10 Wonderful Ways to Spend Winter in Iran

Madi Jahangir * – Winter is approaching in few days based on Iranian calendar. Iran is a relatively big country and due to its size the weather can extremely vary from northern Iran to south. Winter in North is quite cold and the temprature is well below zero every year with regular rain and snowfall depending to the generosity of Mother Nature.

However, South Iran enjoys a very pleasant and mild weather in winter, almost like a cool spring and it is quite possible to swim in the Persian Gulf for some hours in winter days.
All that said above, the way you are going to spend your winter in Iran is very much based on where you are planning to go. Continue reading

In Pictures: The First Autumn Snow in Iran

Dream Of Iran – Iran is called the land of four seasons for a reason. This week the first snow of autumn blanketed half of Iran and led to closure of schools in several cities. This happens while at the moment, Iranians in southern Iran enjoy swimming in the Persian gulf and take bath under the beautiful warm Sun. These all seem out of context for northerners in the winter days.
Tehran also experiences white winter every year and it is much more welcomed by the Tehraners as a sign of relief from the pollution. Specially this year that the smog forced the Tehran officials to declare an air pollution emergency, even the little snow or rainfall can come to the rescue and clear away the dirt from the face of the mega capital. Continue reading

From Ariobarzanes to Ta Moradi: A Road Travel to History of Yasuj

Kija * – The roads in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province are amazingly beautiful in a way that when you start driving in them, you forget the destination and get lost wandering and watching the landscape. My trip to the province was in fact a road trip to enjoy the natural beauties of the area. But to my surprise, the trip had more profound impact on me and led me to much deeper insight about the history of the province.

Ario Barzan in Yasuj

Ario Barzan aka Ariobarzanes square in Yasuj

Yasuj is the capital of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province in which we slept the night and the early morning of next day, we went to city’s Ariobarzanes square. Yasuj municipality has erected a statue of Ariobarzanes in the square to pay tribute to an ancient Iranian hero. Ariobarzanes which in Farsi means exalting the Aryans was name of an Iranian general, a Satrap of Persis who led the last stand of the Iranian army at the Battle of the Persian Gate against King Alexander the Macedonian in the winter of 330 BC. After 30 days of resistance against the Ancient Macedonians, he was then killed together with his soldiers in the battle near Yasuj.  Continue reading

At Home in Tabriz: An Australian’s Motorcycle Trip in Iran

Brian’s World Trip* – As I sat on the footpath trying to cool down an elderly, yet surprisingly spritely, gentleman on a modern mountain bike stopped to ask, in very good English, if I was OK. I replied that everything was fine, I just needed a break. After the usual chit-chat I told him I was looking for the Kosar Hotel. Semsary, or Sam as he preferred to be called, gave me some simple directions to the hotel and began to pedal away.

Sam with life-size bronze statue of Sattar Khan, a local Azeri hero of the Constitutional Revolution. / Photo Credit: Brian

Sam with life-size bronze statue of Sattar Khan, a local Azeri hero of the Constitutional Revolution. / Photo Credit: Brian

After riding about 50 metres Sam returned and said he was heading home for lunch, and then asked if I would like to join him. With nothing better to do I gratefully accepted his offer. We headed off in the direction of Baghmisheh, a modest residential district on the eastern outskirts of Tabriz several kilometres away. As we wound our way through the chaotic traffic Sam would occasionally catch a tow from my panniers when we rode up some of the steeper hills. Sam’s wife, Agdaz, had prepared an enormous lunch – enough for six people not just the three present. After lunch, Sam and I swapped life stories – his far more dramatic than mine. Continue reading

In love with Persian Language: A French Traveler in Iran

Oh My Road! * – In Iran I was feeling linguistically at home. It sounds weird, right? Let me try to explain. On many accounts I can easily establish links between French and Persian, and I think that’s part of the reason why I fell for Persian. I already mentioned the spelling systems, but the similarities don’t end there.


Persian alphabet

There is this interesting habit they have of contracting the words. You know how in French class they teach you that “I don’t know” translate into Je ne sais pas? And how you will never hear a French person in everyday life actually say Je ne sais pas, but you’ll hear everything from Je n’sais pas to Chépa? Well the same happens in Persian. To say “I am going” you’re supposed to say miravam, but what you actually hear is miram. To say “I’m not” you’re supposed to say Ne hastam but you say nistam. I know this happens in English also (“I am not” vs “I’m not”) but I think Persian and French do it to a greater extent. Continue reading

Susa: Iran’s Open Air Museum

My children, I and tomb of Daniel / Photo: Mahtab Chahartaqi

My children, I and tomb of Daniel / Photo: Mahtab Chahartaqi

Mahtab Chahartaqi * – It might seem crazy to miss your younger sister who lives in the country’s hottest region exactly in the hottest summer days of the year. But we did it!

We had only three days off and the distance was too far. However, we decided to travel by bus from Tehran to Ahvaz and that’s how our family of four got in the 8:30 am bus with four tickets in hands and two backpacks. We arrived 20 something hours later at Susa (current Shush), a city located in 110 km north of Ahvaz. Continue reading

Nakhl-Gardani: Experiencing Passionate Ashura in Yazd

Madi Jahangir – Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, Iranian prominent writer says in his memoirs: “Yazd is Iran’s museum of mourning tools.” On the corner of the stunning Amir Chakhmaq complex which draws attention of every tourist, stands the 8.5 meters high Nakhl, the Arabic word for palm tree which is used with the same meaning in Farsi. This Nakhl, however, looks more similar to any regular cypress tree which Iran is famous for, often known as the country’s national tree as well.

 The Nakhl in Yazd is a huge structure weighing several tons consisting of interwoven carved woods in the shape of a very large leaf or, as said above, the cypress tree. Traveling through the cities in central desert of Iran, one may see so many of these Nakhls in the corner of the mosques and tekyehs. But the ones in Yazd and Taft, a nearby town, are considered to be the oldest and tallest in Iran, dating back to 450 something years ago and the Safavid dynasty.

Continue reading

Hamedan Revisited: A Traveling Wife From Brunei

Hamsare Mosafer * – Before leaving for Tehran on the last day of our Hamedan tour, we managed to visit a few more places and historical sites of interest in and around the city. Our first stop in the morning was the Gonbad-e-Alavian or Tomb of Alavian located in the vicinity of Eyn-ol-Qozat Square. It is a four-sided structure 12th century mausoleum dating back to the Seljuk period, containing tombs of two members of the Alavian family which ruled Hamedan for two centuries. Continue reading

Tomb of Four Kings in Lahijan: Tracing a Historical Capital

Madi Jahangir *  There are two gates. I entered the yard from the right gate where old men were sitting on the stairs and staring at my camera. Though I assume they were staring at my camera from when I was photographing Lahijan’s grand mosque on the side of the square. Upon entering the Chahar Padshahan (Four Kings), I found myself walking on the stone tiles in between them the green grass had grown. Chahar Padshahan consists of two buildings. There is a newer structure with blue ceramic artworks similar to that of typical mosques in Iran. But the shorter building on the left looks much less new and much more Gilani style of architecture: Wooden structure, white plaster walls, clay roof tiles and ancient cafe house style of paintings here and there. Continue reading

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