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The 10 Most Beautiful Natural Wonders In Iran

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

The 10 Most Beautiful Natural Wonders In Iran
If a tour of historical monuments does not attract your satisfaction.The vast, diverse natural scenery of Iran can offer you nature tours.These unique and Exclusive sight are widespread throughout the land of Iran.
From the north to the south and from the east to the west from the peaks of the mountains to the central deserts of Iran
These natural phenomena can enchant you or drown you.This natural variation in Iran is one of the most important features of tourism in Iran.

Here we review the 10 most beautiful natural wonders in Iran.

Mount Damavand

1-Mount Damavand
More than 65 kilometres northeast of Tehran, at a height of 5,610m, Mount Damavand is the highest mountain in the Middle East,The mountain that has a special place in mythological stories of Iran.Also, this mountain is among the Zoroastrians of Iran with a certain religious value and every year a ceremony runs on the slopes of this mountain.
In addition to climbing the summit, you can also use the spa springs of the area like Abe Ask and Larijan water.

Turkman Sahara

2-Turkman Sahara
An unknown jewel called Turkman Sahara
Turkmen of Iran are one of the Turkmen tribes of Iran, mainly located in parts of Khorasan and on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea, including the northern and eastern parts of the Golestan province of Turkmen Sahra.Turkmen Sahra is the land of traditions.The culture and traditions of Turkmens are not visible in any other tribe of other countries, and remain virtually untouched.
In the beautiful nature of Turkmen Desert, you can enjoy the historic and natural attractions of the area,visiting the beautiful plains , horse riding in the region of Aq Qala and also visiting Horse racing in Gonbad Kavoos.

Dasht-e Lut

3-Dasht-e Lut
The plain of Lut "was recorded as" the first natural work of Iran "on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A Desert in southeastern of Iran with more than 50.000 square kilometres and between the provinces of South Khorasan, Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman, which have been known for many years as the warmest point in the world.
This plain is the world's 25th largest wilderness. Part of this vast plain is desert sand and pike and part of it is a desert.
The Lut plain is not the only warmest point of the earth, but also is the deepest internal point of Iran's plateau .
One of the most beautiful sights in the Lut plain is the mysterious Kalut of Shahdad,These natural complications are like high buildings, Some have called it the ghost town, the imaginary city, or the city of Lut.Shchodad Kalouts are the world's tallest Sandy pyramids which are created by wind and water erosion.

Salt Plains, Dasht-e Kavir

4-Salt Plains, Dasht-e Kavir

The Dasht-e Kavir, or Kavir-e Namak (the Great Salt Desert), is Iran's other enormous forsake, situated in the focal point of the Iranian level, northwest of Esfahan and Yazd. Cruel, desolate, and unbelievably hot, you won't have any desire to meander the breadth carelessly or unaccompanied, yet it remains a great incredible sight. The Namak (Salt) Lake, 100 kilometers from Qom, is the most vacationer benevolent element of the forsake.


Iranian Deserts at a Glance

Maranjab Desert

5-Maranjab Desert
Maranjab Desert is one of the most beautiful desert points in Iran.Tall Sandy hills  and salt lake are among the most important features of this area.One of the most important features of this national park is its quick and easy access from the cities of Tehran,Qom,Kashan and Isfahan.

Masal Forest, Gilan

6-Masal Forest, Gilan
Masal and Shanderman are mountainous points of Guilan province.Due to its natural beauty, this region has been named by several names as Iran's top Green area or lost Paradise.
Masal is located in the foothills of Talesh region and in Gilan province.Massive forests and extensive grasslands along the permanent rivers have created a very beautiful landscape.The mixture of lush lowlands and mountain forests make for a pleasing contrast with the harsh landscapes of southern Iran, although lynxes, wolves, and bears are said to inhabit these territories.

Latun Waterfall, Gilan

7-Latun Waterfall, Gilan
While in Gilan area, it merits making a beeline for the northern region of Astara to see Iran's most astounding waterfall. Against a stunning setting of forested mountains, Latun tumbles from a tallness of 105 meters. The quietness of the encompassing waters makes an impeccable noon pit stop, or even a reviving swim on the off chance that you are feeling courageous.

Badab-e Surt

8-Badab-e Surt
A water treatment trip at the natural springs of Badab Soort will complete your exciting journey across different parts of Iran.
The sedimentary waters of these two springs have risen from the top of the mountain to the bottom for thousands of years, creating tiny small ponds in orange, yellow, and red in different sizes.These springs are found at an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level and are part of the geopark of the area.
Located in Mazandaran province in northern Iran, about 100 kilometres south of the city of Sari, the area consists of golden, orange, and red stepped terraces of sedimentary rock, formed by deposits of minerals carried from nearby hot springs.

Namarestagh

9-Namarestagh
Namarestagh is a perfectly rich area in Amol County, Mazandaran region. A concealed fortune for trekkers, while investigating the verdant foothills in the shadow of snow-topped mountains, few can oppose an encompassing feeling of ponder. An affable atmosphere and inviting local people, this provincial perfect world guarantees to warm the spirit and calm the psyche of any passing wayfarer.

Qeshm Island

10-Qeshm Island
Qeshm Island is the largest island of the Persian Gulf, which has an amazing and complex nature.Qeshm is the largest non-independent island in the world and is famous the Seven Wonders Island .The island has an area of 1,400 square kilometers and has many different sight seeing, such as the Salt Cave, Star Valley, Portuguese Castle,Achaemenid Dome.

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10 Essential Iranian Dishes

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

10 Essential Iranian Dishes

A visit to Iran yields a staggering assortment of culinary joys. Between the well-known kebab and the firmly outré flame broiled sheep's gonads, there's a tremendous range of nourishments: caviar, pickle, and smoked fish in the north; samosas, falafel and hot and harsh shrimp in the south; noodles, flatbread and rosewater-scented dessert the nation over.

Investigate Iran's place in the guide and it's straightforward why the extent of local sustenances is so wide. Once the focal point of the Persian Empire, Iran neighbors the previous Soviet Union nations, and in addition Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Arab states, and Turkey. In spite of the fact that Iran is a piece of the Middle East, it has close binds to Europe, the Far East, and Africa, attributable to its focal place on the Silk Road exchange course.

Likewise, the old warrior-ruler of Greece, Alexander the Great, vanquished the Persian Empire back in the fourth century, and later it was attacked by Arabs, Turks, Mongols, and Uzbeks. While Iranians as of now had a very much created sustenance personality before these intrusions, they absorbed what the untouchables gotten. Think Russian-style borscht with cumin and cilantro and Chinese noodles in a soup of beans, herbs and acrid matured whey.

Many pined for fixings are local to Iran, including pistachios, almonds, walnuts, saffron, mint, oranges, pomegranates and grapes. Iran has a variable atmosphere with four unmistakable seasons, and dissimilar to different parts of the Middle East, where the dry landscape constrained what nourishment could be developed, the antiquated Persians changed huge extents of parched land into prolific desert gardens by means of underground aquifers that drew dissolved snow water into the betray. A brilliant, exotic, foods grown from the ground filled cooking was conceived.

1. Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)

This famous stew, a fundamental piece of each Persian wedding menu, sets tart pomegranate with chicken or duck. Ground walnuts, pomegranate glue, and onions are gradually stewed to make a thick sauce. Once in a while saffron and cinnamon are included, and possibly a squeeze of sugar to adjust the corrosive. Fesenjan has a long family. At the vestiges of Persepolis, the old custom capital of the Persian Empire, archeologists discovered recorded stone tablets from as far back as 515 B.C., which recorded wash room staples of the early Iranians. They included walnuts, poultry and pomegranate protect, the key fixings in fesenjan.

 

 

 

 



2. Bademjan (Eggplant And Tomato Stew)

Bademjan (Eggplant And Tomato Stew)

This stew has the gleaming red-gold shade of tomatoes cooked with turmeric, with a sheen of oil on beat, a prized trademark in Persian cooking that demonstrates a stew has been cooked sufficiently long for the oils to ascend. Somewhat tart, with the tang of tomatoes, lemon juice, and once in a while the juice of unripe grapes, its tartness is held within proper limits by the eggplant, which is first singed all alone until brilliant dark colored, at that point cooked with onions, sheep and the tomatoes and flavoring. Like every Persian stew, bademjan is thick and intended to be eaten over rice with a fork.

 

 

 

 

 



3. Baghali Polo (Rice With Dill And Fava Beans)

Baghali Polo (Rice With Dill And Fava Beans)

In Iranian cooking, rice can be arranged just with margarine and saffron, known as chelo. However, similarly as regularly, it's cooked with different fixings and called polo. Polo can be made with herbs, vegetables, beans, nuts, dried natural product, meat and even noodles, and goes about as the centerpiece of the dinner. This polo is especially great in the spring when fava beans are youthful and delicate and dill is in season. The dish is spotted with green dill and favas and is regularly cooked with extremely delicate lumps of sheep. Then again, it might be served close by sheep on the bone. The rice ought to have a mellow saffron season, with the saffron blended into the rice just before serving.

 

 

 

 



4. Zereshk Polo (Barberry Rice)

Zereshk Polo (Barberry Rice)

Iranians cherish acrid flavors. Like cranberries, barberries have an energetic red shading, however they're much more acrid. This great rice dish is studded with the red berries, which are dried and after that rehydrated before cooking. The rice is cooked with a lot of margarine, which mellows the power of the berries. Quince, rhubarb, green plums, acrid oranges, lemons, limes, dried limes, sharp fruits, tamarind, sumac and pomegranate are altogether utilized as a part of Persian cooking to make sustenance more tart.

 

 

 

 

 



5. Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew)

Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew)

Produced using herbs, kidney beans and sheep, dark green gormeh sabzi fulfills two Persian flavor fixations: it's sharp and brimming with herbs. The stew is prepared with dried limes, limooomani in Farsi. These limes are additional extreme and harsh, with a clashing taste that gives the stew an extraordinary flavor. The other consistent in gormeh sabzi is fenugreek leaves, a taste new to generally westerners. Different herbs incorporate parsley, coriander and scallions.

