An American in Tehran

B.O. from Boston, USA as she signed her article, traveled to Iran in 2008 as a curious American who wanted to know about the reality of Iranian society and culture away from negativity that mainstream media tries to enforce into the mind of viewers. I found it a nice read and share with you some part of it here to read. The piece is interesting from an American point of view as she described Tehran as a multi-cultural place, far more multi-dimensional that Americans are led to believe.  Continue reading

Visiting Iran: Ancient Cities and Natural Wonders

Max Hartshorne It was a long, long night, as I arrived at Tehran’s Khomeini airport at about 3 am and spent a few hours wrestling with various levels of authority to try and finish the visa business that I started last week.

We drove the empty highway, hurtling along straddling two lanes, and reached this big hotel, where I would bed down for a mere three hours. Now I’m up, it’s time to go to the big tourism event, and I am surrounded by tour operators and men from Europe in suits. I find one journalist, Paul Rogers, who knows old Kentski. At last a familiar face, another journalist.In the end, after fumbling with a fingerprint machine, the friendly cop released our passports and inside, voila! was the aforementioned and hard to get visa. And the guy I was with never paid a dime, but mine cost $125 mailed earlier to their embassy. Continue reading

Behind the rows of a Friday Prayer in Tehran

Madi Jahangir – People are arriving from every street in groups or few as single person. Since an hour before, part of streets reaching Enqelab square are closed and cars are banned to pass by. So there is a short distance to walk. Some men are washing their hands and face for prayer as is obligated to do in Islam. Everybody is trying to find a place in the more front row, filling the gaps and expand the prayer mats in a way that men remain in front and women in the back. This place is not a mosque, nor a traditional place of Muslim worship. Here is Tehran University and the people are getting ready for the sermons of Friday prayer. Continue reading

Lighthearted in Tehran with The Sound of Iranian Nomads

Madi Jahangir – The woman was doing his routine activities. Massaging the dough, expanding it on a small tray and putting it in the oil to fry. She was doing it all inside a small tent made of a type of thick textile that probably she had woven by her own hands: “This bread is so delicious, you will eat a lot and it will make you fat!” While putting another dough in the hot oil she laughed and continued: “We cook this type of bread in Semnan for Iranian new year eve. See! We don’t bake it, we fry it!” In front of her tent there was a queue of random people to buy her bread. She would give them some bread for free to taste too.  It was written on her tent: Nomads of Semnan! Continue reading

Through the Wooden Pieces in a Moaraq Studio in Tehran

Samaneh Mohammadzadeh – Having a known Moaraq studio in one of Tehran’s cultural institutions , Saeid Pouzesh is a professional marqueter with 31 years of experience. He says his father and grandfather had the same vocation but the reason which made him continue this art was his own passion for Moaraq and creating artworks with wood. Continue reading

Venturing into Iran: The Misunderstood Country

K K Tong – My friend and I planned this trip almost 1 year ago [March 2011] into this land where media and even my friends in Singapore deems to be dangerous. I read that this misunderstood country has riches in culture that awaits those who “dare” to venture into its shores. Well the flight to Tehran was rather torturous, partly due to the constantly being awake for food or for landing into Colombo, where our flight makes a short stopover; partly also due to the position that I was trying to get some sleep that is giving me back and neck aches. Luckily the short 9 hr flight was over pretty soon. We spent another 2 hours transiting Dubai Airport and another 2 hours flying into Tehran. This is when all the fun begins! According to my research, Singaporeans are given Visa-on-Arrival, so we headed towards the counter that marks “Visa” to get our visa done. When our turn approached, the staff at the counter asked where we are from. We gladly volunteered the information and told him we are here for tour. Continue reading

Time museum; Reminder of Yesterday That Past Fast

Madi Jahangir – The sound of music is heard from Zaferaniyyeh street. But there is no concert hall around there. The musical instruments this time are different type. The type that reminds you of yesterday and “How fast yesterday’s past!”

Not far from the foreign language department of Islamic Azad university, on the Parzin Baqdadi cross road there is a beautiful Qajar style gate covered by mirror artworks written on it:” Tamashagah-e-Zaman” aka Time spectacle. The sentence was a reminder in my routine urban life. I entered the mirror work gate in a pleasant afternoon. On the two sides of the way to the main building, there are flower gardens and placed inside them the old sand clocks, sundials, and candle and oil clocks. The outer of the building is just a typical Qajar period architecture. The smiley guide explained that the elegant mirror and plaster artworks of exterior took 14 years to finish since the time that the landlord was Moir el Mamalek, a Qajar nobleman who sold the house to a person named Khodadad. But the beautiful building is not what has made it Time spectacle of course. Continue reading

Fajr film; An Iranian Struggle for Meaningful Cinema

Madi Jahangir – Most of my non-Iranian friends told me that they have watched Children of Heavens directed by Majid Majidi. Children of Heavens was a late 90s award winning Iranian movie telling story of a brother and sister and their struggle over a lost pair of shoes. It is about the same time in 90s that Iran has been lauded along with China as the best exporters of Cinema. Some critics even went further to rank Iran as the world’s most important national cinema. Iranian cinema is artistic and has often been compared with the Italian neo realism cinema movement in the past decades. Continue reading

Wandering in Oudlajan; Through Shrines and Historic Mansions of Old Tehran

Alex Shams – Some say that Tehran is not an old city. Because it was founded only in the early 1800’s, many argue that the Iranian capital shares little in the way of wonder and beauty with the ancient cities dotting the country’s central provinces. In contrast to names like Esfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd, “Tehran” does not conjure up memories of Persian dreamscapes or Orientalist paintings for most people. Some go even further, saying that the Tehran they know is an ugly city of concrete and metal, a city of highways and taxis and endless suburbs. Continue reading

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