Iran Travel Guide

by

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Today I will tell you all there is to know about Iran, from a traveler’s point of view, of course. Yes, Iran, you got that right folks, there’s no joke, but the real deal!

Let me start by pointing the fact  that despite the international tensions which put the country on the Axis of Evil list, Iran is the cradle of civilization and it should be treasured for what it really is: one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in the whole wide world!

History buffs and “literate” travelers already know that Iran is blessed with a multitude of ancient archaeological sites, beautiful landscapes and an astounding culture. Despite its oppressive regime and the international tensions, we should all treasure Iran for what it really is, an exquisite travel destination for the intrepid tourist!

Iran was well known in antiquity under another name, Persia, being one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Bordered by Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan,  Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Iraq and Turkey, you can safely presume that it benefited from being a true avant la lettre  cultural melting pot, and you’d be right.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has a land surface of 1.65 million square kilometers and a population just shy of 80 million people.

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Being a truly proto-multi-cultural society, along with the official language (Persian), there are others like Armenian, Azerbaijani, Arabic, Turkmen, Georgian etc. And the same story goes for religion: along with the official Shia Islam, Iran is a very tolerant country, and other recognized religions include Judaism and Christianity. Indeed, Jews, Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefully in Iran for thousands of years.

As you can imagine, Iran is a very, but very cosmpolite country, with a rich heritage dating back 3,000 years and bursting with history and culture.

I must tell you that ancient Persia has a huge touristic potential, being perfectly capable of attracting tens of millions of tourists each and every year, and you should be among the first to profit from the recent reforming of Iran’s political class.

Shiraz / Persepolis

What to see, what to do

The Golestan Palace is one of the key touristic attraction while visiting Tehran, the country’s capital and Iran’s largest city; the palace was known to be from ancient times the home for the Qajar Dynasty, and an astounding blend of Islamic and Western influences, in terms of architecture obviously.

Imam Square is one of the biggest public squares on the planet, featuring an awesome collection of palaces and blue mosaic mosques, filled with beautiful gardens.

The bridges of Esfahan and the National Jewels Museum  are key touristic attraction for when visiting Iran, boasting with their 1600’s architecture and a majestic-almost fairy-tale look.

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Iran is the place to go if you’re on the prowl for rug shopping, as Persian rugs are very easy to find in the city bazaars and they’re arguably among the most beautiful in the world.

The troglodytes of Meymand are to be met only in Iran, being a resident population which inhabited the carved settlements (man-made caves) in the hills  on the south coast of the country for over three thousand years.

The Jameh Mosque is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture and design, one of Esfahan’s unique attractions and a once in a life time opportunity to let the Islamic culture sink in into your soul. Also, the mosque is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and its constructions started way back in the 9th century .

But maybe the most interesting site to be seen while visiting Iran is the ancient Persepolis, located near Shiraz. Persepolis was, once upon a time, the capital of the former Achaemenid Empire, the first Persian empire actually, which ruled between the 6th and the 4th century BC.

Shiraz / Persepolis

Food and Drink

Iranians are very fond of rice and they cook it like no other nation on this earth, rice being the staple food in the country. Rice is eaten with yogurt, bread, aubergines and lamb. Also, Iranians use and “abuse” subtle flavors, like cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, turmeric or saffron, in a delicate and tasty mixture or blend, along with lime and garlic. Keep in mind that Iranians adore yogurt!

Specialties include chelo koresh (rice with meat and veggies in nut sauce), polo chele, polo sabzi, polo chirin, adas polo and morgh polo (dishes using rice as the main ingredient cooked with various things like fresh herbs, saffron, almonds, raisins, oranges, lentils and meat), minced meat-meatballs, meatloaf and thick stews.

Regional drinks include all sorts of fruit and vegetable juices, sparkling waters, tea and doogh(a mixture of mineral water and yogurt).

Ruins of Persepolis

Visa Requirements

To enter and visit Iran, you will require a valid passport and a visa. If you’re Israeli or you have visited Israel or any other country bordering Israel, you might be refused from entering Iran, fair warning.

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One Response to “Iran Travel Guide”

  1. Evangelina07 Says:

    I read your post about Iran and Armenia. Both very informative. I am interested in both countries so I appreciate your posts. Thank you.

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