Iranian history is rich in artistic traditions and many legendary poets, philosophers, architects and skilled artisans have emerged from the country. Persian poets – most notably Hafiz, Saadi, Rumi, Ferdowsi and Omar Khayyam – have left their imprint on world literature. Poetry continues to be a main means of literary expression in modern Iran.
Iranian architecture has a long history dating back to 5000 BC and its magnificence is seen in the beautiful mosques found everywhere in the country. Isfahan’s Imam Mosque is a prominent example of Safavid architecture, the Ali Qapu Palace makes visitors dreamy as they envisage life in a spectacular palace, and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is a well-designed and beautiful architectural pearl.
The holy shrines of Hazrat Masoumeh (S.A.) in Qom and Imam Reza (A.S.) in Mashhad, ancient monuments at Persepolis and Isfahan, the gardens of Kashan, poets’ tombs in Shiraz, and the tiled Nasir al-Mulk mosque, are also considered the pinnacle of Iranian-Islamic architecture. During the Pahlavi dynasty, much of the architecture imitated European styles at the risk of losing Persian identity. Since the revolution, architects have migrated toward modern designs fused with Iranian inspiration, particularly in the capital. The same attention to detail that brought Persepolis to life can still be seen in contemporary Tehran architecture.