 

 

 

 



6. Ash e Reshteh (Noodle and Bean Soup)

Ash e Reshteh (Noodle and Bean Soup)

A luxuriously finished soup brimming with noodles, beans, herbs and verdant greens like spinach and beet clears out. It's finished with mint oil, crunchy singed onions and sharp kashk, an aged whey item eaten in the Middle East that tastes much the same as acrid yogurt. The noodles, which advanced toward Iran from China, are thought to speak to the numerous ways of life, and this soup is customarily served when somebody sets off on a long trip. As a result of its favorable fixings, it's additionally part of the menu for Norooz, the Persian new year, which happens at the spring equinox in March.

 

 

 

 

 



7. Tahdig (Crunchy Fried Rice)

Tahdig (Crunchy Fried Rice)

Tahdig is the soul of Persian cooking. It's the fresh, brilliant layer of singed rice at the base of the rice pot, and it poses a flavor like a mix of popcorn and potato chips, yet with the sensitive kind of basmati ice. (Tahdig is typically not imprinted on the menu, so you may need to request it.) At Iranian family social occasions, there are dependably a lot of remains, yet the one dish that vanishes totally is tahdig. It's eaten as a side dish, and it's excusable to lift it up and eat it with your fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



8. Jeweled (Rice with Nuts and Dried Fruit)

Jeweled (Rice with Nuts and Dried Fruit)

Spotted with brilliantly shaded dried leafy foods, similar to little gems, this is a sweet-and-appetizing dish that shows off a portion of the local elements of Iran, including pistachios, almonds, candy-coated orange peel, barberries, carrots and saffron. It's cooked with a little sugar to adjust the acridity of the barberries. Jeweled rice is served for extraordinary events, especially at weddings, in light of the fact that the sweet components symbolize a sweet life. It's customarily presented with chicken, which stands out pleasantly from the sweetness.

 

 

 

 

 

 



9. Kebab (Lamb, Chicken, Lamb Liver, Ground Meat)

Kebab (Lamb, Chicken, Lamb Liver, Ground Meat)

Kebabs have more assortment than you may might suspect. To begin with, there's koobideh, ground meat prepared with minced onion, salt and pepper. It sounds straightforward, however the taste is wonderful. There is kebab-e barg, daintily cut sheep or hamburger, seasoned with lemon juice and onion and treated with saffron and spread. Chicken kebab, known as joojeh, is customarily produced using an entire chicken, bones and all, for more flavor (in spite of the fact that in American eateries it's frequently produced using skinless chicken bosom), marinated in lemon and onion, and seasoned with saffron and spread. In case you're fortunate, you'll find jigar, sheep liver kebab, embellished with new basil leaves and a wedge of lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 


10. Sabzi Khordan (Herb and Cheese Plate)

Sabzi Khordan (Herb and Cheese Plate)

No Persian supper is finished without a dish of sabzi khordan, or palatable herbs. The plate can incorporate mint, tarragon, basil and cilantro, close by scallions, radishes, walnuts, feta cheddar and Iranian nan (flatbread). Basically detach a bit of flatbread, tuck a touch of the herbs and cheddar and different toppings inside, and crease it up like a rural sandwich. The plate remains on the table all through the feast, and the herbs are a crunchy sense of taste chemical between chomps of stew and rice. Crisp and dried green herbs are eaten day by day in Iran. The Zoroastrian new year Norooz commends resurrection and recharging, and the Norooz menu incorporates a few dishes made with green herbs speaking to new life, incorporating rice with herbs, a herb omelet and the herb platter.

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Why travel to Iran should be next on your bucket list

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

Why travel to Iran should be next on your bucket list
By: Victoria Burrows

We wake to the chirping of birds and the soft murmur of the water fountain in the courtyard outside. Pulling aside the tall curtains, sunlight streams into the room, illuminating the glittering chandelier and elegant patterns painted on the walls in gold, turquoise and chocolate brown. We watch a bird take an energetic morning bath in the courtyard pool before fluttering off above the deep pink roses into the trees.

We dress quickly, eager for the day ahead. We have treasures to see: many are Unesco World Heritage sites, including a building so beautiful it has been known to move visitors to tears. Then there are heavenly gardens and sumptuous palaces to stroll through and ancient bridges to cross, followed by hunting out antiques and exquisite handicrafts in row after row of boutiques.

Are we in Venice? Paris? Madrid? Far from it. We are in Esfahan, Iran.

Naghsh-e-jahan Sq lovely


But isn’t Iran dangerous?
Ask someone who’s been there and invariably they will describe this much-maligned country as one of the safest and friendliest they’ve ever visited. Strangers regularly stop you for a chat, offer snacks of dried cherries or nuts, and invite you home to lunch. While city walls are still emblazoned with giant anti-America and “Down with Israel” murals, the average Iranian will repeatedly assure you they love the West, and ask if you could please tell your friends and family back home that Iranians are very happy for them to visit. “That Iran is unsafe is an outdated notion, almost irrelevant,” says Jason Elliot, prize-winning British author of Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran.

“It’s far safer than many places I’ve been, safer than many places in Europe. I meet a lot of people who’ve been to Iran who are astonished at how modern it is. The West has been isolated from Iran; Iranians are not isolated from the West.”

AllaboutIran

Iran’s legacy of being unsafe for tourists dates back almost four decades to the violence of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the US-backed Shah was ousted from power and the Islamic Republic was born. The new regime closed its doors to foreign intervention, the veil replaced the miniskirt, and Iran became one of the world’s most reviled nations. Over the decades, however, relations have thawed, and US- and Europe-imposed sanctions were lifted last year. Despite new tensions with the Trump administration in recent months, Iran remains committed to strengthening ties and building its tourism sector with both East and West. Visitor numbers are increasing fast.

The same cannot be said for other parts of the Middle East. Jordan, which is both spectacular and safe, and relied on tourism to bring in 20 per cent of its GDP, has recorded a 66 per cent drop in tourist numbers since 2011. The conflict in neighbouring Syria has created a widespread sense of unease about travelling to the region. The British Foreign Office travel advice states that there is “a high threat from terrorism” in Jordan. But the warning is the same also for Egypt, Germany and France. Jordan’s historical marvels, such as Petra, are today practically empty.

In Iran, too, many historical treasures off the classic Tehran-Esfahan-Shiraz-Yazd itinerary remain as yet largely unvisited by foreigners. This only adds to their captivating mystery. At the Choqa Zanbil ziggurat in western Iran’s Khuzestan province, the only other person you are likely to encounter is a 3,000-year-old child who left her footprint in the mud floor. This wonderful ziggurat, or stepped pyramid, in red brick imprinted with the world’s first alphabet, cuneiform, is the best-preserved example of Elamite architecture anywhere. It was built sometime in the 13th Century BC, and was “lost” for three millennia until it was rediscovered in 1935. It’s now a Unesco World Heritage site, one of many important sites in this part of Iran, a region that saw the rise of mankind’s first civilisations.

Trip to Iran

But if there’s a civilisation that Iran looks to as its progenitor, it’s the Achaemenids. Iranians trace their culture back 2,500 years to Cyrus the Great, who founded the biggest empire the world had ever seen. Cyrus’ Achaemenid Empire stretched from the Indus River to the Mediterranean Sea. Its influence extended as far as Athens, where many Athenians adopted parts of Persian culture as their own. Echoes of Persian culture can still be heard both east and west in food, language, art, architecture and philosophy today.

“Cyrus’ place in world history is assured by the empire he founded,” Elliot says. “But for Iranians it’s more than that: they speak of him with almost personal affection for the qualities he’s known for, such as benevolence and tolerance, to the extent it can be verified, and we do have records. Cyrus believed in the equality of sexes, and the respect of law. He is said to have known the names of all his soldiers, and planted trees with own hands in the gardens he had built. The Achaemenids respected the religions and laws of the countries they incurred, and they established an exceptional model of administration. They set the tone of Persian ideals of humaneness, culturally and artistically, too.”

As Elliot points out, the perfect example of how this earlier age still informs Iran today is the fact that the main holiday is Persian New Year, or Nowruz. It is a celebration that is not Muslim, but Zoroastrian, the religion of Achaemenid times.

The remains of Cyrus’ palace at Pasargadae is one of the key sites to attract visitors to Iran. Dating from 550BC, there’s not much left to see, and the site is lonely and windswept, but it does stir philosophical musings on the march of history and our place in it.

Cyrus Tomb

More famous than Pasargadae, however, is, of course, Persepolis. This ceremonial capital of the Achaemenids was built by a successor of Cyrus, Darius the Great. Alexander the Great, who admitted great respect for Cyrus, burned Persepolis to the ground in 330BC, but foundations, stairways, gateways and columns remain and give a convincing sense of the immense scale of the palace. Dominating the wide plain, and backed by a dry hill studded with the tombs of kings, this city of giant halls and ceremonial walkways must have inspired awe in Darius’ subjects.

Persepolis and Pasargadae might be Iran’s most famous historical monuments but there are other jaw-dropping sites more contemporary. Esfahan is often described as a living museum of art and culture.

“Most of the monuments in Esfahan date from the 1600s when Shah Abbas I moved his capital here from Qazvin in the north,” says Amir Haeri Mehrizi, who has guided foreign visitors through Iran for more than a decade. “This great Safavid ruler transformed Esfahan into one of the biggest and most beautiful cities of the 17th century.”

The central Naqsh-e Jahan Square, believed to be second only in size to the mainland’s Tiananmen Square, feels a lot like Florence with its water fountains, manicured gardens, and al fresco cafes topped with canvas awnings. A list of architectural jewels line the square, including the Ali Qapu palace, with its exquisite murals of pheasants and fawns and room constructed with acoustics ideal for music recitals.

Naghshejahan square

The Imam Mosque – previously known as the Shah Mosque, and also known as the Blue Mosque – is immense and impressive, while the city’s captivating bazaar, which opens to one edge of the square, offers the country’s finest handcrafts, including delicate silver filigree, gorgeous Persian carpets, Khorasani turquoise jewellery, masterful textiles, and exquisite handpainted glass, wood and copper ornaments.

But it’s the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque that’s the crowning glory here. Small, but perfect, it’s interior dome really does take your breath away. Diamonds, swirls, and floral motifs move in exquisite symmetry ever upwards to the highest point of the dome. Ribbons of elongated calligraphy border a row of small, intricately carved windows high up that gleam with the light of the sun. Every inch of the interior is decorated in elegant patterns of royal blue, turquoise, yellow, white, black and green that work in immaculate harmony. If there ever was a building to inspire tears, or thoughts of a higher being in a dedicated atheist, this would be it.

