10 Persian People Physical Characteristics and Stereotypes

10 Persian People Physical Characteristics and Stereotypes

The Persian people are one of the oldest civilizations that still inhabit their homeland. They are often defined by physical characteristics such as olive and pale skin, large dark or deep blue eyes, and almond shaped eyes. 

This article will discuss five physical characteristics and five stereotypical traits of the Persian people. But note that these are stereotypes only. Every individual has their own freewill and unique personality.

Physical Characteristics Of The Persian People 

The ancestors of the Persian people still mainly live in modern-day Iran and share a significant amount of characteristics with their ancient ancestors. Five of the most common physical attributes are listed below:

1. A Mixture Of Complexions 

Persian people are usually olive-skinned and dark-haired, which has been the norm for thousands of years.

Their hair was typically long and tangled, and a large portion of the males had beards to match this.

However, it’s not uncommon to come across a very light skinned and fair-haired Persian, especially in some of the minority groups across the country. Light eyes of a blue, green, and grey color are relatively common among the same minority groups yet, also common in the bulk of the darker-skinned population.

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2. Tall

Ancient Persians were known for being of a relatively large stature. While they may have only had an average height of around 5.8 feet tall, this was still much taller than the average Roman or Greek of the day, which averaged approximately 5.5 feet. 

Even today, this has remained a prominent feature of Persian characteristics, where most men are around 179cm or 5.9 feet tall. This, compared to Finland’s 178cm, Canada’s ; the UK’s 177cm, means they are still of a reasonably large height. 

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3. A Hooked, Wavy, and Curved Nose

One of the significant characteristics of the ancient and modern Persian people was their noses.

This was such a prominent feature that it could have been used to tell them apart from separate population groups. 

Their noses were a distinctive shape that’s been described as hooked, wavy, sharp, and curved all at once. The nose itself is actually seen as a beautiful feature of most Persians, especially females. 

4. Beautiful Shaped Eyes

It’s been well-documented that Persian women, as well as the men, have some of the world’s most beautiful eyes.

Some have large deep black eyes, whereas others will have eyes of a deep blue, grey, or green color. 

Another prominent feature found among Persian peoples is almond shaped eyes. While almond-shaped eyes are relatively common in this part of the world, the specific style is versatile within the Persian people. 

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5. Pride and Humility

The behavior of the Persian people was heavily influenced by people’s perceptions of pride and dignity.

This age-old tradition was based on the idea that people should protect their family and personal name. 

As Persian people generally resist doing anything that would bring shame to their name or family, they are known for adhering to social expectations in their homeland. They believe that acting through humility prevents an excess of criticism. 

False StereotypesOf The Persian People

There are numerous physical characteristics that many of the Persian people share, and there are also multiple stereotypical traits that have been assigned to them by outside influences. Here is a list of five of the significant stereotypical traits:

1. They Were Gentle People

Greek writers often referred to the Persians as slavish by birth because they had a peaceful life full of agricultural farming.

The area around Mesopotamia was very fertile, which gave the Persians a life easier than some countries further south. 

However, this wasn’t wholly accurate, as while the Persians may have been semi-nomadic people who utilized agricultural farming, they were also some of the best warriors in central Eurasia.

They played an integral part in collapsing some of the most powerful kingdoms in history, such as the Assyrian empire. 

2. Persians Are Arabs

A significant stereotype that was invented in the last few centuries is that Persians are Arabs. This is certainly not true as the Persian people have traced their genetic ancestry back to the first indo-Aryan groups that migrated to the area thousands of years ago. 

However, as they live on the border with many Arabic peoples, over time, a small amount of this genetic ancestry has entered their gene pool. For example, around 2% of Iran’s population (which is majority Persian) are Arab. This amounts to approximately 1.6 million people. 

3. Persians Speak Arabic

One of the most common misconceptions or stereotypes about the Persian people is that they speak Arabic. This is false, as they speak a language called Farsi, which is from the Indo-Iranian family. 

However, because Persia has a small number of Arabic population groups, there is a portion of people who speak Arabic. 

4. Persians Live In The Desert

The next common stereotype about the Persian people is that they live in the desert. However, this is not entirely accurate. Persians live in a very diverse geographical region. 

While Iran (a homeland of a significant number of Persians) has a large amount of land covered by desert, the majority of the population chooses to live in other parts of the country. Iran has beautiful mountainous regions and some of the best ski resorts on the planet. 

5. Pale Skin? (Perhaps Not!)

In the early 18th and 19th centuries, scholars suggested that all Aryan peoples were white and fair-haired. This included the Persian-Iranian people, whose name means “of the Aryan race.” 

However, this is not the case at all. As while the Persians have numerous green or blue-eyed people with red and fair hair, the majority of the Persian people have darker olive skin accompanied by darker hair. 


So, now that you know about some of the common characteristics of the Persian people, you may begin to notice that you have something in common with them. If this is true, who knows, maybe at some point in your family’s history, they migrated from this cradle of civilization. 

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

8 thoughts on “10 Persian People Physical Characteristics and Stereotypes”

  1. “Persian” relates to ethnicity while “Iranian” encompasses a nationality. You can be Iranian and not necessarily be Persian. You can be Iranian and be Mazandarani, Gilaki, Kurdish, Lur, Baloch, Azeri, Turkmen, Arab or another ethnicity. You can be Iranian and not speak Persian.

    1. I agree to some extent. As an Iranian or Persian guy who knows a bit of history, Iran was called Persia up until around 100 years ago when its name was changed to Iran officially. So people of Iran were called Persians that in fact stated their nationality. However, as you have mentioned there are different ethnicities living there and the majority are Fars or Parsi (English: Persian). I believe that every Iranian is also Persian as the current land has represented Persia for thousands of years.

  2. Nice 👍 Northern parts of Iran has light skin, but when you go south, people’s skin go dark, due to climate and sun exposure. But if you travel to the northern you will see many Iranians that are very light skinned. Some of them are blonde and have blue or green eyes. But The majority of Iranians are light skinned or olive skinned with black or brown hair and eyes.
    Hollywood is funny when trying to stereotype Iranians with dark, brown skin.

  3. I am an Iranian from Lor region, I have blue eyes and light brown hair. My little sister has blonde hair and blue eyes. In our country there are millions of people who have white skin and colored eyes, it is very funny if someone calls us Arab or Indian or black. We have Iranian culture and ethnic groups, even Iranian Arabs and Turkmens have strongly accepted Persian language, culture and genetics. Persians are Indo-European immigrants. I would like you not to censor this comment, publish it so that people do not confuse us with anyone and get to know us better.

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