fixed tour search

box tour search
Yahoo Massenger
Free travel advice +98-21-88796949 Online Support



 The plateau of Iran is among the oldest civilization centers in the history of humanity and has an important place in archeological studies. The history of settlement in the Plateau of Iran, from the new Stone Age till the migration of Aryans to this region, is not yet very clear. But there is reliable evidence indicating that Iran has been inhabited since a very long time ago. Settlement centers have emerged close to water resources like springs, rivers, lakes or totally close to Alborz and Zagross mountains. The most important centers of this kind are: Choqazanbil Temple (Ziqqurat), Susa (Shoush) Sialk hill in Kashan, Hesar hill in Damqan, Toorang hill in Gorgan, Hegmataneh hill in Hamadan, Hasanloo hill in Naqadeh, Marlik hill in Roodbar, and Susa (Shoosh) in Khuzestan. According to archeological excavations conducted in these civilization centers, some vestiges have been discovered, the antiquity of which dates back to the 5th millennium BC.                                                                                                                                       

The migration of Aryan tribes to the Plateau of Iran began in the 2nd millennium BC. Out of these tribes, the Parthians dwelled in Khorassan, the Medes in the west, and the Parsees resided in southern Iran. The Median Empire rose in Hegmataneh (Ekbatan), the present Hamadan. The Achaemenidae established the first great Persian Empire after defeating the Medes and conquest of their capital. The limits of the Achaemenian territory during the reign of Dariush I (522-485 BC.) extended from the plain of Sand River in the east to the borders of Greece in the west. Passargadae and Persepolis are among the vestiges of this period and, as important historical sites, are visited by a significant number of foreign tourists annually. Ganj Nameh Inscription, Hamadan Pasargadae, Marvdasht After the decline of the Achaemenian dynasty, and the destruction of Persepolis by Alexander, his successors the Seleucids dominated over Iran for a short period of time. During this time the interaction between Iranian and Hellenic cultures occurred. Around the year 250 BC, the Parthians, who were an Aryan tribe as well as horse riders, advanced from Khorassan towards the west and south-west and founded their empire over Iran Plateau in Teesfoon. This empire survived only untill the year 224 AD. The Sassanides, after defeating the last Parthian king in 225 AD, founded a new empire which lasted untill mid-7th century AD. Persepolis, Marvdasht With respect to its political, social, and cultural characteristics, the ancient period of Iran (Persia) is one of the most magnificent epochs of Iranian history. Out of this era, so many cultural and historical monuments have remained in Persepolis, Passargadae, Susa (Shoosh), Shooshtar, Hamadan, Marvdasht (Naqsh-e-Rostam), Taq-e-bostan, Sarvestan, and Nayshabur, which are worth seeing.         

The influence of Islam in Iran began in the early 7th century AD after the decline of the Sassanid Empire. Since then, new era began in the history of Iran which caused fundamental changes in social, political, religious, governmental, and general conditions of the country. Iranians, who were very unhappy with the existing social and economic inequalities in the time of the Sassanid’s, accepted Islam easily and contributed to its expansion and enrichment. However, Iranians never covered up their opposition against dominance and the tyranny of the Umayyad and the Abbasids’ Caliphs and founded many autonomous movements to confront them. In return, the Umayyad and the Abbasids’ Caliphs, tried to neutralize and suppress these movements, which were based on partisanship of the Prophet of Islam family and establishment of a government on the basis of Shia Imams. Continuity of wars of attrition among local governors weakened the overall power of the country and favored conditions for invasion by stranger tribes of Central Asia, like the Seljuks Turks, Mongols, and Timurid. In the Safavid time, the second great Iranian Empire was founded, and the Shia sect of Islam, disciples of which were seriously limited till then, was formalized. The dynamic nature of Shi’ism and its political and social commitments firmly safeguarded Iranian independence and national identity against Ottoman assaults. Thus, Iran once again became a new political and religious power. Soltanieh Dome, Abhar (Zanjan) Bam Citadel, Bam (Kerman) with the decline of the Safavid, Afsharieh and later the Zand took the throne. After the Zand rule, the Qajars took power. At this time the influence of foreign powers such as Britain and Russia in the internal affairs of Iran significantly increased. Meanwhile, social movements of Tobacco, Constitutional Revolution, Forest Uprising, and Sheik Mohammed Khiabani’s Revolt took place. In the Pahlavi period, Oil Industry Nationalization Movement incited the uprising of June 5th 1963, and other autonomous movements resulting in the Islamic Revolution under the leadership of Imam Khomeini in 1979.   

