Iran tourism overview
Impressive archaeological sites, carefully planned museums, and ecological wonders await the curious traveler in Iran, a country that has something for everyone.
Tourism has become the world’s largest export industry, generating huge employment opportunity in the remote and backward areas. It is estimated that tourism for 13% of the total world exports and 8.2 % of the global employment.
Iran successful domestic market has laid the groundwork for an increased amount of foreign visitors interested in the history, natural beauty, and business opportunities Iran has to offer.
Travelers seeking to delve deep into history and the origins of civilization need look no further than Iran, where a mosaic of cultures and natural landscapes transcends the perception of the country in the international arena. The most up-to-date figures from the World Tourism Organisation for the origin of visitors to Iran show that building up visitors from the Islamic and wider Asian world will have to start from a low base.
Around three-quarters of those entering Iran in 1999 came from Europe. According to the New York Times, unlike most Americans who stopped visiting Iran after the Revolution, European tourists continued to visit the country in similar numbers after the revolution. This was mainly because the Revolution was far more Anti-American and not so much Anti-European. It doesn’t means American can’t travel to Iran, just that Americans must have tour guide with them at all times, this law is also applicable for UK citizens and Canadians.
Iran tourism destinations
A brief look at Iran
ran with 1648000 square kilometer area and 70 million people is one of the largest countries in the Middle East. This country is bordered to the north by the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan and the Caspian Sea; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf; and to the west by Iraq and Turkey .
He country is dominated by three mountain ranges:
the fertile, volcanic Sabalan and Talesh ranges in the north-west; the very long, Jurassic-era Zagros range, down the western border; and the dominant Alborz range, home of Iran’s highest mountain, the permanently snowcapped Damavand (5670m/18,600ft), to the north of Tehran. The two great Iranian deserts, the Dasht-é Kavir (more than 200,000 sq km/78,000 sq mi) and the Dasht-é Lut (more than 166,000 sq km/64,740 sq mi),occupy most of the north east and east of the central plain.
Iran as a big country in near east has many naturalhistorical and cultural beauties for foreign tourists but, like many other developing countries, there are some serious problems and limitations in tourism sector.
Iran is one of the 10 important tourism and ecotourism country in the world but, studies shows that share of Iran from nearly 750 billion dollars world tourism incomes in 2005, was only about 7 million dollars.
Iran’s Potentials in Tourism
- 24 UNESCO World Heritage sites
- 10th Country on Tourism Attractions and 5th on Ecotourism
- One of the rich countries of the cultural places, ecotourism sites and historical monuments which called the cradle of civilization in other way the history of the Country goes back to 7000 written history
- An array of museums
- A myriad of ecotourism opportunities
- Numerous religious sites
- Affordable healthcare services
- Extensive bus network and air and rail infrastructure in the country
Some Physical attractions
High mountain chains such as Elburz and Zagros with their splendid peaks such as Damavand with 5671 m, Dena with 4409 m, Sabalan with 4811 m, Sahand with 3347 m, International Symposium on Geography Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region Shirkuh with 3313 m and Taftan with 4042 meter above sea level are only some of the most examples.
Forests and protected natural zones in north and west parts of Iran also very beautiful mangrove jangles in Persian Gulf. Very wonderful Karstic features for examples Alisadr and Goori Gale caves in provinces of Hamedan and Kermanshah. Very beautiful lakes such as lakes of Urmia, Hamoon, Maharloo, Zarivar,Bakhtagan and others.
Splendid islands that some of them very famous suchas Kish and Gheshm. Marshes and their scarce species of animal and plant for example Anzali marsh in Gilan province. Rivers, such as Karoon , Zaiande Roud , Aras and others. Sand dunes, salty playas and many other features indesert region of Iran. Mineral waters and hot water springs such as tourist zones around Sabalan, Damavand and Taftan mountains. Sarein city is one of them.
iran tourist attractions
Sea and Coastline
Due to the extensive bus network and air and rail infrastructure in the country, domestic tourists most often travel to visit friends and family during the summer months. Given the country’s abundant natural beauty and coastal destinations, approximately 24% of domestic tourists traveled for sightseeing or entertainment purposes in 2011. However, medical tourism and pilgrimage make up an additional 23% of travel throughout the country.
