Chinese travelers visiting Iran for travel or business purpose do not need visa anymore, confirmed the Chinese embassy in Iran on Tuesday.
Photos show Iran’s important historical site, Isfahan.
Iran is a jewel waiting to be discovered.
Image Credits: Joshua Berida
In the current media build-up against Iran it is easy to get lost in the confusion and hype about the Iranian government and miss out on an understanding of the problems facing the Iranian people and how they are coping with them. The current economic situation is worsening as the UN Security Council, the United States…
Iran, October 18 – 26, 2017
Summary: Drove from Ashkabat, Turkmenistan several hours to the border with Iran; crossed into Iran and continued to Mashhad. Flew Mashhad southwest to Shiraz; day trip to Persepolis. Drove north to Esfahan (also, Isfahan), then Kashan and finally Tehran. Flew to Dubai from Tehran.
Our Iranian adventure was an add-on to our three-week trip in The Stans/Central Asia/Silk Road where eighteen of us had been traveling together. Only four of us from The Stans tour took the nine-day extension into Iran: Bernard and I, of course, and two lovely ladies, Sue and Elinor.
It was in Turkmenistan before entering the border crossing that we women changed into our ‘Iranian outfits’ – pants, tunics and scarfs. The literature we’d been given gave specific details about how modest we were to dress: no tight pants or close-fitting tunics, for example. They alarmed us to the point that Elinor brought a full hijab that fit tightly around her head and shoulders. Well, as you can see from the photos, Iranian women were wearing leggings/tight pants with their form-fitting tunics and in some cases the scarf was barely there.
A dome is an interesting architectural element that resembles the upper half of a sphere. While its definition is controversial, the effect it has on us humans is clear. Domes simply fascinate us.
Traces of domes go back to prehistory, and along the time, they were built out of mud, stone, snow, concrete, brick, metal and other materials as well. They’ve been found in the early Mesopotamia, and in the Ancient World as well, in Roman, Persian and Chinese architecture and have spread out all over the world until today.
The popularity of the dome is strictly tied to its symbolism. The dome embodies the sky, which plays a powerful part in celestial and mortuary traditions all over the world and since a very long time ago. That’s why we’re most probably impressed by a dome shaped roof, because it sparks something inside us.
But beyond the symbolism of it, there are other architectural elements that impress us a great deal when we see them, so let’s now take a look at the most incredible domes in the world:
14. The United States Capitol, Washington D.C.
Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the central Iranian city of Isfahan has for centuries embodied the oriental essence of Iran’s art and culture.
Constructed between 1598 and 1629, during the Safavid era, Naqsh-e Jahan Square has for centuries been known as the highlight of Iranian urban and architectural designing.
Naqsh-e Jahan, meaning the “Image of the World” in Persian, was designed by architecture maestros Mohammadreza Esfahani and Ali Akbar Esfahani. It is also referred to as Imam Square and Shah Square.
The square, which is one of the largest city squares in the world (560 meters long and 160 meters wide), is surrounded by four architectural monuments including the Imam/Shah Mosque on the southern side, the Ali Qapu Palace on the western side, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on the eastern side and Qeisaria gate on the northern side.
The four monuments are located at the center of two-storey arcades of traditional bazaars with hundreds of shops selling masterpieces of Iranian handicrafts and other local products.
The open space of the center of the square is currently ordained with a massive turquoise pool and green area.
This city is a must-visit on an Iran trip.
Check out the many activities and attractions in Isfahan, a historic city along the typical tourist route in Iran.
There is an old Persian saying that goes, “Isfahan nesf-e jahan”, which means that Isfahan is half the world. During my countless visit to this magnificent city in central Iran, I slowly unravelled its layers to better grasp this rhyming proverb. I delved into the palaces, mosques, bridges and gardens, and then I explored some more. After all the hours spent uncovering the city, I could more or less narrate a rather comprehensive – though not exhaustive – list of things to do in the city of Isfahan.
Here we go:
1. Wander all the corners of Naqsh-e-Jahan Square
A massive public space in the centre of Isfahan, Naqsh-e-Jahan Square, also known as Imam Square, is a fine example of the architectural gems built during the Safavid empire.
TEHRAN – Iran will stop issuing paper visas in favor of electronic ones for all countries by May 2018, said Hassan Qashqavi, the deputy foreign minister for consular affairs.
“We will definitely terminate granting paper visas …,” he vowed late on Wednesday in an address to a meeting attended by a number of cultural officials, lawmakers, as well as tour operators and travel associates from state and private sectors.
Other speakers to the event touched upon the impact of the value added tax on tourism sector and ways to develop its marketing and infrastructure, ISNA reported.
MP Shahabeddin Bimeqdar criticized both the administration and the parliament for not allocating adequate funds for “advertising” tourism potentials of the country.
“We only like to pay for cement, bricks, and rebar beams not for advertising,” Bimeqdar said, adding: “Unfortunately, we only overtalk about tourism and have no operational plan.”
With a prominent Halal dining scene, ample mosques and a significant Muslim population, you cannot go wrong with any of these easy-on-the-wallet choices!
Muslim-friendly destinations are constantly on the rise with the expansive Halal market that sees more travellers sourcing for great destinations to visit. Despite that, it can be pretty tricky and tedious to research for places that are not only Halal-friendly but also offer prayer facilities and privacy in accommodations. At the same time, we completely understand that money plays an equally (if not the most, for some) important factor in determining where to go.
Therefore, we have narrowed down these seven cool and affordable cities that should be listed on your 2018 bucket list. They brim with a dazzling array of Muslim-friendly facilities, attractions and exotic Halal cuisine (amples of it!) for you to savour during your trip.
