The Alborz mountains and Mount Damavand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alborz

Alborz (About this sound listen (help·info) Persian: البرز‎), also written as Alburz, Elburz or Elborz, is a mountain range in northern Iran stretching from the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in the northwest to the southern end of the Caspian Sea, and ending in the east at the borders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.[1] The highest mountain in West Asia, Mount Damavand, Amol, Mazandaran is located in the range.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elburz_Range_forest_steppe

“Elevations typically range from 2,000 to 4,000 metres (6,600 to 13,000 ft), and the highest point in the Middle East, 5,610 metres (18,410 ft) high Mount Damavand, is found here. Mount Damavand is also the tallest volcano in Asia and below its summit crater are found fumaroles and hot springs as well as glaciers.”
250px-Damavand3 Alborz

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Castles in Iran since pre-islamic times

Wikipedia | List of castles in Iran

800px-Falak-ol-Aflak_Castle_07

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle, Lorestan Province, Iran

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle (in Persian: Dez-e Shapur-Khwast and in ancient times known as Dezbar as well as Shapur-Khwast) is a castle situated on the top of a large hill with the same name within the city of Khorramabad, the regional capital of Lorestan Province, Iran. This gigantic structure was built during the Sassanid era (226–651). Source: Wikipedia | Falak-ol-Aflak Castle

babak

Babak Castle, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran

Papak Fort or Babak Castle (in Azerbaijani Baezz Qalasi), also known as the Immortal Castle or Republic Castle, is a large citadel and National Symbol of Iranians on the top of a mountain in the Arasbaran forests, which is located 6 km southwest of Kaleybar City, East Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran. Source: Wikipedia | Babak Fort

800px-Narin_ghaleh_2

Narin Ghaleh, Yazd Province, Iran

The Narin Qal’eh or Narin Castle is a mud-brick fort or castle in the town of Meybod, Yazd Province, Iran. Structures like these constituted the government stronghold in some of the older (pre-Islamic) towns of central Iran. Some of these castles incorporate mud bricks of the Medes period and of the Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties. Source: Wikipedia | Narin Qal’eh Further links:

  1. Payvand News of Iran | Ardeshir Palace in Kerman
  2. The other Iran | Roudkhan Castle
  3. Payvand News of Iran | Behestan Rock

Christianity in Iran

“Today, there are at least 600 churches for 250,000 Christians in Iran. A number of Christian denominations are represented in Iran. Many members of the larger, older churches belong to minority ethnic groups – the Assyrians and Armenians – having their own distinctive culture and language…In 1976, the Christian population numbered 168,593 people, mostly Armenians. Due to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, almost half of the Armenians migrated to the newly independent Republic of Armenia. However, the opposite trend has occurred since 2000, and the number of Christians with Iranian citizenship increased to 109,415 in 2006. At the same time, significant immigration of Assyrians from Iraq has been recorded due to massacres and harassment in post-Saddam Iraq.”

See also: Wikipedia | Armenian-Iranians, Wikipedia | Assyrians in Iran, Wikipedia | Roman Catholicism in Iran

Source: Wikipedia | Christianity in Iran

 

“A Separation”, first Iranian movie to win the Oscar academy award

A Separation (Persian: جدایی نادر از سیمین‎ Jodái-e Náder az Simin, “The Separation of Nader from Simin”) is a 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi.

Farhadi focuses on a middle class family in Tehran to explore the tensions and challenges of modern Iran. By examining class, religious and gender conflict through the intimate lens of family life, he highlights the interconnection between the personal and political. The lecture identifies and analyses the multiple pressure points within the film narrative and the central idea that the very things that connect us as human beings also separate us.

A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award. It received the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, becoming the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear. It also won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film was nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, making it the first non-English film in five years to achieve this.

Nader and Simin: A Separation (trailer):

Asghar Farhadi, 123 mins, Iran, 2011

Source: Wikipedia | A Separation, Australian Centre for the Moving Image | A Separation

Iran in the “International Science Ranking” (2012)

http://www.scimagojr.com/countryrank.php?area=0&category=0&region=all&year=2012&order=it&min=0&min_type=it

“According to the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Iran increased its academic publishing output nearly tenfold from 1996 to 2004, and has been ranked first globally in terms of output growth rate (followed by China with a 3 fold increase).”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_technology_in_Iran#Contribution_of_Iranians_and_people_of_Iranian_origin_to_modern_science

Iranian scientists to receive UNESCO Award

http://www.payvand.com/news/11/aug/1232.html

Four Iranian scientists ranked in the list of Islamic World’s top scholars are to receive UNESCO Award.

The scientists include Abbas Shafiee Professor of Faculty of Pharmacy of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Mojtaba Shamsipour Professor of Chemistry in Razi University, Mohsen Nemat Gorgani Professor of Biochemistry in Tehran University and Ali Akbar Sabouri Professor of Biophysics of Tehran University.