IranIran is one of the few countries with an amazing cultural past and a rich presence. All this is topped with an incredibly hospitable people who embody their country's proud history.
Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. The first dynasty in Iran formed during the kingdom of Elam in 2800 BCE. Later, the Medes unified Iran into an empire which was succeeded by the great Achaemenid Empire and its King Darius I. Many visit Iran simply for his Persepolis, the City of the Persians, founded at a time when Persia extended from Anatolia and Egypt to the River Indus. After Alexander the Great's conquest, the Seleucids, the Parthians and the Sassanids successively ruled most of Western Asia, before the Muslims conquered Iran in 651 CE.
Iranian culture influenced Classical Greece and later became a major element of Muslim culture. Literature, philosophy and science in Iran reached their peak between the 9th and 14th centuries CE with intellectuals of world renown: poets like Hafez, Saadi, or Rumi, and scientists and philosophers like Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, as he is known in the West.
In today's Iran, beauty is still expressed through architecture. Breath-taking palaces, mosques, bridges, and the gardens! Grace and elegance is around you in many cities of this vast country with its diverse landscapes. Iran is the only country with Shia Islam being the official state religion. The country is ruled by Shia clerics, while Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian minorities are protected by the constitution and have reserved seats in parliament.