Iran is far more than a country: it is a place of splendor, where the ancient heroes still walk in the land, where the remote past and the immediate present live side by side. The Persian sky, scintillating with the dust of the vast deserts or washed clean by the heavy rains, makes everything appear brighter than it really is. Outlines are sharper, colors clearer, shadows more somber than elsewhere. It is a country of violent contrasts, the Snow Mountains looking down on endless deserts, bitter cold and intense heat, Switzerland and Arabia stirred together.
The written history of Iran begins in about 3200 BC with proto-Iranian civilization. Cyrus the Great established a unified empire of the Medes and Persians leading to Achaemenian Empire (648-330 BC). Coming back to Persian is like coming back to the source. The charter of Cyrus the Great, a baked-clay Aryan language (old Persian) cuneiform cylinder, discovered in 1878, is considered to be the first declaration of human rights where Cyrus the Great described his human treatment of inhabitants. Needless to say, however, that Cyrus the Great has issued and enforced the best and greatest declaration of human rights in the early history of the world.
There is an extraordinary continuity in the Iranians features and characters; invaders have swept over the land: Arabs, Mongols, Greeks, Turks, British, Russians, Scythians and others. The came in floods, stayed for a while, and then the floods subsided, leaving the original Persians unharmed. Again and again in Persian history we come upon periods of confused wars with perhaps ten armies rampaging across the country, then the smoke clears and we discover there is a new Emperor on the throne claiming descent from the Caliph!!!
After periods of confusion, the ancient and familiar patterns of government emerged again. Whenever conditions became favorable, the Iranian culture and civilization began its development again, somehow absorbed the outer layers and converted the same into its substances and natures or, so to speak, Iranized it.
This country located in Southwest Asia bordering Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan to the north, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the east, Turkey and Iraq to the west and Persian gulf to the south. Although locally known as Iran at least since the Sasanian period, until 1935 the country was referred to in the West as Persia. In March 21, 1935, it was formally called by its native name, Iran, which means land of Aryans, and literally means land of nobles, talented, and educated.
The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Zagros and Alborz Mountains, the latter of which also contains Iran’s highest point, Damavand at 5671 m (18606ft). The eastern half consists mostly of uninhabited desert basins with the occasional salt lake.
Along with its splendid history and culture, Iran is a diverse land and has a great variety of geographical environment which offers a sense of paradise for all nature lovers. Iran’s climatic diversity is such that one can enjoy winter sports in the mountains while others can bathe in the warm waters of the southern shores, both within few hours drive from the main cities.