As we step out of the mosque, humbled by the sublime beauty humankind can achieve, we are silent. It’s time for a cup of strong black tea and a sugary pastry in one of Esfahan’s charming tea houses. Passing young lovers holding hands and families picnicking in the square, we mull over all we have seen. Iran may be safe, but don’t expect to leave without your preconceptions dangerously challenged.

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Why You Should Visit Iran

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

Why You Should Visit Iran
By:jonny

A visit to Iran? Why might you go to Iran? Isn't Iran Dangerous? These are quite recently a portion of the inquiries I am gotten some information about my outing to Iran in 2012. I figured the time had come to compose a post about that trek, and why you ought to put Iran high on your rundown of nations to visit. Presently is particularly an extraordinary time to go there. Lets answer one question first;


Is Iran safe to visit?

This is a typical question, and in the event that you need the fast answer, then yes Iran is protected to visit, in parts. I say in parts as there are a few zones, particularly around the Afghanistan and Pakistan fringe regions, that can be perilous.

However by far most of Iran is impeccably protected, and I have felt exceptionally invited wherever I went. Considering that my administration (U.K.) are one of the main nations putting sanctions on Iran, I was fairly wary while being asked where I was from. I generally got a similar reaction: U.K. incredible nation! Welcome to my nation!

Obviously the circumstance can change later on, however starting at now it is fine to go to Iran.


Never judge a book by its cover. Never could that be more valid than with Iran. When you hear the word Iran you could naturally consider atomic weapons and baneful forces that be and so on, however the inverse is valid. Obviously Iran has its butt holes, similar to each nation, and I am absolutely not extremely attached to their legislature, but rather my experience, and additionally companions who have been there, is that the general population you will meet are overwhelmingly neighborly.

Upon landing in Tehran airplane terminal a man offered to help get me get into Tehran, in the wake of seeing me look rather lost! He went ahead the transport for twenty minutes or something like that, before exchanging to the metro. After an additional twenty minutes he strolled with me too discover the lodging I was remaining at. He then said farewell and please make the most of my nation. On top of all that he payed for my vehicle, and it turned out he was going the other way. Welcome to Iran in reality.

I met military officers in Esfahan who hanged out and had a snicker. Off every one of the general population who might be annoyed about where I was from, I figured it would be them, yet they were inviting, and was the same all over the place.



Iran has a stunning antiquated history. The persian domain was once huge, deserting archeological marvels. The urban areas are loaded with old structures, particularly attractive mosques and old living arrangements. The landscape goes from huge city to leave, then uneven territory instant. Inside the urban communities are gigantic bazaars offering all that you could imagine, the most great of which I found in Esfahan, the social capital. Meandering around the enormous complex, losing all sense of direction in the labyrinth of paths and shops, is an extraordinary approach to spend a couple of hours.

Taking a taxi into the leave and climbing through the rises is extremely tranquil. Going into the mountains and going to old towns loaded with grinning local people, while looking for conventional artworks. Investigating the old living arrangements of flawlessly outlined structures, loaded with magnificence in Kashan. Going to the amazing old remains of Persepolis and other old locales. There are numerous, numerous other such great things to see and do.


The food

In the event that you never visit Iran, then in any event attempt to locate a neighborhood Persian eatery close you too test the delightful cooking. Beside the typical tasting kebabs found all through the area, there are numerous different pleasures to find. Sitting on the floor in an old eatery, you can relish the essence of a camel steak with rice spiced in a wide range of flavors.

Remaining at a home-remain in a forsake desert garden as an old grandma concocts eggplant in an old earthen stove, canvassed in aged cheddar and flavors, was the best eggplant I have ever eaten. Wonderful soups and stews, sweetly spiced pilaf rice, customary Iranian frozen yogurt. Your taste buds won't be disturbed!

Iran is cheap to travel.

As a spending voyager (hiking particularly), Iran is brilliant incentive for cash. When I went to two years back the official bank rate was one euro to 12500 Iranian rial. However, on the bootleg market, where practically everybody changes, the rate was $1 to 19000 Iranian rial. Extraordinary! A couple of months after my visit, a few companions got a bootleg market rate of around $1 to 30000 rial.

You can get in modest overland from Turkey effectively, or through more bother nations circumscribing Iran. I got a shabby flight to Amsterdam from Tehran on Pegasus aircrafts, and a shoddy flight into Tehran on Tajikistan carriers from Dushanbe.

Getting a Persian cover while there could be something to be thankful for, as they are extremely modest to purchase right now.

Practicalities.

There is some strict clothing regulations in Iran, being a transcendently muslim nation. On the off chance that you are a female going to Iran, then you should wear a head scarf and a coat that covers your butt. This is not the sort of head scarf that covers your face, however over the hair. The headscarf is a law in Iran and must be worn. As terrible as that may sound, numerous female companions went to Iran and had no issues. It surely is not perfect, but rather it must be finished.

Men must wear pants in Iran, no shorts are permitted. Liquor is illicit, so don't expect insane gatherings! Be that as it may in the event that you truly need a drink, you could locate some underground places.

Getting an Iranian visa.

Presently you have a sufficiently fair motivation to visit Iran, lets get onto the critical step, getting an Iranian visa. This is the genuine bitch of a visit to Iran, the visa. All off this data is substantial as of February 2014. Things can clearly change later on.

In the event that you are from the U.S.A. at that point there is some terrible news, you can't get a free visa to visit Iran. This is all political obviously, with colossal doubt between the two governments. The main way US nationals can visit Iran is on a sorted out visit. (Refresh: As of March 2014 British and Canadians likewise should be on a sorted out visit, yet the strategy for utilizing an office for a visa is as yet legitimate for different nationalities). Likewise a few explorers I met have detailed that it is very simple to get an Iranian visa in Trabzon, Turkey, despite the fact that I can't freely confirm this.

For whatever remains of the world it relies on upon your nation with respect to how much a visa costs. As it would be exceptionally illogical to rundown all nations necessities, do a web look for your own particular one. The visa taken a toll for me as a UK national in 2011 was an incredible $250! In any case, on the other hand our administrations don't precisely get along.

Having said that, companions from different nations who get less expensive visas, for example, The Netherlands, got denied a visa all together, while others from The Netherlands got a visa. Kindred nationals from my nation got denied a visa, while I got one. It is by all accounts a lottery on who gets a visa or not. It is a fairly bizarre framework.

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IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
APPLICATION OF DECORATIVE ARTS IN IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
By:Zahra Tamjidi and Alireza Bozorgvar

ABSTRACT Finding a place for residence where one feels comfortable is one of the fundamental needs of humans and

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Tabātabāei House

decorative elements are one of the factors that give entity to Iranian architecture over history. Looking at the Iranian traditional architecture, the especial role and place of house as an important element in architecture is revealed. These elements which had various construction and implementation methods and techniques have different features based on the climate and culture of each region. The patterns used in designing Iranian traditional houses are influenced by various factors such as climate, culture, etc. One of such factors is the individual and collective culture of those people who used to reside in these houses and communities. Spatial arrangement and hierarchy, internal architecture and utilization of decorations which suit the Iranian culture and identification distinguish these houses from their contemporary counterparts which are limited to merely acting as shelters. Various decorative elements such as brickwork, modeling, tiling and mirror work are but a few examples frequently observed in Iranian traditional houses and, depending on the climate, some of these decorative elements were applied to the exterior environment of the structure and other less-resistant elements which could not bear climatic factors were applied to the interior design of the house. This paper seeks to review the attributes of the decorative arts used in Iranian houses which are nearly forgotten in the contemporary era.

 

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Borujerdis House

INTRODUCTION Application of decorations in the Old Iranian architecture was a continuous issue with great innovations. In various regions and due to different climatic, geographical and cultural factors, we may see various and several examples of using decorations in the historical and traditional buildings of this country. Further to the importance of climatic factors which have an especial influence on formation of decorations associated with architecture, cultural and local issues also play a major role in utilizing various techniques and issues. Using several decorative methods, construction techniques, certain forms and various shapes in different parts of this vast country are indicative of this fact that creation of architectural decorations is a creative issue associated with the local architecture of each region. On the other hand, as the internal architecture is directly associated with humans’ mental-psychological features, the internal functions along with the attributes of human behaviors in the interior living spaces (public or private) must be taken into consideration in the favorable design of a building. Thus, the designer has to deal with 2 issues while designing the internal space: the function of that space and the impression that space is meant to have on the users. Internal design includes a wide-ranging spectrum of elements and components such as form, light, color, context, floor, ceiling, wall, applied and decorative elements and furniture. These elements are the instruments for the designer’s job and all must be placed in a relevant and favorable design in a harmonious and appropriate way. Generally speaking, internal design of a building as the set of knowledge, techniques and arts which utilize the relevant elements such as form, color, context, etc to optimize spaces and achieve the appropriate efficiency and function in addition to the beauty of meanings.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Research

