Iran: Unearthing Ancient, Modern Persia

Angela Corrias – At 5 am, at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, the officer at the border looked sleepy. After a quick glance to my newly glued visa, he put the stamp on my Italian passport and, without even noticing my clumsily worn hijab, listlessly welcomed me to Iran. His lack of care was somehow comforting: Iran was not much different from Italy after all. Continue reading

Understanding Iranian culture of Taarof

Madi Jahangir – A costumer goes to the cashier to pay for the groceries. The cashier smiles and says: “Oh be my guest this time, your presence is enough honor for me.” The costumer instead insists to pay. The cashier refuses: “It is not a big deal really. Please be my guest!” while his hand is taking the money from the hand of the costumer and the costumer says: “Nice of you really, No way! Don’t say that. I will pay” While he is actually paying for the stuff. And the charade of verbal ‘Taarof’ continues, because the costumer who is actually taking the change back is at the same time refusing to take it! 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

Practical Tips to Wander Around Tehran

Madi Jahangir – A friend recently emailed me that he is going to visit Iran with a group of tourists and asked me some questions regarding getting around Tehran and traveling to other cities from the capital. I thought those questions plus some information i add in, might be every traveler’s questions who is willing to visit Iran anytime soon.  Continue reading

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