Timeline of Persian/Iranian History




Dynasty, Ruler or Event




Birth of Zoroaster

Sometime between 10th and 7th century BCE


Achaemenian Dynasty


Cyrus the Great

559 BCE

530 BCE


First to extend Persian empire


Builder of Pasargad


Killed in battle by Queen Tomyris of the Massagetaes


530 BCE


Tomb at Pasargad


Cambyses (son of Cyrus)

530 BCE


Extended empire into Egypt


Darius I

521 BCE

486 BCE


28 year old royal spear bearer; branch of Achaemenian family


Married widow of Cambyses and daughter of Cyrus


Put down internal revolts; carved story in rock at Hamadan


Moved into Punjab, in present-day India.

517 BCE


Using chariots, drove into Libya


Persian army reached lower Danube -- height of Empire

512 BCE


Builder of Persepolis

500 BCE


Greek victory at Battle of Marathon

490 BCE


Tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam


Ganjnameh (Treasure Book) carvings near Hamadan



486 BCE

465 BCE


Brought foreign architects and artisans to work at Persepolis


Marched on Greece; defeated Spartans at Thermopylae

481 BCE


Conquered Athens and set fire to the Parthenon


Lost navy at Battle of Salamis

480 BCE


Xerxes murdered by a palace conspirator

465 BCE


Tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam


Ganjnameh (Treasure Book) carvings near Hamadan


Artaxerxes I

465 BCE

424 BCE  ?


Tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam


Darius II

425 BCE  ?

405 BCE


Tomb at Naqsh-e Rostam


Artaxerxes II

405 BCE

361 BCE


Tomb above Persepolis


Artaxerxes III

361 BCE

338 BCE


Tomb above Persepolis


Darius III


Defeated by Alexander the Great


Alexander the Great


Crossed Hellespont

332 BCE


Took, looted and burned Persepolis


Selucid Dynasty (founded by Alexander's generals)

312 BCE

44 BCE


Anahita Temple in Kangavar from Selucid or Parthian times


Parthian Dynasty

163 BCE

224 CE


Fought and kept Romans in check for 300 years


Developed larger, stronger horses mounted w/ armor and archers


Defeated Mark Anthony and killed 35,000 Romans in Azerbaijan

36 BCE


Fostered development of Persian miniature painting


Takht-e Soleiman (Solomon's Throne) used as Zoroastrian fire alter


Sassanian Dynasty

208 CE

637 CE


Renaissance of Persian culture


Dome and vault used later in Islamic architecture developed


Takht-e Soleiman (Solomon's Throne) used as Zoroastrian fire alter


Ruins on hill of Zoroastrian Fire Temple from Sassanian era outside Isfahan


Ardeshir I

208 CE

241 CE


Defeated Artabanus V (Ardavan), last Parthian king in hand-to-hand combat

224 CE


Depicted in carvings at Naqsh-e Rostam receiving crown from Ahura Mazda


   (Artabanus V and Ahriman, Zoroastrian god of evil, trampled underfoot)


Zoroastrianism becomes state religion


Shapur I

241 CE

272 CE


Roman Emperor Valerian taken prisoner at Edessa

260 CE


Carving at Naqsh-e Rostam, w/ Philip the Arab (kneeling) and Valerian


Prophet Mani (b. 216) spreads concepts of Manichaeism (duality of good and evil)


