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.