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The mystery and seduction of Middle East comes alive in Iran, a country that is perhaps the most unexplored in this region. Slowly it has woken up to world and welcoming it with open arms to explore the treasures hidden in the vast sand and snow expanses. This is our second offering in a series we are doing on this incredible country. Iran has such varied culture and customs, and offers such myriad facets that it is actually difficult to believe that they are from the same country! We at Bohotraveller, got together with Arshian Salar travel company that helped us put this piece together on a country that is fast becoming a hot tourist destination. As we always say- keep traveling and your life would be full of surprises!
Dazzling Tehran- home to largest uncut PINK diamond!
Tehran is the largest city of Iran with numerous attractions. So without wasting a second, let us take a quick tour of Tehran, though “quick” is going to be difficult because this city is quite astounding and is literally a treasure when it comes to travellers. You would not want to miss a thing!
It is probably Tehran’s biggest tourist draw card and the most beautiful museum of the capital. Most of the national jewelry collections exhibited here belongs to Safavid period, when the shahs scoured Europe, India and the lands of the Ottoman Empire items to adorn their capital, Esfahan. One of the most important jewelry is Darya-ye Nur (Sea of Light), a pink diamond weighing 182 carats and said to be the largest uncut diamond in the world! Other attractions here are the Peacock (Naderi) Throne, the tall Kiani Crown made for Fath Ali Shah in 1797, the crowns worn by the last shah and his wife, Farah. Another exhibit is the incredible Globe of Jewels weighing 34 kilograms made using 51,366 precious stones in which the seas are made from emeralds and the land from rubies except Iran, Britain and France that are set in diamonds.
Golestan means Rose Land, and this palace is the former royal Qajar complex in Iran’s capital city, Tehran. The oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran it also holds the honour of having a heritage status. This palace is a masterpiece whether it is the exterior or interiors you are looking at. It has such stunning interiors that it is difficult not to be hypnotised by the Persian adornments and architecture, the most remarkable amongst them is an entire ceiling made out of mirror! Artistic walls greet you in every room and corridor. Embellished with Persian carpets, spectacular chandeliers…..Golestan Palace really reflects its regal history which is so well preserved that it seems that some royalty could still be living here!
Tabiat Bridge is the largest pedestrian overpass built in Tehran. The 890 feet bridge connects two public parks—Taleghani Park and Abo-Atash Park. We bet you would not have seen a more beautiful bridge anywhere in the world. When we are in a mad race to erect modern architecture, Tabiat stands gloriously in its old world avatar which is absolutely dramatic as it is beautiful.
For the love of Hikes
The treasures of Tehran are quite unbelievable, from pretty cities and splendid museums to a hike trail! Yes! You see those snow clad peaks in the background of Tehran city line? Well don’t they seduce you to scale them? The hike to Mount Tochal starts at Darband in Tajrish and is quite popular. The views on the way would motivate you to go on through the entire hike because the scenery keeps becoming better and better with each step up. Not a hike and trek person? Don’t be disappointed, a chair lift would get you there in a jiffy.
Milad Tower is the landmark that defines Tehran’s skyline just like Eiffel tower does for Paris. The tower is 435 metres in height and has a 120 metres antenna over it. In 2012, it was the sixth tallest freestanding tower in the world. This towering structure took almost 13 years to build owing to frequent disruptions in its construction. Well, it finally got completed in 2008 and today is a symbol of this beautiful and thriving city!
National Museum of Iran
Take a sneak peek into Iran’s rich history in this museum. Designed by French architect André Godard and completed in 1928, it’s one of the more attractive modern buildings in the city that combines Sassanian architectural principles like grand iwan -style entrance with art deco–style brickwork! Inside is a collection of ceramics, pottery, stone figures and carvings, mostly taken from excavations at Persepolis, Ismail Abad (near Qazvin), Shush, Rey and Turang Tappeh. IMPORTANT TIP: Ask for an English ‘brochure’ when buying the ticket, you might get lucky.
