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Culture & People
 
 
 

General

The culture in Iran is a mix of ancient pre-Islamic culture and Islamic culture. Iranian culture probably originated in Central Asia and the Andronovo culture is strongly suggested as the predecessor of Iranian culture, circa 2000 BC. Iranian culture has long been a predominant culture of the Middle East and Central Asia, with Persian considered the language of intellectuals during much of the 2nd millennium, and the language of religion and the populace before that. The Sassanid era was an important and influential historical period in Iran as Iranian culture influenced China, India and Roman civilisation considerably, and so influenced as far as Western Europe and Africa. This influence played a prominent role in the formation of both Asiatic and European medieval art. This influence carried forward to the Islamic world. Much of what later became known as Islamic learning, such as philology, literature, jurisprudence, philosophy, medicine, architecture and the sciences were based on some of the practises taken from the Sassanid Persians to the broader Muslim world.

After Islamicisation of Iran Islamic rituals have penetrated in the Iranian culture. The most noticeable one of them is commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali. Every year in Day of Ashura most of Iranians, including Armenians and Zoroastrians participate in mourning for the martyrs of battle of Karbala. Daily life in modern Iran is closely interwoven with Shia Islam and the country's art, literature, and architecture are an ever-present reminder of its deep national tradition and of a broader literary culture. The Iranian New Year (Nowruz) is an ancient tradition celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of spring in Iran. It is also celebrated in Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and previously also in Georgia and Armenia. It is also celebrated by the Iraqi and Anatolian Kurds. Nowrouz was nominated as one of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2004.

Architecture

Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world with the most archaeological architectural ruins and attractions from antiquity as recognised by UNESCO. 15 of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites are creations of Iranian architecture and the mausoleum of Maussollos was identified as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Iranian architecture or Persian architecture is the architecture of Greater Iran that has a continuous history from at least 5000 BC to the present, with characteristic examples distributed over a vast area from Syria to North India and the borders of China, from the Caucasus to Zanzibar. Persian buildings vary from peasant huts to tea houses, and garden pavilions to some of the most majestic structures the world has ever seen.

Iranian architecture displays great variety, both structural and aesthetic, developing gradually and coherently out of prior traditions and experience. Without sudden innovations, and despite the repeated trauma of invasions and cultural shocks, it has achieved an individuality distinct from that of other Muslim countries.

Traditionally, the guiding, formative, motif of Iranian architecture has been its cosmic symbolism "by which man is brought into communication and participation with the powers of heaven". This theme, shared by virtually all Asia and persisting even into modern times, not only has given unity and continuity to the architecture of Persia, but has been a primary source of its emotional characters as well.


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