Isfahan Travel Guide: a list of things to do in this Iranian city from culture and arts to food, shopping and hotels.
I was excited when I learned that my hotel in the Iranian city of Isfahan had an observation deck, but I was also cautious. After all, the rooftop of said hotel was only four stories above the ground. Surely, the view of historical Isfahan couldn’t be that impressive.
Additionally, by the time I made my way through the red tape I’d realized was a wrapped around most extraordinary things in Iran, it was 20 minutes past sunset. Any color the fading light might’ve streaked across the sky would surely be gone, to say nothing of how tired I felt after the long journey from Tehran—I almost wanted to feel uninspired. The bell boy removed the padlock from the fire door.
Its resplendent mosques replete with Islamic artworks and architecture lends it a royal charm….
There are many impressions first-time visitors would have of this country. But contrary to what you see on the news and learn through hearsay, Iran — that was once home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations — will make you feel at home the minute you arrive. Language may be a problem, you realise right at the outset, but a bit of miming and a friendly smile will take you a long way — in Iran, the guest is a VIP, and locals will go out of their way to make sure you feel special. As I journey to Isfahan, just a short flight from the capital, Tehran, I’m transported into the pages of history, to architectural marvels that hypnotise me for hours, with their opulent decor.
Home Of Heritage
Iran, known as Persia until 1935, is a partly undiscovered gem. It offers rich culture, history and provides visitors with impressive heritage. Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world as regards the number of World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO. Historical and urban settlements date back to 4000 BC in this area. Locals are called Persians and represent about 51% of the population. Tourism-review.com, in collaboration with prominent Iranian tour operator GapaTour, introduce the best, most famous, historical and prominent places of the “Land of the Aryan’s” – the 7 wonders of Iran.
Once the thriving cultural and art center of Iran, today Persepolis is considered one of the most beautiful historical locations in the world.
TEHRAN – The 17th century Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, central Iran, is one of the architectural masterpieces of Iranian architecture.
In comparison to many mosques scattered across the country, it appears to be relatively unusual, having neither a minaret nor a courtyard probably because the mosque was never intended for public use, but rather served as a worship place for women.
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque punctuates the middle of two-story arcades that are encircling the enormous Emam Square, itself a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Inside the sanctuary, there are thousands of mosaics that adorn the walls and its extraordinarily gorgeous ceiling that features a series of shrinking, yellow motifs, itself a masterpiece of design. Photography is allowed but using a flash is not.
Measures to protect world heritage sites Susa and Naqsh-e-Jahan, and prevent their inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger are working, but more needs to be done, a recent report by UNESCO said.
In its annual State of Conservation Report released earlier this month, UNESCO lists both Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan Province and Susa in Khuzestan Province as sites that are at risk, but not threatened enough to merit a place on the dreaded list.
Identified as Meidan Emam by UNESCO, Naqsh-e-Jahan became a world heritage site in 1979. In its report, the UN body names housing and commercial development as well as expansion of Isfahan Subway as threats to the site, though it says the commercial development issue has been resolved.
Dedicated to an Isfahani Jewish friend who wishes to go back one day.
The last time I was there, I was very young. I barely remember it. Shiraz was always the city of my dreams and what fond memories I have from that fabulous city. It was also where I spent almost a month with my father, just the two of us. He had just become the Governor of Fars, the first to resign, during the most decisive months of the revolutionary Iran. My father is known in many respects but most of all that during his governorship, he saved Persepolis.
But then they say, Isfahan is half of the world—which is, perhaps, a bit of an exaggeration because there are many beautiful cities around the world as stunning as Isfahan.
This article is dedicated to celebrating the Islamic architectural excellency, its cultures and histories – and to invite you to go admire them for yourself.
“The Mosque is the architecture which unites the Muslims and their efforts. It refines their souls and awakens their minds and hearts. It solves their problems. The Mosque shows their strength and cohesiveness. ”
As one of the holiest and most beloved buildings in Islam, the mosque is the great symbol of unity and faith for the Muslim community. More commonly referred to in Arabic as masjid, the mosque also acts a venue where Muslims gather to perform prayers, seek Islamic knowledge, attend Friday sermons and Al-Quran classes, celebrate Hari Raya, as well as unite two soulmates in a marriage (Nikah).
I first went there in 1978 to cover the Iranian Revolution and I’ve visited about 10 times for work. It’s a largely 17th-century city, and its stunning mosques – decorated with exquisite blue mosaics – are among the most beautiful in the world. The 16th-century bridge, popularly known as Si-o-Seh Pol [the bridge of 33 arches], is a breathtaking sight, spanning the Zayandeh River. My favourite area is Naqsh-e Jahan Square, or Imam Square, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Traditionally, Isfahan has been hard to get to, but now it’s quite easy for British tourists.
Anything special I should pack?
Take phrase books, as most people don’t speak English, and read up on the city’s history. There’s no point in pitching up, say, in the vast central square without knowing that the builder, Shah Abbas I, staged polo matches there.
What do you miss most when away?
With 21 UNESCO World Heritage sites already within the country’s borders, the modern architecture movement appears to be making up for lost time.
For much of the world, the image of Iran is hardened by its politics. Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, the country has been transformed from a pro-Western stronghold that promoted freedom and equality to the very antithesis of democracy. Yet a visit today to the capital of Tehran might change your perspective. Of course, the Iran we see in the news is still there, with all its anti-American propaganda. But beneath that increasingly fragile veneer of extremism is a growing sense of global curiosity and national pride. This cultural shift is signaled by the country’s first-ever Fashion Week, pro-Western art throughout the city, and especially the flourishing of modern architecture.