Culture of Iran............................

To best understand Iran and their people, one must first attempt to acquire an understanding of its culture. It is in the study of this area where the Iranian identity optimally expresses itself. Hence the first sentence of prominent IranologistRichard Nelson Frye's latest book on Iran reads:

"Iran's glory has always been its culture." [1]

Iranians were not only open to other cultures, but freely adapted to all they found useful. Thus an eclectic cultural elasticity has been said to be one of the key defining characteristics of the Persian spirit and a clue to its historic longevity.[2] Furthermore, Iran's culture has manifested itself in several facets throughout the history of Iran, as well as that of many Central Asia.

The article uses the words Persian and Iranian interchangeably, sometimes referring to the language and its speakers, and other times referring to the name of pre-20th century Iran, a nomenclature which survives from western explorers and orientalists. Both are not the same however, and the cultures of the people of Greater Persia is the focus of this article.

Persian Arts Visual Arts Painting Miniatures   Decorative Arts Jewellery Embroidery Motifs Tileworks Handicrafts Pottery Literature Literature Mythology Folklore   Other Architecture Cuisine Carpets Gardens Performance Arts Dance Music Cinema    

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Main article: Iranian art

Iranian art has gone through numerous phases of evolution. The unique aesthetics of Iran is evident from the Achaemenid reliefs in Persepolis to the mosaic paintings of Bishapur. The Islamic era drastically brought changes to the styles and practice of the arts, each dynasty with its own particular foci. The Qajarid era was the last stage of classical Persian art, before modernism was imported and suffused into elements of traditionalist schools of aesthetics.

Language and literature

The Persian language has been in continuous use for over 2500 years. Yet it is a subset of the Iranian languages.

Persian literature inspired Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many others, and it has been often dubbed as a most worthy language to serve as a conduit for poetry. Dialects of Persian are widely spoken throughout the region sporadically from China to Syria and mainly in Iranian Plateau. Two important dialects of Persian serving as languages are Tajiki and Dari respectively spoken in Tajikistan and Afghanistan as official languages.

Contemporary Iranian literature is influenced by classical Persian poetry, but also reflects the particularities of modern day Iran, through writers such as Houshang Moradi-Kermani, the most translated modern Iranian author, and poet Ahmad Shamlou.[3]


Main article: Cinema of Iran

With 300 international awards in the past 25 years, films from Iran continue to be celebrated worldwide. Perhaps the best known director is Abbas Kiarostami.


The music of Persia goes back to before the days of Barbod in the royal Sassanid courts. This is where many music cultures trace back their distant origins to.[4]

Painting of Iranian female musicians from Hasht-Behesht Palace ("Palace of the 8 heavens"), Isfahan, Iran, dated 1669.


Main article: Iranian architecture

 Traditional teahouses of Iran

There are nearly countless numbers of traditional teahouses (chai khaneh) throughout Iran, and each province features its own unique cultural presentation of this ancient tradition. However, there are certain traits which are common to all teahouses, especially the most visible aspects, strong chai (tea) and the ever-present ghaluyn. Almost all teahouses serve baqleh, steam boiled fava beans (in the pod), served with salt and vinegar, as well as a variety of desserts and pastries. Many teahouses also serve full meals, typically a variety of kababs as well as regional specialities.

 Persian gardens

Main article: Persian Gardens

The Persian Garden was designed as a reflection of paradise on earth; the word "garden" itself coming from Persian roots. The special place of the garden in the Iranian heart can be seen in their architecture, in the ruins of Iran, and in their paintings.


Main article: Iranian cuisine

Examples of traditional Iranian food include cheleh kabob, khorest te sabzi, doulmeh, and coutlet. Today in Iran you can find fast food restaurants serving pizza, hamburgers, chicken burgers, fries, etc.

 Dance of Iran

Main article: Persian dance
Kurdish wedding dance in Sanandaj, Iran.


Main articles: Religion in Iran and Islam in Iran

Iran has been the birthplace of many of the world's most influential religions and religion in Iran has always had a direct impact on its culture. Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, Manichaeism, Mazdakism, Yazdanism, Bábí Faith and the Bahá'í Faith are some of the religions that originated there. Now many Iranians are Muslim.


Main article: Sport in Iran
  • The game of Polo originated with Iranian tribes in ancient times and was regularly seen throughout the country until the revolution of 1979 where it became associated with the monarchy. It continues to be played, but only in rural areas and discreetly. Recently, as of 2005, it has been acquiring an increasingly higher profile. In March 2006, there was a highly publicised tournament and all significant matches are now televised.
  • The Iranian Zoor Khaneh

 Women in Persian culture

Main article: Iranian women

In the tales of the 1001 Nights, it is a woman, Scheherazade, who is the protagonist and heroine of the frame tale.

 Traditional important days

Main article: Iranian festivals

Iranians celeberate the following days based on a Solar calendar, in addition to important religious days of Islamic and Shia calendars, which are based on a lunar calendar.


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