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*60 Facts to Know about Persia*

Updated on January 6, 2016

Persian Flag


A little history

The Persian Empire spanned from Egypt in the west to Turkey in the north, and through Mesopotamia to the Indus River in the east. In 539 B.C.E., King Cyrus decided to expand the boundaries of Persia. He began by conquering Babylon. Unlike Assyrian kings, Cyrus was known for his mercy rather than his cruelty. He allowed the Hebrews, who had been captives in Babylon for over fifty years to return to the holy city of Jerusalem, instead of turning them into slaves. He returned sacred items that were stolen from them and allowed the rebuilding of their capital and the temple. Rather than destroy local economies for their own selfish gain, the Persians worked to increase trade throughout their kingdom. They standardized weights, developed official coinage, and implemented universal laws.

he Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran Paperback Cover!

Persian Carpets - Most Expensive in the world!

Tourist Sites



  1. In Persian, the word Iran means “Land of the Aryans.
  2. Iran first participated in the Olympics in 1948 and has sent athletes to every Summer Olympic Games since then, except for 1980 and 1984. Iran has also participated in the winter Olympics multiple times since 1956.
  3. Iranians have woven beautiful rugs for over 2,500 years.
  4. The Persian Empire was one of the largest empires history has seen
  5. Iran is one of the world’s largest producers of caviar, pistachios, and saffron.
  6. Polo was played in Iran as early as the 6th century B.C., mainly as training for the cavalry.
  7. The first people who decorated tree (as we do for Christmas) were the Persians during the time of Zoroaster
  8. Iran is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, with settlements dating back to 4000 B.C.
  9. The most popular sport in Iran is soccer. The national team has won the Asian Cup three times and played in three World Cup Final competitions
  10. Persians make up the most of Iran (61%), followed by Azeri (16%), Kurd (10%), Lur (6%), Baloch (2%), Arab (2%), Turkmen and Turkic tribes (2%), and other (1%)
  11. A December 2003 earthquake struck the southeastern city of Bam, Iran, killing more than 30,000 people.
  12. The official name of Iran is the Islamic Republic of Iran. It became an Islamic republic since the Pahlavi monarchy was overthrown on Feb. 11, 1979.
  13. Iran is a big country. It is the 18th largest country in the world, with a total of 1,648,195 Sq km. Making it 3x larger than the size of Arizona.
  14. The population of Iran is near 80 million, making it the 18th most populated country in the world.
  15. Iran shares borders with ten countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq and Turkey.
  16. In Iran, the family is the basis of the social structure.
  17. Iranians give gifts at various social occasions such as returning from a trip or if someone achieves a major success in their personal or business life.
  18. The Persian Gulf holds 60% of the world’s oil reserves. Iran alone has reserves of 125 billion barrels of oil, or 10% of the world’s total reserves. Iran pumps nearly 4 million barrels of oil each day.
  19. The Persian cat is one of the world’s oldest breeds. They originated in the high plateaus of Iran where their long silky fur protected them from the cold.
  20. Iran experiences four seasons each year. Spring and fall are mild, while winters bring heavy snowfall to the mountains. In the summer, temperatures routinely top 38°C (100°F).
  21. Iran built the earliest known wind mills. They resembled large wheel paddles.
  22. Iran lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
  23. A host is obliged to offer anything a guest might want, and a guest is equally obliged to refuse it. If people invite you for dinner or to their house. When they offer you a ride or to help you with something do not be sure they really want to do it. You are obligated to refuse many many times before accepting anything, even a tea after dinner.

Persian Sweets


24. Sweets are a big part of culture here! You never come empty handed when paying a visit. Iranian will refuse taking money for hosting you but will be happy to accept sweets.

25. Education is super important in Iran. Almost everyone is a PhD. And even though there are rational reason to explain why, it is still impressive how well educated Iranians are.

26. Iran is by far the most crazy place to drive in the whole world! Official! Every single car is a Manual even taxis, everyone drives the way they want.

27. In Iran everyone pays attention to noses. It is national obsession. Nose Job capital of the world.

28. Yes, it is mandatory in Iran to cover your head. Even when you are a tourist.

29. People in this region are hospitable.

30. Farsi, commonly called Persian in the West, is the official language of Iran. (Persian which is the official language is spoken in majority of the places, other languages include: Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects, Kurdish, Gilaki and Mazandarani, Luri, Balochi, Arabic, other)

Places to see..


31. Ancient Iranian thinkers wrote influential texts on philosophy and medicine, and it was an Iranian mathematician who invented algebra.

32. Alcohol was first discovered by the Persians, it was first discovered by a man named Zakaria Razi

34. The worlds greatest poets and authors such as Omar Khayyam, Hafez and Ferdowsi are from Persia

35. The country's first great city, Susa, was built on the central plateau around 3200 B.C.

36. The Sassanids came into power in A.D. 224, and in A.D. 642, Persia became part of the Islamic Empire. In 1501, the kings, or shahs, of the Safavid Empire began their reign.

37. Kish, is a beautiful island and touristic resort located on the north east of the Persian Gulf about 17 km (10.2 miles) from the southern offshore of the mainland Iran.

