The plateau of Iran is amongst the oldest civilization centers of antic era in Asia, and has an important place in archeology science. The history of settlement in the plateau of Iran from new Stone Age till migration of Aryans is not yet very clear. But there are reliable evidences, which indicate that Iran has been inhabited since very long time ago. Settlement centers have emerged close to water resources like springs and rivers or totally close to Alborz and Zagross Mountains. The most important centers of this kind are: Tappeh (hill) Sialk in Kashan, Tappeh Hesar in Damghan, Torang Tappeh in Gorgan, Tappeh Hasanloo in Azarbaijan, Marlik Tappeh in Roodbar, and Susa (Soosh) in Khuzestan. In archeological excavations in these civilization centers, some vestiges have been discovered the antiquity of which dates back to 5th millennium BC.
Migration of Aryan clans to the plateau of Iran began since 2nd millennium BC. Out of these tribes, Parthians dwelled in Khorasan, Medes in the west, and Parsees resided in the south of Iran. The Median Empire rose in Hegmataneh (Ekbatan), present Hamedan. The Achaemenidae established the first great Iranian Empire after defeating the Medians and conquest of their capital. The limits of the Achaemenian territory in the reign of Dariush I (522-485 BC.), extended from the Plain of Sand River in the east to the borders of Greece at the west. Passargad and Persepolis are the vestiges of this period and are amongst the most important historical places as well as the significant tourism attractions of Iran. Thousands of tourists visit these places annually.
After the decline of the Achaemenian dynasty, and destruction of Persepolis by Alexander, his successors (Solookis) dominated over Iran for a short time. During this period the interaction of Iranian and Hellenic cultures happened. Around the year 250 BC. the Parthians, who were one of Aryan tribes as well as horse riders, advanced from Khorasan towards the west and south-west and founded their empire over Iran plateau in Teesfoon. This empire sustained till the year 224 AD. The Sassanides, after defeating the last Parthian king in 225 AD, founded a new empire which lasted till mid-7th century AD. The ancient period of Iran (Persia), regarding its political, social, and cultural characteristics, is one of the most magnificent epochs of Iranian history. Out of this era, there have remained so many cultural heritage and historical buildings in Persepolis, Passargad, Susa (Shoosh), Shooshtar, Hamedan, Marvdasht (Naghsh-e-Rostam), Taghbostan, Sarvestan, and Nayshabour which are worth-seeing.
Emergence and influence of Islam in Iran happened in early 7th century AD., after the decline of Sassanide Empire. Since then, new era began in the history of Iran which caused severe fundamental evolution in social, political, religious, governmental, and public conditions of the country. Iranians, who were very disappointed with existing social and economic inequality in the time of Sassanides, accepted Islam rapidly and tried to expand it and enrich its cultural magnanimity. In spite of accepting Islam, Iranians never covered up their opposition against dominance of Omavi and Abbasi caliphs and their tyrannies and founded many autonomous movements to confront them. On the other hands, caliphs, for neutralizing and suppressing these Iranian movements, which were based on partisanship of the Islam Prophet's family and establishment of a government on the basis of Imamat, tried to support non-Iranian forces. Due to continuity of these wars of attrition among local governors, their power was exhausted, so the ground for dominance of stranger tribes of central Asia, like Saljooghi Turks, Mongols, and Taymoorians, was brought about. In Safavid time, the second great Iranian Empire was founded and Shiite religion, disciples of which were seriously limited till then, was formalized. The dynamic nature of Shiite religion and its political and social commitments firmly safeguarded the independence and national identity of Iran against Ottomans' assaults. Iran, as a new political and religious power, could once again hoist the flag of resistance against a very powerful empire that was the claimant of supremacy of Islamic world. With the decline of Safavid, Afsharieh and then Zandieh took the throne. After Zandieh government, the time of Ghajarieh began during which the influence of foreign powers of England and Russia in internal affairs of Iran expanded.
Meanwhile, social movements of Tobacco, Constitutional Revolution, Forest Uprising, Sheik Mohammed Khiabani revolt, and... happened. In Pahlavi time, Oil Industry Nationalization Movement intrigued the movement of June 5th 1963 and other autonomous movements that gave rise to the Islamic Revolution under the leadership of Imam Khomaini in 1979.
History of Iran is the history of ups and downs and along the history, so many empires and dynasties have governed over this country of which the most important are:
- Achaemenians 533-330 BC
- Solookian 330-247 BC
- Parthian 247 BC – 224 AD
- Sassanians 224-651 AD
- Attack of Arabs against Iran 645 AD
- Omavian and Abbasian 749-932 AD
- Saffarian 866-903 AD
- Samanian 819-999 AD
- Al Bouyeh 945-1055 AD
- Ghaznavian 977-1186 AD
- Saljooghyan 1038-1194 AD
- Kharazmshahian 1077-1231 AD
- Attack of Mongols to Iran 1220 AD
- Ilkhanian 1256-1353 AD
- Mozaffarian 1314-1393 AD
- Taymoorian 1370-1506 AD
- Turkamanan 1380-1468 AD
- Safavian (Safavid) 1501-1732 AD
- Afsharian 1734-1796 AD
- Zandian 1750-1794 AD
- Ghajarieh 1779-1924 AD
- Pahlavi 1924-1979 AD
- Islamic Revolution 1979 AD
The historical battlefields of Iran, especially religious battlefields, have their own attractions for pilgrims and tourists and attract foreign tourists to Iran for visiting these fields. As an example it can be pointed out to the battlefield against Mongols in Nayshabour, Chaldoran battlefield against Ottoman Empire, and finally Iran-Iraq battlefields in Khoramshahr, Bostan, and Hovayzeh which have especial attractions for some tourists.