Tehran: a City of Contrasts

From the Grand Bazaar to endless parks and museums, Tehran is a city of contrasts and surprises. Every year we’ve visited Tehran in the past 12 years, we’ve explored a different park. In a city of 9 million (15 million if you count the Greater Metropolitan area) it is amazing how many gorgeous parks there are: 

Park-e Mellat includes an aviary, playgrounds and a cinema theatre; Park-e Lāleh is home to the National Carpet Museum; Park-e Fadak with its delightful sculptures, and Taleghani and Āb-o Ātāsh (linked together by an incredible 270m bridge, Pol-e Tabiat) are just a few among many parks where Iranian’s love of outdoor cultural spaces can be appreciated.

Park-e Mellat

Much has been written on Tehran’s natural, cultural, historical and gastronomical wonders, but perhaps the most unique aspect of Tehran for me is that it is home to communities of every ethnic, linguistic and religious group of the many cultures that make up Iran.

During my annual trips, I have visited an Armenian dance instructor often in charge of regional costume exhibitions in parks, a Kurdish community with roots in Sanandaj and an Azeri dance instructor who is known for giving private lessons in her home to Tehrani Azeris. Many of our relatives who left Dezful 40 years ago now reside in Tehran. I have also connected with Sistani, Turkemen, Gilaki, and Mazani families in this multicultural metropolis.

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