Sunday, June 6, 2010

Iran Photo Gallery

Top 5 Must Do's in Iran

It is a shame that it has become problematical for Westerners to travel in Iran recently as there is a whole host of Iran Must Do's that every serious traveler should aim to have achieved before they die. Iran has been the cradle of several civilizations and as such is extremely interesting from a historical point of view.

1. Persepolis - Iconic and Astonishing

Dating back 2500 years, this vast complex of palaces stands out as the highlight of any trip to Iran. It was the axis of the development of the Persian Empire and was also a significant location for the Achaemenid Empire. There are countless ancient sculptures and engravings from these times that remain in excellent condition. Persepolis has endured despite having been burned down by Alexander the Great in retaliation for the burning down of Athens. Persepolis houses the Tomb of Xerxes (a large monument carved into a hill that is 20 meters high) and the Tomb of Darius.

2. Tehran's Museums

The National Museum of Iran features some relics from Persepolis as well as 'the Salt Man' dating back to the third or fourth centuries A.D. Aban Museum was once a stable belonging to the Shah of Iran and contains stunning bronze sculptures by Sayed Ali Akbar. The National Jewels Museum is Tehran's most popular. You can see a 182-carat pink diamond here which is unique and fascinating. The Glass and Ceramics Museum and the Malek Library containing 19th-century paintings are also essential to visit on any trip to Tehran.

3. The Mausoleum of Oljeitu

This 14th century colossus was built with the intention of housing Shi'ia relics but its architecture came to be regarded as a major influence on the Taj Mahal. This was the capital of the Sultan Oljeitu's empire and remains at the top of Iran Must Do's.

4. Masjid-i Jami

Dating back to the tenth century A.D., this gorgeously decorated mosque is perhaps the most impressive in all Asia. The winter prayer hall stands out, decorated as it is with floriated plasterwork and 14th- century inscriptions. There is also stunning tilework to be found all around the Masjid i-Jami.

5.Bagh-i Dawlatabad, Yazd

Last but not least for Iran Must Do's is this comparatively modern complex built in the 1700s within a desert town. It features a garden with a water channel overlooked by a pavilion. This forms part of a cooling system that obviously predates concepts such as air-conditioning. Fountains and colored glass add to the ethereal atmospherics.

March 22, 2010 change by revjugular

When to Go in Iran

In Iran, when to go can vary from time to time. Ideal visiting times also depend on the part of Iran you wish to visit. The climate of this region ranges from subtropical to arid and semiarid, depending on the location. Iran is a cultural area known for its fascinating wildlife and interesting animal species, so no matter when you go, you are sure to see something worthwhile. Below is more information on the climate to expect while traveling to Iran at different times of the year.

Iran's Variable Climate

Iran has a dynamic climate, and the weather you encounter while traveling will vary from region to region. The northwestern area of Iran is known for its cold winters with heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures in December and January. Fall and spring in the northwest are moderate, and summers are very hot and dry.

In the southern part of Iran, winters are moderate and comfortable, while summers are extremely hot. Summer temperatures in the southern region are known to exceed 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Farenheit) in the month of July. Certain areas in the southern part of Iran can also be humid, in addition to hot.

For the most part, Iran has an arid climate; the majority of its annual precipitation occurs from October to April, and averages about 25 centimeters. In contrast, the mountain valleys of the Zagros and the Caspian coastal plain average 50 centimeters of yearly rainfall. But the rainiest area of all is the western part of the Caspian, which receives nearly 100 centimeters a year.

Arid Climate and Temperatures

Because Iran features mainly a arid climate, summers in this region are known to be extremely hot, no matter what area you visit. If you are sensitive to heat and prefer a more mild climate, the best time to visit Iran is probably not in the summer months. Ideally, you should travel to Iran in the spring or fall, which generally have the mildest weather conditions and most moderate temperatures. If you're traveling to the southern region of Iran, winter can be an ideal time to visit, as the temperatures during this time are usually mild and cool. If you're visiting the northwest area, on the other hand, you may want to avoid the winter months, as winters can be quite cold and snowy there.

What to Wear In Iran

When traveling to Iran in the summer, you will need clothing that is very lightweight and breathable. Fall and spring temperatures are usually mild, so clothing should be lightweight, cotton, and comfortable. Winter clothing will depend on the area you visit, but should be much heavier than summer clothing. The northwest region gets the coldest, so you will want to have heavy winter gear if visiting this area during winter.

