Tehran in April © ninara
Brimming with ancient cities, ruins, and magnificent mosques and museums to explore, Iran may not appeal to the typical traveller. However, for culture seekers, it has over 5,000 years of history and offers some of the world's most ancient wonders; as a former part of the Persian Empire it is a centre of early civilization.
Originally called Persia, Iran was one of the first countries to be occupied by the early Islamic armies that emerged from Arabia in the seventh century and thus, it is also a centre for early Islamic history and culture.
Although tourism is on the rise, some areas are still not considered to be safe; this includes the country's borders with Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, as well as the cities of Bam and Jask, and areas to the east of these cities. Outside of these regions, however, the Iranian tourism industry is growing, especially since the British Foreign Office has lifted its warning against tourist travel and has made efforts in 2015 to reestablish an embassy in Iran.
This culturally-rich country has something to offer everyone with plenty of sightseeing choices, wonderful shopping and exciting cuisine. For the more adventurous, Iran offers desert trekking, rock climbing and a few ski resorts all at affordable prices. The mountains bordering the Caspian Sea are covered in deciduous forest, and the brown forest soils found along the coasts of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf are used extensively for farming, making for a richly diverse landscape. In addition, business travel is increasingly common and the country is extremely rich in mineral resources, especially petroleum and natural gas.
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