Iran is located in Asia, borders with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and central Asian republics. Iran’s area is about 1,650,000 km2 three times the size of France or in other words the size of United Kingdome, France, Switzerland, Spain and Italy on the whole. Iran contains 31 provinces.
West of Iran Zagros Mountains forms a natural barrier with Iraq and from the north with the above mentioned central Asian countries. In the East are Afghanistan and Pakistan while the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman demonstrate the southern limits.
Iran is the land of great contrasts, both climatically and physically. For instance the green Zagros chain located in the west versus the snowy crags of Alborz range in the north. Few people in the world can associate snow with their mental image of Iran while two-thirds of Iran usually endures heavy winter snowfalls in January and February because of the high altitude throughout the country. In the northwest, Tabriz (1,349m) about 30 days of snow a year. Alborz range and Sabalan in Azerbaijan have snow as well as glacier. Many people of Tehran escape from the capital and flock within a few hours’ drive of the city for ski and escaping from pollution and crowd.
Iran has three distinct climates. Most part of it has the continental climate, hot summers and sharp and short winters. In the northwest, Azerbaijan has a similar climate of Switzerland. East and the southern shore of Caspian Sea are humid and the central desert is insanely dry and hot. ( Dasht-e Lut was reported at 70.7 centigrade in summer of 2005).
Fauna and Flora: In the forests and woodlands of Azerbaijan, northwest of Iran there are different types of birds including wood pigeons, green woodpeckers, shrikes, nightingales and thrushes. Lake Orumiyeh in this region was made a bird reserve in 1967 such as flamingos. About the Mammals, the northern forests have many types of deer including red, roe and fallow deer as well as Mesopotamian deer, also predators like wolves and foxes.
South, and the hotter central provinces of Iran are home of jackals and mongooses which can be seen in the ruins of Persepolis. Camels are the signifier of the deserts. In central provinces including Fars there are areas known for bat caves as well.
April and early May is the best time to see the flora of Iran. At this time the mountains and the valleys are once carpeted with blossoms, new grass and masses of wild flowers. Of the 80 species of tulips, 12 are recorded in Iran. Tulipa biflora is the most widespread being and Tulipa clusiana with its red and white petals. The saffron is mainly can be found in East of Iran, Khorasan province. Sweet smelling roses in Shiraz which are used in the local production of rose jam, syrup and rose-water perfume.