تهران بزرگ · Greater Tehran
Towers in Tehran City at night.jpg
Tabiat Bridge
Azadi Tower
City Theater
View of Tehran at Night (25821934418).jpg
Clockwise from top: Tehran skyline with Milad Tower , Shams-ol-Emareh in Golestan Palace, Tabiat Bridge, Azadi Tower, City Theater of Tehran, Azadi Tower, and North Tehran Towers.
Official seal of Tehran
Tehran is located in Tehran
Location in Iran and Asia
Tehran is located in Iran
Tehran (Iran)
Tehran is located in Asia
Tehran (Asia)
Coordinates: 35°41′21″N 51°23′20″E / 35°41′21″N 51°23′20″E / 35.68917; 51.38889UTC+04:30 (IRDT)
Area code(s)(+98) 021

Tehran (ə-/; Persian: تهرانTehrân [tehˈɾɒːn] (About this soundlisten)) is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia,[6] and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.[7]

In the Classical era, part of the territory of present-day Tehran was occupied by Rhages, a prominent Median city.[8] It was subject to destruction through the medieval Arab, Turkic, and Mongol invasions. Its modern-day inheritor remains as an urban area absorbed into the metropolitan area of Greater Tehran.

Tehran was first chosen as the capital of Iran by Agha Mohammad Khan of the Qajar dynasty in 1796, in order to remain within close reach of Iran's territories in the Caucasus, before being separated from Iran as a result of the Russo-Iranian Wars, and to avoid the vying factions of the previously ruling Iranian dynasties. The capital has been moved several times throughout the history, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran. Large scale demolition and rebuilding began in the 1920s, and Tehran has been a destination for mass migrations from all over Iran since the 20th century.[9]

Tehran is home to many historical collections, including the royal complexes of Golestan, Sa'dabad, and Niavaran, where the two last dynasties of the former Imperial State of Iran were seated. Tehran's most famous landmarks include the Azadi Tower, a memorial built under the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1971 to mark the 2,500th year of the foundation of the Imperial State of Iran, and the Milad Tower, the world's sixth-tallest self-supporting tower which was completed in 2007. The Tabiat Bridge, a newly-built landmark, was completed in 2014.[10]

The majority of the population of Tehran are Persian-speaking people,[11][12] and roughly 99% of the population understand and speak Persian, but there are large populations of other ethno-linguistic groups who live in Tehran and speak Persian as a second language.[13]

Tehran has an international airport (Imam Khomeini Airport) , a domestic airport (Mehrabad Airport), a central railway station, the rapid transit system of Tehran Metro, a bus rapid transit system, trolleybuses, and a large network of highways.

There have been plans to relocate Iran's capital from Tehran to another area, due mainly to air pollution and the city's exposure to earthquakes. To date, no definitive plans have been approved. A 2016 survey of 230 cities by consultant Mercer ranked Tehran 203rd for quality of life.[14] According to the Global Destinations Cities Index in 2016, Tehran is among the top ten fastest growing destinations.[15]

October 6 is marked as Tehran Day based on a 2016 decision by members of the City Council, celebrating the day when the city was officially chosen as the capital of Iran by the Qajar dynasty back in 1907.[16]


The origin of the name Tehran is uncertain.[17] The settlement of Tehran dates back over 7,000 years.[18]

Classical era

Tehran is situated within the historical region of Media (Old Persian: 𐎶𐎠𐎭 Māda) in northwestern Iran. By the time of the Median Empire, a part of the territory of present-day Tehran was a suburb of the prominent Median city of Rhages (Old Persian: 𐎼𐎥𐎠 Ragā). In the Avesta's Videvdat (i, 15), Rhages is mentioned as the 12th sacred place created by Ohrmazd.[19] In Old Persian inscriptions, Rhages appears as a province (Bistun 2, 10–18). From Rhages, Darius I sent reinforcements to his father Hystaspes, who was putting down the rebellion in Parthia (Bistun 3, 1–10).[19] In some Middle Persian texts, Rhages is given as the birthplace of Zoroaster,[20] although modern historians generally place the birth of Zoroaster in Khorasan. Rhages's modern-day inheritor, Ray, is a city located towards the southern end of Tehran, which has been absorbed into the metropolitan area of Greater Tehran.

