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

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

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

Heyran road: A Photo Journey Above the Clouds

Madi Jahangir – After several times postponing my trip, I finally took the road to Ardabil the other week and on our way, we passed Heyran region on the Astara’s mountainous road to our destination. To my surprise, approximately 1500 meters above the Caspian sea, we were above the sea of clouds too!

Above the clouds in Heyran road / Photo: Madi Jahangir

Above the clouds in Heyran road / Photo: Madi Jahangir

No wonder they named the place Heyran, which means wandering in Persian. This region is very strange. It is located on the far west of Gilan province and the road is partially border with Azarbaijan and the barded wire of the border is quite visible on the right side. Continue reading

Isfahan: Iran’s Hidden Jewel

Andrew Lawler * – The courtyard is coated in a fine brown dust, the surrounding walls are crumbling and the flaking plaster is the same monotonous khaki color as the ground. This decrepit house in a decaying maze of narrow alleys in Isfahan, Iran, betrays little of the old capital’s glory days in the 17th century. Suddenly, a paint-splattered worker picking at a nearby wall shouts, waves his steel trowel and points. Underneath a coarse layer of straw and mud, a faded but distinct array of blue, green and yellow abstract patterns emerges—a hint of the dazzling shapes and colors that once made this courtyard dance in the shimmering sun. Continue reading

Sheikh Safi: My Dizi Experience in Ardabil

Madi Jahangir – In my last trip to Ardabil, I wandered around the Sheikh Safi mausoleum to buy some Black Halva, Ardabil’s traditional sweet confection. I was also looking for a place to have a local meal for lunch. After spending some days in the city, I had come to realise that finding a restaurant in Ardabil could be quite a challenge. I should have possibly spent more time in the city to learn the lifestyle, but unlike the way I was used to in Tehran and Caspian provinces, Ardebil’s residents did not seem to have such culture of dining out. Continue reading

Neyshabur: The Land of Attar, Khayyam and Blue Turquoise

Some people in Khorasan region have this strange belief that if a family moves to Neyshabur and lives there for sometime, they will have blue-eyed babies. They also say most people in Neyshabur have turquoise eye-color.Whether myth or reality, blue-eyed or not, the most important Neyshabur’s souvenirs are turquoise gemstones.

Neyshabur Turquoise

Neyshabur Turquoise is the finest in the world.  For at least 2,000 years, Iran and Neyshabur has remained an important source of turquoise which was named by Iranians initially “pirouzeh” (Arabic Firouzeh) meaning “victory”. Continue reading

All About Birjand: The Capital of Saffron Province

Nicknamed as City of Pines and City of Culture, Birjand was once an important city in Ghehestan (Part of the greater Khorasan). The city now serves as the capital of Southern Khorasan province in Eastern Iran. The small but organised and fast growing city is located on the eastern side of Iran’s central desert. That’s why the weather there is harsh and dry,  however, it is surprising that Birjand has had the first water system in Iran, even before that of Tehran and other big cities. Continue reading

A Trip to Mesr: The Island in the Sea of Sands

 Dr Ali Sabaghian * – What do you recall when you hear “Mesr”? The Arabic name of Egypt, a country in north Africa? Nile river, Pyramids, Sphinx and Pharaohs? You are right. But you would be surprised to know, there’s another Mesr too, but thousands of kilometers away from current Egypt, and tens of kilometers away from any crowded city. A small island in the sand, somewhere in the heart of Iran’s central desert, Mesr is name of an Iranian village  in Khur and Biabanak county, close to city of Naein which is famous for agricultural production in the area. ¹

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