March 17, 2010 new by cferry1990

Senior Travel in Iran

Following is an Iran senior travel guide that will help older travelers make their stay in Iran more comfortable and enjoyable.

Traveling Within the Country

Transport in Iran is affordable and easy to get, regardless of the time or place. Older travelers that are looking for good long distance transport in the country should opt for Iran’s affordable domestic air services. Iran Air, Kish Air and Mahan Air are some of the most popular airlines for flying within the country. Airline services in Iran are reliable, frequent and much safer compared to roads. For travelers who prefer to stay on the ground while traveling, the passenger rail is a good option. Tourists can also find overnight trains that have sleeper berths. Trains are a cheap, safe and reliable mode of transport in the country. Buses are another good option for travel. The country has an extensive domestic bus network which is comfortable and cheap.


Accommodation in Iran is available for all types of travelers. From small cheap mosaferkhuneh to luxurious five star hotels, older tourists can find accommodation that suits them. Those who plan to stay in the country for a long period of time can rent out villas in major cities like Tehran at affordable rates. There are also many guest houses that provide ideal accommodation for non-Iranians at good rates.

Sights to Visit

Iran has many attractions for older tourists. One of the most interesting places is the National Museum of Iran, which is located in Tehran. It displays the country’s rich heritage through the vast collections of seals, ceramics and sculptures that are from the 4th and 5th centuries. The National Jewels Treasury is another ideal place for older tourists to visit. Some of the items that visitors can see here include the largest pink diamond in the world, a gem encrusted globe from 1869 and a 200 year old throne that is studded with precious stones from all over the world. There are other ancient historical buildings like the Chek Chek shrine that tourists can visit.

Dining Out

Tourists will have absolutely no problem with the food in Iran as this country’s local cuisine is excellent. Iranian cuisine draws its influence from Europe, Central Asia, Russia and the Middle East. While the food is great, most Iranians prefer to eat at home. For this reason, it is a little hard to find decent restaurants. There are, however, many fast food outlets that serve sandwiches, pizzas and burgers. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Iran and only religious minorities can consume and manufacture alcohol.

April 08, 2010 change by ctanios
April 07, 2010 new by imran_m

Budget Travel Ideas in Iran

Following is an Iran budget travel guide that highlights the different ways in which tourists can save their money while visiting this country.

Getting Around

Compared to American or European standards, Iranian transport is very affordable, mainly because of the abundance of fuel. Budget tourists will find that flying within the country is very cheap and costs only about $40. This is especially useful for tourists on a schedule. However, for a more budget friendly way of traveling, tourists can opt for the domestic bus network in Iran. It costs barely $4 to $5 to travel from Esfahan to Shiraz by an air conditioned first class bus. Tourists who are on a budget can also travel by Savari, or local shared taxis, for a more comfortable journey without worrying about high fares.


There are many cheap hotels in the different cities in Iran that offer tourists comfortable accommodations. Nader Hotel and New Naderi Hotel are 2 of the cheapest hotels in Tehran. Room rates start at $30, depending on the type of room you choose. There are many 3-star hotels in this city that offer good accommodation for about $60 or more. Amir Kabir in Kashan, Ava Hotel in Isfahan, Arg Hotel in Siraz, Amin Hotel in Kerman are among the many other budget friendly hotels in Iran. Tourists on a tight budget can also opt to stay in cheap mehmanpazir and mosaferkhuneh that can be found in most cities.

Dining Out

Most Iranians prefer to dine at home and for this reason, there are very few decent restaurants in most cities. However, budget travelers can be sure that local food is the best way to save money and also sample an authentic Iranian cuisine. Chelo morgh and chelo kebabs are the most common kinds of foods, although they have a number of variations. Tourists can also find a number of fast food restaurants that serve pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and falafels for about $2 to $3. Iran also boasts of numerous tea houses that serve light meals and traditional snacks that start at about $1.


There are a number of attractions in Iran that budget tourists will enjoy seeing. Imam Square in Esfahan is one of the best places to visit. This is a World Heritage Site with gardens, mosques, fountains and artistically constructed buildings. Tourists should also visit Tehran Bazaar where a lot of interesting things can be found. The Golestan Palace and Holy Shrine of Emam Khomeini are some of the other places tourists should visit in Tehran. Besides these, budget tourists can also enjoy theme parks and museums in Iran as entry fees for these places are relatively low.

April 08, 2010 new by imran_m

Family Travel Ideas in Iran

There are plenty of options for Iran family travel as there are skiing areas, museums, shopping and more. Each of the different cities has attractions that will appeal to everyone in the family at any age.