Mount Damavand, the highest peak of Iran, which is located near Tehran, is an important location in Ferdowsi's Šāhnāme,[21] the Iranian epic poem that is based on the ancient legends of Iran. It appears in the epics as the homeland of the protoplast Keyumars, the birthplace of king Manuchehr, the place where king Freydun binds the dragon fiend Aždahāk (Bivarasp), and the place where Arash shot his arrow from.[21]

Medieval period

During the reign of the Sassanian Empire, in 641, Yazdgerd III issued his last appeal to the nation from Rhages, before fleeing to Khorasan.[19] Rhages was dominated by the Parthian Mehran family, and Siyavakhsh—the son of Mehran the son of Bahram Chobin—who resisted the 7th-century Muslim invasion of Iran.[19] Because of this resistance, when the Arabs captured Rhages, they ordered the town to be destroyed and rebuilt anew by traitor aristocrat Farrukhzad.[19]

In the 9th century, Tehran was a well-known village, but less known than the city of Rhages, which was flourishing nearby. Rhages was described in detail by 10th-century Muslim geographers.[19] Despite the interest that Arabian Baghdad displayed in Rhages, the number of Arabs in the city remained insignificant and the population mainly consisted of Iranians of all classes.[19][22]

The Oghuz Turks invaded Rhages discretely in 1035 and 1042, but the city was recovered under the reigns of the Seljuks and the Khwarezmians.[19] Medieval writer Najm od Din Razi declared the population of Rhages about 500,000 before the Mongol invasion. In the 13th century, the Mongols invaded Rhages, laid the city in ruins, and massacred many of its inhabitants.[19] Following the invasion, many of the city's inhabitants escaped to Tehran.

In July 1404, Castilian ambassador Ruy González de Clavijo visited Tehran while on a journey to Samarkand, the capital of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur, who ruled Iran at the time. In his diary, Tehran was described as an unwalled region.

Early modern era

Italian traveler Pietro della Valle passed through Tehran overnight in 1618, and in his memoirs, he mentioned the city as Taheran. English traveler Thomas Herbert entered Tehran in 1627, and mentioned it as Tyroan. Herbert stated that the city had about 3,000 houses.[23]

A portrait of Qajar ruler Agha Mohammad Khan, kept at London's V&A Museum

In the early 18th century, Karim Khan of the Zand dynasty ordered a palace and a government office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city his capital; but he later moved his government to Shiraz. Eventually, Qajar king Agha Mohammad Khan chose Tehran as the capital of Iran in 1786.[24]

Agha Mohammad Khan's choice of his capital was based on a similar concern for the control of both northern and southern Iran.[24] He was aware of the loyalties of the inhabitants of former capitals Isfahan and Shiraz to the Safavid and Zand dynasties respectively, and was wary of the power of the local notables in these cities.[24] Thus, he probably viewed Tehran's lack of a substantial urban structure as a blessing, because it minimized the chances of resistance to his rule by the notables and by the general public.[24] Moreover, he had to remain within close reach of Azerbaijan and Iran's integral northern and southern Caucasian territories[24]—at that time not yet irrevocably lost per the treaties of Golestan and Turkmenchay to the neighboring Russian Empire—which would follow in the course of the 19th century.[25]

Map of Tehran in 1857

After 50 years of Qajar rule, the city still barely had more than 80,000 inhabitants.[24] Up until the 1870s, Tehran consisted of a walled citadel, a roofed bazaar, and the three main neighborhoods of Udlajan, Chale-Meydan, and Sangelaj, where the majority resided.

The first development plan of Tehran in 1855 emphasized the traditional spatial structure. Architecture, however, found an eclectic expression to reflect the new lifestyle. The second major planning exercise in Tehran took place under the supervision of Dar ol Fonun. The 1878 plan of Tehran included new city walls, in the form of a perfect octagon with an area of 19 square kilometers, which mimicked the Renaissance cities of Europe.[26]

Late modern era

The Triumph of Tehran: Sardar Asad II and Sepahsalar e Tonekaboni conquering Tehran in July 1909

The growing social awareness of civil rights resulted in the Constitutional Revolution and the first constitution of Iran in 1906. On June 2, 1907, the parliament passed a law on local governance known as the Baladie (municipal law), providing a detailed outline on issues such as the role of councils within the city, the members' qualifications, the election process, and the requirements to be entitled to vote. The then Qajar monarch Mohammad Ali Shah abolished the constitution and bombarded the parliament with the help of the Russian-controlled Cossack Brigade on June 23, 1908. That followed the capture of the city by the revolutionary forces of Ali-Qoli Khan (Sardar Asad II) and Mohammad Vali Khan (Sepahsalar e Tonekaboni) on July 13, 1909. As a result, the monarch was exiled and replaced with his son Ahmad, and the parliament was re-established.

