Nearly 12 Million people live in Tehran Bozorg in contrast to two hundred thousand in 1920. Tehran is immense and proliferates like a coral reef, but in an orderly manner. Nine-tenths of the built up area is in square blocks with absolutely straight boulevards. The visitor who has been away for a while can no longer find the way around the city. New roads link the western part of the city to the northern quarters. Towering buildings have been erected right and left. Large stores, super-markets, self-service shops have been opened, public buildings, government departments and monuments have been built and an array of giant cranes show the development fever.
Tehran is pleasant, it derives its originality from its dry climate, always cool in the evening, its pure sky, the nearness of the mountains, its numerous parks and gardens where flowers blossom throughout the year, the alleys of young plan-trees in the avenues or even smaller streets, the water which runs down from the upper city along deep and wide gutters which look like small rivers during spring.
Daring modern buildings, erected during the past few years, give, despite their frequently dry architecture, an impression of what tehran's beauty will be in the year 2000.
Tehran became a capital in the 19th century. Its more ancient monuments bear the marks of that period when everywhere in the world, taste had degenerated. Furthermore, its rapid growth explains the proliferations of houses without any style, fortunately laid out in square blocks, but anonymous, without harmony, grey, with never a flower on their window-sills. The baroque and pretentious appearance of certain facades, particularly banks, built twenty or thirty years ago, do nothing to improve the city's appearance.
The Alborz range separates the central plateau front the lush Caspian littoral, the only part of the country where the rainfall is plentiful. The highest peak in the country, Mt. Damavand, is an extinct volcano covered in snow for most of the