The Allure Of A “Forbidden” Land: Three Sights In Iran You Must See

Persepolis Ruins by CC user adavey on Flickr

Located on the eastern end of the region that comprises the Middle East, the nation of Iran has occupied a central place in its history, dating back thousands of years. While this country that contains much of the territory that made up the homeland of what once the mighty Persian empire, the lion’s share of travelers and tourists that visit the Middle East today have been avoiding Iran, due to its perceived danger in the wake of the Islamic Revolution that took place near the end of the 1970’s.

While there are visa restrictions in place for visitors from many Western nations, and actions that might be considered normal back home are frowned upon or could get you arrested here, the historical and cultural treasures that can be found within Iran’s borders make these annoyances and dangers well worth the trouble.

If you’re willing to embrace your inner adventurer in the near future by venturing to the former lands of Persia, here are three sights in Iran that will reward you for all the bureaucratic hoops that you’ll have to jump through.

1) Persepolis

Back in the days when the Persian Empire was at its apex, Cyrus the Great was looking for a place where he could build a capital befitting of the fiefdom that he lorded over. Consisting of a variety of ruins, partially restores structures, and reliefs that revealed the course of daily life thousands of years ago, you will gain an appreciation for the might of this former heavyweight of the ancient world, who conquered cities from Babylon to Athens with impunity.

2) Naqsh-e Jahan Square

More than a thousand years later at the dawn of the 16th century AD, the Persian Empire had risen again, with its Islamic rulers once again in control of much of the Middle East. Summit Point Roofing explains that in Isfahan in 1598, ruler Shah Abbas decided to construct a massive square to serve as the centerpiece of the complete renovation of the city.

What resulted was a garden of unimaginable greenery where merchants, commoners, entertainers and the ruling elite came to together in one blissfully beautiful place. Around the perimeter, mosques, a palace and the Imperial Bazaar will humble even the most seasoned traveler with their size and scale.

3) Golestan Palace

Later on in the 16th century, the center of Imperial rule was moved once again to Tehran, where the affairs of present day Iran continue to be administered. The Golestan Palace was built here to serve as the home for Iran’s imperial leaders, and over time, it has sprawled into 18 separate ornate buildings, each seemingly more decadent than the last.

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