Open main menu

Introduction

Flag of Iran.svg

Iran (Persian: ایرانIrān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (About this soundlisten)), also called Persia (/ˈpɜːrʒə/) and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایرانJomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān ), is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE. It was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history. The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, which was succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries.

Selected general article

The Byzantine–Seljuq Wars were a series of decisive battles that shifted the balance of power in Asia Minor and Syria from the Byzantine Empire to the Seljuq Turks. Riding from the steppes of Central Asia, the Seljuq Turks replicated tactics practiced by the Huns hundreds of years earlier against a similar Roman opponent but now combining it with new-found Islamic zeal; in many ways, the Seljuq Turks resumed the conquests of the Muslims in the Byzantine–Arab Wars initiated by the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abassid Caliphate in the Levant, North Africa and Asia Minor. Today, the Battle of Manzikert is widely seen as the moment when the Byzantines lost the war against the Turks; however the Byzantine military was of questionable quality before 1071 with regular Turkish incursions overrunning the failing theme system. Even after Manzikert, Byzantine rule over Asia Minor did not end immediately, nor were any heavy concessions levied by the Turks on their opponents — it took another 20 years before the Turks were in control of the entire Anatolian peninsula and not for long either. During the course of the war, the Seljuq Turks and their allies attacked the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, capturing Jerusalem and catalyzing the call for the First Crusade. Crusader assistance to the Byzantine Empire was mixed with treachery and looting, although substantial gains were made in the First Crusade. Within a hundred years of Manzikert, the Byzantines had (with Crusader assistance) successfully driven back the Turks from the coasts of Asia Minor and extended their influence right down to Palestine and even Egypt. Later, the Byzantines were unable to extract any more assistance, and the Fourth Crusade even led to the sack of Constantinople. Before the conflict petered out, the Seljuqs managed to take more territory from the weakened Empire of Nicaea until the Sultanate itself was taken over by the Mongols, leading to the rise of the ghazis and the conclusive Byzantine–Ottoman wars.

Selected image article

Satellite image of Iran in January 2004.
Credit: NASA

Satellite image of Iran in January 2004.

In this month

WikiProjects

Flag of Iran.svg You are invited to participate in WikiProject Iran, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about Iran.
Parent projects
AsiaWestern AsiaCountries
Main project
WikiProject Iran
Sub-projects
WikiProjects
Persian cinemaPersian literatureZoroastrianism
Related projects
GeographyHistoryArmeniaAzerbaijanCaucasiaCentral AsiaIraqRussiaGeorgiaIslamKurdistanAfghanistanTurkmenistanTajikistanGreeceTurkey


What are WikiProjects?

Selected biography

Relief of Darius I at his tomb in Naqsh-e Rostam, Iran.
Darius I (Persian: داريوش بزرگ‎, Old Persian: Dārayava(h)uš; 550–486 BCE) was the third king of the Achaemenid Empire. Also called Darius the Great, he ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, parts of the Balkans (Bulgaria-Romania-Panonia), portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya, coastal Sudan, Eritrea, as well as most of Pakistan, the Aegean Islands and northern Greece/Thrace-Macedonia. Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing the alleged magus usurper of Bardiya with the assistance of six other Persian noble families; Darius was crowned the following morning. The new king met with rebellions throughout his kingdom and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius's life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Darius expanded his empire by conquering Thrace and Macedon and invading Scythia, home of the Scythians, nomadic tribes who invaded Media and had previously killed Cyrus the Great. Darius organized the empire by dividing it into provinces and placing satraps to govern it. He organized a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon and Egypt. Darius devised a codification of laws for Egypt. He also had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved, an autobiography of great modern linguistic significance. Darius also started many massive architectural projects, including magnificent palaces in Persepolis and Susa.

In the news

Did you know...

Did you know?






Categories

Selected quote

Before the revolution I thought there are appropriate individuals who would do the job according to Islam, therefore I repeatedly said that clerics would go after their own job. Then I saw that most of them were inappropriate individuals and I found out that what I said was not true, so I came and clearly announced that I was wrong.

Featured content

Topics

Things you can do

Things you can do

Related portals

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wikivoyage 
Travel guides

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database