Oooh so jealous!! I’ve been to Tehran only a few times and mostly as a child so unfortunately I’m not an expert. But I did go last summer very briefly and I went to Niavaran Palace. It was stunnnnning. And actually there were tons of young trendy people and tourists in the cafe on premises. I really suggest you go. So cool. You can see the shah’s car collection and art collections. The palace itself is as they left it when they fled in 1978 so there are kids toys everywhere left untouched. It’s just amazing.
Also I love Vali Asr Road. It’s just surrounded by beautiful tall trees. It feels very sophisticated. It’s good for just a stroll down.
Milad Tower was so much fun. There’s always some cultural thing going on for free outside or paid concerts. There’s a gorgeous fancy cafe at the top (restaurants lower levels) you can see the whole city. There’s a picture of me there under “personal”.
They also have these crazy ice creams calls “Bastani Borji” that are like the tallest things I’ve ever seen! I can’t remember where we got them from. But obviously mine landed right in the middle of my headscarf haha.
basically anywhere up town is filled with gorgeous young cool Iranians going about their life and having fun.
Oh I almost forgot! Darband is awesome. It’s up in the mountains. Beautiful restaurants and little stalls. It’s just a really awesome atmosphere and the air is a lot cleaner than the rest of the city. Aaaaand you must go skiing up in the Damavand Mountain. Beyond beautiful and the it spot to go really. There’s actually a few ski resorts. Go on this site: http://www.iranskitours.ir/index.html
Sorry for the rant. Hope it’s a little helpful. I’ve probably missed so many things. You’re better off talking to someone from Tehran :( but please let me know how your trip goes! I’d love to hear :)
The first book that springs to mind is Persopolis by Marjane Satrapi. It’s in a comic book style and really funny. But it tells the narrative of Iran’s recent history and cultural/political/religious changes from pre revolution till after the millennium. Of course she’s her own person with her own views, others might disagree with her sentiments. Just read it with an open mind and start with that for now. :) although, if you’ve read Lolita by Nabokov (I think that’s how it’s spelt, Reading Lolita In Tehran is also a really good book. It follows the lives of 5 girls of different social classes and backgrounds and beliefs that illegally come to study literature that’s recently been forbidden after the revolution. The book is written through the teacher’s eyes who’s been fired from university.
I’m really glad you’re interested and want to learn Farsi. It’s such a beautiful language. I’m not just saying that I swear haha. I speak 4 ish languages and I adore languages but there’s something poetic and magical about regular Farsi let alone poetry and literature. The words just flow off the tongue so nicely. Anyway, I don’t know where you live, but I suggest you enrol in Farsi classes. That’s the best way to go about it. If not, you might be able to teach yourself with elementary school books or just google “learn Farsi online”. I’ll try find you some links to books but id need you to come off anon to give it to you.
Watching a ton of Persian films of different genres (including documentaries in English or Farsi with English subtitles) will kill two birds with one stone because you’ll learn about culture and social dynamics as well as obviously Farsi. I suggest films by directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abbas Kiarostami, Dariush Mehrjui if you’re looking for award winning stuff and moving too. If not, I believe I’ve summarised a list of hilarious not-to-be-taken-seriously comedies in June if you can click on archive. If you can’t find it let me know I will.
I hope this has been of use somewhat. Thanks for coming to me. Let me know how you get on. :)