38. Girls and Boys school are separate

39. Medicine, Law and Engineering are amongst the top ranked majors in Iran

40. Getting into the University of Tehran is one of the hardest schoolsU to get into. Before being admitted you have to take an entrance exam. During the first semester, students will attend some general and introductory courses. In the second and third semesters, students should pass maximum of 12 modules total. By the end of the fourth semester, students will be required to write (in English or Persian) a 100-page dissertation on a subject of their own interest related to Iranian studies. This research project will be supervised by two faculty members from University of Tehran, and must be defended before a board of examiners.

41. Primary school is called “Dabestan” and includes grades 1 to 5 (ages 6 to 11). At the end of the 5th year, students take a nation-wide exam which they must pass in order to continue to the next cycle.

42. Starting with 7th grade, English is taught as a second language in all public schools and is compulsory through the secondary level years.

43. Currently, there are over 50 public universities and over 40 public institutions specializing in medical study and 200 private postsecondary institutions in Iran.

44. Grading system at primary through university is based on a 0-20 scale. At the primary, secondary level, and undergraduate levels, an average grade of 10 is required for promotion to the next academic grade. At the graduate level the minimum average grade is 12 and in doctoral programs the minimum average is 14.

45. The Persians are the first to draft the world’s first human rights charter. This is currently known as the Cyrus Cylinder which is in the British Museum in London

46. Zaffron, is the most expensive spice in Iran. Amongst that the Persian rug has it's value along side it. A Persian rug depending on the age, and the fabric can range between $1000 USD up to $1.2 Million USD

47. Persians were remarkable archers.

48. Yogurt was an ancient “health food”.The Persians understood yogurt as a way to preserve the goodness of milk.

50. The Priests were the scholars of the Persian time. They studied medicine, jura and nature science,mostly astrology and astronomy

51. Persia used chariots at 3000 BC, in which later the romans and the Egyptians used it during war

52. First refrigerator was traced in Persia 400 BC. Theyey used an ancient ice house,called Yakhchal, to store ice during summer.

53. Amongst the first people to invent Ice-Cream

54. The Persians have over 100 variety of dishes, vegetarian or with meat. The most important items on the table include: Yogurt, Salad Shirazi, Sabzi (Fresh Herbs) and Onions

55. The oldest and yet popular Persian instruments are Ney, Tombak, Setar, Kamancheh and Daf and the traditional Violin has also been a huge part of Persian music.

56. Folk music has grown to be a Persian favorite, and traditional Persian music is growing in North America. Iranian pop music is also on the rise, extremely popular and takes on a world of its own.

57. Women and men are allowed to drive, there are no laws that prohibit women driving

58. Persian Weddings are amongst the largest. Usually weddings consist of 250 - 300 people. It is usually the bride's family that pays for the engagement and the groom that pays for the wedding itself. Just like western traditions, the man has to ask permission from the family of the bride for her hand in marriage. A traditional Sofreyeh Aghd is put in front of the bride and groom with objects such as, Mirror, Sugar Canes, Sweets, Honey, Almonds, Holy Book, Candles, Rose water, Coins and Fruits. Each of these symbolizes a specific thing in the Persian tradition.

60. The state of California, State of Illinois (Chicago), Canada, and Australia are amongst the top places that have a high population of Persians.

Lonely Planet Iran (Travel Guide) Paperback

Tourist Sites



Hafez e Shirazi - He grew up in Shiraz. Very little is known about his life, but it is thought that he may have memorized the Qur’an after hearing his father recite passages. When his father died, he left school to work at a bakery. Hafez became a poet at the court of Abu Ishak and also taught at a religious college. Hafez was acclaimed throughout the Islamic world during his lifetime, with other Persian poets imitating his work, and offers of patronage from Baghdad to India. Today in some school around the world his work is taught as literature and is considered to be one of the most beautiful poetries ever written.

Omar Khayyam - Omar Khayyam was an outstanding mathematician and astronomer. He was also well known as a poet, philosopher, and physician. In the "History of Western Philosophy", Bertrand Russell remarks that Omar Khayyam was the only man known to him who was both a poet and a mathematician. Omar Khayyam reformed the solar calendar in 1079 CE. His work on Algebra was highly valued throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. He is well known for his work Rubayyiat e Khayyam which are again taught in schools to this day in literature.

Ferdowsi - He is for sure considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. Among the national heroes and literary greats of all time, Ferdowsi has a very special place. His life long hard work, dedication and personal sacrifices to preserve the national identity, language and heritage of his homeland put him in great hardship during his lifetime, but won him fame and honor for one of the greatest poetic masterpieces of all time: the Shahnameh (The Epic Of The Kings)

Saadi Shirazi - Saadi was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but has also been quoted in western sources. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts.

Persian Empire


Determine The Value of a Persian Rug

Hope you all enjoyed these top 60 facts about Persia! Don't forget to comment and rate the article!

Thanks, M

60 Facts About Persia

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© 2015 Mahsa S


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    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 24 months ago

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyd

    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 2 years ago

      Thank you very much, I hope it was a helpful article :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very interesting facts about the Persian Empire and its people. Thanks for the research and the presentation.

    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 2 years ago

      I hope this article was useful, you are welcome

    • profile image

      Michael 2 years ago

      I did not know history of iran at all,Thanks.