TEHRAN Province has several archeological sites indicating
settlements dating back several thousand years. Until 300 years ago, Ray
was the most prominent of the cities of the province. However, the city
of Tehran rose to become the larger city and capital of Iran by 1778,
and since then has been the political, cultural, economical, and
commercial nucleus of Iran.
Tehran has over 1500 historical sites of cultural significance
registered with the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran. The oldest
of these in Tehran province are the remains of two sites in Firuzkuh
County that date back to the 4th millennium BCE.
Tehran became a residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th century.
Tahmasp I built a bazaar and a wall around the city, but it somewhat
fell out of favor after Abbas I turned sick when he was passing the city
to go to a war with the Uzbeks.
In the early of 18th century, Karim Khan Zand ordered a palace, and a
government office to be built in Tehran, possibly to declare the city
his capital, but later moved his government to Shiraz. Tehran finally
became the capital of Iran in 1795, when the Qajar king Agha Mohammad
Khan was crowned in the city. It remains the capital to this day.
In the 1920s and 30's, the city essentially was started from scratch
under the rule of Reza Shah. The Tehran Bazaar was divided in half and
many historic buildings were destroyed in order to build wide straight
avenues in the capital. Many examples of Persian Gardens also became
targets to new construction projects. During World War II, British and
Soviet troops entered the city. Tehran was the site of the Tehran
Conference in 1943, attended by Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin.
In the 1960s and 70's Tehran was rapidly developing. Buildings altered
the face of Tehran and ambitious projects were envisioned for the
following decades. Continuing with few elements of them, such as the
Milad Tower, being built in Islamic Republic decades later.
During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Tehran was the scene of repeated Scud
missile attacks and air strikes against random residential and
industrial targets within the city, resulting in thousands of civilian
casualties. Material damage was repaired soon after each strike. Tehran
attracted war refugees by the millions.