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Iran (Persian: ایران‎ Irān [ʔiːˈɾɒːn] (About this sound listen)), also known as Persia[10] (/ˈpɜːrʒə/), officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎ Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān (About this sound listen)), is a sovereign state 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,[a] 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.

Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, and its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world’s largest natural gas supply and the fourth-largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.

The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the third-largest number in Asia and eleventh-largest in the world.Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians (61%), Azeris (16%), Kurds (10%), and Lurs (6%).

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Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Iranian architecture that was built during the Safavid Empire, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-i Jahan Square, Esfahan, Iran

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The Tomb of Hafez and its associated memorial hall, the Hāfezieh, are two memorial structures erected in the northern edge of Shiraz, Iran, in memory of the celebrated Persian poet Hafez.

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Naqsh-e Jahan Square, also known as Meidan Emam, is a square situated at the center of Isfahan city, Iran. Constructed between 1598 and 1629, it is now an important historical site, and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites

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Couchsurfing is a global community of 14 million people in more than 200,000 cities who share their life, their world, their journey. Couchsurfing connects travelers with a global network of people willing to share in profound and meaningful ways, making travel a truly social experience.

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workaway.info is an international hospitality service that allows members to contact one another to organise homestays and cultural exchange. Volunteers or “Workawayers”, are expected to contribute a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for lodging and food, which is provided by their host. Spread over 170 countries !

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Booking.com‘s description : Whoever you are, whatever you seek, we’ve got the perfect place for you. Our 28,475,497 listings include 5,251,653 listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and are located in 131,438 destinations in 228 countries and territories. Booking.com B.V. is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and is supported internationally by 198 offices in 70 countries.

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Airbnb is an international company which operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms, to participate in or facilitate experiences related to tourism such as walking tours, and to make reservations at restaurants. The company does not own any real estate or conduct tours.

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