1. Population and Geography
Iran, a country with a history of over 3000 years and home to one of the oldest known civilizations, is the 18th largest country in the world and the 17th most populated nation. Iran has an area of 1,648,195 km2, and it is bordered by Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan to the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east, Turkey and Iraq to the west, and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.
The population of Iran is mostly urban with the majority of people living in large metropolises and sprawling urban complexes around major cities. Tehran is the capital and largest city of Iran. It is located in the northern part of the country below Alborz Mountains. Other large metropolitan areas include, but are not limited to, Mashhad, the site of Imam Reza’s Shrine, Esfahan, home to a wide variety of historical sites, Tabriz, one of the most historic cities of the country, Shiraz, located near the Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, and Kish Island, located on the blue waters of the Persian Gulf to the south.
2. Country of Four Seasons
Climatic and weather conditions in the country are diverse due to the vast land area that Iran covers. Iran is one of the world's most mountainous countries, and its landscape, especially in the west, is dominated by rugged mountain ranges that caused western provinces to experience severe winters with below zero average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The east and the central areas, however, are hot and dry as these parts consist mostly of desert basins, such as the Kavir Desert which is the country's largest desert. In the north and south, the weather is mostly mild and humid, being in close proximity to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, respectively. It is common to refer to Iran as a country of four seasons.
3. Language and Religion
The official language of Iran is Farsi (AKA Persian) and the most practiced religion is Islam. Islamic social rules are therefore observed by the entire population. Nonetheless, due to various backgrounds and roots of different communities and civilizations which, in a period throughout human history, settled in Iran, different religions, lifestyles and languages are present and actively used and practiced in this country.
The rich cultural legacy of Iran is reflected by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, theforth-largest number in Asia and eleventh-largest in the world. Iran is by far one of the centers of human civilization and recognized as a multicultural country consisting of numerous ethnic and linguistic groups.