Should we really be talking about ‘Iranian architecture’ rather than ‘the architecture of Iran’? Historically, geographic boundaries, language, faith, race or ethnicity have not been the binding elements of what is considered Iranian or Persian; a culture that has been created and shared by many people for thousands of years. For much of its history, Iran was part of an extensive empire with far-reaching trade and cultural networks. The current political situation, however, has often led to a misplaced patriotism that is inward looking and has emphasised the heritage of the nation state over its connections across the region. This could well put us in danger of appropriating a wider common heritage from a local rather than a global perspective, and isolating Iran from the context of its neighbours.