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Aghzade House Abarkoo

Methodology In this paper, the research methodology is mostly descriptive-analytical in addition to library investigations. The Goal and Necessity of Raising the Issue Like many other arts and skills, the art of architecture more or less involved designing the exterior spaces and volumetric combination. Architectural practice was not so much different than the art of architecture and people used to receive practical training and gain experience till they had reached high levels of professionalism in designing all types of spaces. Although the profession of architecture had not been explicitly divided into separate and specialized majors, it is clear that a group of architects were more professional and skilled in certain fields such as designing and constructing Muqarnas and tended to work more in their own specialized field. The decorations used in architecture were never separated from the religious believers of their surrounding environment. As a result, one of the signs of entering the dominant religious and mental realm of a society was the decorations which expressed their own meaning and concept. As many of the durable values in Iranian architecture were forgotten in the passage of time, reviving these concepts can be a major step in reforming current structures. One of the neglected aspects in the Iranian architecture is utilization of decorations in the internal spaces of a building usually taken from the traditional principles of Iranian construction. One of the tasks of internal designers is to refer to the records of this art in Iranian history and utilize its teachings in contemporary architecture. It is obvious that if the rules and principles governing original Iranian internal architecture replace decorations and ornaments borrowed from other countries, a part of the culture and customs of the people of this land will be revived. Through a review of the literature and history of utilizing decorative arts, this paper seeks to investigate some aspects of application of this art in the Old Iranian architecture. Definition of Decorative Arts In Persian, decoration is equal to the word embellishment which means to beautify or add (adding something to something else) as contrasted against trim (to remove something from something else). Of course various meanings such as ordering, preparing, establishing, building, etc have been cited for embellishment (Moein, 1984). In the general Arabic to Persian dictionary (Ahmad Sabah: 598), embellishment is defined as “what is used to beautify, make up” (Sabbah, ?). In Arabic, the stem (Z Y N) is contrasted against the root (SH Y N) which refers to jobs or activities which lift off the flaws and shortcomings. (SH Y N) refers to everything which causes shame and flaw on humans and causes people to hate him (Tabatabai’ee, ?). The Historical Background of using Decorations in Iranian Architecture Ancient Egyptians used to pay a great deal of attention to arraying their internal spaces. They used to add to richness of the internal spaces of their temples and shrines by using drawings and sculptures. As far back as Renaissance period when architects came to join other artist to produce different architectural spaces, paying attention to internal spaces has been no less important than the whole building (Prada, 1978). In Iran, paying attention to the internal spaces of a building has always been of particular interest to architects. In huge complex of Persepolis for whose construction all skillful artists and craftsman were brought to Iran, lithographs are a re-enforcing part in internal spaces. Further to being masterpieces of architecture, the massive Achaemenian palaces in Persepolis and Pasargad are particularly important in terms of decorative arts. The lithographs in these palaces have been conducted with utmost care and attention and the whole nuances are written on stone. Further to lithograph, the enamel tile of Yazd is also used in decoration of palaces. A case of such use can be found in the picture of immoral soldiers in Shoush. Achaemenian tall pillars ad huge column heads were also used for decoration purposes (Pope, 1987).

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES

Use of brick became quite common during Seljuq era and various geometrical shapes were used in bricks. The art of brickwork and decorating buildings with bricks was quite common in Iran in 5th century AH.

Further to these very beautiful brick decorations, tokens and decorative writings using bricks was one of the properties of Seljuq architecture. Islamic era glasses which date back to 1st century AH (7th and 8th century AD) are the result of a merger between Eastern Rome Empire, Parthia and Sassanid. Existence of stuff dating back to 5th to early 7th century AD indocates the zenith of glasswork during Seljuq era. Having discovered glass in areas near Gorgan and Neishabour, Khorasan and Gorgan can be considered as centers of glass production and manufacture.
Since the early Islamic era, the use of plaster in architectural decoration has been quite popular and the surface of the buildings was usually covered with them and colorful plasters were used to decorate them. In the 5th century AH, some transformation took place in the shape and appearance of these plaster modelings which were the result of innovation and creativity. In this era, plaster modeling reached an awesome level in terms of varieties in implementation and various transformations and development also took place in the way plaster was used. Little by little, plaster modeling was replaced by the huge growth in brick work in Seljuq era. However, such changes never meant that plaster modeling would lose its position, as existence of very rich plaster modeling’s such as Alavian dome in Hamedan confirms this fact that plaster modeling has progressed and developed in line with brick work. During the realm of the Safavid dynasty, wooden decorations had a major role in non-religious buildings and more calligraphies and lacquered drawings were used in them. Their design is closely linked with the art of miniature. Carving and turnery especially in doors and ceilings was a certain art in this period. The art of tile work and attractive and bright masterpieces of plaster modeling in post-Islam Iran started during the Seljuq and Ilkhani dynasties and reached its zenith during the Safavid era. Three important types of tile works are dominant in the buildings of this period: single-colored tile, mosaic or diaphoretic tile and seven-colored tile. Buildings of the Safavid era which are decorated with such types of tile works are unique in the whole world. The interesting point about the internal and external decorations in Iranian traditional buildings is that such decorations were integral parts of the building and they were never viewed as an extra element; even framing and decoration were done simultaneously in some certain period. This high level of attention paid to array and decorations helped increase the quality of the spaces used. Iranian desert architecture especially for houses, due to its introverted entity, is full of beautiful and lovely examples of internal design in which creation a space in contrast with the desert environment and induction of a sense of liveliness and freshness inside the building is the main agenda of traditional architects in internal design. Utilizing glass, mirror, plaster modeling and other fine arts in decoration and arraying the space covered all aesthetic, climatic and even religious considerations.

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES

During Qajar dynasty when cultural interactions and political affairs with foreign countries begin to grow, more attention was paid to fine arts ad European architecture started replacing Iranian architecture in governmental buildings and some palaces. Beautiful samples of colorful buildings, plaster woks and mirror works can be found in the houses remaining from Qajar dynasty in Kashan. The house of Boroujerdiha as one of the best architectural works of Iran is full of the innovations of Iranian traditional artists (Gedar, 1979).
Decorations as Narrated by Iranian Portraits While the internal spaces which have remained in the historical sites are taken into consideration and analysis, regardless of the possible changes in them, we can somehow realize how the internal spaces were designed in all historical buildings. However, it is important to remember that the furniture and the behavioral patterns inside such places do not exist anymore and it is hard to investigate the relationship between internal architecture and behavioral patterns. Iranian miniatures or portraits can be considered the only visual documents which provide us with valuable information in this field; because although their space and elements are not reflected in a mirror-like manner, some parts of the space in the individual form or in combination with other spaces and in some cases abstract spaces are pointed to in accordance with the subject and importance of the portrait. However, it still points to the elements or spaces which exist. Iranian three dimensional drawing methods helped project some parts and elements of the space,while other parts attracted less attentions. As it can be observed, the ceiling of the architectural spaces is less frequently painted in drawings, yet the floor, walls and elements which are located on it are usually represented perfectly.
The structure of the internal space and the main framework of her design follow its bearing elements. For example, we can point to the structure of a room in which a number of pillars were positioned on two sides of the room under some parts of the dome which acted as columns and a separating wall was built between them where in shallow areas it had small shelves to put some items on.

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Tabātabāei House

The structural organization of the room can also be described in this way: the 2 walls which were perpendicular to the yard had a bearing function. In order to lift some weight off them, shelves were dug in those parts which carried less weight in order to make the wall lighter and also utilize their empty space. Windows were placed in the surfaces adjoining and parallel to the yard. Based on the type of room or hall and its largeness and importance, different types of windows were utilized.
The plinth or the lower parts of porch walls were covered with tiles in order to be more resistant against erosion. Based on some documents, after Teymuri dynasty and particularly in Safavid era, wall paintings were used to decorate the internal spaces. Tile and bricks were used to cover the surface of the walls of some porches.
The floor of simple rooms was covered with bricks, yet tiles were used to cover the floor of halls and porches. Carpets were usually put on the floor of rooms and halls and people used to sit on them. High ranking people used to place a cushion on the carpet they put on the floor and used to lean against them.
Kings, lords, and high ranking people used to seat on a special throne during especial ceremonies and other people usually would sit on the floor. It was observed in some portraits that if one or 2 high ranking guests were present in a party, a type of stool-like chair would be used for them.

The Position of Decorative Arts in Architecture of Iranian Traditional Houses The variety of climatic and geographical environments and conditions in Iran has resulted in formation of several concepts and ideas in accordance with environmental conditions and the function of building. The 2 concepts of introversion and extroversion are of particular importance (Soltan, 2007). The method of internal design and its place within the system of the space of architecture in each of the 2 above-mentioned types of architecture is different from other types of Iranian architecture concept. In introvert spaces which can be found in the central desert areas and some parts of Azerbaijan, internal architecture is of great significance; because the external and the exterior volumetric combinations of the majority of these buildings lacks an architectural design in the compressed and uninterrupted urban context, while their volumetric combination and internal views are usually designed and also decorated. The internal architecture of such buildings can probably be divided into 2 types: first, a type of internal architecture which includes the design of the central yard and it surrounding spaces, then the internal architecture inside the spaces surrounding the yard which are closer to internal architecture in contemporary era. The simplicity of the external views of such spaces which were due to compression and coherence of the urban context and also had social and cultural reasons in some cases made their internal architecture very significant, especially because, more or less, all the life time of women and children – except for shopping, going to party, pilgrimage and going to bathroom – is spent at home. The importance of internal architecture in introvert buildings is much more than the position of internal architecture in extrovert buildings (due to the physical context of cities and the social and cultural structure that exists in them), especially those buildings located in the vicinity of Khazar Sea; because people who live in those areas spend more time outdoors than those who live in the central and desert parts of the country. On the other hand, the materials used to build the houses in vicinity of Khazar Sea and the humidity level in the air and shorter duration of houses there compared to central and deserted areas have rendered internal spaces design and architectural decorations generally less significant (Soltan, 2005). The glory and beauty of Iranian architecture especially during the Islamic era depends on the decoration and ornaments used in it. Using all types of decorations such as brickwork, plaster work, tile work, mirror work and painting was common during the whole Islamic era and such decorations have advanced in line with the facilities of each era. Using all types of paintings on all types of materials, the artists of this field have given a special importance to Iranian architecture. Among all types of Iranian architecture, Iranian houses which were the show case of Iranian popular art exhibited the most beautiful and meaningful designs and shapes. Utilizing decorations in Iranian houses, in addition to its beautifying and decorative function, also had protection and thermal insulation purposes.

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Borujerdis House

Many of the decorative elements acted like a false ceiling or retaining wall and prevented humidity from penetrating buildings or reduced thermal exchange. In other cases, these decorations reduced the intensity of sunlight by reflecting various colorful spectrums or creating bumps and dimples.Further to serving protective purposes, the presence of decorations in Iranian houses which were a place for mental and physical tranquility also had the function of catalyst. The presence of tranquilizing pictures along with the smooth move of Islamic drawings had a great influence in achieving this goal. As a matter of fact, Iranian houses were a place for development of spirit and physical calm.
Another point which must be considered is the presence of the culture of hospitality in her influence in house architecture. Based on the teachings of Islam and the native culture of this land, Iranian people have always been hospitable and created the best architectural spaces for their guests. The most beautiful,glorious and active decorations were those used in such spaces.

