We all could have some .... of a place when we hear about it.
I look for a word which means the image or idea we have about a country that we got from various sources (TV, other people)
For example, we may think Japan is a green place full of cherry blooms with very polite people who usually eat sea foods!...
If I want to translate a Persian phrase I can say:
- mental background
Or I myself can make a word like pre image or prior image. However as I checked they aren't valid or idiomatic.