Although Persian is the official language of Iranian citizens, a second language is commonly spoken in Iran, depending on the region or the speaker's native tribe: lori, Caspian languages, Kurdish, Baloch, Turkish Azeri, Armenian, Arabic etc.

In addition to the uniformly black image presented by the foreign media, the Iranian people show a much more nuanced reality of this population of 80 million. This diversity is of many kinds. On the one hand, Iran, although inhabited mostly by Persians, is a multiethnic state heir to the Persian empire, which has brought together, in the course of its history, a mosaic of peoples, originally made up of nomadic tribes. who have always traveled the Iranian plateau. As a result, although Persian is the official language of Iranian citizens, a second language is commonly spoken in Iran, depending on the region or the speaker's native tribe: lori, Caspian languages, Kurdish, Baloch, Turkish Azeri, Armenian, Arabic etc. ; this multilingual practice bringing from one language group to another an element of cultural diversity. And finally, the lifestyle of the Iranians is variously shaped by their various religious practices, not to mention the disparities between city and country, desert and mountains.

Iran, A country with many faces

For historical reasons that are related to the formation of the Persian Empire, the Persians occupy the center and north-east of the country, while the other ethnic groups, often cross-border, are established, for the most part, on the periphery of the national territory.


These schoolgirls in Isfahan wear the uniform of their school, the color of the headscarf varies from school to school


The women of Abyâneh, a beautiful village in the province of Isfahan, wear skirts and scarves while the men put on the broad traditional trousers.


In Gorgan province in north-eastern Iran, near the Republic of Turkmenistan, women wear long floral dresses and shimmering scarves, men wearing the traditional Turkmen turban.


These Iranians from the Arabic-speaking minority of Susiana, a region of southwestern Iran close to Iraq, wear traditional keffiyeh. They come from the Sami, one of the four Arab tribes that used to nominate people in the province of Iranian Khuzestan.



From the survival of local cultures to folklore: a trip to the nomadic tribes of Iran

Although nomadism has always existed on the Iranian plateau, it is now exceptional, reducing itself, most of the time, to a simple summer transhumance that concerns a rural society devoted to livestock farming. Under Mohammad-Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi in ​​the 1960s, nomadic populations were subjected to many pressures to leave their pastures and were sometimes forced to settle, as part of a general program of modernization. However, it can be observed that this nomadic culture is still present in the popular traditions of certain regions, in the city as in the countryside.


These schoolchildren, crossed at the entrance to the Isfahan Bird Park, wear the traditional costumes of the Bakhtiar tribe, nomads of the region, for a disguised trip.



An official religion that appears and lives every day: Shiism

Shiism was established as a state religion by the kings of the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century. The population of the Islamic Republic of Iran is predominantly Shiite. Ashura, the culmination of the annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammad, is the subject of spectacular processions.


Group photo taken in front of the entrance to the citadel Karim Khan of Shiraz.


The strength of pre-Islamic heritage: Zoroastrianism, religion of fire

Zoroastrianism is the ancestral monotheistic religion of Iran, founded in the first millennium BC. Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, his prophet, spread it in the region by reforming the Mazdean religion that had preceded it. It was proclaimed the official religion of Persia under the Sassanid dynasty, which reigned from the 3rd to the 7th century AD.

It still has, in Yazd, a community, a clergy and some places of worship. The Zoroastrian tradition is still alive and well in the minds of the Iranians, many of whom have come together on the occasion of these millennia celebrations.

These girls in festive dress are preparing to celebrate the fire festival at the Zoroastrian temple in Tehran.


Iranian artistic life

Poetry, traditional music, visual arts, calligraphy, carpet art, glass work, are part of the daily lives of Iranians. Arts education is present from an early age in schools. The practice of calligraphy, taught to schoolchildren, continues in the calligraphy institutes present throughout the country. The weaving of Persian rugs, renowned throughout the world, is an art that is passed on from generation to generation.


This artist from the Arts and Crafts Center of the Organization of Cultural Heritage in Tehran is doing an illumination in the margin of a calligraphy.
Persian rugs are shaved after weaving. It is only during this operation that all the delicacy of the drawing appears. The best workshops in the city of Kerman, in southern Iran, entrust this delicate task to this man, who makes it in his home.