Enjoy Skiing

Dizin is the largest ski resort in the Middle East and it is found just outside of Tehran in Iran. There are five different ski areas as well as snowboarding areas. The view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking. You can reach the ski resort by two main roads from Tehran as one comes from the east and one from the west. There are two other ski resorts, Shemshak and Darband’sar, to the east of Dizin which also offer great skiing and snow.

Visit Museum

The Goelstan Palace is fantastic as the museum contains many different exhibits. The actual architecture of the palace is breathtaking and the terrace, Takt-e-Marmar, also known as the Marble Throne, should not be missed. This terrace contains stucco, marble carvings, paintings, mirrors, tile-work, enamel, lattice work and woodcarvings. The throne itself is some of the finest pieces of architecture you will find in Iran and this building is one of the oldest.

Visit Shiraz

Everyone in the family will enjoy visiting the ancient ruins of the Persian capital of Persepolis in Shiraz. This city was built in 500BC on a partially formed natural terrace. This site is a world heritage site and contains the ruins of an immense palace complex. It takes about an hour to reach the ruins from the city. This is a must if you are stopping in Shiraz as you can walk in the footsteps of the famed King Darius and Xerxes.

Have Adventure in Caves

In Hamadan you can explore the Ali Sadr Cave which was formed by water. The cave is thought to be at least 130 million years old and you can enjoy a boat ride to view the many stalagmites and stalactites. The boat ride lasts for two hours. There are not many water caves that would rival this one. Inside you can find a shop that sells coffee and tea.

Enjoy Historical Squares and Castles in Estefhan

A particular point of interest in the city of Estefhan is Iman Square. This open area bazaar was built during the 17th century and also goes by the name of Isfahan Royal Square. You can find many fountains and mosques around the bazaar. The architecture is quite jaw dropping particularly if you enter from the main archway near the university.

A few other historical sites to visit include Si-o-se Bridge, Naqsh-e-Jahan Square near the bazaar, Chetel Soton which is an old castle and Aali Qapu Palace, another impressive castle.

March 18, 2010 change by ctanios

Festivals in Iran

Getting Acquainted with Orthodox Iran Festivals

There are numerous Iran Festivals that are celebrated by different communities in Iran. Due to its multi-cultural influences, Iran boasts of festivals that combine the essence of various cultures and religions including Syrian and Roman influences along with Persian culture and Zoroastrianism. Two of the most revered Iran festivals are:

Yalda Festival

The festival of Yalda is also called Shab-e Cheleh. This festival owes its origin to ancient times when Zoroastrianism was spreading through Central Asia.

Celebrated in the month of December, the exact date of the festival is decided by calculating the longest night of the year. The date invariably falls in December (the 21st or the 22nd) in accordance with the traditional, Persian calendar system. Yalda is regarded as the night wherein evil was finally defeated and the holy powers won the struggle for humanity. The festival is also interpreted as the victory of the sacred, Zoroastrian God Mazda over the demon Ahriman.

Like most Iranian festivals, the emphasis is upon cooking delicacies at home. Among the various authentic Iranian recipes cooked during Yalda, the use of melons is emphasized. Eating melon during this time of the year is supposed to ward-off illnesses. Nearly every commercial eatery serves melon-based dishes during Yalda, ranging from pies to breads prepared with melon seeds. Prayers are held throughout the day and the celebrations pick up once the night falls. The ideal time to visit the bazaars (rustic marketplaces) is late evenings when they are lit brightly.

Jashan-e-Sadeh Festival

Celebrated in the month of January, the Jashan festival is also referred to as the ‘Zoroastrian Midwinter’ festival.

The word ‘Jashan’ means ‘celebration’ and this is one of the most enthusiastically-celebrated orthodox, Iranian festivals. Most families keep alight a pyre of wood on this day. The flame of the pyre is symbolic and is believed to chase-away the demons and mark the onset of the orthodox, Iranian New Year. The heat of the bonfire represents purity and a good omen that overcomes the evil, represented by the frosty, cold weather that prevails during January.

Visitors are often seen sharing the small bonfires that spring-up across every street, throughout Tehran, during the Jashan festival celebrations. This is perhaps the best way of getting acquainted with the cultural heritage of the Iranian people. The conversations often revolve around the victory of Lord Mihr on the eve of the first-ever Jashan and how this festival was sustained when Christianity prevailed in Central Asia and was celebrated as a delayed New Year.

March 11, 2010 change by ak1980
March 12, 2010 change by ctanios