After World War I, the constituent assembly elected Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty as the new monarch, who immediately suspended the Baladie law of 1907, replacing the decentralized and autonomous city councils with centralist approaches of governance and planning.[26]

From the 1920s to the 1930s, under the rule of Reza Shah, the city was essentially rebuilt from scratch. That followed a systematic demolition of several old buildings, including parts of the Golestan Palace, Tekye Dowlat, and Tupkhane Square, which were replaced with modern buildings influenced by classical Iranian architecture, particularly the building of the National Bank, the Police Headquarters, the Telegraph Office, and the Military Academy.

The changes in urban fabric started with the street-widening act of 1933, which served as a framework for changes in all other cities. The Grand Bazaar was divided in half and many historic buildings were demolished to be replaced with wide straight avenues.[27] As a result, the traditional texture of the city was replaced with intersecting cruciform streets that created large roundabouts, located on major public spaces such as the bazaar.

As an attempt to create a network for easy transportation within the city, the old citadel and city walls were demolished in 1937, replaced by wide streets cutting through the urban fabric. The new city map of Tehran in 1937 was heavily influenced by modernist planning patterns of zoning and gridiron networks.[26]

During World War II, Soviet and British troops entered the city. In 1943, Tehran was the site of the Tehran Conference, attended by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The establishment of the planning organization of Iran in 1948 resulted in the first socio-economic development plan to cover from 1949 to 1955. These plans not only failed to slow the unbalanced growth of Tehran, but with the 1962 land reforms that Reza Shah's son and successor Mohammad Reza Shah named the White Revolution, Tehran's chaotic growth was further accentuated.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Tehran was rapidly developing under the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah. Modern buildings altered the face of Tehran and ambitious projects were envisioned for the following decades. In order to resolve the problem of social exclusion, the first comprehensive plan of Tehran was approved in 1968. The consortium of Iranian architect Abd-ol-Aziz Farmanfarmaian and the American firm of Victor Gruen Associates identified the main problems blighting the city to be high density suburbs, air and water pollution, inefficient infrastructure, unemployment, and rural-urban migration. Eventually, the whole plan was marginalized by the 1979 Revolution and the subsequent Iran–Iraq War.[26]

The Azadi Tower was built in 1971.

Tehran's most famous landmark, the Azadi Tower, was built by the order of the Shah in 1971. It was designed by Hossein Amanat, an architect who won a competition to design the monument, combining elements of classical Sassanian architecture with post-classical Iranian architecture. Formerly known as the Shahyad Tower, it was built in commemoration of the 2,500th year of the foundation of the Imperial State of Iran.

During the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the target of repeated Scud missile attacks and air strikes.

The 435-meter-high Milad Tower, which was part of the proposed development projects in pre-revolutionary Iran,[28] was completed in 2007, and has thence become a famous landmark of Tehran. The 270-meter pedestrian overpass of Tabiat Bridge is a newly-built landmark,[10] designed by award winning architect Leila Araghian, which was completed in 2014.