The Factors that Influenced the Architectural Decorations in Iranian Traditional Houses
Light and color are among factors which have played a major role in Iranian traditional architecture. In Iranian architecture, investigation of the influence of light and color on the volume and structure has always constituted a major part of various stages of building and her realization. Unfortunately, blind mimicry of western architecture has given a beautiful yet meaningless space to contemporary Iranian architecture.
Some researchers assert that the value and importance of living space has been investigated and studied from various psychological, phenomenological, sociological and behavioral-environmental aspects (Despres, 1991). Various writers have also emphasized the need for a more integrated and interdisciplinary approach which links physical, cultural, social, psychological and economical dimensions with one another. The value and importance of residence has been studied from different psychological, phenomenological, sociological, behavioral and environmental aspects (Moor, 2000).
What is lacking here is an approach in which the residence is considered as the necessary element for behavior-environment relationships. A house is a spatial unit which combines a set of personal territory features and creates a personal space, a territory that protects us from others inspections and investigations. A house is a place for social life which is confirmed and recognized sociologically. Further to being a safe place for individuals, it is a place for the social unit called family. Thus, a house is a place in which a group of intimate and close people live. The house is appreciated as the main vector of society
and as a place where identities are formed and memories begin to be created. A house is the center of intimacy. Intimacy creates personal relationships far from the eyes of people and helps us get out of our solitude and get in touch with each other (Madanipour, 2003).

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES

The Role of Light and Color in Housing A house is the most important and, also, the most complicated space where humans respond to their needs. Since the early cave lives, daylight has always promised life and prosperity for humans and informed them of the difference between day and night. As houses became more complicated and more artificial, light used to go through windows and openings. The history of architecture is in line with creation of windows and penetration of day light into buildings which resulted in light, air, heat and cold for houses. Since the early days, bright and shining objects that remind humans of lively and spiritual entities have been respectable. Nearly in all religions, light has been the symbol of divine wisdom and the element of all goodness and purities and moving from darkness to light has been considered to be the main goal (Phillips, 2004). The residential space is a space that reminds humans of place. If humans had no sense of space, they would get bored and exhausted, while house is a place which provides love and intimacy for all family members. Colors can influence the emotions, concentration and even the health of the individuals. The emotions and reactions created through colors are a global experience and are linked to cultural, humane, and even biological factors (Heller, 1989). Colors invoke unintentional and unconscious reactions and associations. Each culture associates colors with especial symbolic meanings and such meanings are usually congenial and with one another. Warm and happy colors such as orange and yellow are introduced as attractive and mirthful colors, while blue and green are known to be tranquilizing colors. Since Iranian architecture considers houses as a respectable territories and spaces in which all demands are fulfilled, it includes psychological factors as well. Traditional architects were also aware of the psychology of colors and applied them in a certain order and rule. Color comprehension mechanism is so complicated. In order to determine the use of color architecture through associations and tacit meanings, we require a limited comprehension of the science hidden beyond colors and the science of looking at colors. Influences of Light Psychology on

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES

Humans Various factors in a constructed environment influence the mental and emotional state of the user. The intensity of light and color are 2 factors that influence the performance of user in those places. While it is clear that humans can adjust themselves to various environments, it is also argued that no creativity or social welfare will be achieved if humans are not in certain conditions and situations. According to some researchers, light can play a major role in reinforcing especial comprehension, activity and mood setting (Nadeen, 2006). Light must create a mood in the individual and space which is compatible with his demands and expectations. Light synchronizes the biological clock of humans with day, night and circulation of seasons. Lack of natural light can result in disorders in autonomic nervous system, loss of energy, fatigue, tendency to solitude and metabolism disorders. On the other hand, it has been proved that light therapy can help therapeutic process. Use of Natural Light and Color in Private and Public Spaces of Iranian Traditional Architecture In Iran, architecture is directly linked with religious, cultural and mystical affairs. These affairs are observed with various functions separately in public (mosques and traditional schools) or private (house) spaces. Thus, the quality of architecture in these places has been completely different. Configurations of architecture are created through lightening of cohesive surfaces. Ceiling windows create a special type of lightening which is itself and inseparable part of volumetric space. These openings are directly associated with structure, walls and volumes. Light gets in vertically through the vertical receiver and creates a connection and coherence with the whole which is considered to be of symbolic importance. In Iranian architecture, the metaphor of light creates metaphysical meanings where the divine light is always present. Light is always a blessing from sky, heaven truth and fulfillment, even if it is hidden by darkness or shadow. Light and shadow are used to understand the space, while they are never in real contradiction with one another. Classification of various lightening strategies and the way light goes through buildings in traditional architecture is viewed in 3 terms: the spatial order of building, different types of openings or detractors or other things which are not transparent but help the light in (Ayvazian, 2005).

IRANIAN TRADITIONAL HOUSES
Āmeri House

Conclusion The status of decorative arts in Iranian architecture is rooted in combination of Iranian culture, religion and art which has evolved as time passes by. Using natural elements in Iranian architecture is mostly a metaphorical method. The glory and beauty of Iranian architecture especially in the Islamic era depends upon its decoration. Using all types of decoration such as brick work, plaster modeling, tile work, mirror work and drawing has been common in the whole Islamic era and it has progressed in line with the facilities of each period. Light and refraction of color caused by light were used in the Islamic culture to create benchmark spaces and especial concepts in places. In traditional architecture and Islamic culture, light is a symbol of god and divine light. In Iranian traditional houses, colors were not used merely for decoration; but other elements were also used in place of color to make the environment colorful and using broken mirrors reflects the color of the environment to the internal spaces. Light with various qualities influences the psychological and social space of an individual in his life. The large spectrum of light whether physical or spiritual is used consciously in traditional Iranian architecture. Using decorations in Iranian houses also serves protective and insulation purposes other than decoration function. Further to protective issues, the presence of decorations in Iranian houses which are a place for mental and physical comfort also acted as a catalyst. The presence of tranquilizing pictures along with the smooth move of Islamic drawings had a great influence in achieving this goal. As a matter of fact, Iranian houses were a place for development of spirit and physical calm.

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Iran Travel Travel Guide to ... Iran

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

Travel Guide to ... Iran
By: Virginia Maxwell

English Airways relaunches flights to Tehran today, four years after the last direct administration from the UK took off, and around a year after the UK international safe haven revived its entryways in the Iranian capital. Both moves are beating a more open way to this dubious nation for inquisitive explorers, taking after a defrosting of cold relations amongst Iran and other world forces because of a milestone atomic arrangement.

And keeping in mind that Iran regularly ends up in the features for all the wrong reasons, fearless globetrotters reliably sing the nation some time ago known as Persia's gestures of recognition, calling it a shockingly inviting goal with a lot of untouched fortunes to find. The reality Iran doesn't precisely best the schedule of mass tourism implies those with a receptive outlook will probably appreciate the country's wealth to a great extent all to themselves.
Guests heading here will discover a nation that is as mind boggling, beautiful and profoundly conventional as the Persian rugs for which it is famous. History partners are ruined for decision with regards to unfathomably safeguarded archeological locales (counting the antiquated city of Persepolis), while the photogenic magnificence of exemplary Persian engineering – typically secured with those renowned blue tiles – will please anybody with an eye for plan.

In addition, open air devotees have a surfeit of mountains to climb and ski, betray scenes to investigate and grand valleys to trek. This, consolidated with ultra-inviting local people, a refined and delightful food (succulent barbecued kebabs, flavourful stews) and an old culture saturated with verse, music and craftsmanship, imply that Iran is a goal as remunerating as it is brilliant.
English nationals require a visa to go to Iran. The procedure can be famously long and disappointing, so you ought to apply well ahead of time of your arranged travel dates. There are additionally reports of troubles securing visas through private visa offices. The Iranian international safe haven in London has started a visa benefit.

FCO exhortation cautions against all go to specific parts of Iran. The FCO likewise guarantees the dangers to voyagers in Iran are higher for those voyaging autonomously than for those going as a major aspect of a composed visit.

£1 is presently worth 40,857 Iranian rials (IR), while US$1 is worth 38,200 rials.

Cultured capital

Arranged on the lower inclines of the Alborz Mountains, their snow-tipped pinnacles giving an emotional scenery in winter, Tehran ought to display a pretty picture. Be that as it may, gridlocked movement and overwhelming air contamination are ordinary substances in this current city. The boisterous boulevards of focal and southern Tehran, where guests will invest the majority of their time, are swarmed with customers, office laborers and understudies and crackle with vitality. The city's northern rural areas aren't as excited. In spite of the fact that to a great extent private, they additionally have upmarket retail strips where wealthy local people come to shop, eat and savor espresso jazzy boutiques, eateries and bistros.
Most guests pardon Tehran's stylish deficiencies when gone up against by the abundance of fortunes showed in the city's exhibition halls. Begin by respecting the archeological ancient rarities in the National Museum of Iran (Imam Khomeini Avenue; 50,000 rials), which incorporate wonderful engravings and friezes from Persepolis; then make a beeline for the Treasury of National Jewels (50,000 rials) to gaze at its just exceptional accumulation of adornments made by Persian craftsmans and procured by the Safavid shahs. The treasury's best-known show is the Peacock (Naderi) Throne, encrusted with 26,733 pearls.

The individuals who hunger for more culture can likewise visit the Golestan Palace (golestanpalace.ir; 150,000 rials) with its formal garden, amazing Hall of Mirrors and craftsmanship exhibition loaded with pictures of Qajar rulers.

Old markets
Those quick to see a more extraordinary Iran than that offered by Tehran's movement stopped up streets ought to set out toward the atmopsheric bazaars of a portion of the nation's most truly huge urban communities. Tabriz, a previous capital, has the most renowned. Its sprawling, twisted bazaar – an Unesco World Heritage Site going back 1,000 years – is packed with resplendent, faintly lit timchehs (corridors) that drench you in a practically supernatural, back-in-time feel.

South of Tehran, Isfahan's Bazar-e Bozorg is similarly as old, and possesses a great deal of inviting teahouses. Its area between Naqsh-e Jahan Square and the Masjed-e Jameh, two of the city's real attractions, is likewise remarkably advantageous.

Tehran's bazaar is more current (it's a negligible two centuries old) yet is similarly as labyrinth prefer and brimming with enticements.

Journey destinations
Home to the biggest centralization of Shia Muslims on the planet, Iran has numerous critical religious holy places and journey locales. Swarmed with devout admirers – more often than not in family bunches – these are great spots to watch the significance of religion in everyday Iranian life. They can likewise demystify this culture for some Westerners, being spots where admirers are similarly prone to be rich and euphoric as they are discreetly thoughtful.

The most critical and excellent of these is the enormous Haram-e Razavi (Holy Shrine of Imam Reza) in the north-eastern city of Mashhad, where gold-secured arches and decreasing minarets appear to drift over the compound's bounty of yards, mosques and exhibition halls. Shia explorers from over the globe come here to visit the place of worship of the main Shia Imam to be covered in Iran.

