The Iranian metropolitan capital, Tehran, is more known to tourists as the political, economic and social heart of Iran, while the megacity has picturesque sceneries, museums and hundreds more of tourist charms for Iranians and foreigners. March 21 marks the start of Spring and the turn of the new Iranian year, and to celebrate the occassion we invite you to join us in an electronic tour of Iran with one province covered for you each day. Today: Tehran Province Tehran province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It covers on area of 18,909 square kilometers (7,301 sq mi) and is located to the north of the central plateau of Iran. Tehran province borders Alborz province in the North, Qom province in the South, Semnan province in the East and Qazvin province in the West. The metropolis of Tehran is the capital city of the province and of Iran. Some of Tehran's major counties: Damavand, Eslamshahr, Firuzkuh, Rey, Robat Karim, Shemiranat and Varamin. Tehran province has several archeological sites indicating settlements dating back several thousand years. Until 300 years ago, Rey was the most prominent of the cities of the province. However, the city of Tehran rose to become the larger city and capital of Iran by 1778, and since then has been the political, cultural, economic, and commercial nucleus of Iran. - Handicrafts and Souvenirs of Tehran The main handicrafts pursued in the province are engraving on copper and brass, Khatam (inlaid), wood carvings and basket making, glassware, painted glass, 'Zeelu' or kind of carpet, leather paintings, carpet weaving, pottery making, weaving of mats, hand woven or knitted articles, batik purist, jajeem or loosely woven woolen cloth, Kilim or coarse carpet, satchel making, dyeing and weaving. Antiques can be obtained from Manuchehri Avenue which forms the center for such articles. Handicraft centers are located in Taleqani Avenue and Ostad Nejatollahi Avenue. Carpets are available in Bazaar-e-Bozorg of Tehran and Ferdowsi Avenue. Books can be bought from shops apposite the University of Tehran. - Tourist attractions This province has hundreds of tourist attractions and historical monuments. The followings are just a few of these tourist charms which attract tens of thousands of people from Iran and across the world each year. Arg Square Arg is one of the most important Caliphate's seat of Tehran which dates back to the Safavid era (the reign of Shah Tahmasb Safavid). In the past, this square had a moat around it. Other royal buildings were also within this area. This square has its name from the time of Fathali Shah, but during the reign of Naseredin Shah was known as Toop Khaneh and Baq-e-Golshan. Ebne Babvaih Graveyard This old graveyard covers an area of 9.5 hectares. It's the resting abode of known personalities such as Mirzadeh Eshqi (a great revolutionary poet), Dehkhoda (a literary scholar and author of the dictionary by the same name). Dr. Hossein Fatemi (Foreign Minister during the period of the Oil Industry Nationalization Movement and the tomb of Jahan Pahlavan Takhti. Golestan Palace This palace was constructed in the year 1268 AH at the order of Naseredin Shah. This palace is comprised of an entrance along with various pavilions, including the mirror, diamonds, ivory and crystal pavilions as well as Salam pavilion in which the famous 'Takht-e-Tavoos' or 'the Peacock Throne' that Nader Shah took as ransom from India in his conquest in 1739, is placed. This throne has seven jeweled stands with two steps. On its back there is a statue of a dragon. It has a delicate back seat which is ornamented by beautiful inscriptions. Moshirodolleh House This old structure is located between Manoochehri St. and Jomhoorieh Islami Ave., in Peer Nia St. (Lalehzar) and belonged to Hassan Peer Nia (Moshirodoleh) one of the prominent personalities during the Qajar era. The building is in three storeys with a simple facade. Even internally the building has been decorated on simple lines. Except for plaster works of the northern portico and tile works of basement chambers which are worth mentioning. These are of baked bricks, large in size, having portraits of mythological characters engraved on them. At present the building belongs to the Medical Faculty of Tehran University. National Garden (Baq-e-Melli) Gateway In the early 1330 AH, a tall gate was erected at the entrance to the former vicinity known as Maidan-e-Mashk. Thereafter a large portion of these lands came under the national garden, therefore called Baq-e-Melli (National Garden). Presently this area is in the midst of the Central Post Office of Tehran, the Police Headquarters and the Deeds Registry Office. Shamsol Emareh Edifice This palace was built in the year 1284 AH under the orders of Naseredin Shah by Mo'ayerol Mamalek. Shamsol Emareh is a tall edifice with two towers which has been recently repaired and renewed. Ab Ali Spring This mineral water spring is located north of the village of Aab Ali, 60 km north east of Tehran and in a vicinity near Mobarak Abad River banks. The mineral water of this spring is of cold calcium bi-carbonate waters with acid PH which contains iron and Silisium. It is useful in treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders as well as regulating cholesterol and uric acid levels in the body. Chitgar Forest Park This park covers a green area of 1,450 hectares west of Tehran and encompasses a ramp for cycling. It is one of the largest parks of the province, and can be used throughout the year. Gol-e-Zard Cave This cave is located in the beautiful plains of Lar. Inside the cave there is a picturesque scene of stalactites and stalagmites. It is covered by calcium carbonate and beam light of mountaineers exhibits its beauty and charm. Inside the cave a few small pools of cold water are seen at irregular intervals. Jajrood River It is one of the most important Rivers of the province which originate from Kaloon Bastak Mountains. After irrigating