Ayd Instone *- Last week I was walking through the streets of Tehran. There was a turquoise domed temple behind me and a large snow peaked mountain range in front. Other than that it could have been any (slightly run-down) area of London. But it wasn’t. It was Tehran, in Iran. A place that the UK has no diplomatic relations with. On the British Consular website it says in large unfriendly letters ‘Do not go’.
So what was I doing there of all places? Continue reading
Madi Jahangir – Colorful, vibrant and elegant. Fashion in the streets of Iranian cities often defies the mainstream media portrayal of Iran as a dark and colorless society, in which women are forced to wear black outfit from top of the head to the tips of the toes, an image similar to the attire worn in countries like Saudi Arabia. Iranian women have had their special way of wearing from the time that Islam was introduced to Iran. Nowadays they are trying to create an identity and maintain an Iranian style of hijab fashion, pretty much similar to many other Muslim countries. But what is an Iranian hijab style.
Persian is the official language of multi lingual Iran and every Iranian speaks it beside his/her mother tongue. Even though Persian borrows 28 out of 32 letters from Arabic, it is totally different language in which even the letters are pronounced differently. This relatively simple language is very easy to grasp. The grammar is not really complicated and the nouns and verbs have no gender. The language has a formal and an informal way of talking and I am going to give some guide on the informal Persian which is spoken in verbal communications in the streets. Meanwhile i’ll explain some cultural habits too. Continue reading
Audrey Scott * – There seems to be an unspoken rule in this part of the world (and by this part of the world, I mean Central Asia, the Caucasus and the greater Middle East) that if you are a female traveler, local women – especially older women – will seek you out and make certain you are taken care of.
It just seems to happen. And so it did with our flight to Tehran.
We find our seats next to an older Iranian woman clutching her purse and wearing a dark headscarf (I begin to wonder, “Is mine too light?”). She gets up and waits for us to squeeze in, but she’s eager to engage the moment we’re settled in.
“Allemagne?” she asks. (Are you from Germany?) Continue reading
Amalia* – After what seems like the most boring 15-hour transit experience ever, my plane arrives in Tehran. I am finally here, in Iran. Today, 17th of December 2011, marks the start of my Middle East trip. The trip that I have always been waiting for. One dream can soon be checked off the list. I feel excited, thrilled, and nervous at the same time. Yes, I am alone here, at this moment. One part of me screams that I am insane. What am I doing in this totally strange place alone? The other part of me applauds myself for having the courage to do this. Well done, you have finally conquered your fear! Continue reading
Gaku Homma – I am not a Muslim, and was concerned that my entering the mosque might be bad manners. Out of respect, I tried gently decling entering with Ali Sensei. “Don’t worry” I was reassured, “Everyone is welcome to enter here” Ali Sensei said as he invited me inside. I was shown how to correctly perform the ceremony called Daret, by washing my hands, mouth and feet before we entered the mosque. I was surprised to find that I was free to take photos inside. There was an area for women only to pray, but most of the space was reserved as an area for men and women to pray together. Between prayers, people were reclining naturally on the carpets, sometimes napping, sometimes playing with the children that were running to and fro between the devotees. “Wont the children be scolded fro playing in here?” I asked. “This is a family place” came as the answer to my question. The scene around me was unusual in my experiences of religious places. Continue reading
Gaku Homma – I am not a priest or a politician. Nor am I an activist. I could be described as one who makes dust by repeatedly hitting the mat. That’s what my family used to say anyway.
When I told people that I was going to Iran, my statement was usually met with wide eyed shock. “What!! Why?” was a common response. Honestly I too was a little nervous. Most news reports I had seen on Iran here in the United States were not very positive. News reports on the major networks talked of nuclear armament, military supplies in other countries,humanitarian problems, sanctions against Iran etc. Not the most supportive commentary by any means. Continue reading
Samaneh Mohammadzadeh – Tehran isn’t all about a crowded city, winter air pollution, Iranian political and economical capital and hectic days. Like any other mega capitals in the world, Tehran has a tender and soft heart behind his face. There are hundreds of cozy places to take shelter after the busy days of work or school, to refresh your soul and mind alone or with the company of a close friend. To name some, Shemiran’s alley gardens, restaurants with live music, Shahr-e Ketab book stores can be wise options. Continue reading
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
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