In the south of the nation, the Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh (Mausoleum of the King of the Light) in Shiraz is about as heavenly. Its bulbous turquoise-tiled vault, gold-topped minarets and reflected inside are superb cases recently Qajar period design.

World legacy trail

There are 21 Iranian destinations and scenes on Unesco's World Heritage List, and some first-time guests to the nation wind up contriving their agendas around visits to the enormous hitters.

Try not to miss Persepolis, the lofty previous capital of the Achaemenid realm (200,000 rials, in addition to additional charge for gallery). It's a phenomenal exhibit of self important Achaemenid development, including staircases highlighting lovely cut reliefs, lofty passages finished with statues, and the remaining parts of royal residences that once housed wonderful lined lobbies.

The forsake fortification of Bam, as of late reconstructed after an overwhelming seismic tremor in 2003, was previously a flourishing exchanging post on the amazing Silk Route. This mud-block stronghold has enormous bulwarks, resplendently enlivened towers and momentous passages galore.
Another must-do is the postcard-culminate Naqsh-e Jana (Imam) Square and the Masjed-e (Jameh Mosque) in Isfahan. The last mentioned, the biggest mosque in Iran, involves a progression of expound iwans (open supplication lobbies) clad in perfect blue and gold tiles.

At long last, formal Persian patio nurseries, for example, the Bagh-e Fin in Kashan (Amir Kabir Rd; 150,000 rials) – a desert garden highlighting a progression of turquoise-hued pools and wellsprings, lavishly designed structures and a bounty of orange trees – additionally merit a place on your rundown.

Open air undertakings

The greater part of Iran is secured by mountains, so skiing and mountaineering are prevalent leisure activities. Go to Mount Damavand and Mount Sabalan in the Alborz Mountains to move in summer, and to Dizin in the Alborz Mountains or Sepidan or Chegard in the Zagros Mountains to ski in winter. In great climate, trekking through the Alamut region in the Alborz Mountains is massively pleasant. Forsake trekking ought to just be finished with an accomplished guide – when in betray territories, it's best to investigate on a 4x4 endeavor or camel trek leaving from Yazd.


Boutique boltholes

Serviceable yet to some degree frump three-star business lodgings prevail in most Iranian urban areas and towns, however travelers are in an ideal situation picking wherever feasible for the gradually developing number of boutique inns set in memorable structures.

The best of these are in focal Iran, for example, as of late opened, beat end boutique decision Saraye Ameriha Boutique Hotel (sarayeameriha.com) in Kashan, or Iran's most acclaimed lavish inn, the Abbasi Hotel (abbasihotel.ir) in Isfahan, with its eminent patio cultivate. Niayesh Boutique Hotel (niayeshhotels.com) in Shiraz, in the heart of the old quarter, has a laid-back explorer vibe.

Outside the urban areas and towns, it merits considering a homestay, which will give you a genuine taste of neighborhood life.

Arriving

Imam Khomeini International Airport simply outside Tehran is Iran's significant global air center point. There are likewise universal air terminals in Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad. The nation's busiest residential air terminal is Mehrabad International Airport in Tehran.

Residential transport benefits amongst urban areas and real towns are modest, agreeable and visit. The neighborhood prepare system is fantastic however prepares are not so much incessant but rather more costly than transports – see iranrail.net for points of interest.

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Iran Travel Iran(Itinerary)A foodie tour of Iran: it's poetry on a plate

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

A foodie tour of Iran: it's poetry on a plate
By:Yasmin Khan


Food is a wonderful vehicle for the discovery of Iran, with its fabulous regional products with stews, rice dishes, kebabs and desserts

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate
A Complete Guide to the Iranian Kebab

Imagine a verdant, landscape filled with rice paddies, tea plantations and olive groves. A country where you can hike up in the afternoon. A country filled with golden apricots, that taste like honey, peaches so succulent you. I enjoy all of these delights and more when I travel through Iran in search of the secrets of the Persian kitchen.

On my journey, I cooked and feasted with Iranians of all walks of life who welcomed me into their homes to share their favorite recipes. In a country most commonly viewed through the narrow prism of its politics, food is a wonderful vehicle for discovery. A really good meal.

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate

Perian Cuisine is ancient, varied and cosmopolitan

Those unfamiliar with Iranian food often assume that it is fiery or spicy, perhaps befitting the country's climate or politics. But it is, in fact, gentle and soothing, a poetic balance of subtle spices, as well as dried limes, saffron and rosewater. Slow cooked stews, known as khoresh, and elaborate rice dishes. Stock photography Slow cooked stews, known as khoresh, and elaborate rice dishes. Regional and seasonal delicacies are plentiful, making the most of Iran's bountiful produce.

My journey began in Tabriz in the north-west of Iran, a place of culinary union for centuries, a trade crossing between the Caucasus, the Middle East and Europe. Tabriz was one of the main cities of the ancient Persian Empire, famous for its bazaar, where spices from India and China were sold alongside delicate silks and elaborately patterned carpets.

Today, the bazaar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and nearby is one of the best places in the city to sample the city signature court, kofte tabrizi. Shariar Traditional Restaurant (corner Tarbiyat street, +98 41 554 0057) is remodeled by one of the old hammams of the city, and the lamb meatballs are the size of your fist, stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, walnuts and dried plums. They are served in a tomato and saffron sauce, which is filled with warm flatbread bread.

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate

Tabriz also has some of the Iranian comforting street food. I was shown by the psychology student Yasamin Bahmani, who took me on a walk around the El Goli Park with his famous Persian garden, and every few hundred meters insisted that we were on one of the streets, we filmed on mashed potatoes and hard-boiled eggs, Smothered in thick slices of melting butter, sprinkled with dried mint and wrapped in a warm flatbread, and tender steamed purple and yellow beetroots, which we generously sprinkled with Sumach.

To the south, I met the coast of the Caspian Sea and the gentle green hills of the province of Gilan, famous for its river fish and caviar. The cuisine of Gilan is as green as its landscapes, making it the best place in Iran for vegetarians. Eggplant and garlic appeared at every meal, beside the hills of fresh coriander, parsley and dill, which are used to create fragrant bases for stews and emerald green kuku (a kind of frittata).

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate
A man roasting corn at a street stall in Darband

I spent an afternoon with farmer Roya Baighi, who taught me how to cook Torshi-tareh, an elegant green stew dish of herbs we picked from her garden. It was full of taste and virtuosity. Gilan is also home to one of the most famous Iranian dishes: fesenjoon, chicken poached in an earthy sweet and sour sauce made of ground walnuts and pomegranates. I enjoyed it at the Mahtab Restaurant in Lahijan (Golestan Square, +98 141 422 2963), with white rice and crunchy, buttery Tahdig, the golden saffron-infused rice crust that the Iranians so much.

This spirited restaurant celebrates the Gilaki culture with a selection of local dishes and live folk music. It is adjacent to one of the most popular tourist attractions of Gilan, Lahijan Lake and Promenade, which is an ideal place to get away from any overindulgence.

No trip to the region would be complete without sampling koloocheh, small pastries filled with ground walnuts, cinnamon and cardamom, which are the specialty of the Fuman, a small town in the south-west of the province. Stands all over the city sell these baked treats and they were especially welcome, with elegant glasses of black tea washed after a rigorous hike in the surrounding hills.

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate

Teheran is filled with upscale restaurants with food ranging from sushi and frozen yogurt to dizi, lamb, chick peas and potato stew from a centuries-old recipe, cooked in a clay pot for several hours until the meat is so tender that it can be crushed In a paste with a fork. The best local feast is, however, in Darband, a neighborhood in the north of the city at the foot of the Alborz mountain. It is a quarter of narrow winding mountain paths lined with trees lined with fairy lights. Koohpayeh Restaurant is about a 10 minute walk up the Darband Hill and provides a scenic backdrop for sampling some of the city's best juicy lamb pies. Finish the night by relaxing on faded Persian carpets in one of the many small wooden pavilions up and down the road and connect the locals to smoking some apple-flavored shishas.

In central Iran I visited saffron farms, rosewater festivals and pomegranate fruit gardens, and discovered the history and horticulture behind the most impressive ingredients of Iran. The pomegranate is indigenous in Iran, and in the ancient Persian mythology the hero fighter Isfandiar is supposed to have eaten his seeds and become invincible.

Today pomegranates retain their almost mythical status and are revered as the favorite fruit of the nation. In addition to their own pleasure - the scarlet seeds with a pinch of Golpar, an earthy citrus spice - they are also salted, dried and dipped in fruit leather or prepared in molasses to prepare them for tasty dishes.

A foodie tour of Iran its poetry on a plate
The Koohpayeh restaurant in Darband.

The city of Shiraz is synonymous with poetry and with the roses that thrive in the famous garden of the city, Bagh-e Eram. Roses are indigenous to Iran and the petals were first distilled in rose water 2500 years ago. Today this is mainly used in desserts such as Faloodeh, an aromatic and refreshing rose water and lime sorbet with frozen thread noodles. The Hafez Garden is one of the best places to sample local specialty and I was taken there by Shahin Hojabrafkan, a pretty and charmingly used car dealer. We sat with a view of the Hafez shrine, squeezed the limestone ridges into our fragrant sorbets filled with rose water, and watched a steady stream of Iranians reverence for their most honored poet.

Central Iran is also home to the best pistachios in the country, both in sweet and savory dishes. My favorite method to enjoy their creamy texture is at one of the many ice cream condos in the old town of Isfahan at night, like Mahfal Ice Cream on Makineh Khajoo. One of the most beautiful is bastani akbar mashti, a saffron and rose water custard ice cream with roasted pistachios.
The last stop of my travels was the southern port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf. Bandar, as it is known, is a city of senescent sunshine, warm blue waters and towering palms, and was once an important post on the spice route from India to Europe. In contrast to the rest of Iranian cuisine, the food of this region is an attack on the senses - an exciting blend of Persian, Indian and Arabic flavors. Tropical fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and guavas are picked green and used for cucumbers in the Indian style, and seafood from the warm Persian Gulf is stewed, grilled as kebabs, fermented, dried and ground into powder and pastes.

