Tehran is a young capital for an ancient land. In the Middle Ages it was a small settlement and came to prominence in the Safavid era (16th century) as a result of its strategic situation and became Iran’s capital in 1795.

The city's older landmarks suffered under the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah. The Shah believed that ancient buildings such as large parts of the Golestan Palace, Takieh-ye Dowlat, the Toopkhaneh Square, the magnificent city fortifications and the old citadel among others should not be part of a modern city. They were systematically destroyed and modern 1950s and 1960s buildings were built in their place.

Tehran bazaar was divided in half and many historic buildings were destroyed in order to build wide straight avenues in the capital. Many excellent examples of Persian Gardens also became targets to new construction projects. The decision to carry these out is presently largely seen as a foolish mistake that hurt the visual fabric and the cultural identity of the city beyond repair.

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