Bahram II

276 CE

293 CE


Depicted in carving at Naqsh-e Rostam, w/ family and dignitaries


Also at Naqsh-e Rostam on horseback in combat



293 CE

302 CE


Depicted at Naqsh-e Rostam receiving crown from goddess Anahita


Hormizd II

303 CE

309 CE


Depicted at Naqsh-e Rostam on horseback toppling enemy w/ spear


Shapur II

310 CE

379 CE


Right cave, leaning on sword, at Taq-e Bostan, Kermanshah


Depicted in damaged carving at Naqsh-e Rostam leaning on sword


Shapur III

383 CE

388 CE


Right cave, leaning on sword, at Taq-e Bostan, Kermanshah


Ardeshir II

379 CE

383 CE


Depicted receiving crown from Ahura Mazda at Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah


Bahram V

420 CE

440 CE


Built small palace (or hunting lodge) at Sarvestan (near Shiraz)



457 CE

484 CE


Killed by Hephtalite Huns out of central Asia


Khosroe (Khosrow) I

531 CE

579 CE


Moved capital to Cresiphon in Mesopotamia


"Spring of Khosrow," first known Persian carpet; 90' square


Khosroe (Khosrow) II

590 CE

628 CE


Depicted on horse (Shabdiz) in large grotto at Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah


Renewed empire building; drove into Byzantium in 602; Jerusalem in 614


Drove into Alexandria and Egypt in 619


Defeat by Byzantium; king abandons Cresiphon; beginning of end

626 CE


Yazdagird III

632 CE

651 CE


Battle at Qadisiya (on Euphrates); Gen. Rustam and 80,000 Persians lose

636 CE


Cresiphon falls to Arabs; Yazdagird in retreat

638 CE


Arabs win at Nihavand (near Hamadan) opening passes thru Zagros to Persia

642 CE


Persians lose at Istakhr (in Fars); 40,000 killed; Arabs take Persepolis

648-49 CE


Beginning of Arab (and Islamic) domination

651 CE


Persian culture led Islamic Empire to golden age of 8th to 10th centuries


Ali, son-in-law of Prophet, becomes caliph in Kufa (near Basra)

656 CE


Ali assassinated in Kufa; buried in Najaf (now in Iraq)

661 CE


Hussein, 2d son of Ali, challenges Umayyad rulers in Damascus


Hussein, with force of 72, slaughtered by Umayyad army in Karbala (Iraq)

680 CE


Battle of Karbala beginning of Shi'ism as separate sect from Sunnis


Abbasid Dynasty defeats Umayyad; moves capital to Baghdad

750 CE


Abbasid Dynasty much influenced by traditional Persian culture


Greek works translated by Persians into Arabic; also Persian scientific work

813 CE

833 CE


Eighth Imam, Reza, died of suspected poisoning (buried in Mashhad)

817 CE


Muhammad al-Muntazar, 12th or Hidden Imam, goes into "occultation"

873 CE


Buyids (adherents of Shi'ism) march into Baghdad

945 CE



Buyids establish Qom as important center of Shi'ism


Ghaznavid Dynasty (Turkic speaking)

994 CE



Persian culture flourishes


Ferdowsi (b. 935) writes Shahnameh (Book of Kings); created modern Persian

985 CE



Gonbad-e Kavus (167 foot tomb tower) built 1007


Tomb/tower of Arsalon (10th century Turk, General of Tus) outside Mashhad


Seljuq Dynasty (and vizier Nizam al-Mulk (1020-1092)




Toghrul Beg








Mailk Shah




Era of Omar Khayyam (and historical novel Samarkand)


Khayyam solved quadratic equation; reformed calendar


Seljuqs elevated Sufism as respected part of Sunni Islam


Dome of Gonbad-e Khaki (1088) in Friday Mosque in Isfahan


Gonbad-e Alavian built in Hamadan during Seljuq era


Gonbad-e Sorkh (Red Tomb) (1147) built in Maragheh


Gonbad-e Kabud (1197) built in Maragheh


Pol-e Shahrestan (12th century, Seljuq, bridge over river, Zayendeh-rud in Isfahan)


