A semi-recent discovery has revealed that society lived in the Tehran area 7,000 years ago. However, the earliest mention of Tehran only dates back to the 13th century. For many hundreds of years, the territory underwent invasions by different groups including the Mongols, Turks and Arabs.
It wasn’t until 1796 that Tehran was named the country’s capital. It took a few more hundred years until the 20th century when the city began to build into a metropolis it is today. Now, Tehran has become one of the largest cities in the world, offering its visitors and residents an array of museums, shops, cafes, restaurants, historical sites and even outdoor activities that require a little trip outside of the city center. If you ever find yourself stopping in Tehran, here are some spots to consider adding to your list.
Start your day off at Roberto Cafe, a hip and modern coffee shop that serves more than just your average cup of joe. The front of the cafe has large glass walls and a glass door with different types of saying and poems written in English on them (a rare find in Iran). Once inside, you’ll notice well-dressed baristas serving all sorts of coffee-based drinks made from RAW coffee. So go ahead, grab a seat at one of the tables and enjoy the eclectic atmosphere and your warm (or cold) drink before heading out for the day.
Niavaran Palace Complex
Tehran has some beautiful palaces and homes that once belonged to members of the royal family. We recommend visiting the Niavaran Palace Complex, which housed several different Shahs from the 18th to the 20th century. Explore the Palace’s garden, interior rooms that are overflowing with golden tones, and even pieces that belonged to the Shahs and their families. There are even a few famous paintings here created by Vincent van Goth, Andy Warhol and Picasso. The Palace is open every day, from 9am to 5pm
It’s always fun to shop in the Middle East, especially with so many different bazaars offering customers an array of options to bring back home, be it materialistic or a delicatessen. Tehran has more than one bazaar, and although many flock to the Grand Bazaar (no, not the one in Istanbul), we recommend checking out Jomeh Bazaar. This place is unique due to the fact that it’s located in a parking area and is only open on Fridays. Merchants here sell anything from vinyl records, Persian handmade items, carpets, handbags, books and even traditional Persian attire. Jomeh Bazaar does get busy midday, so make sure to get here early if you can around 8-8:30am.
Iranian cuisine is absolutely delicious, and although Tehran is swarming with amazing restaurant options to choose from, we highly recommend trying abgoosht (also called dizi) at least once. Abgoosht is a thick Iranian stew served in stoneware crocks. The soup is made with lamb, onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, white beans and potatoes—it’s very hearty. Ironically, Dizi is also the name of the restaurant where you can find some of the best dizi or abgoosht in the city.
Although Tehran is a relatively new city and sometimes doesn’t make it on the list of places to visit, it will surprise you. There are hidden gems and amazing restaurants to try, plus the city has a great nightlife that can be enjoyed by all ages. If you ever do make it to Iran’s capital, we hope this guide will help you find some interesting places to visit.
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