Present Iran was historically referred to as Persia until 1935 when Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asked the international community to call the country by its native name, Iran. But In 1959 due to controversial debates over the name, it was announced that both could be used. The First inhabitants of Iran were a race of people living in western Asia. When the Aryans arrived, they gradually started mingling with the old native Asians. Aryans were a branch of the people today known as the Indo-Europeans, and are believed to be the ancestors of the people of present India, Iran, and most of Western Europe. Recent discoveries indicate that, centuries before the rise of earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia, Iran was inhabited by human. But the written history of Iran dates back to 3200 BC. It begins with the early Achaemenids, The dynasty whose under the first Iranian world empire blossomed. Cyrus the Great was the founder of the empire and he is the first to establish the charter of human rights. In this period Iran stretched from the Aegean coast of Asia Minor to Afghanistan, as well as south to Egypt.The Achaeamenid Empire was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 330 BC and was followed by The Seleucid Greek Dynasty.
After the Seleucids, we witness about dozen successive dynasties reigning over the country, Dynasties such as Parthian, Sassanid, Samanid, Ghaznavid, Safavid, Zand, Afsharid, Qajar and Pahlavi. In 641 Arabs conquered Iran and launched a new vicissitudinous era. Persians, who were the followers of Zoroaster, gradually turned to Islam and it was in Safavid period when Shiite Islam became the official religion of Iran. Since Qajar dynasty on, due to the inefficiency of the rulers, Iran intensely begins to decline and gets smaller and smaller. The growing corruption of the Qajar monarchy led to a constitutional revolution in 1905-1906. The Constitutional Revolution marked the end of the medieval period in Iran, but the constitution remained a dead letter. During World Wars I and II the occupation of Iran by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which the government never effectively recovered. In 1979, the nation, under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, erupted into revolution and the current Islamic republic of Iran was founded. Throughout Iran’s long history, in spite of different devastating invasions and occupations by Arabs, Turks, Mongols, British, Russians, and others, the country has always maintained its national identity and has developed as a distinct political and cultural entity.
Persian (called fārsi in Persian), an Indo-European language, is Iran’s national and official language. Although written with a modified Arabic alphabet, the two languages are not related but Persian does have many loan words from Arabic. Many young Iranians in major cities, and almost certainly those working in international travel agents and high-end hotels will speak conversational English but basic Persian phrases will definitely come in handy, particularly in rural areas. Road signs are often double signed in English, but few other signs are. As an extra challenge, most Persian signage uses an ornate calligraphic script that bears little resemblance to its typed form. This can make comparing typed words in phrase books–such as ‘bank’ and ‘hotel’–to signs on buildings quite difficult. However it is still worth memorising the Persian script for a few key words such as restaurant, guesthouse, and hotel.
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