Travellers going to Southwest Asia can consider a flight landing on Imam Khomeini International Airport. Located 30 kilometres away from Tehran, this port of entry is a replacement for Mehrabad International Airport, the main airport of Iran. Mehrabad Airport's location within the city makes it hard to accommodate the increasing number of flights, which made the rerouting of various airlines necessary. This has slowly boosted the passenger traffic in Imam Khomeini Airport, making the average number of travellers handled per year to bump up to 6.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes in Terminal 1 alone.
The origins of Imam Khomeini Airport are not without difficulties, however. The investment of foreign companies on this port of entry has earned heavy criticism and active protests in the community. This has made it difficult for the administration to deal with the issue until it was resolved through providing the service contracts to local companies instead. This has continued the construction and expansion of the airport, which is on the track to becoming one of the leading airports in the region.
What to see & do
Although not as culturally significant as Persepolis or as rich in religious structures as Mashhad, the museums of Tehran make it worthwhile to visit. Its displays and relics hark back to the historical times which present a clear look at the Iranian identity. The National Museum, for instance, features a fine art deco-style brickwork building that houses a wide range of collections from ceramics and pottery to figures and carvings from excavation sites. Although there is a lack of easily comprehensible explanations in English, the displays here are intriguing in themselves. Delightful pitchers and animal-shaped vessels can beguile one, while others may find a copy of the detailing of the Code of Hammurabi a fascinating sight to remember.
From there, tourists can turn to Golestan Palace, where one will find a grand complex of buildings surrounding a well-tended garden. The beauty of the place can be a sight to behold from outside to inside, which can make one appreciate Iranian architecture. Another trip to schedule is in Niyavaran Palace Museum. The landscaped gardens and the palace was the former residence of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family once ruled over Iran from 1940s to the 1970s.
After doing the rounds of exploring more museums, one must not forget to visit a teahouse or two in between. This lets one get a closer look at the Iranian people and interact with them in relaxed surroundings. Ask around for a nice area where one can order delicious and well-cooked meals. Persian kebabs are a favourite, as well as various rice dishes. Sweets are also popular in Tehran such as baklava and halva, which is usually served in special occasions. They go together with tea or coffee, which can make one stay longer to savour the treats and the hot beverages.
How to get around within Imam Khomeini
The public transport is relatively manageable in Tehran, although it can be crowded with the buses and minibuses. Those going to the surrounding areas or other parts of the country can take the underground railway metro. Some of the rail lines do not work as well, however, which makes it necessary for commuters to plan their trip ahead. One can flag down a taxi at the terminals for those hurrying towards their destination in the city. Travellers also have the option to rent a car or motorcycle, but only the experienced drivers should do so due to the aggressive style of driving by the locals.
How to get there
Travellers going in and out of the country through Imam Khomeini Airport can board flights heading out to other countries in Asia and other parts of the world. Airlines serving here include: Aeroflot, Air Arabia, Alitalia, Atlasjet, Austrian Airlines, Caspian Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai, Germania, Gulf Air, Iran Air, Iraqi Airways, Kuwait Airways, Lufthansa, Mahan Air, Meraj Airlines, Oman Air, Pegasus Airlines, Qatar Airways, Qeshm Airlines, Taban Air, Tajik Air, Turkish Airlines, UM Airlines, and Zagros Airlines.