Iran is the 17th biggest country of the world with 1,648,195 km2 of area. It is located in the North and East Hemispheres, in Middle East. Geographic wise, it is a mountainous country with its mountains divided to four main categories. First, there is the Northern Mountains that include Azerbaijan, Alborz, and Khorasan, the Western Mountains, better known as Zagros, the Central Mountains, and at last the Eastern Mountains.
The northern mountains of Iran start from the border of Iran and Turkey and after passing through Azerbaijan and Caspian Sea Shore reaches Hindukush Mountains in Afghanistan. In the creation of these mountains, the sedimentary, volcanic and magmatic activities were influential. The highest part of the mountain is the Damavand mountain with a summit almost 6-thousand-meter high. The mountain has come to be the symbol of Iranian nationality and strength where according to the myths Arash went and threw a bow to determine the borders of Iran and pulled the bowstring so much that the pressure of it led to his death. The next mountain is Khorasan that is attached to the Hindukush in Afghanistan, and its width reaches 200 km in some parts. The western mountains of Iran or the Zagros Mountain starts from where the Azerbaijan Mountains are located and continues to the southeast near the Mukran mountains. The Eastern Mountains start from Khorasan in north and continue to the south near Baluchistan. The central mountains of Iran are the vast range that start from Kashan and Continues to the Baluchistan central mountains. The mountains of this mountain range are divided to Qahroud and Banan that are attached.
Geographic wise, Iran is a mountainous country with its mountains divided to four main categories. First, there is the Northern Mountains that include Azerbaijan, Alborz, and Khorasan, the Western Mountains, better known as Zagros, the Central Mountains, and at last the Eastern Mountains.
Iran is a country of many mountains. As it was explained, the country is surrounded by mountains from all sides and that effects the atmosphere and climate of Iran Greatly, especially in creation of central deserts of Iran. The mountains act as a barrier that does not allow mist to enter the center of Iran creating deserts. This arid area in Iran is divided to the northern desert or Namak and the southern desert or Lout. The Lout desert in the southeast of Iran in about 80 thousand square meter. This desert is Iran’s largest desert with a variety of desert related natural phenomenon. The second biggest desert of Iran is Namak desert with 600 km length and 100 to 300 km width. The many attractions of the desert have turned them into a favorite tourist destination of Iranian and all visiting Iran. Because of this attention, camps were built in some deserts of Iran the most famous of them being Matin Abbad, Maranjab, Mesr, and Shahdad.
Caspian Sea, the biggest lake of the world lies in part of the northern border of Iran and its beaches are one of the most popular tourist attractions of Iran. Iran has many other lakes that are mostly salt lakes, the best example of which is Gahar Lake in Lorestan, Shourmast and Valasht in Mazandaran, Maharlou and Parishan in Fars, Urmia in West Azerbaijan, Zarivar in Kurdestan, Ovan in Qazvin and Hoose Sultan in Qom.
There are various types of plants in Iran that are categorized based on the area they grow and their climatic condition. According to recent studies, Iranian flora consists of 167 families and 1200 species from 3 groups of Fern, Gymnosperm, and Angiosperms. Geographically the plant life of Iran come from three regions of Euro-Siberia, Irano – Turanian, and Sahara – Sindian. Based on these regions, Iran is divided into four zones: Hyrcanian, Zagros, Irano-Turanian and Persian Gulf Bank.
Hyrcanian region is the lands of southeast of the Caspian Sea that are bounded in their southern border by the Alborz mountain range. The whole area is covered with broadleaved forest and meadow. Surviving the Ice Age has turned the region to an area that benefits from plants that has long vanished from other countries. The most important of these species include chestnut-leaved oak, Parrotia, Bornm, and Locust. The rarest species of the region is Lilium Ledebouri that only grows in a small, protected area in Roudbar and has been registered on Iran’s List of Natural Heritage.
Zagros is famous for its oak dominated woodlands. The region is cold and covered with snow in winters. The Brant’s Oak or Persian Oak, Narrow-leafed Ash, Montpellier Maple, and hawthorn are the main flora in the region. However, the most beautiful one is a flower called crown imperial which attract lots of visitor each year to the region, the flowers of this plant last only for short period of time.
Based on the height, the region is divided into two zones, plain zone that start from Khorasan Mount and stretch to Zagros, after that reaches Persian Gulf and Oman Sea. The most common plant of this region is sweet wormwood. Next is the mountainous zone that includes southern sides of Alborz, Zagros’s Eastern foothill and mountains of Iran’s central plateau. Sainfoins, Acanthophyllum, Milkvetch, Boiss & Buhse, Flava Ungerina, Berberia Khorasanica and Aucheri Pteropryum are among the plants in the region.
The region located in the southern part of the country and covered with palms, Acacia and Ziziphus. The flora in northern coast of Persian Gulf and Oman Sea are variant. In the region with more annual rainfall, Medicago, Gramineae, Leguminocae grow and in region close to Oman, Nannorhops, Acacia Ehrenbergian, Dtricta Rhzya, Prosopis Cineraria and Stricta grow more but the most famous plant in the region is Zhumeria that is a medical plant and registered as an endangered species due to unstructured harvest.
Geographical and climatic conditions of the country has led to the existence of different types of Insects, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in Iran.
Insects: approximately, four million insects live here in Iran, and despite the negligence, 25 thousands of them have been identified and documented. Among all different species of insects, Butterflies receive the most attention, as it is witnessed in butterflying tours attracting tourist from different part of Iran and the world.
Fishes: Iranian fishes live in 19 domestic drainage basin and have 16 orders. Common carp with 80 species is the most populated species of Iran fishes.
Amphibians: amphibians of Iran does not possess the same variety the rest of species have. In Iran, six families and 20 species of amphibians is found. Iranian salamander and Gharezi salamander can be considered as the most well-known cases of amphibians. The amphibian order that is more commonly known among the people is the frogs and toads that are divided to 4 families and 13 species. The rarest of them are European common toad and desert toad that are not the endemic species but live in Iran as well.
Reptiles: 5 orders and 21 families of reptiles have been identified in Iran. 10 species of turtles, one species of crocodile, 112 alligators, one species of lizard, and 72 species of snakes which make a total of 206 species of reptiles.
Birds: The biggest number of animals in Iran belongs to the species of birds. There are 514 species of birds in Iran including 19 orders and 64 families. Since three quarter of Iran is arid and semi-arid area, the large number of Iranian birds also live in these areas including, Cream – colored courser, Bustard, Persian ground jay, Sandgrouse, Greater Hoopoe Lark, and Trumpeter Finch.
Mammals: 168 species of Mammals in 10 orders and 37 families make the mammal population of Iran. Rodents make up the largest order of mammals with 37 percent, after that bats with 40 species, carnivore with 29 species, insectivore with 26 species, whales with 10 species, toed with 8 species, rabbits with 3 species, seals, odd-toed, and sea cow each with one species are all mammal of Iran. Roe deer, black bear, pygmy tree shrew, Caspian seal as well as Asiatic Cheetah are the most famous mammals of Iran.