Covering an area of 1,648,000 square kilometers, Iran is nearly as large as France, England, Ireland, Italy and Spain combined. It is an ancient land predating known history.
Iran is home of one of the oldest civilizations in the world dating back to the Persian Empire 2,500 years ago. It is at the crossroads of three continents Asia, Africa and Europe and many ancient civilizations. A signification section of the Silk Road runs across Iran as do other great caravan routs to the south.
The prehistoric phase of human settlements in the Iranian plateau starts from the New Stone Age to the arrival of the Aryans. There are a number of reliable evidences indicating that Iran has been inhabited since a very long time ago. Some of the most significant of these ancient civilization centers are now visible in different parts of Iran, some of which dating back to the 5th millennium BC. The geographical configuration and extent of the country has changed several times during its long history, from the Median era;8th century BC to almost one hundred years ago.
There are several nomadic tribes living in Iran that their life style is according the pastoral economy and consequently seasonal kootch ( migration),among which the Qash Qaii in the Fars province, Bakhtiari in the slopes of Zard Kouh, Eilsovan in the Azarbayjan province and some others are living in Iran now. Although some of them due to historical and social factors are now resident in villages, yet the others keep their old life style of migrating during the seasons and living in tents. The diversity of their languages, music, cloths ,tradition and other cultural features is very interesting for modern man who lives in the industrial world.
These conditions have given this land a rich and colorful history, a population with a multitude of ethnic, racial and religious heritages, each with its unique cultures and traditions.
Iran is an extraordinary land of diversity in natural wonders; it contains high mountain ranges, lush forests and vast deserts and yet it sits between two large bodies of water the Caspian Sea, the largest lake on earth and the Persian Gulf.
Geography , Nature and Climate
Iran is located in the southwestern region of Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia in the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east and Turkey and Iraq in the west. The Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman in the southern border link this country to free waters of the world.
The plateau of Iran is situated between 25 to 40 degree north latitude. The 50 inland lakes, many rivers, deep gorges, numerous mountain-spring, the vast mountainous areas and desert lands and the diversity of landscapes have caused it a wide range of temperatures in the different parts of Iran. All of these have caused the unique and extraordinary conditions where at any given time of the year signs of four seasons are visible. As a result in a single season the temperature may vary as much as 90° C, from one corner of the country to another i.e. -36° C in mountainous areas of the north and the west and +54° C in the southern areas.
The difference of average annual rainfall is also very high. For instance the average of rainfall in Gillan Province is 2000mm per year yet in the central parts of the country this average is as low as 100mm.
Protected Areas, National Parks and Wild Life
Iran is one of the few countries in the world to possess such diverse geographic and meteorological conditions. The existence of the high Alborz range in the northern region and Zagros mountain range in the southern region, the green forests of the north, the as-of-yet-not-fully-defined ecosystems of the Kavirs (deserts),several islands , numerous bayous and over 2550 Km coastlines have given this country one of the rarest combination of ecosystems in the world. This variety of metrological conditions have helped Iran to poses a wide variety of natural attractions, giving it a vast diversity of flora & fauna some of which unique to this land. Sixteen National Parks, nine million hectare Protected Areas, Hircanian Forests, twenty Int. Wetlands and nine Biosphere Reserves are the most precious ecological resources in Iran. There are about 8000 variety of vegetations and some 500 species of wild and migratory birds, some of them precious and rare species like the Siberian Crane, the Houbara Bustard , Falcon, the Dalmatian Pelican, the Imperial Eagle to name a few. Also there are 160 species of mammals among which are the Caspian Tiger and Asiatic Lion, which not too long ago were considered extinct. In addition among the rare species found in Iran we can name the Cheetah, the Persian Wild Ass, the Asiatic Black Bear and the Asiatic Gazelle. These facts are a testimonial to the great biodiversity of Iran.