In addition to beaches 700 Km alongside the Caspian Sea are the most popular destinations for domestic tourism.
There are around 70000 shrine and tombs in Iran which belongs to grandsons of Shiite Imams. Some of these shrines are famous for all Shiite Muslims around the world but others only famous for local peoples. Outside of Iran there are near 250 million Shiite Muslims that 25 million of theirs travel eachyear. So there is a high potential for expansion of pilgrimage tourism in Iran. Existence of Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, shrine of Masoome in Qom, shrine of Imam Khomeini in Tehran and others indicates the high capacities of Iran for developing the pilgrimage tourism.
The city of Mashhad, visited by the Muslims to pay homage to the Holy Shrine of am Reza, the largest mosque in the world by area which accommodates 20 million pilgrims and tourists every year. Other notable holy sites include the Danial-e Nabi Mausoleum, one the messengers of God in shosa, Shrine of Hazrat-e Masumeh, the sister of and the Chak Chakoo Fire Temple, which is famous for the legendary dripping water that falls from surrounding rock formations.
Iran has a long history so there are many Islamic and pre-Islamic buildings and works in Iran. A few examples are:
Until now, UNESCO has designated 24 of Iran’s various historical and natural sites as part of world heritage; includes:
especially for those interested in religious history it is estimated that there are more than 28 messengers of God have tombs throughout Iran.
Some of top sites are as below:
- Persepolis, the complex of Xerox palaces having the detail of 2,500 year-Old Persian reliefs.
- The ancient Mesopotamian ziggurat and complex of Chogha Zanbil is an intriguing remnant from the Elamite Empire more than 3,500 years ago which stand as a testament to the feats of ancient engineering.
- Soltaniyeh Dome, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005, is an architectural masterpiece that was built in 1302 AD. As the oldest double-shell dome in the country, the structure paved the way for construction of holy buildings throughout the Muslim world and has captivated the attention of both pilgrimsand historians for centuries.
The Iranian government has established a number of museums to showcase artifacts and present the stories of civilization to an international audience
- The Treasury of the National Jewels in Tehran, the National Museum, Golestan Palace in Tehran, and the Sheikh Safi Museum in Ardabil are just a handful of venues that feature the collage of Iran’s historical and traditional past.
- In addition, Tehran’s Contemporary Art Museum showcases over 7,000 texts in both Persian and English as part of a specialized library.
- Iran’s natural beauty and conservation efforts are nothing short of impressive. Stunning waterfalls, deserts, forests, lagoons, caves, swamps, and lakes represent a diverse array of climatic zones and landforms, comparable only to the continental US.
In total, the country boasts 28 natural parks,43 protected wildlife zones, and 166 protected areas, committing nearly 5% of its land-an area of 8 million hectares-to ecotourism and the preservation of natural resources. Among the most popular destinations for eco-holidaymakers are Galestan National Park, Kavir National Park, Lar Protected Area, Bakhtegan Lake, and Bamou National Park, Ruins of Perspolis , Naghshe Rostam, Pasargad, Arg-e- Karim Khan and Bazar-e- Vakil (Shiraz),Arg-e- Bam (Bam), Ali Ghapoo, Chehelsotoon and Imam square (Isfahan), Houses of Boroojerdiha , Tabatabaeiha and very nice air traps (Kashan), Ruins of Hegmatane and Ganjname (Hamedan), Arge Alishah and Azure mosque (Tabriz), Tagh-e- Bostan and Bisotoon (Kermanshah), Falakol Aflak castel (Khorramabad), Shahr-e- sookhte (near Zabol), Masjed-e- Jame and Tkieye Amir Chakhmagh (Yazd).