The best place to sample the day's catch is at the fish market, where burly men scream their shops of the day and women sit on the ground next to them, sending peeling prawns. In addition to the market, offers a range of fish restaurant specialties, including Ghaleyeh Maygoo - a shrimp, fresh coriander and tamarind pot - and small spicy fishcakes called kuku-ye mahi.

Travelers in Iran are always met with warmth and hospitality: it is not unusual to be invited to an Iranian house for dinner after just exchanging a few delights. For those who want to expand their culinary knowledge or just want to enjoy one of the most sophisticated kitchens in the world, Iran offers a wealth of culinary delicacies. The only challenge for most visitors will be squeezing into their jeans at the end of the trip.

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Iran Historical Churches in Iran

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Historical Churches in Iran
The majority of the churches in Iran, which are historically and artistically valuable, were built around the 8th century AD Or around the 14th century AD. Of course, this does not mean that there are no churches that are in the country before that time.

During the reign of Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, his ardent policy caused a considerable number of Armenians from Armenia and Azarbaijan to go to Esfahan and other regions of Iran. A place called Jolfa was built on the banks of the river Zayande-rud in Esfahan and became the residence of these wanderers. Consequently, churches were built in this city. In addition, after a short period of time, some Armenians moved to Gilan and some lived in Shiraz.
After the death of Shah Abbas the first, his successor Shah Abbas the Second also drew attention to the welfare of the Armenians and other churches were built in Jolfa.

The influx of many Europeans during the rule of the Qajars led to the blooms of other churches, in addition to those that were built earlier. A number of these buildings have acquired architectural and artistic significance.

Iranian Armenian Churches

Azarbaijan is the host of the oldest churches in Iran. Among the most significant are the Tatavous Vank (St. Tatavous Cathedral), which is also called the Ghara Kelissa (the Black Monastery). This is located at the border area Siahcheshmeh (Ghara-Eini) south of Makou. There is also the church known as Saint Stepanous, which stands 24 kilometers south of Azarbaijans Jolfa town.

In general, each church has a large hall for congregations; His first part is raised like a Dais, adorned with images or images of religious figures and also serves as an altar. Candles are lit and the parish is led by the priest. In the foreground stands the prayer community, which faces the platform, where the priest leads the rites in the church; This is similar to the Muslim practice of praying with a view of the niche in the mosque. While the Mass is said, the people stand, kneel or sit depending on what the rites require.
The structure of churches in Iran follows more or less the pattern of Iranian architecture, or they are a mixture of Iranian and non-Iranian designs.

Saint Stepanous Church

Iran Churches

This is another old church at a crossroads west of the Marand-Jolfa highway and east of Khoy-Jolfa road. Even with a pyramid-shaped dome, it is still very beautiful and much more pleasant to see than the Holy Tatavous Church.

The general structure resembles, on the whole, Armenian and Georgian architecture and the interior of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, noted that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes in Azarbaijan completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the reign of Shah Abbas the Second.

 


Saint Mary's Church in Tabriz
This church was built in the 6th century AD. Built, and in his travel chronicles, Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveler, who lived during the 8th century BC, moved this church on his way to China. For so many years, the Holy Mary serves as the seat of the Armenian archbishop Azarbaijan. It is a pretty building built, with various outbuildings spread out on a large area. A board of Armenian colleagues ruled the well-visited church.

Saint Marys Church in Tabriz
Saint Marys Church in Tabriz

Apart from the above three churches, there are others in Azarbaijan as the ancient church in the eighth century A.H. In Modjanbar village, which is built about 50 kilometers from Tabriz. Another is the large church of Saint Sarkis, which is situated in Khoy; This building has survived from the time of Shah Abbas the Second (12th century A.H.). During the reign of the Safavid King, another building called Saint-Gevorg Church was built using marble stones and designed with a large dome in the village of Van Van near Shapur (Salmas). A church, also with a huge dome, is also located in Derishk village near Shapur, in Azarbaijan.

The Saint Tatavous Monastery or the Ghara Kelissa
First, this church consisted of a small hall with a pyramid-shaped dome on the top and 12 ridges, which resembled the Islamic dome-shaped buildings of the Mongol period. The difference was that the dome was made of stone. The main part of this pyramid structure followed the Byzantine (Eastern) architecture, including the horizontal and parallel fringes of white and black stones inside and black stones on the outside.

Since the facade is dominated by black stones, the church was formerly called Ghara Kelissa (or black monastery) by the locals. During the reign of the Qajar ruler, Fathalishah, new structures were added to the Holy Tatavous Church on the orders of Abbas Mirza, the Crown Prince, and the Governor of Azarbaijan. The renovation led to the widening of the Prayer Hall, and the small old church was transformed into a prayer stage that held the altar, sacred ornaments, and a place where the priest could lead the prayers. The bell tower and the church entrance were on one side of the new building, but unfortunately this part remained unfinished.

st stepanoos

In the meantime, the church had been abandoned and destroyed on the basis of border patrols and other political unrest in the area. Some minor repairs have been carried out in recent years. Every year, during a particular season (in summer), many Armenians from all parts of Iran travel to this place for prayer and pilgrimage. They come with jeeps or trucks after crossing a very rough mountain passage. They flock around the church, stay for a few days and perform their religious ceremonies. For the rest of the year, however, the church remains abandoned in this remote area.

The additions to the Church of the Holy Tatavous on behalf of Abbas Mirza consist of imprinted images of the apostles on the façade and decorations of flowers, bushes, lions and sun figures and arabesques, all made by Iranian craftsmen. The architecture of the church interior is a combination of Byzantine, Armenian and Georgian designs. In addition to the large church, chambers were built in the courtyard to protect pilgrims and hermits.

Historical Churches at Jolfa of Esfahan

Vank Cathedral
Vank Cathedral

 The most important historical church in Iran is the old cathedral, commonly referred to as the Vank (which means "cathedral" in the Armenian language). This large building was constructed during the reign of Shah Abbas the First and completely reflects Iranian architecture. It has a double-layer brick dome that is very much similar to those built by the Safavids. The interior of the church is decorated with glorious and beautiful paintings and miniature works that represent biblical traditions and the image of angels and apostles, all of which have been executed in a mixture of Iranian and Italian styles. The ceiling and walls are coated with tiles from the Safavid epoch.

At a corner of the large courtyard of the cathedral, offices and halls have been built to accommodate guests, the Esfahan archbishop and his retinue, as well as other important Armenian religious hierarchy in Iran. The church compound also includes a museum that is located in a separate building. The museum displays preserved historical records and relics, and the edicts of Iranian kings dating back to the time of Shah Abbas the First. It also contains an interesting collection of art work.

Esfahan has other historical churches, the most important of which is the Church of Beit-ol Lahm (Bethlehem) at Nazar Avenue. There are also the Saint Mary church at Jolfa Square and the Yerevan church in the Yerevan area.

The Armenian Church in Shiraz

 Saint Simons Church in Shiraz
 Saint Simons Church in Shiraz

In the eastern part of Ghaani Avenue, in a district called "Sare Jouye Aramaneh", has survived an interesting building from the era of Shah Abbas the Second. Its main structure is in the middle of a garden-like connection and consists of a prayer hall with a high flat ceiling and several cells flanking the two sides of the building. The ceiling is decorated with original paintings from the Safavid era and the adjacent cells are clad in niches and arches and plaster, also in the Safavid style. This is considered a historical monument in Shiraz and definitely worth a visit.

Saint Simon's Church in Shiraz
This is another relatively important but not so ancient church in Shiraz. The large hall is completely Iranian style, while the roof is Roman. Small barrel-shaped vaults, many Iranian works of art and glass windowpanes adorn the church.

Meanwhile, another church called Glory of Christ, stands in Ghalat, 34 kilometers from Shiraz. This building has survived the Qajar period and is surrounded by charming gardens.

Saint Tatavous Church, Tehran
This building is located in the Chaleh Meidan district, one of the oldest districts of Tehran. It is located south of the Seyed Esmail Mausoleum, at the beginning of the northern part of the so-called Armenians' Street. The oldest church of Tehran, it was built during the reign of the Qajar king, Fathalishah. The building has a dome-shaped roof and four alcoves, an altar and a special chair for the Armenian religious leader or prelate. The vestibule leading to the church contains the graves of prominent non-Iranian Christians who died in Iran, and in the middle of the cemetery Gribaydof, the tsarist ambassador at the court of Fathalishah and his companions were laid to rest. They were killed by the revolutionary forces of Tehran at this time.

Meanwhile there is a church in Bushehr from the Qajar period, which is a good example of Iranian architecture. All windows are modeled after ancient Iranian buildings and the colored windows are purely Iranian art.

There are also many other churches in Ourumieh, in Weiler around Arasbaran, Ardabil, Maragheh, Naqadeh, Qazvin, Hameadan, Khuzestan, Chaharmahal, Arak, in the old Vanak village north of Tehran, etc. These churches, however, are all abandoned and are lesser Artistic meaning.


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Shiraz The Chalice of the King

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The Chalice of the King

Hafez Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz
 Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz

By:Christine Gruwez

When Iranians come together at a party, but also for a meal with the family, it may happen that someone, in connection with some question or problem that was raised, gets up and at random opens the Divȃn, the collection of poems by Hȃfez.  The verses on which his eye first falls then have to contain a fitting answer, albeit in a most hermetic form!
In rank and estimation, the Divȃn by Hȃfez comes immediately after the Koran, and this gives the word of the poet the power to decide on life and fate.  This is the reason why the Divȃn always lies within reach on a table in the living room, and is often wrapped in a cloth as a sign of respect.
One of the frequently used key words in the poetry of Hȃfez is the word for chalice or cup, jȃm.  This word is not used in everyday speech.  In this connection the Iranians like to tell an anecdote of an orientalist (from the West of course) who ordered a jȃm of tea in a teahouse.  As if you would order a chalice of coffee!  How the waiter reacted to this question is rarely related because the speaker usually has to laugh so hard that he can't talk anymore.
But how should jȃm be translated?  It does mean chalice, but what is meant is the cup from which only the king may drink.  In Persian literature and poetry the jȃm-e jam, the legendary chalice of King Jamshid, corresponds with the Grail from medieval epics.  The Book of Kings tells how the mythical King Jamshid created a throne to show the hvarna, the divine glory of his realm on earth.  On this throne he seated himself as a radiant sun.  In the walled garden of the King, the pari daeza (from which our word paradise is derived), people gathered to render homage to him with music and dance.  At a certain moment, King Jamshid lifted the chalice up, and the life forces of all creatures awakened and flourished anew.
This chalice is the symbol of the vivifying, divine power – a power that converges in the figure of the King and radiates from him in all directions.  Following this example from tradition, later historical kings built throne rooms in their palaces surrounded by walled gardens to celebrate this cultus of the life forces bestowed by the king.  Naturally, the festival of Nowruz formed a highlight in this regard.

