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(both: tā'ərän`, –răn`), city (1991 pop. 6,475,527), capital of Iran and Tehran prov., N Iran, near Mt. Damavand. It is Iran's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and industrial center. More than half of the country's industry is based in Tehran. Manufactures include electrical equipment, textiles, sugar, and cement; motor vehicles are assembled. The city has a large bazaar and is a leading center for the sale and export of carpets. It is served by rail lines, roads, and an international airport. There is an oil refinery at Ray. Tehran was long overshadowed by nearby RagesRages
or Rhagae
, ancient and medieval city of Persia, located on the site of modern-day Ray, N Iran, a suburb of Tehran. Rages is mentioned in the Avesta and in the inscriptions at Behistun.
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, but in the 13th cent., when the latter was destroyed by the Mongols, many of its inhabitants migrated to Tehran. It served as the occasional residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th cent. and became the capital of Persia in 1788. Tehran was renovated by Fath Ali Shah (reigned 1797–1834) and by Nasir ad-Din Shah (reigned 1848–96). Under Reza Shah Pahlevi (reigned 1925–41) the city was much modernized. During World War II, when the Allies occupied (1941) Iran, British and Soviet troops entered Tehran's suburbs. The city was the site of the Tehran ConferenceTehran Conference,
Nov. 28–Dec. 1, 1943, meeting of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin at Tehran, Iran.
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 (1943), which brought together President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin. The center of the city is the large Maidan-i Sipah Square, south of which is the Gulistan Square with its royal throne hall and its museum containing the Peacock Throne, brought to Persia from Delhi, India, by Nadir Shah in 1739. Tehran's importance and population grew greatly in the 20th cent., and today it is one of the major cities of the Middle East. Under Muhammad Reza Shah PahleviMuhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi
, 1919–80, shah of Iran (1941–79). Educated in Switzerland, he returned (1935) to Iran to attend the military academy in Tehran. He ascended the throne in 1941 after his father, Reza Shah Pahlevi, suspected of collaboration with the
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 (1941–79), the expansion of Iran's economy during the oil boom led to rapid growth and modernization of the capital. Production in the city was slowed after the overthrow of the Shah (1979) and the transition of government. The city's economy suffered further as a result of the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
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 in the 1980s. Tehran is the site of the National Univ. (1960), the Univ. of Tehran (1934), a university of technology, a college of fine arts, a military academy, several Muslim religious schools, and other educational institutions. An ethnological museum and an archaeological museum are there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital of Iran and the country’s chief political, economic, commercial, financial, and cultural center. Area, approximately 250 sq km (35 km from north to south and 18 km from east to west). Population, 3.9 million, or 14 percent of the country’s total (1974; 210,000 in 1922, 540,000 in 1940,1,500,000 in 1956, and 2,317,000 in 1964).

Tehran is the administrative center of Tehran (Central) Province. It is located in the southern foothills of the Elburz Mountains, at the foot of Mount Demavend, at an elevation of 1,100–1,300 m. The climate is subtropical and continental, with mean temperatures of 2°C in January and 29.4°C in July. Average annual precipitation is 240 mm. Tehran is a railroad and highway junction and there is an international airport near the city.

Tehran is governed by an anjoman (municipal council), which was established in 1955. The anjoman consists of 30 deputies, elected for four-year terms. There is also a mariva (city board), presided over by the shahreza (mayor). In each district of Tehran there is a division of the mariva. The anjoman establishes local taxes, controls public construction, services, and utilities, and oversees the city’s business establishments.

Before the invasion of the Mongols, Tehran was a village, located near Rey, one of the oldest cities in Iran. The village dated from the ninth century (12th century according to some sources). After the destruction of Rey by the Mongols in the 13th century, the importance of Tehran grew, albeit gradually. However, Tehran remained an insignificant populated area until proclaimed the country’s capital at the end of the 18th century. The city experienced intensive development after World War II. A conference of the heads of state of the USSR, the United States, and Great Britain was held in Tehran in 1943.

The value of the industrial goods produced by Tehran’s enterprises constitutes 35 percent of the country’s gross industrial output, and the city employs 22.5 percent of Iran’s work force. Economic activities include metalworking and various types of machine building. For example, radio equipment, television sets, washing machines, and refrigerators are manufactured, and there are plants specializing in repair and 12 assembly plants for motor vehicles and aircraft. The city also has the chemical, petroleum, and metallurgical industries. Construction materials are produced, as are porcelain, faience, textiles, spices, leather footwear, and tobacco. Handicraft industries have also been preserved.

Tehran comprises the old city, reconstructed in the years 1870–72, and the new city, the construction of which began in the 1930’s. The layout of most of the city is regular, with buildings dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. The rectangular network of streets includes squares, small public gardens, and fountains, and along the streets there are multistory hotels, banks, and administrative buildings conforming to the contemporary Western European style. There are also separate private residences and apartment buildings of ten to 12 stories. Modern Tehran is expanding to the north, northwest, and northeast owing to the creation of numerous new districts (Aryamehr, Teheran-e Now, Teheran-Pars). In the Abbasabad district, there are plans to erect by 1990 a “city within a city,” in which the main governmental and administrative institutions and the embassies will be concentrated.

Tehran’s architectural monuments include the Golestan Palace (late 18th century and 19th century) and the Sepah-salar and Masjed-e Shah mosques (19th—20th centuries). Noteworthy examples of modern Iranian architecture are the Asia Cinema and the Senate building. Large-scale construction projects were undertaken in connection with the celebration of Iran’s 2,500th anniversary in 1971.

The University of Tehran, the National University of Iran, and the Arya Mehr University of Technology, as well as polytechnic and pedagogical institutes, are located in Tehran. The city’s major libraries are the National Library, the Pahlavi Library, the Majles Library, the Malek Library, and the libraries of the universities. The principal museums are the Archaeological Museum, the Ethnographical Museum, the Golestan Palace Museum, the Shahyad Museum, the Negarestan Picture Gallery, and the Treasury Building, which houses the crown jewels. Tehran also has the Rudaki Opera and Ballet Theater, the 25 Shahrivar Theater, ballet troupes under the direction of Ahmedzade, the Higher School of Music, and a school of folk music and dramatic art.


Rahnama-yi Shahr-i Tehran. [Tehran] 1330 A.H. (1951). (Guidebook to Tehran.)
Pakravan, E. Vieux Téhéran. Tehran, 1951.
Lockhart, L. Persian Cities. London, 1960.
Les Problèmes sociaux de la ville de Téhéran. Tehran, 1964.
Ahrens, P. G. Die Entwicklung der Stadt Teheran. Opladen, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Teheran
the capital of Iran, at the foot of the Elburz Mountains: built on the site of the ancient capital Ray, destroyed by Mongols in 1220; became capital in the 1790s; three universities. Pop.: 7 352 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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