Niavaran Palace Complex
Located in Shemiran (Greater Tehran), Niavaran Palace gives you a peek into Pahlavi period of Iran’s vibrant history. First look at the gardens flanked Niavaran Palace does not impress the way other buildings in Tehran do. But one step inside and you would again enter a place quite out of this world. Rich Persian architecture and opulence in the purpose, drips from every nook and corner of this startling palace. Luxurious corridors, royal lifestyle and gorgeous interiors would make you spellbind as you roam this amazing complex of building and monuments.
Famous Valiasr Avenue is the longest avenue of Tehran and connects its southernmost point to the northern end. All streets join this long continuous main road and if you are here you cannot lose your way! This attractive avenue is also a place where you can shop endlessly! Vailiasr Avenue has a very exciting air about it, with people taking a stroll here, having a cup of coffee there or youngsters just adding to that pulsating vibe of this place!
Also known as the Shahanshahi Park (meaning Imperial Park in English), it is one of the largest recreation areas in Tehran. With a lake in it’s amidst, beautifully manicured gardens blooming in verdant hues and snow clad mountain peaks in the background; Mellat Park makes picnic a must in Tehran itinerary! If the season is right, you can get to see beds of tulips in all kinds of fiery colors here too!
Tehran City Theater
We always tend to associate Iran with histoy and mystique. Well, the city has its own modern jewels and a thriving music and film industry and you can get a view of all that in Tehran City theatre. This modern building is located at the junction of Enqelab and Valiasr avenues and is a must for the visitors here.
Carpet Museum of Iran
Here I go drooling! One Persian carpet in your living room can make you feel like a royal sheikh! And even if you can’t afford one, you can always window shop and then keep yourself from buying one. Hell, buy it already! The art of Carpet-weaving is what Iran is so famous for and this art has been in Iran since the Bronze age!
You can only imagine the kind of expertise the artisans and weavers have when it comes to creating each of those masterpieces! Though do not expect any ancient carpets on show here since they are mostly cotton and wool that are highly perishable under the dusts of time.
This garden is not the kind you would run to for picnic, though nothing stopping you from spreading a rug and munching on those sandwiches here. This garden happens to be a place to soak in unique ancient architecture of Iran. These octagonal gardens happen to be the first Iranian academic center for teacher training in Iran. They were painstakingly erected in 1807 by by Fath-Ali Shah Qajar in Zandieh dynasty architecture style and designed by Ali Akbar Baghban.
National Botanical Garden
A little lush and whole lot of greenery has an amazing power to soothe just about anyone. If you enjoy the company of flora around the world then National Botanical Garden of Iran covering an area of about 150 hectares is a place you would enjoy immensely. It is planned to be the main center for horticulture and plant taxonomy in Iran. A collection of Iranian plants is gradually being built up here and now consists of some 160,000 numbers. There are also gardens of non-Iranian plants from Himalayan, American, Japanese, African, and Australian regions.
This just about concludes our tour of Tehran and as we told you it was never going to be quick even if we wanted to! Let us now step towards other places that make beautiful Iran and trust us by the end of it, you would be aching to be there!
Abouzeid Abad desert
Abouzeid abad desert is the most famous desert expanse of Iran and is also known for its famous old caravansaray. Enjoy the rich golden hues on soft sand dunes that feel like clouds under your feet. Staying in a desert camp here is an experience you do not want to miss. A sky dazzling with countless stars look like heavens smiling upon you and the dark expanse of desert make this natural orchestra even louder! The early morning stroll with chill in the sand and air in desert is another experience you definitely don’t want to miss!
Isfahan is as Persian as a city gets. This stunning ancient city is located about 340 km south of Tehran and is the capital of Isfahan Province. Persians call it "Nesf-e-Jahan", meaning "Half the World". Isfahan is Iran's third largest city after Tehran and Mashhad in terms of population and is located in a semi-desert region near the Zayandeh Rud River. Isfahan is considered as a popular tourist destination and a major cultural and economic center of Iran. The city enjoys a temperate climate and regular seasons. Let us now take you on a tour of this Persian masterpiece of a city!
Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan)
Imam Square is a UNESCO heritage site and the sheer size of this place takes your breath away which is a neat 85 thousand square metres!! Naqsh-e-jahan translated into English means the image of world and no there is no world map here! During the reign of Shah Abbas the Great, this square was enlarged to its present dimensions and the most famous historic buildings of Isfahan have been constructed around this humongous square. This square used to serve as an area for festivities, polo, dramatics and military parades during the reign of Shah Abbas I and his successors. Two stone gates of the polo are embedded in the north and south of this square. Most of the foreign tourists who visit here would proclaim that Imam square is one of the greatest in the world.
