Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 4000 BC. The Medes unified Iran as a nation and empire in 625 BC. The Islamic conquest of Persia (633–656) and the end of the Sassanid Empire was a turning point in Iranian history.
History and Culture
Iran’s culture is deeply intertwined with its long and rich history, especially from the Persian Empire. Art, literature, architecture, and music have deep roots which are still visible today. In fact, Persian artifacts can be seen in many leading museums around the world, such as the British Museum and the Louvre. Iran’s society has also been strongly influenced by its neighboring countries, such as Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan.
Much of Iran’s culture is reflective in its handicrafts. The art of carpet-knotting dates back centuries and is an important industry. Another key art form is intricate metal and wood work, known as khatamakari or minakari. These handicrafts are still alive and well, and antique versions can be seen in museums while modern substitutes can be purchased at the bazaars.
Art and literature thrived during the Persian Empire and although they have been curtailed by rulers and religious restrictions since, Iranian contemporary art is a proud tradition. There are many talented artists whose works can be seen at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art