the plains of Varamin joins the Karaj River. The Latiyan Dam has been constructed on this river, and is a lovely, beautiful recreational area. Kann Valley, Soloqan It is located to the north-west of Tehran along a gushing river of Kann. The route between Kann-Soloqan is extremely invigorating. We may point out to traditional inns facilities en route the valley. In spring and autumn seasons marvelous eye-catching landscapes are observed in this valley which is worth visiting. Tehran Zoo The Tehran Zoological Garden is located 4 km on the Tehran - Karaj Expressway next to Eram Entertainment Park. This zoo covers an area of 4.5 hectares and was inaugurated in the year 1371 (1992), housing over more than 290 species. Iran Carpet Museum This beautifully architectured structure, with the carpet shaped facade is located north west of Laleh Park. The display area covers 3,400 sq.m and consists of two halls exhibiting carpets and Kilims. It was inaugurated in 1977. Its library is enriched with 3500 books. The collection of carpet museum comprises of samples of Iranian carpets from the 9th century AH up to this date. About 135 master pieces of Iranian carpets are displayed in the ground floor. The art of carpet weaving in Iran, considering the 2500 year old 'Pazirik' which was discovered in southern Siberia in the year1949, dates back to pre-Achaemenid period. Sa'd Abad Palace Museum The aggregate of Sa'd Abad is comprised of about 14 palaces located in the northern most region of Tehran, and enjoys an extremely pleasant climate. Situated in an area of 400 hectares, this aggregate is surrounded by about 180 hectares of natural forests, springs, gardens, greenhouse and avenues covered by trees and flowers. Each of these palaces covered large areas and along with recreational facilities such as pools, lagoons, playgrounds and gardens used to house the immediate family members of the shah. Qal'eh Dokhtar Spring, Plure This spring lies in the vicinity of 'Pol-e-Dokhtar' between 'Imamzadeh Hashem' and 'Plure' Gorges. The water of the spring gushes out from the 'Mian Rood' mountain and flows towards the river. The spring is so called due to the presence of a castle named Qal'eh Dokhtar near it. The water of this spring is of light and cold calcium bi-carbonate group with neutral PH and has proved good for gastro-intestinal disorders. Contemporary Arts Museum This museum was inaugurated in the year 1977. It is located in North Kargar Avenue, adjoining the Laleh Park. This three-storey museum has 9 art galleries displaying the masterpieces of many reputed foreign artists. It includes a library and an audio-visual section. In the statue garden of the museum, a collection of statues and pieces of art works, as well as marvelous creations of contemporary foreign and Iranian sculptures can be observed. Iran Decoration Arts Museum The said museum has been founded in the year 1959 . This four-storey building exhibits the following: The ground floor displays a beautiful collection of inlaid and other fine handicrafts. Articles adorned with inlaid in the form of tables, chairs and show cases can be observed here. The first floor exhibits traditional weaves and needle work. For example, a variety of brocades, velvets, 'Termeh' or Cashmere, block printed textiles, a variety of rugs, Kilims (or a coarse type of carpet), Jajims or a loosely woven woolen carpets, and a number of needle work pieces are on display. The second floor comprises five sections relative to Khatam Kari, Monabat, Laki (inlaid and lacquer work), metal and glass works. An array of mirrors, frames, boxes, pen-cases, jewelries etc. from the (12th-14th centuries AH) as well as a variety of glass ware from the pre-Islamic era till the 14th century AH is on demonstration in there. The third floor consists of miniature and paintings from the various schools of art such as Tabriz, Shiraz, Esfahan and Qazvin. Pages from reputed books such as Ajayeb-ol-Makhlooqat, Khosrow and Shirin (Nezami), Khavaran Nameh (ebne Hesam) and Shahnameh (Ferdowsi) are on display on this floor. Dizin Ski Slope Standing at an attitude of 3,800 m above sea-level in the Chaloos road, it is at a distance of 60 km from Tehran. This vicinity offers coaching facilities as well as tennis courtyards, volleyball grounds, a park for children, slope for skiing on turf, some altitudes for mountain climbing and walking as well as riding and some routes for cycling. There are six restaurants in this area offering a variety of dishes. Toqrol Tower The tower is in the vicinity of Ray and it had probably been the resting abode of Toqrol I of the Saljuqi Dynasty. This tower is in the form of panels and is 20 m high. In 1300 AH it went under repair, but unfortunately most of its focal elements such as engravings and inscriptions have been destroyed. There is a stone slab on which the date of repair has been cited. Baq-e-Ferdows Edifice This edifice due to its glorifying beauty was known as Baq-e-Ferdows or Garden of Paradise. It was constructed by Haj Mirza Aqasi during the reign of Mohammad Shah Qajar in 1264 AH. This large three storeyed edifice is approximately 20,000 sq.m in area, with its gable-roof, doors and windows made of wood and adorned with colorful glasses. Military Palace Museum This museum exhibits valuable and fabulous paintings and is located in the aggregate of Sa'd Abad. Iraj Castle This castle is located to the north-east of Varamin and near Ja'far Abad village. This rectangular structure is made of mud and sun baked bricks. The walls of the castle are 12 m high. Around this village there are trenches with 100 m intervals. Azadi Museum This complex lies beneath the Azadi Tower at the center of Azadi Square in western Tehran. The museum displays different articles belonging to era before Christ, the Achaemenid, Parthians, the Sassanid, and the pre-Islamic and Islamic era. These pieces are earthenware articles, admirable metal vessels, valuable paintings and carpets.