The First inhabitants of Iran were a race of people living in western Asia. When the Aryans arrived, they gradually started mingling with the old native Asians. Aryans were a branch of the people today known as the Indo-Europeans, and are believed to be the ancestors of the people of present India, Iran, and most of Western Europe.
Recent discoveries indicate that, centuries before the rise of earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia, Iran was inhabited by human. But the written history of Iran dates back to 3200 BC. It begins with the early Achaemenids, The dynasty whose under the first Iranian world empire blossomed.
Cyrus the Great was the founder of the empire and he is the first to establish the charter of human rights. In this period Iran stretched from the Aegean coast of Asia Minor to Afghanistan, as well as south to Egypt. The Achaeamenid Empire was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 330 BC and was followed by The Seleucid Greek Dynasty.
After the Seleucids, we witness about dozen successive dynasties reigning over the country, Dynasties such as Parthian, Sassanid, Samanid, Ghaznavid, Safavid, Zand, Afsharid, Qajar and Pahlavi. In 641 Arabs conquered Iran. Persians, who were the followers of Zoroaster, gradually turned to Islam and it was in Safavid period when Shiite Islam became the official religion of Iran.
Since Qajar dynasty on, due to the inefficiency of the rulers, Iran intensely begins to decline and gets smaller and smaller. The growing corruption of the Qajar monarchy led to a constitutional revolution in 1905-1906. The Constitutional Revolution marked the end of the medieval period in Iran. During World Wars I and II the occupation of Iran by Russian, British, and Ottoman troops was a blow from which the government never effectively recovered. In 1979, the nation, under the leadership of Great Imam Khomeini, erupted into revolution and the current Islamic republic of Iran was founded.
Iran has the second largest proved gas reserves in the world after Russia, with 33.6 trillion cubic meters and third largest natural gas production in the world after Indonesia, and Russia. It also ranks fourth in oil reserves with an estimated 153,600,000,000 barrels. It is OPEC's 2nd largest oil exporter and is an energy superpower
Although tourism declined significantly during the war with Iraq, it has subsequently recovered. About 1,659,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004 and 2.3 million in 2009 mostly from Asian countries, including the republics of Central Asia, while about 10% came from the European Union and North America.
The most popular tourist destinations are Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz. According to UNESCO and the deputy head of research for Iran Travel and Tourism Organization (ITTO), Iran is rated among the "10 most touristic countries in the world". Domestic tourism in Iran is one of the largest in the world.
The Islamic Republic of Iran (Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran) covers 636,300 square miles (1,648,000 square kilometers) in southwestern Asia. It is bounded on the north by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea, on the east by Pakistan and Afghanistan, on the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and on the west by Turkey and Iraq. Iran also controls about a dozen islands in the Persian Gulf. More than 30 percent of its 4,770-mile (7,680-kilometers) boundary is seacoast. The capital is Tehran (Teheran).