Imam mosque is nothing less than a masterpiece located at the south side of Imam Square. Again a monument whose construction started under order of Shah Abbas I. The chief architect and the supervisor of the building were Ostad Ali Akbar Isfahani and Moheb Ali Beik. The most remarkable features of this 16th century building include its architecture, tile work and stone carving with echo of sound in the center of its gigantic dome as most striking! The height of this dome is 52 m and the minarets therein stand at 48m.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
We gave you glimpses of this mosque in our photo feature of Iran earlier. People who have seen this mosque swear that it is difficult to believe that this mosque was created by human hands. Yes, this is how spectacular this mosque is! It was built by Ostad Mohammad Reza Isfahani under the regime of Shah Abbas and took 18 years to complete. The mosque was built in honour of Sheikh Lotfollah who is considered one of the greatest pious in the Shia sect, fromn what is known as Lebanon today. At the invitation of Shah Abbas I, he came to reside in Isfahan and led the prayers and preached in this mosque.
This historical monument of the post-Islamic period in Iran was constructed in the 4th century and was later expanded under Seljuk, al_Muzaffar and Shah Abbas I periods. Apart from the different styles of architecture, various types of poetry and prose lines adorn the mosque. This mosque is a complex of buildings and artistic masterpieces of the post-Islamic period in Iran and though you may feel it is one of the many, take a peek and be surprised!
Ali Qapu Palace
If the mosques and public area of Safvid era look like this then just imaging how an actual palace would look like! This palace was constructed on the orders of Shah Abbas I and he received special envoys in this palace and held his audience here. There are five floors in this palace and each floor has its special decorations. Do not miss the royal parlor (Shah Neshin) here, this is from where the sovereign and his guests watched polo, illuminations, fire-works and the dramatics that took place in the Nagsh-e-Jahan Square from the halls of this elegant palace. This palace was also called 'Daulat Khaneh-e-Mobarakeh Nagsh-e-Jahan' and the 'Daulat Khaneh Palace'.
The Chehel Sotun (Forty Columns) Palace
This is again a Palace constructed under the orders of Shah Abbas I. Surrounded by beautiful gardens covering an area of 67,000 metres; the Palace is situated right in the middle. Shah Abbas II introduced twenty pillars of the hall in the pool opposite the palace bringing the name Chehel Sotun to it! The majestic building overlooking the gigantic pool is a sight that is truly impressive and does boast of the affluence of royalty!
Hasht Behesht Palace
Hasht Behesht Palace of the last kings of Safavid dynasty are unfortunately the least restored and maintained structures yet worth a visit. The tile work here is quite unique and has elaborate paintings of birds, wild animals and reptiles. This palace was constructed during the reign of Shah Soleiman Safavid in 1080 A.H. A park has been built around it after the Revolution.
Chahar Bagh School
Chahar Bagh School, also known as Madraseh-ye Madar-e Shah (The King-mother’s School) is the last architectural masterpiece of the Safavid era and was meant for theological studies. Chahar Bagh School contains various types of tile works that have turned it into a unique building. In fact, the school is known as the Museum of Tiling of Isfahan. King’s mother had a large caravansaray built nearby, which was the most luxurious passenger accommodation about three centuries ago. This caravansaray has recently been rebuilt as the most famous luxury hotel in Iran, Abbasi Hotel. The architecture structure of this hotel is spectacular and unique in the world and best part is that you as a hotel guest can enjoy this opulence!
Chahar Bagh Boulevard
Chahar Bagh Boulevard is again a gift from Safvid era and this historical broad tree-covered avenue connects the north of the city from Darvaze Dolat (across the current mayoral palace) to south (Darvaze Shiraz). This boulevard is perhaps the most visited of all the historical places of Isafahan because …it is everywhere!! It is difficult to miss this endless boulevard when you are in the historical city of Isafahan.
