Overland Journeys: Silk Road

Iran is a country with a history that stretches back for millenia with the great Persian empire of the first millenium BC and invasions by Greeks, Mongols, Arabs and Turks leaving a myriad of influences on the nation's culture. The ruins at Persepolis and Pasargadae are hugely impressive remnants of the Persian Empire that are some of the great historical monuments in the world. Iran today is defined by its strong adherence to Islam and boasts some spectacular mosques and Islamic shrines, particularly in the beautiful city of Esfahan. But the heritage of other religions are also evident in the Armenian Christian monasteries in the north and the ancient Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Yazd. Explore in depth highlights of Iran.

Travel Information for Iran
Time zone:GMT +3.5 (Iran standard time) Daylight savings:    None
Main languages:Persian
Other languages:Arabic, Balochi, Kurdish, Luri, Turkic, Turkish
Currency: Iranian rials (IRR)

1 = IRR33589, $1 = IRR0.00, £1 = IRR0.00

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.irInternational Dialling Code:    98

For help planning your trip to Iran including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Iran trip planning page.

Further information on Iran

Discover more about Iran - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of iran

Total area: 1,648,000 sq km (12,000 sq km under water)

Coastline: 3,180 km (Caspian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf)

Neighbours (border lengths): Afghanistan (936km), Armenia (35km), Azerbaijan (611km), Iraq (1,458km), Pakistan (909km), Turkey (499km), Turkmenistan (992km)

Climate: Most of Iran has an extreme continental climate with very hot summers and cold winters and little rainfall throughout. Subtropical climate along the Caspian Sea coast with hot, humid summers and wet winters. Coastal areas around the Persian Gulf are not all year round.

Highest mountain: Kuh-e Damavand (5,671m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Iran from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldNot Free -
Democracy IndexAuthoritarian regime 158/167
Economic FreedomRepressed 171/179
Press FreedomVery serious situation 171/179
ILGA LGBT rightsExtreme discrimination -
Corruption PerceptionsHigh corruption 136/174
Overall Ranking:    189/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Islamic Republic of Iran     Status: Independent Country

Population: 80,840,713 (rank: 18/196)     Density: 49 people/sq km (rank: 129/196)

Ethnic groups: Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%

Religions: Muslim 98% (Shia 89%, Sunni 9%), other (includes Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian, and Baha'i) 2%

GDP (PPP): $987.1 billion       GDP per capita: $12,800 (rank: 80/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.