Blogs from Iran, Middle East - page 4


Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran November 14th 2017

Preamble: I can’t really remember when the idea of visiting Iran first made its way into my head. It might have been over ten years ago when I bought a book on Islamic architecture and gazed at photographs of amazing tilework at mosques in Esfahan. In late 2016 we started thinking of where to go for our next sabbatical and Iran had by then made it to the shortlist. When we started looking at the practicalities we realised that this wasn’t as simple as buying a plane ticket and making it up from there. Politics raised its inconvenient head and as Brits we needed to go on an organised trip. Finding that a visa would cost £165 meant that we wanted a trip that would last a few weeks and found the Explore “Iran in depth” ... read more
Tehran from 12th floor hotel balcony
National Museum
Bowl in museum

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan October 18th 2017

Travelling further south we are aiming for Shiraz, but we have a lot of Persian history to learn about, and see, on the journey. Initially we head into the mountains, passing through remote rural villages - the going is slow. We stop, for an enjoyable picnic lunch, and eventually reach our destination for the night, at a home stay in the small village of Faraghe. We stroll around the village, sampling hot breads straight from the wood-fired ovens, and later sample figs and pomegranates picked from the orchard trees. We enjoy a simple but tasty home-cooked meal around a blazing brazier. The following morning the history commences when we visit the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, a high stone tiered edifice. Iranians are forever drinking tea, lightly spiced with mint, ... read more
Mirror-tiled Interior Ali-ibn-hamzeh Shrine - Shiraz
Eagle head Statues - Persepolis
Reflections at night of the Imam Mosque - Isfahan

Middle East » Iran October 17th 2017

YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT, THEN GO BACK TO THE BLOG OR GO THROUGH THE PHOTOS (79 TOTAL - CLICK ON NEXT OR PREVIOUS) IN THAT ENLARGED FORMAT. I PUT LOTS OF INFORMATION IN THE PHOTO CAPTIONS SO YOU CAN SKIP THE NARRATIVE, JUST LOOK AT THE ENLARGED PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS AND YOU'LL STILL GET MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU EVER WANTED. TO RETURN TO THE BLOG ENTRY, JUST CLICK YOUR BACK BUTTON OR ON THE NAME OF THE BLOG, BELOW THE NUMBERS ON THE LEFT. As you have probably figured out, these travel blogs are a way for Bernard and me to keep track of our adventures. I can't tell you how many times we've referred back to one of our over 60 travel blogs looking for various details, maps, dates, etc. ... read more
Roadside Cafe Meeting
Imam Reza Shrine, Mashhad, Iran
2nd Chador and Guide (Mashhad)

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran October 10th 2017

What a thrill to fly from cool autumnal Britain, overnight from Heathrow and arrive at Imam Khomeini International Airport to a cool clear dawn in Tehran. Many of our family and friends were incredulous at our choice of this latest Wandering destination - we are hoping over the next couple of weeks to show what an inspired choice it was!! We are travelling on a Wild Frontiers small group tour, commencing in Tehran and then travelling south through the central and eastern deserts to Yazd, Shiraz and Persepolis and subsequently heading back north through the mountain ranges to the amazing Silk Road city of Esfahan. Tehran is a sprawling metropolis, suffering with dreadful traffic congestion, but the slow moving traffic does allow one to cross the busy roads dodging between slow moving traffic! Between the modern ... read more
Saffron in the Bazaar - Tehran
Mosque - Tehran
Tile decoration Jama ‘Friday’ Mosque - Yazd

Middle East » Iran » North » Mazandaran August 8th 2017

Mazandaran, or Tabarestan in old Persian, was the last Persian stronghold to be conquered by the Arab armies who brought Islam to Iran. Unlike the rest of the Iranian Plateau, the residents of Mazandaran were able to defend their land from Arab invaders for centuries thanks to the natural barriers of mountains and a resilient population known for being warriors. The ancient religion of Persia "Zoroastrianism" was able to hold a majority in the region until the 12th century while the rest of Persia fell quickly to Islam in the 7th century. Mazandaran has many beautiful sites. Within mainland Iran, this area is called "shomal" which literally translates to "north". Many Persians today consider it the most beautiful region of Iran. It's a great area for adventure seekers with lots of jungles, mountains, and of course ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North August 6th 2017

