Cultural Activities and Recreational
There are a wide variety of different cultural activities
going on in Iran and particularly in the Capital, Tehran, almost everyday.
The more costly parts of these activities are sponsored and financed by the
government while the private sector's contribution to cultural
are also remarkable. For instance, the government owns
most of the theater halls while music tapes, magazines and books are mostly
produced by private sector.
Every year hundreds of titles of books in different fields of Arts, culture,
science and literature are published in Iran. Major publishers publish more
than a hundred books in different areas and have their own distribution
system across the country while on the other hand there are also publishers
who produce only one or two books during the year and have them distributed
through professional distribution agencies.
Beside an International
Book Fair which is held in Tehran every May, there are several other book
exhibitions across the country usually held on certain occasions. Foreign
visitors have characterized the turnout at the Tehran International Book
Fair as extraordinary. There is also a Book of The Year contest in Iran
every year. A new organization named City of Book provides thousands of
books in various languages particularly for children.
News stands in
Tehran and other major cities of the country put on display scores of new
magazines, periodicals and newspapers every day. More than 400 licenses have
so far been issued for prospective publishers. The range of interests of
magazines varies from microcomputers to transportation and from the kitchen
to the space. However, most of the magazines have a cultural character
dealing mainly with arts and literature. The scope of specialization of some
of them is so narrow that one, for instance, advocates only the ideas and
works of what it calls the third generation of modern Iranian writers and
The Iranian film industry produces something around 50 feature films for
more than 250 movie theaters across the country. These theaters also screen
foreign productions for different tastes.
In the year 1990 scores of
Iranian movies found their way to international film festivals across the
world gaining worldwide acclaim for the country's film industry.
Fajr Film Festival, an international cinema event is held in Tehran every
year in February, when movie lovers can see hundreds of Iranian and foreign
films of high artistic quality in a matter of 10 or eleven days.
Another international event in the area of cinema is The International
Festival of Films for Children and Young Adults held in the beautiful city
of Isfahan in October. Winning an award in these festivals can guarantee a
movie’s box office success.
There are also scores of other film
festivals in Iran which have only domestic significance. On the other hand,
there are several film making schools in the country which cater to the film
industry's needs for artists and technicians.
Most of the Iranian
feature films are produced by the private sector ,however, public sector
organizations like IRIB and the Center for the Intellectual Development of
Children and Young Adults also do invest on film production.
Every year between September and June (in the next year) there are at least
four plays on stage in Tehran every evening, however, theatrical activities
continue during the rest of the year and elsewhere in the country.
Iran has a long dramatic tradition, notably evident in the passion plays and
Punch and Judy shows. Nevertheless, most of the plays on the Iranian stages
have a modern treatment although their contents may be classic or
There is a major theatrical festival in Tehran in
February while competition among theatrical companies across the country
continues throughout the year. The best performances are usually staged at
the Fajr Theater Festival in February where the artists receive their
There is more than one school in Iran where stage directors,
actors, set designers, etc. are trained. The City Theater, The Sangalaj
Auditorium and Vahdat Hall are among the best of Iranian theaters.
Like any other art, musical activity reaches its peak during the Ten Days of
Dawn ceremonies marking the Islamic Revolution's anniversary every February.
On that time, musicians from all over the country come to the
capital to take part in a major festival of traditional Iranian music.
Traditional music groups, chamber orchestra and Tehran's symphonic
orchestra perform at Vahdat Hall several times a year.
tapes of Iranian and foreign classical music can be bought at any bookstore
The aesthetic attributes of written words have been always appreciated in
Iran. The advent of Islam redoubled the aesthetic value of words in the eyes
of Iranians owing to the high significance they attached to Islamic texts.
During the 15th and 16th centuries calligraphy gained even more
importance when it found its way into two other significant artistic forms
of that period namely architecture and miniature.
The art of
reached the peak of its perfection with the
emergence of the Nastaliq style which display's the art's unique Persian
characteristics. Initiated in mid 15th century, this fine style of
was further completed by masters of the art
during 16th and 18th centuries. The greatest master of this style was Mir
Emad who died in the year 1617.
Beside Nastaliq, more classic styles
like Kufi , Naskh and Thulth, as well as the newer style of Shikasta
Nastaliq are still being practiced by thousands of aspiring Iranian
calligraphers who are being trained by masters of the art across the
As early as the 11th century, the Iranians were the undisputed masters of
the art of miniature. Although the art was inspired by Chinese motifs
following the Mongol invasion of Persia, Iranian originality once again
dominated later in skilfully composed and pathetic illustrations inspired by
the national epic Shahnameh or Ferdowsi's The Book of Kings.
the year 1991, as Iranians celebrated the millennium of composition of
Shahnameh, several Iranian publishers published beautiful Iranian miniatures
which were released along with their new editions of the book.