West evian of Friday Mosque in Isfahan w/ stalactites; Seljuq construction


North evian of Friday Mosque in Isfahan; Sejuq construction


Genghis Khan's Mongol Army captures Khorassan



Every person in Nishapur beheaded; heads stacked in pyramids


Hulagu Khan (grandson of Genghis; d. 1265) subdues all of Persia



Baghdad captured; caliph put to death; end of Abbasid Caliphate



Massacred up to 800,000 in Baghdad


Iran becomes an "Ilkhanate," territory of Great Khan of China


Not until mid-20th century did Iran's population reach pre-Mongol levels


Ghazan Khan




Gonbad-e Khafariyeh (1328) built in Maragheh


Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi al-Din (1252-1334) -- important Sufi center


Shaking Minarets (menar-e Jonban); small 14th c. Mongol mosque; near Isfahan


Tamerlane (Timur the Lame; d. 1405) captures eastern Iran




Remainder falls a few years later; 70,000 killed in sack of Isfahan


Timurid Dynasty




Shah Rokh




Flourishing of arts, especially miniature painting


Jahan Shah




Mausoleum of Shah Nematollah Vali (d.1431) in Yazd


Mir Chakhmaq mosque (1437) in Yazd


Blue Mosque (masjed-e Kabud) built in Tabriz in 1465


Khanjor tower (Gonbad-e Khanjour?) -- 15th century; Timurid, near Mashhad


South evian ceiling (Timurid; 15th c.) at Friday Mosque in Isfahan


Safavid Dynasty




Arg-e Bam (Citadel) built during Safavid era


Shah Ismail




Origins go back to Sufi order centered around Ardabil


Shah Ismail declared Shi'ism as the official religion



Over next 8 years subdued all of Persia; imposed Shi'ism thru "example, zeal


   massacre, pillage and torture."


Shah Abbas I




Signed treaty ceding Azerbaijan to Ottoman Turks to neutralize external threat



Encouraged contacts and trade w/ Europe; another "golden age"


Abbas furthered secured Shi'ism as state religion


Fearing a conspiracy to overthrow his throne, Abbas murders own son



Another son suspected of conspiracy is blinded



Abbas also blinded and imprisoned his 5th son, his father and two brothers


Capital moved to Isfahan, away from Ottomans; massive rebuilding of city


Ali Qapu Palace, small Timurid palace enlarged by Shah Abbas in Isfahan


Si-o-Se pol (Bridge of 33 Arches, aka Allahverdi Khan Bridge) (c. 1600)


Mosque of Sheikh Lotfollah (built, 1602-1619) in Imam Square, Isfahan


Imam Mosque (started in 1611) in Imam Square, Isfahan


Mausoleum of Khaje Rabi (built 1617-1622 by Shah Abbas) near Mashhad


Chehel Sotun (40, really 20, columns) finished 1647 in Isfahan


Pol-e Khaju (bridge built in 1650; 24 arches) over river in Isfahan


Bagh-e Fin gardens in Kashan, designed for Shah Abbas (buildings now Qajar)


West evian of Friday Mosque in Isfahan; Seljuq construction; Safavid redecoration


Succession of weak and disconnected rulers


Afghan army invades Khorassan and captures Isfahan; rules eastern Iran




Ashraf Shah (2d ruler) overthrown by Nader Shah


Nader Shah




Briefly restored Tahmasp to Safavid throne before taking power himself in 1736


Conquered Afghanistan, New Delhi, Bukhara and Khiva (Jewels from India)