Takht-e-solomon
Takht-e-solomon

In northwest Iran, on a 6600 feet high lonely plain called Takht-e Soleyman (Throne of Solomon), stand the ruins of a former Zoroastrian fire sanctuary from Sassanid times.  The palace, the remains of which can still be visited, is attributed to Khosrow II (King of Kings 531-579).  The only thing that has remained intact throughout the many centuries is the breathtaking majesty of the landscape.  Mountain ridges form a ring around the sanctuary, which must also have been one of the three places where a fire was always kept alive and burning by the priests.  From here the holy fire was distributed over the entire country.
High on the plain there is a magnificent turquoise-colored lake, like an eye opened to the heavens, the water of which is so salty that it admits of no life.  On the shore of the lake one can still clearly see the remains of the throne room where the shah-in-shah, the King of Kings, surrounded by his priests, gave the commands for the sacred rituals.  Behind the King, under a dome in the throne room, the holy fire burned, and in front of him the motionless surface of the water glittered like a mirror in which the universe was pictured.  Temple and palace were an indivisible unity.  The King was an initiate who in his person had to guarantee the purity of the elements, the water and the fire, in accordance with the teaching of Zarathustra.
Researchers in the 20th century, including Lars Ivar Ringbom in his trailblazing work Graltempel und Paradies – Beziehungen zwischen Iran und Europa im Mittelalter (1951), viewed this temple complex as the possible realization of the Grail Temple as Albrecht von Scharfenberg described it in The Young Titurel in the 13th century.  There we can read that the Grail Temple rose up from onyx on a round mountain top.  The onyx, however, was covered by a thick layer of clay and grass, and only after this layer had been removed did Titurel have the onyx polished so that it glistened like the surface of the moon.

The Valencia Chalice in its chapel in Valencia Cathedral
The Valencia Chalice in its chapel in Valencia Cathedral

This is only one of the many facts that indicate that both in the West and in the East a Grail tradition existed that could draw from a common world of images. The Grail seeker passed through several stages of spiritual schooling.  The knighthood he strove for – futawah in Arabic and javȃnmardi in Persian – possessed an esoteric and a social dimension that one might absolutely compare with the tradition of the medieval guilds in Europe.  The battle of the knights consisted in reaching the original purity of their own essential being, and in fraternity they had the task of supporting each other in this striving.
In Iran the Grail theme went through an extraordinary development, all its own.  For centuries the teaching of Zarathustra had unfolded its influence, and people had gradually opened their consciousness to the various spiritual beings ranged around Ahura Mazda.  These beings work into the creation and irradiate it by their light nature, due to which nature is continually renewed in its paradisal primeval form.  What these light beings bring about, namely the transformation of nature, its new creation, is what the human being also achieves when he takes the path of spiritual knighthood.
The realm where these light beings work lies between the created world and the divine-spiritual world where everything has its origin, the sphere where the physical is spiritualized and the spiritual condenses to the material.  This in-between world, malakut, represents the realm where the lively image originates, where the imaginative forms an autonomous category of being.  Even if there were indeed temples and castles in Iran that point to the Grail Temple in their architecture, the real Grail Temple would still have to be found in the world of images.  This imaginative world has its center in the form of Mount Qaf.  This mountain has an emerald green color, and even when it appears radiant white, the rocks from which it rises up are still emerald green.  As  the center of this imaginary world Mount Qaf is at the same time the keystone of the vault of heaven.  On its top the Phoenix descends in order to rise up again and again from its ashes.

Emerald was also the stone from which the jȃm-e jam was formed, the chalice of Yima, the mythical king who lived at the time of Zarathustra.  We encounter him in countless poems, the best known of which were written by Hȃfez and Rumi, in the form of a chalice or cup from which life-giving water flows.

Hafez-Goethe monument in Weimar Germany
Hafez-Goethe monument in Weimar Germany

 These pictures have always inspired poets and painters.  One of the mystical writings of Suhrawardi, who died a martyr in 1191, relates the oldest tradition of the Grail story, which is attributed to Kay Khosrow, one of the wise men who accompanied the first appearance of Zarathustra.  "I am myself the chalice, the jȃm-e jam of Khosrow, in which the universe is mirrored," wrote Suhrawardi.

The search for the throne and chalice of Jamshid also permeates the entire oeuvre of Hȃfez.  "Throne of Jam, where is the chalice that can show us the cosmos?" the poet exclaims more than once.  The word cosmos is not meant here as the universe with its starry constellations, but the force that puts them in motion!  "He who wishes to drink from this chalice," Hȃfez wrote, "must string pearls on his eyelashes."  Then only is he worthy to catch a waft of the universal power of love.  Hȃfez continues: " Hȃfez' tears take wisdom and patience with them to the sea.  How can he hide that his heart burns for love?" – "For years my heart seeks the chalice of Jam …"


Christine Gruwez , drs. Iranian linguistic and literature, Belgiuù



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Kashan Niasar Historical Sites

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Niasar Historical Sites
The scenic settlement of Niasar is located 25 km west of Kashan. Due to its relative elevation and abundant sources of water, Niasar enjoys a refreshing climate and serves as a summer resort for the Kashan residents. The residents of Niasar earn their living by agriculture and the production of herb extracts, the latter enjoying a wide renown in Iran. The village is especially beautiful in late spring, when it is buried in the blossom of roses. from which the famous rose water is produced. The village of Niasar dates back to ancient times. although the legend attributes the foundation of the settlement to Ardashir Babakan, According to this legend. he is also responsible for the name of the site. The story goes that during the early period of his reign. Ardashir Babakan had to put down numerous revolts. One of these seems to have taken place in Esfahan, and after it had been quelled, Ardashir cut off the heads of the ringleaders and brought them to the water spring of Iskandariyeh, where he and his soldiers camped and had a feast on the occasion of their victory. There. Ardashir seems to have told his soldiers the sentence that meant: "We celebrated on the heads of the notable people". and these "notable people" sounded in the Pahlavi language like "nikan sar" These words, in the course of time. have changed to Niasar. Another theory is that the village's name is derived from the words meaning "the head of reeds".

Fire Temple

Atashgah  

The construction of the fire temple is attributed to the same Ardashir Babakan and represents one of the earliest examples of Sasanid religious architecture. It is a typical chahartaq, composed from the exterior of three distinctive elements: a square base pierced by four symmetrical arched entrances; a smaller concentric square resting on the base; and a dome mounted on this smaller square. Inside, in each corner of the smaller square base is a conical vault connecting the round dome to the base. Each wall has an exterior dimension of 10.7 m and interior dimension of 5.7 m. The arches span 4.3 m. The walls are at least 2.3 m thick. The dome has a diameter of 5.5 m and a height of 12 m. The only materials used in the structure are stones and gypsum mortar. The original ornamental stucco moldings have disappeared, and the thick coat of plaster that once covered the coarse rubble walls has crumbled. However. the building itself. which has been carefully maintained. is an important exception to the usual decayed state of the chahartaqs scat, tered all over the country. The temple rises above the Iskandariyeh spring the discovery of which is attributed by local legend to Alexander the Great. The fire from the chahar taq could be seen from a great distance. thus serving as a signal or beacon for travelers, as well as serving as a focal point of religious ceremonies.

Niasar Cave

Ghar-e Niasar

The unique Niasar cave is an amazing relic of an ancient civilization. Dating from the Parthian era, it is entirely man-made (except for one or two natural chambers near the entrance openings). Doubtless, it functioned as a Mithraist temple and was built, like most other Mithraist temples, in full darkness.
All in all, the cave has twenty rooms with an entire area of 176.5 sq. m. The largest of these rooms is 28.6 sq. m, and the smallest 1.8 sq. m, In various periods, the cave was also used for defensive purposes. Several millstones deep inside the cave were carved in situ and served as doors to cover the passages of the cave in order to cut the ventilation in case intruders entered the cave. Otherwise, there is perfect air circulation inside the cave, even in its lowest stories. The same stones could also have been used during the sacrifice ceremonies of Mithraism. Most earthenware objects found inside the cave date back to the Parthian and Sasanid eras. Also, some Islamic pottery has been found around the entrances.
Many fables are told by the locals about the cave, the most popular of which recalJs the stonemason who was spellbound in the cave. It is believed that the sound of his ax pounding the stone can still be heard inside the cave.
Today the cave is known as Reis Cave and features one main entrance, while three other openings leading to the cave can be visible in the cliff beside the Niasar waterfall. This astounding cave is dug in three stories and consists of innumerable corridors and tunnels exceeding 500 m in length, and 45 wells with an entire depth of 118 m. The cave comprises two distinctive parts. Its central section has seven chambers dug in various levels in the heart of the Talar Mountain and connected through the winding corridors with the lower stories. The second part is a long, slowly descending corridor, linking a row of wells and coming out on the surface in the beautiful Talar Garden. The height of the corridors is less than 1 m, and their amazing number turns the cave into an impassable maze.
In order to walk in most passages, corridors and even in small chambers of the cave, one has to creep and crawl. In many parts, the path is so narrow that it is not possible for the visitor to pass through without stooping. Tourists should by no means attempt to explore the cave without a guide. Other places of interest in Niasar include a waterfall with a mill by its side, and the Qajar Talar pavilion, from the veranda of which there is a breathtaking panorama of the Niasar's environs.
Niasar is also remarkable for the unique, interesting ceremony that is held here on the Islamic holiday of Eid-e Qorban, but that is certain to have pre-Islamic roots. On this holiday, the locals ornament a cow and sacrifice it in a special ritual held near the Village mosque (today, the mosque is quite uninteresting, but before its recent rebuilding, it greatly resembled the Anahita temples, devoted to the Iranian goddess of water, beauty, and fertility). One cannot help but recall the symbolic pictures of Mithra, slashing the throat of a cow. This picture is often seen in artifacts from the Parthian and Sasanid periods, or in some European monuments influenced by Mithraism, which in its heyday spread from India to Europe.

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