Tehran, the capital of Iran, with a population of around 8.3 million and surpassing 14 million in the wider metropolitan area, is Iran’s largest city and urban area, and one of the largest cities in Western Asia. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Tehran has been the subject to mass migration of people from all around Iran. Tehran is ranked 29th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area. Tehran has been Iran’s capital for about 220 years. Although a variety of unofficial languages are spoken, notably Azeri Turkish, roughly 98% of the population understands or speaks Persian.
Tehran is the economic centre of Iran. About 30% of Iran’s public-sector workforce and 45% of large industrial firms are located in Tehran and almost half of these workers work for the government. Most of the remainder of workers are factory workers, shopkeepers, laborers, and transport workers. Few foreign companies operate in Tehran because of the Iranian government’s relations to the west. Today many modern industries of this city include the manufacturing of automobiles, electronics and electrical equipment, weaponry, textiles, sugar, cement, and chemical products. It is also a leading center for the sale of carpets and furniture. Tehran has two airports: Mehrabad International Airport and Imam Khomeini International Airport. The Tehran Stock Exchange, which is a full member of the Federation Internationale des Bourses de Valeurs (FIBV) and a founding member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges, has been one of the world’s best performing stock exchanges in recent years.
Tehran is served by two main airports. Mehrabad Airport, an old airport which doubles as a military base, is used for domestic and charter flights. This airport is located in the Western part of the city. Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport located 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the city.
Tehran claims to have one of the cleanest and most convenient metro systems, in terms of accessibility to different parts of the city, in the region. In 2001, the first two of the eight projected metro lines were opened. Tehran Metro has four operative lines and is 130 km (81 mi) long with another two lines under construction. Tehran’s transport system includes conventional buses, trolleybuses and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). The metropolis of Tehran enjoys a huge network of highways (280 km) and of interchanges, ramps, and loops (180 km). While the center of the city houses the government ministries and headquarters, the commercial centers are more located toward Valiasr Avenue, Taleghani Ave, and Beheshti Ave further north.
Education and research
Tehran is the largest and the most important educational center of Iran. Today there are a total of nearly 50 major colleges and universities in Greater Tehran. Among major educational institutions located in Tehran, University of Tehran, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Sharif University of Technology are the most prestigious universities of Iran. University of Tehran is also the oldest university in Iran and one of the oldest in Central and South Asia.
Tehran is a relatively old city; as such, it has an architectural tradition unique to itself. Archaeological investigations and excavations in Tehran demonstrate that this area was home to civilizations as far back as 6,000 years BC in the village of Ray which is now incorporated into the city.