Cruel and dictatorial, he was assassinated in 1747


Karim Khan (and Zands) establishes rule in Shiraz




Civil wars rip Iran apart along ethnic lines




Last Zand surrenders to Agha Muhammad Khan



Qajar Dynasty




Agha Muhammad Khan




In youth, hostage of Zands; castrated and caged


Unified Persia under his control; crowned Shah in Tehran in 1796


Assassinated by own servants



Fath Ali Shah




Restored Persian elegance and grandeur to the court


Portrait painted in large grotto at Taq-e Bostan in Kermanshah


Iran loses first war to Russia and Armenia, Georgia and N. Azerbaijan



Iran loses second war to Russia and cede southern Caspian shore







Qajar king lays claim to Herat in Afghanistan; trounced by Great Britain



Mirza Ali Muhammad declares himself Mahdi; creates Bahai faith



Bahais considered Shia heresy; deny Muhammad as last prophet and Koran


   as the final revelation; Mirza executed as heretic in 1850


Naser od-Din Shah




Visited Europe several times and started "modernization" of Iran


Tried to reclaim Herat for Iran; Britain forces entry into Iran w/ Treaty of Paris



Began selling "concessions" to European companies



Religious fatva against tobacco concession sold to Britain



Shah assassinated in mosque by Muslim objecting to Western influence



Muzzaffar ed-Din Shah




Pledged Iranian customs receipts as collateral for Russian loan



Shah gives British right to Iranian oil



Riots; 13,000-20,000 take refuge in British Embassy



Constitution and inauguration of Majlis, parliament



Muhammad Ali Shah




Russian troops defeat protestors at mosque and Majlis; end of parliament



Sultan Ahmed Shah (corpulent 12 year son of Muhammad)




W. Morgan Shuster attempts to reorganize Iranian finances; ousted by Russians



Shah's cabinet backed by 12,000 Russian troops overthrows Majlis



British Admiralty converts to oil; controls much of southern Iran



Pahlavi Dynasty




Reza Shah




Little known military officer, Reza Khan, seizes power



In negotiations, clergy rejects republic; agrees to Reza as Shah



Declared "Reza Shah" by Majlis



Forced "westernization" of Iran


Country's name changed from "Persia" to "Iran"



Various moves against religious authority; wearing of veil banned in 1935


Shah's troops massacre hundreds of protestors in Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad



Britain and Russia depose Reza; install weak, playboy son as new Shah



Muhammad Reza Shah




Muhammad Mossadeq and second constitutional revolution




Shah flees to Rome, but is reinstalled with American CIA help



SAVAK (secret police) formed w/ CIA assistance.



"White Revolution" incenses clergy; Ayatollah Khomeini is jailed for first time



Iran accepts U.S. "Status of Forces Agreement," immunity for US citizens in Iran



Khomeini released from jail; promptly resumes criticism of Shah and SOFA



Khomeini exiled to Najaf, in Iraq -- continues criticism w/ leaflets and cassettes



Shah's grandiose celebration of 2,500 years of empire at Persepolis



Nixon arms Iran to counter Soviet influence in region; Iran buys $4B US arms




Mid-70's 50,000 Americans living in Iran; "ugly American" incidents protected by SOFA


SAVAK increases spying, repression, torture and killing thru 1970's


SAVAK arrests, interrogates and tortures Rafsanjani, Montazeri and Khamenei



Economic hardship; inflation; lower oil revenue; spending on arms; budget deficit




Khomeini's 49-year old son dies suddenly; SAVAK suspected



Shah's police kill hundreds of protestors in Qom, Tabriz, elsewhere



Khomeini's exile moved to Paris; gains access to international press



Shah flees Jan 16; Khomeini arrives Feb. 1; Islamic Revolution begins



Islamic Revolution and Establishment of Islamic Republic



First seizure of US Embassy: Feb. 14, 1979 -- militants retreat



Seizure of US Embassy: Nov 4, 1979 after Shah admitted to US for treatment



Khomeini used seizure to unify country around adoption of constitution


Saddam Hussein and Iraq invade Iran



American hostages released



During 1981, Mujahedin assassinates more than 1,000 gov't officials


1985-1986 Iran and US engage in "arms for hostages" deals


July 3, 1988 USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air 655; 290 die



Iran agrees to UN resolution to end war with Iraq; 750,000 Iranians died



Khomeini issues fatva against Salman Rushdie



Ayatollah Khomeini dies; Khamenei becomes new Supreme Leader



“ History ”
Tags History