An astonishing destination for original travellers: Iran

Masjed-e Imam, sulla grandiosa piazza di Esfahan
Masjed-e Imam, on the huge square in Esfahan

Not so many people would consider Iran as the perfect destination for tourists. The collective imagination depicts it as a land of fundamentalist and dangerous people and an unsafe place. But that is…wrong!
Being naturally curious about the world, we wanted to check so we decided to visit Iran in summer 2013 and we had the most surprising and happiest travel experience ever made.

This is a shortlist of what you will find if you are brave enough to get rid of the prejudices and take a flight to Teheran:

  1. smiling people welcoming you to their country “Welcome to Iran!” will be the most frequent greeting and you’ll find locals asking to take a picture together. If you like meeting people, Iran could be the best country in the world.
    Hint: iranian people are mad for picnic and at dinner, in every park or garden of the country, you can meet hundreds of families happy to talk with you and to share something to eat!
    In our opinion people in Kashan are probably the nicest of the country!

    A roundup of some friendly Iranian we met during our trip
  2. colourful mosques – forget about sad and grey buildings, where people go just to pray, iranian mosques are beautiful with their pale blue or pink tiles (not to mention the stained glass windows) and they are a lovely place where to meet families and have a talk with locals
    Winter prayer room in Shiraz
    Winter prayer room in Shiraz
  3. lively bazaars where you can buy “one thousand and one nights” jewels, clothes and carpets – every town has its own and it’s usually huge… you might get lost in them but don’t mind, a friendly iranian will be ready to help and accompany you wherever you need to go
    IRAN_1213
    The bazar in Shiraz is one of the best and most crowded we have ever seen
  4. elegant museums and palaces – Golestan Palace and the Glass museum in Teheran, Naranjestan Palace in Shiraz or the traditional houses in Kashan are just an example of the architectural highlights of this country
    IRAN_0120-2
    the Koranic school of kashan hosts many young and really friendly guys who are studying to become mullah
  5. archaeological sites – not so many archaeological sites in the world are as famous as the legendary Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid empire: never heard of Xerses, Cyrus or Alexander the Great?
    IRAN_1618
    These are the tombs of Xerses, Cyrus etc
  6. ancient and almost unknown religions – in Iran you will find not only mosques but also orthodox churches, jewish sinagogues and zoroastrian temples (if you don’t know what is zoroastrianism, perhaps you might be familiar with the name Zarathustra and the motto “right thoughts right words right actions”)
    IRAN_1701
    Zoroastrian temple in Yazd
  7. caravanserais in the middle of the desert – no, they are not a mirage but true shelters. Meet the keeper and his family, you’ll have fun with them!
    IRAN_1658
    Ancient caravanserais of Zeinoddin, now a simple, but really characteristic hotel
  8. the biggest square you have ever seen in your life – it is in the city of Esfahan, aka “the half of the world”: no surprise there is such a huge and wonderful square!
    IRAN_0741-2
    Naqsh-e Jahan, one of the biggest square in the world
  9. nightlife – if the day is too hot to wander around, wait until evening: you’ll see people that gather in the streets and gardens and you’ll listen to the old singers under the amazing old bridges of Esfahan
    Night life
    Night life in Esfahan
  10. feeling like the Prince of Persia on the rooftops – some ancient buildings and the hammams have beautiful roofs. Climb up to see the incredible skyline of Kashan
    The crazy roof of the hammam in Kashan
  11. walk around the city searching for the joyous, creative or rhetorical murales many of them are full of poetry

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    On a barrack’s wall
    Gli allegri asili iraniani
    On a kindergarten’s wall
  12. lose yourself exploring the narrow alleys in search of the most beautiful badgir  the typical tower wind, in the ancient desert city of Yazd

    IRAN_1741
    A badgir peeps beyond other buildings
    IRAN_1839
    A beautiful butterfly in a park of Yazd, the city between two deserts

 

Also posted on OneWorld365

Ross

The mottos that best represent me? "Worry more about your conscience than your reputation. Because your conscience is what you are, your reputation is what others think of you. And what others think of you is their problem." and..."Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Un pensiero riguardo “An astonishing destination for original travellers: Iran

  • 29/07/2015 in 11:58 am
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    I remember being so curious about your trip to Iran and then really appreciated your reportage in pictures.
    It’s true that there are lots of stereotypes about this country, and it’s great to find out that most of them aren’t actually true 🙂

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