Formal name: Islamic Republic of Iran
Location of Iran: Iran is situated in Western Central Asia in the area commonly referred to as the Middle East. It was geographically known as Persia until as recently as the twentieth century. In the North and Northwest, it is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the autonomous Nakhchivan enclave. To the West lie Turkey and Iraq. Its southern boundaries extend to the scenic shores of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. It is adjacent to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the East and Turkmenistan to the Northeast.
Area: Total 1,648,195 km2: land 99.3%, water 0.7%
Land boundaries: Total 5894 km
Population: over 81 million inhabitants
Language: Linguistically diverse, Persian (Farsi) is spoken by the majority of Iranians. Several other related Indo-Iranian languages belonging to the Indo-European language family are spoken – Kurdish, Gilaki, Mazandarani, et al. Sizeable minority languages include Armenian, Azeri Turkish, Caucasian languages such as Georgian and Circadian, and Arabic, among others.
A large percentage of millennial Iranians speak moderate to advanced English. Tourist information is available in English at many hotels and cultural attractions. As expected, signs, services and general information in rural and remote areas are less likely to accommodate the Anglophone tourist than in more populated areas.
The Persian-Arabic alphabet is the national standard. However, some signs, menus and general information are posted in English.
Administrative and territorial structure: 31 Provinces, 324 counties, 89 cities.
Religion: Islam is the national religion. Zoroastrianism remains active in small pockets throughout the country.
Currency: The official currency of Iran is the Iranian Rial.
USD, Euros, GBP and other currencies can be exchanged for Rial throughout Iran.
Climate: The climate of Iran is as diverse as its topography ranging from mild and wet subtropical rainforest on the Caspian coast at Gilan to the Mediterranean climate of Shiraz; very cold mountains of the Zagros and Alborz to the hot dry deserts of Lut and Kavir Buzurg; semi-desert of Tehran to dry coastal climate on the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman coasts.
Summers in the North are usually temperate with high temperatures averaging about 27 oC. Winters are generally mild in the South with average low temperatures around 13 oC. Summers are hot and sometimes humid, pending on the region.
Iran’s diverse climate allows for an amazing array of leisure and adventure activities. Skiing and extreme snow sports, scuba diving and snorkeling, ecotourism and safari are all within a short distance of each other almost year round.