Just 43 miles (70 km) from Tehran lies Mount Damavand, an enormous and potentially active volcano. Admittedly, it has been over 7,000 years since its last eruption but there are fumaroles and hot springs at the summit crater which suggests it is not dormant.
The mountain is the highest peak in Iran and the tallest volcano in all of Asia. It is an important symbol in Persian mythology and folklore and symbolizes the country’s fight against tyranny and foreign oppression. Some ancient texts even claimed that a three-headed dragon was chained inside the mountain and would remain there until the end of the world.
The Iranian Jewels
The Treasury of National Jewels in Tehran is the home to some of the most precious and pricey jewelry in the entire world. The Imperial crown jewels include ornate crowns, 30 tiaras, jewel-encrusted swords and shields, exquisite aigrettes, bejeweled dining sets and specialty items like an actual golden globe with seas made of emeralds.
The items kept there are so valuable that they are used to this day as emergency backing for the Iranian currency and they have not been worn in public since the days of the Pahlavi dynasty before the revolution. Although, some of the items are on display in the Central Bank of Tehran and can be viewed.
The word “Iran” in Persian actually means the “Land of the Aryans” AKA the Iranian people. The term “Aryan” was initially used by the Iranians to describe a specific ethnicity but has over time come to refer to the religious, cultural and linguistic attributes of the people who reside in Iran. The name replaced the name Persia, but many believe today that both names can be used.
The name of the capital city of Tehran also has a special meaning. Tehran literally means “warm mountain slope”. The name seems fitting when you take into account that the city is situated at the foot of a mountain and the high temperatures that often plague the capital, with the highest on record reaching a broiling 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius).
Milk of Persia
The Iranian yogurt is famous for its special properties and is traditionally known around the country as “Persian Milk”. The Iranian people believe it is good for anything and everything, therefore it has many uses that do not just include putting it in your mouth.
Persian yogurt is considered by many to be a magic type of medicine which can get rid of coughs, help fight fatigue, treat ulcers, ease sunburns and even make you live longer. The Iranian beauty industry even uses this miracle cure as the ingredients in a face mask.
Fans of Aladdin may have always dreamed of taking a magic carpet ride with the pauper turned prince. Unfortunately, Iran’s famous Persian carpets won’t be able to take you for a spin, but they are known all over the world for the magic of their exquisite designs and beautiful workmanship. The Iranians are expert rug makers, with over 2,500 years of experience under their belts. No wonder rugs are the country’s second-largest export commodity only surpassed by oil.
Each Persian rug is a carefully weaved and designed work of art, but don’t be surprised if you take one home and notice that it contains a small flaw. This is actually done by the carpet weavers on purpose due to their belief that only God can reach perfection. Therefore, they make sure to sew one mistake into their rug on purpose to display their human limitations.