Iran has a wide range of attractions to offer, characterised by both uniqueness and diversity. Always a pleasant, laidback country, it presents itself as a revered tourism destination supplemented by friendly people and historical heritage. Iran is also a land of contrasts where the more urban feeling of the cities sharply contradicts the remote and unspoiled country sides. Located in Southwest Asia, Iran is more often addressed as a Middle East nation due to its cultural resemblance. The country’s terrain mostly comprises of various basins or plateaus, which are dotted with rolling mountain ranges. Among them, the Zagros and Alborz Mountains are the most prominent ones with the later nestling the highest point of Damavand at 5,604 m (18,386 ft). Drenched by waves from the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf in the north and south respectively, Iran also possesses some saline dispositions and salt lakes in its terrain.
Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country was first occupied by the Medes and the Persians. It became part of the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire and was later invaded by the Seleucids, Parthians, Sasanians, Arab Muslims and Mongols. After power struggle between Russian, British and Iranian royal family, on January 16, 1979, civil rule was restored with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as leader.