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Population and Ethnic Groups

According to the latest census made in 1996, the population of Iran was a little more than 60 million of which about 37 million were urban dwellers and about 23 million villagers and a small percentage are nomad tribes. The Majority of urban dwellers live in major cities like Tehran, Meshed, Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Qom, Ahwaz, Rasht, Orumyeh, and Kerman shah. 

More than half of the population of the country is active population and about 39.5% of total populations are below 14 years of age. Thus, the population of Iran is one of the youngest among other countries of the world. So, the society of Iran is full of adolescence emotion and joy. From employment point of view, age distribution of employed population of 10 years and above in different economic sectors is 23.04% in agriculture, 44.5% in service, and 30.7% in industry. Total employed population of the country is reported at about 14.5 million.     


Out of total population of the country with 6 year of age and above, 79.51% are literate. The rate of literacy in urban areas is 96.88%, and in rural areas is 91.37% of people deserving to be learned (6-14 years). This ratio is 84.66% among men and 74.21% among women. In urban areas this ration is 89.56% and 81.7% and in rural areas is 76.74% and 62.41% for men and women respectively.Miniator

Tourists, especially regular ones, are very interested in visiting the decampment of nomad tribes. This can be attributed to many reasons. The main reason is the fact that these nomad tribes have well safeguarded their old tradition and culture. Generally, the present life style of nomads in Iran, is not so different from our ancient predecessors. Therefore, visiting the nomad tribes and recognition of their life style, especially decampment between winter and summer quarters, will help them get acquainted with the life and culture of ancient Iranians.

Iran is situated on the way of Central Asia and Turkey as well as western countries and different ethnic groups live

over there. Among them Farsis, Kurds, Lors, Balooches, Bakhtiaris, Azaris, Turks, Taleshs, Turkmans, Ghashghais, and Arabs may be pointed out. Smaller ethnic groups also live in Iran. Turkamans, who live in Turkman Sahara and north of Khorasan, are different from other Iranian ethnic groups from appearance, language and cultural points of view. Ghashghais, who have Turkish origin, live in central part of Iran. Arab clans mostly live in Khuzestan and are scattered along the coastlines of the Persian Gulf. Today, the composition of Iranian ethnic groups is considerably mixed due to development and expansion of communication system and more interaction and association of people, resulting in a relatively uniform social environment.

Some groups of colored people, who are the descendants of slave trade with Zanzibar, are scattered in southern provinces of Iran. The existing Indian minority in the south of Iran is also the posterity of Indian traders in past times.


Religion and culture

Iran is the birthplace of Zoroaster, one of the oldest prophets of the world and founder of Zoroastrian religion. The official religion of Iran, based on Article 12 of the constitution, is Islam (Shiite), and about 99.56% of people are Muslims. Disciples of other branches of Islam like Hanafi, Maleki, Shafei, Hanbali, and Zaidi in Iran are highly respected and live freely without any limitation. In the Constitution of I.R.Iran, religions of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Jewish are recognized officially and their disciples have equal political, social and economic rights like Muslims. Religious minorities of Zoroastrian, Armenian, Jewish, Assyrian, and Chaldean have their own independent representatives in the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the Parliament).

Cultural richness of Iran in different arenas like different eastern art, literature and Gnosticism has global reputation. Iranian myths, fictions, philosophy, poetry, music, folklore, handicrafts, architecture, and decorative arts are important parts of human thoughts.


Travel and transportation

The best means for travel to Iran is airplane. The major international airlines, especially Iran Air (Homa), have regular flights between Tehran and large cities of the world. Almost all international airlines have independent branch offices in Tehran.

Travel to Iran is possible by other means of transportation such as car through neighboring countries such as Turkey, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The main roads, which connect Iran to neighboring countries, are as follows:

*Iran-Turkey in Bazargan border city, northwest of Iran;

*Zahedan- Mirjaveh in the Iran-Pakistan border, *sout-east of Iran;

*Taybad- Harat in the Iran- Afghanistan border, east of Iran;

*Astara-Jolfa in the Iran-Azarbaijan border, north of Iran;

*Ghasre’shirin-khosravi in the Iran-Iraq border, west of Iran. * Moreover, Iran is connected to northern countries by waterways through northern ports located on the coasts of the Caspian Sea as well as littoral states of the Persian Gulf and sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean through southern ports.

There are asphalt connecting roads between major cities with suitable quality. The driving system in Iran is based on international driving regulation and through right lane. So many of roads in Iran are mountainous with eye-catching views. There are internatioal traffic signs in all main roads while they are controlled by highway patrols.                                  

The capital cities of all provinces and other major cities are linked together through a network of main roads. There are also asphalt access roads among other cities of a province. The main transit roads have northwest-southeast or west-east direction and connect Iran-Turkey border to Iran-pakistan border as well as northern countries to inside of Iran. The up-to-date road maps of Iran can be easily obtained through all bookshop, tourism offices, and newspaper stands.

In mountainous roads of Iran, there is speed limitation, but most of roads in Iran are relatively safe. There is no need for taking spare gasoline due to the existence of enough gas stations along all roads specially the main ones. The price of gasoline (normal and unleaded) and gas oil is very low in Iran compared to other countries.

Travel by bus is very cheap in Iran due to low price of gas oil. In addition, there are different bus companies with well-equipped and comfortable buses and various classifications to all around Iran. There are also other facilities for travel like minibuses, rent a car from agencies, etc., most of them centered in the bus terminals of the cities. The Islamic Republic of Iran Railroad, like other countries in the world, has regular passenger train services to some major cities like Tabriz, Meshed, Gorgan, Isfahan, Kerman, Yazd, Ahwaz, and Khoramshahr.

There are regular flights to all major cities as well as to small ones by the Islamic Republic of Iran airline ( Homa ), Iran Air Tour, SAHA, Aseman Airline, Mahan air, and Caspian Air. Development of the airports Of the country in last years made possible the wide and suitable air connection of the cities. The fare of domestic flights is very cheap compared with other countries.


Hotels guesthouses and other

Accommodation Facilities

There are different accommodation facilities in Iran with diverse classification with reasonable prices like hotels, motels, guesthouses, inns, hostels, etc. for the welfare of tourists, a series of hotels or guest houses have been established by Iran Tourism Organization in several tourism regions or even in remote cities with suitable and healthy services and reasonable prices all equipped with necessery services like restaurant, teahouse, air conditioner, and parking with pleasing atmosphere. Other suitable tourist facilities like tourist complexes and camping sites are available in several locations.

Restaurants are very different in Iran due to their famous cooking styles, very diverse and delicious for everybody's taste. In the cities, all kinds of local and national dishes as well as international ones are served. The traditional café in Iran isGhahveh Khaneh (coffeehouse) but in which tea is served not coffee. In ghahveh khaneh, in addition to tea and hubble-bubble, a famous national food called Abgoosht is served. These traditional teahouses are worth-seeing places. In the past, these Ghahveh Khanehs played an important role in the social life of the people and spending of their leisure time. Today, these Ghahvah Khanehs have more or less their social role and the gathering places of different social groups and centers for exchange of news and information. Formerly, for more attraction of people to these places , many different programs like jugglery , storytelling, reciting of Shahnameh , animal shows and some artistic activities were performed. There are some Ghahveh Khanehs, which entertain their customers with old styles of entertainment. A lot ofGhahveh Khanehs exist along main connection roads, which supply simple services.

There are many restaurants between cities, which supply different foods both local and national.



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