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18 Fascinating Things You NEVER Knew About Iran!

Mackenzie Freeman

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Iran is located in Western Asia and with more than 82 million people living in the region, the country is certainly important! Also known as Persia, Iran is known for a variety of different things. From the cultural impact of the ancient country to their modern-day royalty, there is much to learn about Iran. Today, we are going to do our best to showcase some of the most fascinating things you might never hard heard about the ancient country. Let’s dig in!

Youngest Population in the World

Did you know that Iran has one of the youngest populations in the entire world? It’s true! Nearly 70% of their population is under the age of 30. What makes this more impressive is the fact that the Iranian youth are extremely active politically due to the fact that voting begins at age 15. The youth movement has been changing Iran since 1997.

Masterfully Woven Rugs

Carpets in Iran aren’t just accessories to throw down in your home, they are pieces of art. Iranians have been crafting rugs for nearly 2,500 years. Throughout that period of time, Persian weavers have managed to become the best in the world at what they do. In fact, Persian rugs are so amazing that they are the second largest national export, right after oil, for Iran.

Birthplace of the Persian Cat

Do you feel like reaching through your screen in order to pet this fluffy kitty? We don’t blame you at all. The Persian Cat obviously calls Iran it’s home. First brought over by European traders in the 17th century, the Persian cat has become a status symbol for modern Persians. Persians have also become popular around the world.

Special Translations

If you translate Iran into Persian, the word roughly spells out, “Land of the Aryans”. While that definition has a different impact in the West than it does in Iran, it is still an interesting quirk. Initially, Iranians had used the phrase ‘Aryan’ as a form of an ethnic label, but it now is used as a reference to the people of Iran.

State Controlled National Internet

In order to make the internet more accessible for the population, the Iranian government launched its own state-controlled internet. This national service is known as an Intranet network. The internet is free to access, though it is heavily censored in order to stay Halal. If you want to visit social media websites in Iran, you’ll need to register for a VPN.

Fascinating Dining Norms

Dinner in Iran won’t be like dinner back home, no matter where you are from. In Iran, dining is typically done while seating on a cushion that is placed on the floor. Dining is typically done without utensils, as people opt instead to use their right hand. We could write an entire book on dining in Iran!

The Subtle Art of Taarof

Society in Iran is held together by polite conversations and humble actions. The combination of those two traits leads to the idea of Taarof, or the glue of Iranian conversation. Taarof can be translated as ‘meeting together’ in English. Taarof is all about treating your guests with respect, politeness, and sensitivity.

Numerous UNESCO Locations

UNESCO World Heritage sites are incredibly important for the history of our world. With that being said, Iran has an incredible 23 UNESCO sites within its borders. Due to the fact that the Persian civilization is one of the oldest known civilizations in the world, this kind of makes sense!

Largest Carpet in the World

Iran has one of the largest carpets in the world. When measured, the carpet in the Abu Dhabi mosque is nearly as large as a soccer field! While this carpet may not fly, it does have the notable distinction of being the largest carpet on the planet. The carpet was designed for the mosque in the UAE by the Iran Carpet Company in 2007.

Your Own Free Wedding

At one point in time, weddings in Iran were so cost-prohibitive that the country was struggling to stay married. In order to find a way around this problem, the Iranian government decided to put together a fund in order to help pay for the weddings celebrated by the people. Every year, more than $7 million is earmarked to support and encourage people to get married. They just have to attend a lecture on contraception before ordering their license.

Wealthy Culture in Tehran

If you strolled through the fancy streets of Tehran, you’d end up being blown away by what you saw. In Tehran, there is a culture of wealth that tends to mimic what you’d see in Western places like Beverly Hills. The Rich Kinds of Tehran are a group of wealthy kids who share their lives on social media platforms like Instagram. They throw absurdly large parties, flaunt their wealth, and look good while doing it.

Delicacies of Iran

If you ever get to go to Iran, make sure you buy caviar at one of your meals. Iran is known for exporting many wealthy commodities, but caviar, pistachios, saffron, and oil are at the top of the list. Iran controls half of the caviar market of the Caspian Sea, which means that you are going to pay a premium to order some!

Delicious Persian Milk

In Iran, yogurt is known as ‘Persian Milk’. Apparently, Persian Milk is so popular in Iran that it is used in almost every dish.  The people of Iran see yogurt as something of a miracle food which can be used to treat sunburn, ulcers, sleepiness, and old age.

Booming Heavy Metal Scene

The country of Iran has many restrictions that would seem unbearable when compared to Western countries. With that being said, subcultures like the heavy metal scene continue to flourish. If you go to a dive bar in Tehran on a Saturday night, you might find yourself listening to some trending new heavy metal. You probably won’t understand the words, but we bet you’ll get the message.

Amazing Literacy Turnaround

During the early 70s, the literacy rate in Iran was horrifically low. At just 37%, the majority of people living in Iran at the time could barely read! Knowing that this would be a problem, the government of Iran decided to focus on reforming their education system. By 2015, their literacy rate was 93 percent. As of last year, Iran’s literacy rate is now at 97%!

Prolific Soccer Stars

Spend a weekend in Iran and you’ll walk away with a lifelong appreciation for soccer. The Iranian people LOVE soccer, and they are always tied to what their national team is doing. Soccer is popular on both sides of the gender divide, though women do compete in hijab. 

Never Wear Ties

In the late 70s, a change of guard in the government led to a bizarre fashion adjustment for the people at large. In order to get away from ‘Western Sensibilities’, wearing a tie in public became not only frowned upon but also socially unacceptable. Even when attending to professional matters, Iranians will not wear ties.

Hotbed for Parkour

Long before Michael Scott made parkour famous on an episode of The Office, the military-style training was already put into place in Iran. Parkour, also shortened to PK, is a type of athletic activity that blends acrobatic movements with straightline intentions. Iran jumped onto the parkour bandwagon in the 90s and the movement has been spreading across the country ever since.

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