Other Languages
Acèh: Tèhran
Адыгэбзэ: Дыхьэрэн
адыгабзэ: Тегеран
Afrikaans: Teheran
Alemannisch: Teheran
አማርኛ: ቴህራን
العربية: طهران
aragonés: Teherán
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܛܗܪܐܢ
অসমীয়া: তেহৰাণ
asturianu: Teḥrán
azərbaycanca: Tehran
تۆرکجه: تهران
বাংলা: তেহরান
Bân-lâm-gú: Tehran
башҡортса: Тәһран
беларуская: Тэгеран
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Тэгеран
Bikol Central: Tehran
български: Техеран
Boarisch: Teheran
བོད་ཡིག: ཏེ་ཧི་རན།
bosanski: Teheran
brezhoneg: Tehran
буряад: Тегеран
català: Teheran
Чӑвашла: Тегеран
čeština: Teherán
Chi-Chewa: Tehran
chiShona: Tehran
Cymraeg: Tehran
dansk: Teheran
davvisámegiella: Teheran
Deutsch: Teheran
डोटेली: तेहरान
eesti: Teheran
Ελληνικά: Τεχεράνη
эрзянь: Тегеран ош
español: Teherán
Esperanto: Teherano
estremeñu: Teherán
euskara: Teheran
فارسی: تهران
Fiji Hindi: Tehran
føroyskt: Tehran
français: Téhéran
Frysk: Teheran
Gaeilge: Teheran
Gagauz: Tahran
Gàidhlig: Tehran
galego: Teherán
ГӀалгӀай: Тегеран
گیلکی: تئران
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Tehran
한국어: 테헤란
Hausa: Tehran
հայերեն: Թեհրան
Արեւմտահայերէն: Թեհրան
हिन्दी: तेहरान
hornjoserbsce: Teheran
hrvatski: Teheran
Ido: Tehran
Ilokano: Tehran
Bahasa Indonesia: Teheran
interlingua: Teheran
Interlingue: Teheran
Ирон: Тæхран
íslenska: Teheran
italiano: Teheran
עברית: טהראן
Jawa: Teheran
Kabɩyɛ: Teeraŋ
kalaallisut: Tehran
ಕನ್ನಡ: ತೆಹ್ರಾನ್
ქართული: თეირანი
қазақша: Тегеран
kernowek: Tehran
Kiswahili: Tehran
Kongo: Teheran
Kreyòl ayisyen: Teheran
kurdî: Tehran
Кыргызча: Тегеран
لۊری شومالی: تیرۊ
Latina: Teheranum
latviešu: Teherāna
Lëtzebuergesch: Teheran
лезги: Тегьран
lietuvių: Teheranas
Ligure: Teheran
Limburgs: Teheran
Livvinkarjala: Tegeran
lumbaart: Teheran
magyar: Teherán
македонски: Техеран
Malagasy: Teheran
മലയാളം: ടെഹ്റാൻ
Māori: Tehran
मराठी: तेहरान
მარგალური: თეირანი
مصرى: طهران
مازِرونی: تهرون
Bahasa Melayu: Teheran
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Tehran
монгол: Тегеран
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တီဟီရန်မြို့
Nederlands: Teheran
नेपाली: तेहरान
नेपाल भाषा: तेहरान
日本語: テヘラン
Napulitano: Teheran
нохчийн: ТехӀран
Norfuk / Pitkern: Tegeraan
norsk: Teheran
norsk nynorsk: Teheran
occitan: Teheran
олык марий: Тегеран
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ତେହେରାନ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Tehron
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਤਹਿਰਾਨ
پنجابی: تہران
Papiamentu: Teheran
پښتو: تهران
Piemontèis: Teheran
polski: Teheran
português: Teerã
Qaraqalpaqsha: Tehran
qırımtatarca: Tehran
română: Teheran
rumantsch: Teheran
Runa Simi: Tehran
русиньскый: Тегеран
русский: Тегеран
саха тыла: Тегеран
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱛᱮᱦᱨᱟᱱ
sardu: Teheran
Scots: Tehran
shqip: Teherani
sicilianu: Teheran
සිංහල: ටෙහ්රාන්
Simple English: Tehran
slovenčina: Teherán
slovenščina: Teheran
ślůnski: Teheran
Soomaaliga: Tahraan
کوردی: تاران
српски / srpski: Техеран
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Teheran
suomi: Teheran
svenska: Teheran
Tagalog: Teherán
தமிழ்: தெகுரான்
Taqbaylit: Ṭehran
tarandíne: Teheran
татарча/tatarça: Тәһран
తెలుగు: టెహరాన్
тоҷикӣ: Теҳрон
Türkçe: Tahran
Türkmençe: Tähran
Twi: Teheran
удмурт: Тегеран
українська: Тегеран
اردو: تہران
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: تېھران
vèneto: Tehran
vepsän kel’: Tehran
Tiếng Việt: Tehran
Volapük: Tehran
Võro: Teheran
文言: 德黑蘭
Winaray: Tehran
吴语: 德黑兰
ייִדיש: טעהראן
Yorùbá: Tehran
粵語: 德黑蘭
Zazaki: Tehran
žemaitėška: Teherans
中文: 德黑兰