General Information

General Information

 

Formal Name

The Islamic Republic of Iran

 

Location

Middle East, bordering the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, between Iraq and Pakistan

 

Geographic Coordinates

32 00 N, 53 00 E

 

Time

GMT +3:30 September 22 to March 21

GMT +4:30 March 22 to September 21

 

Area

1.648 million sq km (slightly larger than Alaska)

 

Bordering Countries

Afghanistan 936 km, Armenia 35 km, Azerbaijan-proper 432 km, Azerbaijan Naxcivan exclave 179 km, Iraq 1,458 km, Pakistan 909 km, Turkey 499 km, Turkmenistan 992 km, total 5,440 km


 

Coastline

2,440 km along the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf; Iran also borders the Caspian Sea (740 km)

 

Climate

Mostly arid or semi-arid, subtropical along the Caspian Coast

 

Terrain

Rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts

 

Elevation Extremes

Caspian Sea -28 m, Mount Damavand 5,671 m

 

Natural Resources

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, chromium, copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, zinc, sulfur

 

Land Use

Arable land 10%, permanent crops 1%, permanent pastures 27%, forests and woodland 7%, other 55%

 

Capital

Tehran


 

Administrative Divisions

28 Provinces

 

Major Cities

Tehran, Mashad, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz

 

Population

65,000,000 (July 1999 est.)

 

Ethnic Groups

Persian 51%, Azerbaijani 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baluch 2%, Turkic 1%, other 2%

 

Official Language

Farsi or Persian

 

Religions

Muslim 99%; Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians 1%

 

Economy

A mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures

 

Industries

Petroleum, petrochemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing, metal fabricating, automobile manufactoring

 

Agricultural Products

Wheat, rice, sugar beets, fruits, pistachios, cotton, dairy products, wool; caviar

 

Exports

Petroleum, carpets, fruits, nuts, hides, steel



 

Currency

Rial

 

Exchange Rate

Approximately 8,500 Rials to one US Dollar

 

Fiscal Year

21 March - 20 March


  • Best Time to Visit
    The best time to visit Iran is March-May or September-November. It mostly rains in the winter months and can be very cold and snowy at times. Areas along the coasts enjoy a mild climate.

 

  • Transportation
    Mehrabad, Tehran international airport, is 10 km west of town. A large international airport is being constructed south of Tehran. Iranians use the internal airlines as their primary means of transportation, so flights are often booked well in advance.


Taxis from the airport (and elsewhere) don't use meters, so be sure to agree on the fare before getting in the cab. There is a reliable prepaid taxi service outside the international arrivals hall. A journey across the city should cost no more than $10 US.

There's rail service, both within the country and to Europe and surrounding countries. There is excellent bus service between Istanbul and Tehran. Land borders with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Pakistan are open.

An escorted tour is the best way for most first-time visitors to see the country. Hiring a car and driver or taxis would be a second choice. Bus service is extremely popular, and many buses run each day between all cities and towns in Iran. Taxis are also available.


Dressing & Trip Notes:


Dress Code (Men and Women)
The Islamic dress code for women might have, somewhat, relaxed, but is still the same as before, i.e. women would need to wear a headscarf (of any colour or pattern) and clothes that cover their body at all times outside hotel rooms. They can wear the regular ‘Islamic manteau’, easily purchased here at the cost of around $35-40, or long sleeved knee-length tunic/dress over long loose pants or skirt.

Please note that women should wear headscarf as soon as they leave aircraft on arrival.

Men can wear T-shirts/short sleeves, but they should refrain from wearing shorts.


Money
The currency in Iran is the Rial, and there are about 9,000 Rials to the US Dollar. Most prices that you will see in shops and that shopkeepers will discuss with you will be given in Tomas. One Toman equals 10 Rials. Therefore, an item that cost 9,000 Tomans is actually 90,000 Rials, or about 10 Dollars.



You should change money at airport bank, or hotel bank, to cover expenses not included in the tour cost and for personal expenses. You can pay Dollars/Euros for any purchases of handicrafts, carpets, etc. and for tipping drivers and guides. There are no preferences between Dollars and Euros, and both are equally accepted.

You can bring cash US Dollars/Euros and there is no restriction on the amount (although, officially, it is $6000.00), and no problem in taking out what is left!


Credit Cards
Please note that no credit cards are accepted here for any purpose. Some of the more prestigious carpet shops in Isfahan, with overseas accounts, might accept credit cards for substantial purchases, but we cannot commit to this.


Voltage & Adapters
The voltage in hotels and everywhere in Iran is 220V, but it is best to have a universal adapter. European-style sockets and plugs with two round pins are used in Iran.


Photography & Video
People should refrain from photographing government offices, airports, military depots, police stations and any place that is ‘deemed’ off limits! They shoud always check with their guide to make sure of what is allowed and what is not or they would get themselves, our guides and, eventually the company (Pasargad Tours) in trouble!

When photographing people, especially women, it is customary to first ask for their permission, but most Iranians are happy to have their picture taken.