In Golestan Province, located in northeastern Iran close to the border of Turkmenistan, an intriguing cemetery exists called Khalid Nabi where tombstones are made to look like male and female sex organs. This area is dated prior to the arrival of Islam and has survived nearly untouched due to being in a remote area. From the city of Gorgan in Golestan province, the route to Khalid Nabi is very scenic - rolling green hills, local red flowers called shaghayegh, and fruit trees line the 2 lane road leading to Khalid Nabi. The drive there is approx 2 hours so plan a full day there. The first impression of the site is the abundance of nature's beauty. Set in a backdrop of gorgeous green mountains, you have to be prepared to hike along a mountainous trail before ... read more

Middle East » Iran March 20th 2017

10th - Lamu Yoga Festival, Kenya. A little light stretching before work. 11 - Dad's Brithday! Happy Birthday! 12th - Purim - Read the Book of Esther. 13th - Holi. Made gujiya - a sweet dumpling stuffed with nuts, dried fruit and cardamon seeds. 14th - π Day - 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971... is as far as I got. It's not that enjoyable but at least it's not repetitive. 15th - Argentinian Tango Conference - I watched some instructional videos and then I watched a narcoleptic Argentinian singing Police (Moulin Rouge). 16th - Gnaoula festival - listened to Moroccan jazz. 17th - St Patrick's Day - Guinness. 18th - Six nations - technically watched online on Sunday due to too much wine on Saturday... but I was still celebrating seeing a friend... so it counts as double? 19th - ... read more

Middle East » Iran March 14th 2017

In the sea there are countless treasures, but if you desire safety, it is on the shore. – Sa’adi After the Islamic Revolution in 1979 the country became the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this brought about many of the changes that people currently associate with the country, with bearded men and women covered in long black chadors, and concerns about anti-American sentiments and Iran’s nuclear program. Yet the nation is actually one of the oldest major continuous civilizations, and has as much history and culture as any traveler could desire, as well as amazingly friendly and inquisitive people. The US travel ban affected Iran the most, with nearly half the banned visitors of the original seven countries coming from this particular Middle Eastern nation. Living in California, I’ve been fortunate to meet many Iranians and ... read more

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran March 13th 2017

A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.– Sa’adi Uneventful six-hour bus ride to Tehran. Arrived late afternoon and took a long taxi drive to the Markazi Hotel in central Tehran – fine rooms but an uninspired breakfast. One of the first things we noticed about the city, in addition to its size and the traffic, was the way that shops were set up in different parts of town by specialty, like a gigantic bazaar, with shop after shop selling similar items. We were staying the in the indoor lighting area ourselves. We were within walking distance to many of the sights – brave souls! – and thus didn’t have an opportunity to take the metro, reportedly very busy at all hours. We were also fortunate to have some good cafes in the area, and ... read more
National Archeological Museum
National Archeological Museum
National Archeological Museum

Middle East » Iran » North March 10th 2017

ESFAHAN TO TEHRAN, MARCH 10, 2017 Yesterday afternoon, we went to a tea shop which is very characteristic of where young people congregate. This tea shop happened to be in an antique shop, so it was very interesting. After having tea. we walked to the bazaar. We saw a very interesting demonstration of color block printing. 
They use all natural eyes on cotton fabric. Some hand painting is done at the end after the block colors are applied. The fabric is then steamed to set the colors. The result is quite beautiful. We bought a tablecloth which we really liked. We then walked through part of the bazaar which was very crowded. We only stayed about an hour and then came back to the hotel. Today is another travel day. We are driving from Esfahan to ... read more

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