ft) tall and completely clad in cut marble. The main display is occupied by a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder (the original is in the British Museum). It was built with white marble stone from the Isfahan Province, and it contains eight thousand blocks of stone, each calculated by a computer and programmed to include all the instructions for the building's work.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: The Freedom Tower or Azadi Tower after completion, built in 1971 it is the gate into Tehran.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, has collections of more than 3000 items that include 19th and 20th century's world-class paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. The museum is considered to have the most valuable collections of modern Western masterpieces outside Europe and North America. Some of the best pieces are vaulted away only displayed during large events. The museum entrance is spiral shaped Guggenheim-esque, however the biggest drawcards are from Picasso, Mattise, Van Gogh, Miro, Dali, Bacon, Pollock, Monet, Munch, Moore and Warhol. The collection is estimated to be worth some US $3-$6 billion. While walking around the park, the Carpet Museum of Iran is also worthwhile, housing carpets from the 16th century including the Tree of Life and other artworks.
The Contemporary Art Museum in Laleh Park.
Milad Tower Cultural Centre, stands at 435 m (1,427 ft) from base to the tip of the antenna. It is the 6th tallest concrete tower in the world, and 4th largest free-standing telecommunication tower in the world. The complex includes an Observation Deck (2015: 15,000 T), Revolving Restaurant, additional restaurants on ground floor, Lazeriam, Paintball, Dolphinarium, 6 Dimension Cinema, shopping, and a Convention and Entertainment Centre. Most of the biggest music, theatre and other events in the country are held at the Milad Cultural Centre. There's also a five-star hotel, a world trade centre and an IT park proposed for the future.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: The Milad Tower with unobstructed views over Tehran's skyline.
Mount Tochal is in the Alborz mountains with a winter ski resort and a summer hikers paradise. It towers above metropolitan Tehran with a 12 km long ridgeline, the highest peak is at an elevation of 3,933 m (13,005 feet). Tochal has a series of gondola lifts, which runs from the Tehran carpark to the Tochal Ski Resort and Tochal Hotel Cabins, all as a part of Tochal Complex. Further behind Tochal lies Dizin with it's first class ski pistes and renowned grass-ski competitions during the summer months.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Tehran: Mount Tochal towering above Tehran in the clouds.
Telecabins connecting Tehran at the base of Mount Tochal.
Ignoring the politics: for a strong man with a simple lifestyle, Iran built Khomeini an absolutely beautiful shrine. It's incredibly large and detailed to a degree that might leave leave tears in your eyes. It bears testament to the skill and poetic spirit of Iranian people combining art, beauty and design. So make this your last stop on the way to the international airport.
The Shrine of Revolutionary Khomeini between Tehran and the international airport.
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