Iran has a population of more than 80 million and is located in the Middle East in Western Asia. It is often mentioned in the news, but mainstream media doesn’t provide much information about its history and culture. In this article in Parsi Tours Iran travel agency we are presenting you 15 fun facts about Iran that you may not have heard before.
Iran is not an Arab country and Iranians are Persians
The first fun fact about Iran is they do not speak Arabic. Most countries in the Middle East use Arabic as their main language, but Iranians speak Persian, which is also known as Farsi.
61% of Iranians come from the Persian ethnic group, while the remaining population includes Azeris, Kurds, Lors, Arabs, Baluchs, and other ethnic groups.
Iran has its own calendar
Another fun fact about Iran is related to their calendar. In Iran, the calendar shows three different dates – the Iranian date, the Islamic date, and the Gregorian date. The important date to look at is the Iranian date because it follows a solar calendar based on the Earth’s movement around the sun.
The year is 12 months. The first six months have 31 days each, and the second six months have 30 days each. This arrangement allows New Year’s Day to fall on the first day of spring, and the months align with the seasons and the zodiac.
Autumn And Spring Are The Best Time To Visit Iran
Iran has beautiful weather in the Spring and Autumn seasons. The temperature during March to May and September to November ranges from 7 to 20 degrees Celsius. May is a particularly good time to visit because the landscape is filled with blooming flowers, including the national flower, and the tulip, which can be found growing wild along the roads.
The islands of Kish and Qeshm and the snow-covered mountains of Damavand provide opportunities for a variety of activities in both summer and winter.
Alcohol Is Banned In Iran
One interesting and fun fact about Iran is that alcohol is not available in the country. There is no booze at all. Although some restaurants may have beer on their menu, it is non-alcoholic. However, the non-alcoholic beer does taste similar to the real thing and comes in various flavors for people to try. Who needs alcohol when there are so many different types of sharbats tastes? Some popular Persian sharbats include Tokhm-e-Reyhan, Khak-e-Shir, Bahar Narenj, and Sekanjabin.
Getting Visa For Iran Is A Really Simple Process
One other fun fact about Iran is about getting a visa. You might think getting a visa for countries like Iran in the Middle East is hard. However, it is actually quite easy. Iran tourist visas can be obtained by citizens from most countries either upon arrival or in advance. These visas are issued on a separate paper, not inside the passports, to bypass the restrictions set by the US government.
Tourists from the US, UK, and Canada should participate in private or group tours for visa issuance. To minimize the possibility of rejection, it is advisable to apply well in advance. The simplest way to obtain a tourist visa is by utilizing a travel agency. The agency will handle the application process for visa authorization codes, and afterward, you can visit your local embassy or consulate to retrieve the visa.
Exchanging Currency In Iran Makes You Feel Rich
The other fun fact about Iran is feeling rich after exchanging the currency. The currency used in Iran is called Rials, but exchanging money on a daily basis is commonly done in Toman. The currency in Iran can make you feel wealthier and trips to Iran are affordable. It is important to note that foreign debit or credit cards do not work in Iran, so it is advisable to either carry cash or use prepaid travel debit cards like MahCards.
The weekend is on Thursday and Friday
Another fun fact about Iran is its weekend holiday. In Iran, the workweek starts on Saturday and ends on Thursday. The official weekend is on Friday. Typically, banks and government offices are open from 07:30 to 13:00 on Thursdays. In bigger cities, shopping malls and department stores are open on both days. On specific national and religious holidays, offices, schools, and shops are closed.
A thumbs-up is bad, really bad, in Iran
In Iran, avoid using the thumbs-up gesture as it can be seen as offensive, similar to showing your middle finger.
Iranians say things they don’t mean
When we speak with friends or family, we often use phrases like “take care” or “see you later” to show affection, but we don’t always fully mean it and this is another fun fact about Iran. Sometimes, we genuinely want to express our love, whereas other times we use these phrases politely to conclude the conversation.
The unique culture of Taarof
Taarof is a social custom where people are extremely polite. For instance, if you are visiting someone, your host may offer you something. Instead of accepting right away, it is customary to respond with “No thanks.” However, they will persist and offer it again, allowing you to accept it.
Another example is when you are saying goodbye to someone, they might insist on paying for your meal (even though they might not mean it). You can politely decline by saying “No, thank you, I’ll take care of it.” If you want to make sure if they genuinely mean it, you can simply ask if this is a kind gesture or not. This is a fun fact about Iran and it is hard to get used to.
More Women Attend Universities in Iran Than Men
One remarkable fact about Iran is that in its universities, there are more female students (60%) compared to male students (40%). However, it is unfortunate that this ratio decreases significantly in Master’s and PhD programs. Only a small number of women in Iran choose to pursue a career after graduation, and this number decreases further after marriage and childbirth.
Tea Is the National Drink of Iran
Tea is very popular in Iran and is considered their national drink. Iranians cannot live without a hot cup of tea, which they call “Chaiee” and it is a fun fact about Iran.
Persian tea comes from Iran and is made using a special metal container called Samovar. The Samovar heats the water and has a ring on top for placing the teapot and brewing the tea. Iranians usually drink sweet or bitter Persian tea for breakfast.
Persians Are Not the Only People in Iran
Iran is a diverse country with a multi-ethnic population. While Persians constitute the majority at around 61%, there are also numerous other ethnic groups present.
Some of the commonly found ethnicities in the area are Azeri, Kurds, Baloch, and Arabs, each comprising a certain percentage of the population. Additionally, there are other smaller ethnicities like Mazandaranis, Talysh, Turkmen, and Assyrians present.
Football Is the Most Popular Sport in Iran
Iranians are passionate about football and excel in the sport. The Iranian football team became the champions of Asia in 1968, 1974, and 1976. Additionally, in 1978, the team took part in its first-ever FIFA World Cup. Iran’s football team made it to the FIFA World Cup in 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018, and also in 2022. In Iran, there are football teams in different cities and regions that compete against each other. Iran has football teams in various cities and regions that compete with each other.
Another fun fact about Iran
Popular social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are blocked in Iran, so you may need to use a VPN or take a break from social networking. Interestingly, Instagram and WhatsApp are not blocked.
[2024 Update: As of September 2022, the government has also blocked the Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.]
Using an Iranian SIM card can help you save money during your stay. Squat toilets are commonly used in Iran, and water is used instead of toilet paper. Iranians do not like to clean tissue after the toilet and it is a fun fact about Iran. Iranian women are only required to cover 80% of their hair, allowing for fashion and style. Women in Iran have the right to vote, drive, attend university, own property, and even get divorced. Baklava or Baghlava, a delicious layered pastry filled with nuts and covered in honey, is a popular treat. The traditional Persian saffron ice cream known as Bastani Sonnati is also a must-try. Lastly, incredible street art can be seen on the walls of Iranian cities, and there are thriving art museums to explore.
There are many other fun facts about Iran. Iran is a great destination for your vacation and you can have a lot of fun and interesting experiences in this country. If you have the concern regarding “Is Iran safe to travel?“, we assure you that this country is worth to visit and you will feel comfortable and safe here.