Choqazanbil Temple (Ziggurat), Shoosh
The plateau of Iran is among the oldest civilization centers in the history of humanity and has an important place in archeological studies. The history of settlement in the Plateau of Iran, from the new Stone Age till the migration of Aryans to this region, is not yet very clear. But there is reliable evidence indicating that Iran has been inhabited since a very long time ago. Settlement centers have emerged close to water resources like springs, rivers, lakes or totally close to Alborz and Zagross mountains. The most important centers of this kind are:
Sialk hill in Kashan, Hesar hill in Damqan, Toorang hill in Gorgan, Hegmataneh hill in Hamadan, Hasanloo hill in Naqadeh, Marlik hill in Roodbar, and Susa (Shoosh) in Khuzestan. According to archeological excavations conducted in these civilization centers, some vestiges have been discovered, the antiquity of which dates back to the 5th millennium BC.
Golden Hasanloo Goblet (2nd Mill B.C.) - Iran National Museum, Tehran
The migration of Aryan tribes to the Plateau of Iran began in the 2nd millennium BC. Out of these tribes, the Parthians dwelled in Khorassan, the Medes in the west, and the Parsees resided in southern Iran. The Median Empire rose in Hegmataneh (Ekbatan), the present Hamadan. The Achaemenidae established the first great Persian Empire after defeating the Medes and conquest of their capital. The limits of the Achaemenian territory during the reign of Dariush I (522-485 BC.) extended from the plain of Sand River in the east to the borders of Greece in the west. Passargadae and Persepolis are among the vestiges of this period and, as important historical sites, are visited by a significant number of foreign tourists annually.
After the decline of the Achaemenian dynasty, and the destruction of Persepolis by Alexander, his successors the Seleucids dominated over Iran for a short period of time. During this time the interaction between Iranian and Hellenic cultures occurred. Around the year 250 BC, the Parthians, who were an Aryan tribe as well as horse riders, advanced from Khorassan towards the west and south-west and founded their empire over Iran Plateau in Teesfoon. This empire survived only untill the year 224 AD. The Sassanides, after defeating the last Parthian king in 225 AD, founded a new empire which lasted untill mid 7th century AD.
Ganj Nameh Inscription, Hamadan
With respect to its political, social, and cultural characteristics, the ancient period of Iran (Persia) is one of the most magnificent epochs of Iranian history. Out of this era, so many cultural and historical monuments have remained in Persepolis, Passargadae, Susa (Shoosh), Shooshtar, Hamadan, Marvdasht (Naqsh-e-Rostam), Taq-e-bostan, Sarvestan, and Nayshabur, which are worth seeing.
The influence of Islam in Iran began in the early 7th century AD after the decline of the Sassanide Empire. Since then, new era began in the history of Iran which caused fundamental changes in social, political, religious, governmental, and general conditions of the country. Iranians, who were very unhappy with the existing social and economic inequalities in the time of the Sassanides, accepted Islam easily and contributed to its expansion and enrichment.
Bistoon Inscription, Kermanshah
However, Iranians never covered up their opposition against dominance and the tyranny of the Omavi and Abbasi Caliphs and founded many autonomous movements to confront them. In return, the Omavi and the Abbasi Caliphs, tried to neutralize and suppress these movements, which were based on partisanship of the Prophet of Islam family and establishment of a government on the basis of Imamat, by supporting non-Iranian forces.
Soltanieh Dome, Abhar
Continuity of wars of attrition among local governors weakened the overall power of the country and favored conditions for invasion by stranger tribes of Central Asia, like the Seljuki Turks, Mongols, and Teymorides. In the Safavid time, the second great Iranian Empire was founded, and the Shiite sect of islam, disciples of which were seriously limited till then, was formalized.
Ali Qapoo ( 6-Storey Palace ), Esfahan
The dynamic nature of Shiism and its political and social commitments firmly safeguarded Iranian independence and national identity against Ottoman assaults. Thus, Iran once again became a new political and religious power.
Chehel Sotune Palace, Esfahan
With the decline of the Safavid, Afsharieh and later the Zandieh took the throne. After the Zandieh rule, the Qajars took power. At this time the influence of foreign powers such as Britain and Russia in the internal affairs of Iran significantly increased. Meanwhile, social movements of Tobacco, Constitutional Revolution, Forest Uprising, and Sheik Mohammed Khiabani’s Revolt took place. In the Pahlavi period, Oil Industry Nationalization Movement incited the uprising of June 5th 1963, and other autonomous movements resulting in the Islamic Revolution under the leadership of Imam Khomeini in 1979.
|Achaemenian||533 - 330 BC|
|Seleucidian||330 - 247 BC|
|Parthian||247 BC. - 224 AD|
|Sassanide||224 - 651 AD|
|Arab Attack||645 AD|
|Omavian and Abbasian||749 - 932 AD|
|Saffarian||866 - 903 AD|
|Samanian||819 - 999 AD|
|Al Bouyeh||945 - 1055 AD|
|Qaznavian||977 - 1186 AD|
|Seljukian||1038 - 1194 AD|
|Kharazmshahian||1077 - 1231 AD|
|Mongol invasion to Iran||1220 AD|
|Ilkhanian||1256 - 1353 AD|
|Mozaffarian||1314 - 1393 AD|
|Teymurids||1370 - 1506 AD|
|Turkamens||1380 - 1468 AD|
|Safavid||1501 - 1732 AD|
|Afsharian||1734 - 1796 AD|
|Zandian||1750 - 1794 AD|
|Qajar||1779 - 1924 AD|
|Pahlavi||1924 - 1979 AD|
|The Islamic Revolution||1979 AD|
The historical battlefields of Iran, especially religious ones are attractions for pilgrims and tourists. For example, the battlefield against Mongols in Nayshabur, and Chaldran battlefield against the Ottoman Empire may be of special interest. And finally Iran-Iraq battlefields in Khoram Shahr, Bostan, and Hovayzeh have special attractions for some