Si-o-Seh Pol means the bridge of thirty-three spans is the longest bridge on Zayandeh River with the total length of 297.76 metres (976.9 ft). It is one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. It is made up of a series of 33 arches and was commissioned in 1602 by Shah Abbas I. If you are someone who is not familiar with Persian and Middle Eastern architecture, it would be difficult to believe that this spectacular monument is actually a bridge. The bridge houses a famous tea-house which is accessible from the southern bank.
Khajou bridge is probably the most beautiful bridge in the world and it is much more than a bridge! It has recreational space and decks where you can chill to the sound of water. There are two floors to the bridge and it also serves as a dam. This well preserved bridge used to connect ancient villages and cities on both side and the water from the dam was used for purposes like drinking, gardening and for growing crops. Just go down the steps of the bridge and enjoy a serene evening here and witness the lights as they come up in the nooks and corners of the bridge making it look glorious!
As we finish yet another tour of yet another gorgeous city of Iran, the wonders of this land are far from over. Now we are taking you to chapters of history that date back really far from the modern world we are used to.
Iran is the land of Cyrus the great and Persepolis is his city! Persepolis means City of Persians and was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province in Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE! UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. Pasargadae was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great and also home to his tomb. Today Persepolis is an archaeological site which exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. and one of bestUNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world!
From enchanting and mysterious Persepolis, it is time to enjoy some sand, sun and snow in the land of Cyrus!
Pooladkaf ski resort
Pooladkaf is a ski resort in the south of Iran. It opened in 2002 and in spite of its low latitude, it receives adequate snow due to its high elevation where snow can deposits can go up to 2 meters in February. The skiing season starts in December and lasts to the end of March, or in some years April. It is definitely a radical change of scenery as you move from great desert expanse of the Abouzeid abad desert to get some ski action at Pooladkaf!
Kish is a small island but it has numerous tourist attractions. One of the famous spots and a must-visit here is a unique the ancient underground aqueduct, also called the 'Underground City', which is partly open for tourists. It was built about 1,000 years ago for transportation and water supply across the different parts of the island. It is adequately lighted and even has some sitting areas. This underground city will throw an experience at you that you would not experience anywhere else in the world.
Another attraction is a dilapidated Greek ship wreck of a 1943 cargo steamship, the Koula F, on a beach on Kish's south-west coast. She was originally a British ship, Empire Trumpet, and was built in Scotland. She ran aground in 1966 and all attempts to salvage her failed. When Koula F's crew abandoned her they set her on fire, and all that remains is her steel hulk. Its quite spooky but there is no dearth of tourists proudly posing in front of her!
Well, now to the most famous attraction here especially in winters- the stunning beaches with white sand and clear blue water. The long shoreline welcomes tourists from all over Iran who come here looking for some beautiful sunshine and relief from the cold! The water here really clear and snorkelling might be something you would want to try here.
Kashan is located between Isfahan and Tehran and is one of the top tourist places in Iran. The city was playground of the rich and famous in its heydays and the prosperity shows through the drapes of times! This town has numerous old merchant houses restored to their old glory. The feel of walking amongst these empty houses is simply amazing. The architecture of the colony is something rare and to enter the homes and observing and re-imagining the lives that have been spent here is priceless! Do not miss the stunning view of the city from the rooftops of this complex.
This was the amazing sand,sea and snow tour of Iran that takes you into the spirit of Iran and leaves you speechless! Iran as a country is copiously rich when it comes to history and a tour here is like turning the chapters of history. It is actually amazing as to how modern day Iran has not let its roots slip away and rot. Their modern is thriving with its ancient and this is something we absolutely love about it! You as a traveler can take this actual tour with Arshian Salar travel agency, the bits about it are as follows!
Arshian Salar Tour and Travel Agency (ASTA) is a private persian travel agency located in Iran. With several branches in Tehran and other cities of Iran, we firmly believe we are among the bests in providing a wide variety of high quality services. Arshian Salar Tour and Travel Agency has presented several international seminars and it is an expert in operating different kinds of national and international seminars and congresses. We operate superior first-class escorted and independent tours. You can contact us on:
Tel : +98 (71) 36302280
Fax : +98 (71) 36305940
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: Ali Rezaei St., North Iman Blv,Shiraz, Iran.