Geographical Location To the north, Iran is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf, and to the west by Iraq and Turkey.

The major part of Iran consists of a high interior basin , where almost all larger cities are found . Total area : 1,648,000 km² . Administrative divisions : 28 provinces , 172 counties, 499 districts . The Friday Mosque (Masjid E Jumeh) is one of the most beautiful and oldest Iranian tourist attractions . The mosque has been subject to renovation , development and updating since it was built in the mid eighth century . The dome of the mosque is famous both within Iran and outside of Iran for its geometric accuracy and beauty . It is truly a breathtaking sight and well worth the visit .

Population

Population : approximately 75,1 million . Cities (approximate numbers) Tehran (capital) 7.8 million ; Mashad 2.4 million ; Esfahan (Isfahan) 1.6 million ; Tabriz 1.4 million ; Alborz (Karaj) 1.4 million ; Shiraz 1.2 million ; Ahvaz 985,600; Qom 959,100 ; Bakhtaran (Kermanshah) 795,000 ; Orumieh 583,200 .

Language

Persian (Farsi) ; in the south Arabic is spoken as well , in northern Iran also Turkish . In commercial life English is spoken as well , and some people also understand French or German . Outside the major cities and tourist areas hardly anybody speaks or understands foreign languages .

Time Difference

Central European Time (CET) +2 1/2 hours . As Iran also implements summer time (from approx . 21 March to approx . 22 September), the time difference remains unchanged during European summer time (except for some short periods in March and in September/October , due to different clock changing dates) .

Electricity

220V alternating current , 50Hz.

Postal Service

In Iran , letter boxes are yellow.

Telephone

The international dialling code for calls from Western Europe to Iran is 0098 ; in the case of international calls from Iran the prefix "00" must be dialled prior to the relevant international country code (for instance in the case of calls to Germany: 00-49) International calls can be made from telephone offices and internet cafés . For domestic calls also public phone boxes are available with both coin and card phones . EMERGENCY NUMBERS : Traffic police and ambulance 110 , fire brigade 125 .

Mobile Phones

Mobile network technologies : GSM 900/1800 . Travellers intending to use other mobile phones are advised to contact their network provider for detailed information .

Internet

Country code suffix:.ir There are internet cafés in every city, and the number of internet cafés is steadily growing. It should be noted, however, that Internet access is censored and that the speed of access has been reduced.

Public Holidays

Public holidays are reckoned according to the Iranian solar calendar . In general they fall on the same date of the Gregorian calendar every year (the respective dates may , however , vary by one up to three days) The Islamic holidays , on the contrary , are reckoned according to the lunar calendar . They fall each year on another date . Public holidays : 10 February (National Day ; Day of the Islamic Revolution) 20 March (Nationalization of the Oil Industry) 21 to 24 March (Nowrouz - Persian New Year , Spring Festival) 31 March (Day of the Foundation of the Islamic Republic Iran) 2 April (Sizdah Be-dar; 13th Day of Nowrouz; Nature Day) 3 June (Death of Imam Khomeini) 5 June (15th Khordad ; Day of the 1963 Uprising against the Shah) Islamic holidays in 2013 (the respective dates may be changed by one or , in rare cases , two days) 3 January (Arbain ; 40 days after Ashura) 11 January (Martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad) 12 January (Martyrdom of Imam Reza) 29 February (The Prophet´s and Imam Sadeq´s Birthday) 13 April (Martyrdom of Hazart Fatemesh) 23 May (Birthday of Imam Ali) 6 June (Ascension of the Prophet Mohammed) 24 June (Birthday of Imam Mahdi) 29 July (Martyrdom of Imam Ali) 8 to 10 August (Festival of Fast-Breaking at the end of Ramadan) 1 September (Martyrdom of Imam Jafar as-Sadiq) 14 to 17 October (Feast of Sacrifice) 23 November (Eid-e-Ghadir) 4 November (Islamic New Year 1435) 13 and 14 November (Martyrdom of Imam Hussein ; Ashura and Tasua) Ramadan will start on 9 July . During Ramadan , the Islamic month of fasting , business life may be subject to some specific restrictions . Friday is the weekly day of rest ; most businesses , public offices etc . are already closed on Thursday afternoons .The main holiday season is from early July to early September (school holiday from the end of May to mid-September) During this period , only few Iranian businessmen are in the office . This also applies to the period around Iranian New Year , when most businesses are closed for two or three weeks . Travellers to Iran are generally advised to seek information on holiday regulations prior to departure .

Opening Hours

In Iran the working week is from Saturday to Thursday afternoon. Banks: Sat to Wed 7:30a.m.-4p.m. (closed during lunch break), Thurs 7:30a.m.-12p.m. Offices: Sat to Wed 8a.m.-4p.m., Thurs 8a.m.-12p.m. Shops: Sat to Wed 8/9a.m.-1p.m. and 3p.m.-8p.m., Thurs 8/9a.m.-12p.m.

Clothes

In summer , light , airy and easily washable clothes are appropriate ; pullovers and jackets should additionally be taken for the cool evenings . In winter warm clothes (such as are worn in Central Europe) and rainwear are needed . In the major cities , people attach great importance to a neat outward appearance ; accordingly , foreign business travellers should invariably wear jacket and tie . The clothes worn by female travellers in public should correspond to the Islamic rules which are generally observed in Iran . Special REGULATIONS FOR FEMALE DRESS (applicable to all females over the age of nine) Female travellers must invariably cover their heads , at least by wearing a headscarf , already upon entering the country . Those who travel by an Iranian airline must cover their heads already upon departure . Moreover , loosely fitting clothing covering the arms and legs must be worn (e.g. a long, non-waisted coat , if possible in inconspicuous colours ; long trousers or non-transparent dark stockings , or long trousers with a long loosely fitting blouse) While travelling closed shoes are preferable , even though sandals are accepted as well . If at all , only light make-up should be used . The hands need not be covered . Special REGULATIONS ON WOMEN´S DRESS (applicable to all females over the age of nine) Female travellers must invariably cover their heads, at least by wearing a headscarf , already when entering the country . Those who travel by an Iranian airline must cover their heads already upon departure . Moreover , loose fitting clothing must be worn , covering the arms and legs (e.g. a long, non-waisted coat , if possible in inconspicuous colours; long trousers or non-transparent dark stockings , or long trousers with a long loose fitting blouse) Closed shoes should be worn when travelling , even though sandals are accepted as well . Only light make-up should only be used , if at all . The hands need not be covered . Special REGULATIONS ON MEN´S DRESS : Men are not permitted to wear shorts in public . Please note that in smaller towns and rural areas these dress regulations should be observed particularly carefully .