Iran was in my travel wishlist for quite a while. I had listened to many things about Iran, its people and its culture from my friends who had visited, worked and lived there. Finally, last May I got the chance to visit Iran for a touristic trip. Turkey and Iran have many common things such as vocabularies, literature, religion and Ottoman-Persian Empires’ long lasting wars. While I was in Iran and after my trip I found out many interesting things that people usually have no idea about. Today I want to share some of them. I hope you enjoy it!
1. Women keep their surnames
In most countries women get their husbands’ last names when they are married. In Iran women’s last names don’t change by marrying.
2. Female education rate is quite high
About sixty percent of students enrolled in Iranian universities are females.
3. More Azeri Turks live in Iran than Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani or Azeri Turk people in Iran are the major minority in Iran. Sixteen percent of Iran’s population consists from Azeri Turks which makes more than 12.5 million people. The population of Azerbaijan (The Republic) is only 9.5 million.
4. Jewish and Persians get along well
Iran has the highest Jewish population in Asia after Russia, and also the highest in Middle-East after Israel itself. Circa 60000 Jewish people still live in Iran and Siamak Moreh Sedgh is their current representative in the parliament of Iran.
5. They have a natural air-condition system
They use Qanats that is the oldest cooling system in the world. The qanats are underground conduits that bring the water from water basin in the mountains to the city. They have more than 170,000 miles of underground channels that were built thousands of years ago. You can see this water channels between road and pedestrian road. Those water channels cool off the city naturally.
6. Shiraz is the motherland of Syrah wine
Rhone region of southeastern France is known as the origin of Syrah grape but some historians claimed that Syrah grape originated in Shiraz, Iran. Phocaeans brought Syrah to their colony Marseilles then the grape spread through France. The oldest trace of wine in Iran is over 7000 years old.
7. Nobody is allowed to carry a gun
8. Alcohol and drugs are forbidden but there are rehabs
Buying and selling alcohol in Iran is forbidden. Only non-Muslim minorities have the right to make their own alcohol but not sell. Nevertheless, there are many rehabilitation centers in the country. According to a Washington Post article, Health Ministry will open more than 150 outpatient alcohol treatment centers in the near future. In spite of many bans, there is a huge underground life going on in Iran, and they consume a lot of alcohol to be sure.
9. They do not Speak Arabic / They are not Arabs
Their alphabet is based on Arabic script but Persian and Arabic are two different languages. The Persian language is one of the oldest languages that is still in use today. They also don’t dress like Arabs and women (in most parts of it) don’t wear burqa like in Afghanistan.
10. We have many Persian words in our daily life
Words such as cheque, caviar, caravan, tulip, algorithm, chess, checkmate, jasmine, navy, paradise, khaki and pajamas have Persian language roots. To see the a comprehensive list of words with Persian roots check this link.
11. It is a nation of youth
Approximately 70% of the 80 million Iranians are under the age of 30.
12. They produce their own cars
Iran manufactures its national cars since the early 1970s and the car industry is the second largest industry after the oil and gas industry. 10% of GDP is from the car industry. Approximately 700000 people, %4 of labor market work in the car industry. Iran is the largest car manufacturer in the Middle East.
13. Milad Tower is 6th tallest tower in the world
The Milad tower was the tallest tower in the Middle East until the Burj Khalifa in UAE. With its height of 435 meters now it is the 17th tallest freestanding structure in the world. It is a telecommunication tower but it also has an observation area and a restaurant.
14. First electric battery is invented by Parthians
In June 1936, in Baghdad, a jar is found in an ancient tomb during the construction of a new railway. It is believed that the tomb was built during the Parthians period which the third Iranian dynasty rules roughly 248 BCE to 28 April CE 224. The jar is approximately 2000 years old and consists of an earthenware shell, with a stopper composed of asphalt. For more information, click here.
15. King Darius laid the foundations of Suez Canal
The Canal of the Pharaohs, Necho’s Canal or in another name Ancient Suez Canal is the forerunner of today’s Suez Canal. The Persian king, Darius the Great ruled the great ancient Achaemenid Empire between 522 to 486 BC. According to Chalouf Stele (Suez Inscriptions) and Herodotus resources, the first opening of the canal was under Darius the Great nearly 500 BC.
Again, according to Chalouf Stele, King Darius says, “I am a Persian; setting out from Persia, I conquered Egypt. I ordered to dig this canal from the river that is called the Nile and flows in Egypt, to the sea that begins in Persia. Therefore, when this canal had been dug as I had ordered, ships went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, as I had intended”
16. The Zoroastrianism and Baha’i Faith were born in Iran
Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest religions that was the religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 BCE to 650 CE.
Also the founder of Baha’i faith is Baha’ullah, Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri, who was born in 1827 in Tehran.