Tehran or Teheran (both: tāˌəränˈ, –rănˈ) [key], city (1991 pop. 6,475,527), capital of Iran and Tehran prov., N Iran, near Mt. Damavand. It is Iran's largest city and its administrative, commercial, and industrial center. More than half of the country's industry is based in Tehran. Manufactures include electrical equipment, textiles, sugar, and cement; motor vehicles are assembled. The city has a large bazaar and is a leading center for the sale and export of carpets. It is served by rail lines, roads, and an international airport. There is an oil refinery at Ray. Tehran was long overshadowed by nearby Rages, but in the 13th cent., when the latter was destroyed by the Mongols, many of its inhabitants migrated to Tehran. It served as the occasional residence of the Safavid rulers in the 17th cent. and became the capital of Persia in 1788. Tehran was renovated by Fath Ali Shah (reigned 1797–1834) and by Nasir ad-Din Shah (reigned 1848–96). Under Reza Shah Pahlevi (reigned 1925–41) the city was much modernized. During World War II, when the Allies occupied (1941) Iran, British and Soviet troops entered Tehran's suburbs. The city was the site of the Tehran Conference (1943), which brought together President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin. The center of the city is the large Maidan-i Sipah Square, south of which is the Gulistan Square with its royal throne hall and its museum containing the Peacock Throne, brought to Persia from Delhi, India, by Nadir Shah in 1739. Tehran's importance and population grew greatly in the 20th cent., and today it is one of the major cities of the Middle East. Under Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi (1941–79), the expansion of Iran's economy during the oil boom led to rapid growth and modernization of the capital. Production in the city was slowed after the overthrow of the Shah (1979) and the transition of government. The city's economy suffered further as a result of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Tehran is the site of the National Univ. (1960), the Univ. of Tehran (1934), a university of technology, a college of fine arts, a military academy, several Muslim religious schools, and other educational institutions. An ethnological museum and an archaeological museum are there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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