Since the beginning of history, Iran possessed a distinct cultural identity despite the several invasions the country encountered over the centuries. Today, the rich art and culture of Iran has a great influence on other nations, both in Central Asia, and throughout the world.
The art and culture of Iran has manifested itself in several aspects all through the history of the nation as well as that of many Central Asian states.
The Iranian Cultural Continent constituting the countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and adjacent states, is the abode of the world's richest art heritages. Iranian art include many disciplines such as architecture, calligraphy, painting, weaving, pottery, stone masonry and metalworking.
The Iranian art history can be categorized into two distinct periods whose division is the mid-7th century AD, when Arab invaders converted the Persian people to Islam.
Iranian art has undergone several stages of evolution which is evident from the unique aesthetics of Persia reflected in the Achaemenid reliefs in Persepolis to the mosaic paintings of Bishapur. The Islamic period brought about radical changes to the arts styles and practices, each dynasty having its own distinct foci.
Calligraphy is one of the highly regarded and renowned arts of Iran. The art of calligraphy is so important that some arts appear flawed, without the use of attractive calligraphy.
The art of calligraphy is used in Iran more commonly than any other nation, to enrich and decorate metallic vessels, earthen-ware, and historic buildings.
The art of music in Iran can be traced back to the earlier days of Barbod in the royal Sassanid courts, where many other music cultures like Flamenco have their origins too. Throughout the history of Iran, a distinctive music evolved along with several musical instruments. Some of these instruments became the first samples of a few modern musical instruments used today.
The first references to Iranian musicians are found in Elam and Susa in the 3rd millennium BC. The origin of Iranian traditional music in its contemporary form can be traced back to the Naseri age.
Over 2500 years, the Persian language has been in constant use; however it is a subset of the superset of languages of Iran. Persian literature is undoubtedly the strongest expression of the Iranian genius. Among the many literary genres, it is poetry where the Iranian literature stands out most. Poetry in Iran has flourished more than a millennium and was highly regarded and emulated in many countries outside of Iran. The writings of Turkey and India have been greatly influenced by Persian literature.
Persian literature has inspired many literary geniuses like Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others, and Persian language has been called the ideal medium for poetry.