A long time ago in Tehran

A long time ago in Tehran

Categories: Asia | History

We present photos of Iran taken at a time when skirts were short, dancing was energetic, and the United States was not enemy number 1.

When Westerners hear the word "Iran" today, women in veils, burning American flags and angry crowds shouting nationalist slogans come to mind. But those who have preserved memories of Tehran in the 1960s and 70s paint a completely different picture for themselves. Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran's capital was one of the most culturally advanced in the world. The New York Times wrote: "Before the revolution, Iran was the most cultured and multinational country in the region. Art, literature, film and television industries were developing rapidly there." Both men and women could receive education, and residents went on vacation to ski resorts near Mount Elbrus. Kaveh Farrokh now lives in Canada, but remembers his youth spent in Iran, when it was possible to watch American films in high-end cinemas and wander around the airport, stuffed with advanced technologies of that time.

However, the sweet life was not for all Iranians. The social and economic inequality created by the Government of the Shah of Iran has caused the poverty of some and the incredible wealth of others. Such contrasts led to the fall of the Shah's government and the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the consequences of which still determine the course of the country.

A long time ago in Tehran

A long time ago in Tehran

1. Aerial view of Vali-Asr Square in 1971. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

2. Female students in the park of Tehran University in 1971. Women began to be admitted to university in 1934, long before the same thing happened in the United States. After the revolution, women can still get an education, but now they have to stay only in separate rooms. Nobody even talks about mini-skirts anymore. But even despite this openness, in 1977 only 35% of women in Tehran were educated. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

3. The gateway to the University of Tehran in 1971. After the revolution, the university courtyard was used for mass prayers on Fridays. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

4. University students in 1970. Although religious studies was a popular subject, lectures on mathematics, astronomy, medicine and literature were also attended by a large number of students. Today, about 35,000 full-time and part-time students study at the University of Tehran. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

5. Students of medical specialty. Now the university has a library of 17,000 handwritten volumes in Farsi, Arabic and Turkish. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

6. Operating room of a hospital in Tehran in 1971. By the end of the Shah's reign, Iran's 34 million residents were treated by only 15,000 doctors, which caused huge problems with medicine, especially outside of such large centers as Tehran. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

7. Vali-Asr Street, which used to be called Pahlevi Street in honor of the ruling dynasty, in 1960. Surrounded by trees, this street is one of the busiest in Tehran. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

8. Hilton Hotel in Tehran, 1961. Now it is called Esteghlal International Hotel. Farrokh says that in the 60s it was possible to gather here for a walk with friends, but when he was in the city in 2001, he found that the building was surrounded by various industrial buildings. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

9. Mehrabad International Airport in 1971. Mehrabad was supposed to be one of the busiest and most modern airports in Western Asia, but the revolution has significantly reduced the influx of tourists. In the 1960s, when air travel was still a novelty for people, and airports were fascinating with their strangeness, popular jazz cafes were located in Mehrabad. Currently, most international flights are accepted by Imam Khomeini International Airport. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

10. Photo of Istanbul street in 1965. Fancy American cars were not uncommon on the streets of Tehran. Visiting the capital of Iran at that time was considered as prestigious as going to New York or Paris. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

11. The Tower of the Memory of the Kings in Tehran (in 1979 it was renamed the Freedom Tower, or Azadi Tower) during construction in 1966. Later, the monument became closely associated with the city, and Farrokh calls it the "Eiffel Tower of Tehran". Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

12. "Miss Iran" 1967 Shahla Vahabjadi. The beauty contest was held at the Hilton Hotel, where the contestants fought for the title of the most beautiful girl in the country. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

13. Shemshak ski resort in 1971. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

14. Abali ski resort in 1966. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

15. A Pepsi-Cola lid from Iran in the 1970s. Farrokh says that Teherans have always considered their pepsi tastier than the American original. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

16. An Iranian rock-jazz band called "the Black Cats". Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

17. Golden City Cinema in 1971. The poster shows the name of Arabesque — a film with Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

18. A twist in Tehran? The cream of Tehran society took off their shoes and danced to rock and roll in the early 60s. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

19. Mother and son in the children's department of a department store in Tehran in 1971. In the Kourosh department store, in addition to chic clothes for men and women, there was also a luxury restaurant on the top floor. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

A long time ago in Tehran

20. Iran's radio station in the early 70s. The state broadcasting company "National Radio and Television of Iran" was opened in 1971 by Rezo Ghotbi, a close relative of the former Queen of Iran. Gotbi now lives in the USA. Courtesy of Kaveh Farrokh

Keywords: 60s | 70s | Changes | Iran | Tehran | Then and now

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