Set at the foot of the Alborz mountains, Tehran, once an agricultural enclave characterized by forests and abundant mountain water, developed at the site of a citadel since medieval times. Tehran was first walled during the Safavid era, in the mid-sixteenth century. With the decline of other regional centers, Tehran replaced Shiraz as the capital of the Zand dynasty in the mid-eighteenth century, before being proclaimed the capital of the succeeding Qajar dynasty in 1795. Tehran flourished under Qajar patronage, and the city gained the addition of various gardens and complexes, perhaps the most notable being the Kakh-i Gulistan, or Gulistan Palace.
By the early twentieth century, these walls were subsumed by the continually expanding city, as the population growth reached half a million. From 1870-2/1287-9 AH, Nasir al-Din undertook the city's modernization, extending the city walls, adding decorative towers and twelve new, tiled gates. Inspired by the urban development of Paris under Napoleon III, which al-Din had witnessed personally on a visit abroad in 1873, the new walls were designed with the work of Sebastien Leprestre de Vauban in mind, and the area north of the original city transformed to the likeness of the Boulevard Haussman. New avenues and squares were constructed, among them; Meydan-e Tupkhane (Cannon Square) , Avenue Lalezar (Tulipbed Street), and Ala Od Dwale Under al-Din's direction the city quadrupled in size, and many of the gardens surrounding the city were used for further construction. The Kakh-i Gulistan was rebuilt, and became the centerpiece of the city, with the addition of turreted towers, supervised by Dust 'Ali Khan Nizam al Dawla. Polychrome tiles replaced the painted ornamentation in much of the complex, as did carved stucco and decorative mirror-work. In addition to the Kakh-i Gulistan, summer palaces were constructed in the Shimiranat villages in the city's northern suburbs.
Tehran yet again underwent expansion and modernization efforts in the mid-twentieth century, as the prosperity that accompanied the exploitation of oil from the 1950s accelerated the growth of the city. In 1979, Tehran became a hub for revolutionary activities, aimed at concluding the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The city has continued to be a site of development, with over half of Iran's total industry being based in Tehran, and the construction of many research and educational centers.
Mohammadreza Hashemitaba, Seyed. “English abstract of 'The Myth of Tehran'". Translated by Seyed Mohammadreza Hashemitaba. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi, 150. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
ستاری، جلال. اسطوره تهران. تهران: دفتر پژوهشهای فرهنگی ، ١٣٨٨، چاپ دوم، ۲٥٠ص
Written by one of the most prolific contemporary Iranian mythologists, the book is an investigation into the mythological foundations and representations of Tehran. It employs ‘written sources’ and postpones the usage of visual materials such as movies, theatres and paintings to a future research. The “written sources” are in fact a highly selective number of novels in modern Iran. The core question of the book is whether Tehran is a truly mythological city, or has been given mythological dimensions later by novelists. The author’s verdict is that Tehran is not a real mythological city and belongs to the latter group of cities. The argument put forward by the author, however, is unsatisfactory. The author never engages closely with the question he has posed and indeed the book is a selective survey of representations of Tehran in the modern literary form, namely the novels. This is not to overlook the important contributions of the book to the field, including its analysis of the largely negative depiction of Tehran in novels in terms of the dilemmas and pathologies that modernity and urbanisation have brought.