Famous iranian

The long history of Iran has witnessed many conquerors, wise rulers and statesmen, artists, poets, historians, and philosophers. In religion, there have been diverse figures. Zoroaster (Zarathushtra), who probably lived in the 6th century bc, founded the religion known as Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, with Ahura-Mazda as the god of good. In the 3rd century ad, Mani attempted a fusion of the tenets of Mazdaism, Judaism, and Christianity. The Bab (Sayyid ‘Ali Muhammad of Shirāz, 1819–50) was the precursor of Baha’ism, founded by Baha’ Allah (Mirza Husayn ‘Ali Nuri, 1817–92).

Persian rulers of the pre-Christian era include Cyrus (“the Great”; Kurush, r.550–529 bc), Cambyses II (Kambuiya, r.529–522 bc), Darius I (“the Great”; Darayavaush, r.521–486 bc), Xerxes I (“the Great”; Khshayarsha, r.486–465 bc), and Artaxerxes I (Artakhshathra, r.464–424 bc). Shah ‘Abbas (r.1587–1628) expanded Persian territory and conquered Baghdād. Prominent political figures of modern times are Reza Shah Pahlavi (1877–1944), who reigned from 1925 to his abdication in 1941; and his son, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1919–80), who was shah from 1941 until his abdication in 1979. Until his death in 1989, Iran was under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900–89). Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (b.1939) took over the position of Supreme Leader upon Khomeini’s death.

Poets of the modern period include Iraj Mirza (1880–1926), Mirzadeh Eshqi (d.1924), Parveen Ettasami (d.1941), and the poet laureate Behar (Malik ash-Shuara Bahar, d.1951). Preeminent among prose writers was Sadeq Hedayat (1903–51), author of the novel Buf i kur (The Blind Owl) and numerous other works, including films. Azar Nafisi (b.1955) is an Iranian-born professor and writer residing in the United States whose book Reading Lolita in Tehran gained international acclaim and was translated into 32 languages.

Miniature painting came to full flower in the second half of the 15th century. The greatest figure in this field was Bihzad, whose limited surviving work is highly prized. The School of Herāt was composed of his followers.

Abbas Kiarostami (b.1940) is an influential and controversial postrevolutionary filmmaker who is highly respected in the international film community.


Political and civil unrest has kept many tourists from visiting Iran in recent years. Principal tourist attractions include historic and beautifully decorated mosques, mausoleums, and minarets. There are many sports and physical culture societies in Tehrān and the provinces, where the emphasis is on skiing and weight lifting. Other popular sports include football (soccer), wrestling, and volleyball.

A valid passport and visa are required to enter Iran. All travelers are required to have a certificate of inoculations against meningitis.