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Iran is an Islamic republic on the Persian Gulf with historical sites dating to the Persian Empire. Extensive marble ruins mark Persepolis, the empire’s capital founded by Darius I in the 6th century B.C. The modern capital, Tehran, is home to opulent Golestan Palace, seat of the Qajar Dynasty (1794–1925), plus modern landmarks such as the 435m-high Milad Tower.

It is bordered on the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the west by Turkey and Iraq and on the northeast and northwest by the five newly independent republics of Central Asia.

Persia is marked by remarkable natural contrasts. The traveler will experience with in distances of a few miles major changes of season – snow on one side of a mountain range and sweltering heat on the other. There is also a great difference in vegetation and landscape between the fertile littoral provinces along the Caspian Sea and the dry lands of the Central Desert.

Persia is richly blessed in natural resources – the land is agriculturally rich although water is spares except in few provinces. The stretches of sand and stone of the Persian desert have also hidden in their depths some of the richest mineral resources of the world. The people and races that have populated the Persian plateau and provided the human substance for its culture have been many and diversified and yet unified in a most remarkable manner. The plateau, originally peopled by races whose origin stretches into the unknown millennia of prehistory, became the home of the Aryan tribes who settled in it after several waves of invasion from about two thousand B.C. Having absorbed the earlier peoples, they made the plateau thoroughly Aryan in language and culture; hence the name Iran by which the people have called themselves since the dawn of recorded history.

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