Although Tehran is not Iran, but without this great metropolis, which is the focal point of Iran’s transportation network and the center in which more than 40% of the nation’s economic activities takes place, it would not be possible to fully comprehend the ever changing Iran. Tehran is the mirror of Iran. Those who inhabit this young metropolis have come from around the country with different beliefs, cultures, languages and life styles and live in a national and international context together. It can be noted that modern societies take form in large cities, and therefore, Iran’s future is being formed in Tehran.
History and Culture
The origin of the name Tehran is unknown. Tehran was well known as a village in the 9th century, but was less well-known than the city of Rhages (Rey) which was flourishing nearby in the early era. Tehran has been made in a work by the Greek Theodosius, who has mentioned Tehran as a suburb of Rey about 2000 years B.C.
Don Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo, a Castilian ambassador, was probably the first European to visit Tehran, stopping in July 1404, while on a journey to Samarkand (now in Uzbekistan) the capital of Timur, who ruled Iran at the time. At this time, the city of Tehran was unwalled.
In the early 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, and a government office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city his capital, but later moved his government to Shiraz. Tehran finally became the capital of Iran in 1795, when the Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan was crowned in the city. It remains the capital to this day.
In the 1920s and 30s, the city essentially was rebuilt from scratch under the rule of the Shah of Iran, Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza Shah believed that ancient buildings such as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Takieh-ye Dowlat, the Toopkhaneh Square, the city fortifications and the old citadel among others should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically demolished and modern buildings in the pre-islamic Iranian style, such as the National Bank, the Police Headquarters, the Telegraph Office and the Military Academy were built in their place. The Tehran Bazaar was divided in half and many historic buildings were demolished in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many Persian gardens also fell victim to new construction projects.
During World War II, Soviet and British troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference in 1943, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In the 1960s and 70s Tehran was rapidly developing under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Modern buildings altered the face of Tehran and ambitious projects were envisioned for the following decades. The majority of these projects were continued after the Islamic revolution of 1979 when Tehran's urbanization had reached its peak, and the new government started many other new projects, such as Milad Tower.
During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the target of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes.