WHY TO VISIT IRAN
Iran has many sites of interest, both from a natural and a cultural point of view. Isfahan, a sumptuous city surrounded by greenery, is nestled in a desert environment that only highlights its monuments and its special atmosphere, its market and its mosques, and its huge Naghsh-e Jahan square, one of the most Of the world.
Other cities to discover: Tabriz, famous for its bazaar and its Blue Mosque; Mechhed and its silver mausoleum of Imam Reza, where millions of pilgrims gather every year; Shiraz, with its mausoleums and mosques; The ruins of Persepolis set up in the desert, which was burnt down in 330 BC. AD, and where one can still admire the Palace of One Hundred Columns and that of Apadana; Bam and its citadel, built in clay 2000 years ago.
As for the landscapes, they compete without problem with the cities: you can admire the road that crosses the Elbourz mountains to reach the town of Chalus by the sea, and all the region of the Caspian Sea that welcome the city dwellers of Tehran for To rest there; The volcano of Sahand to the west which shaped its lava flows around, giving them conical shapes transformed into houses by the populations; The gulf of Ghar Parau, to the south; The Zagros massif to the south-east and its multiple rivers to the shores that the nomads travel constantly.
Not to mention the meeting with a population with legendary hospitality, whose warm welcome will not fail to seduce you.
WHAT TO SEE IN IRAN
Top destinations in Iran are:
- Persian Gulf
WHEN TO GO TO IRAN
Best period to visit Iran is from April to June.
The climate varies greatly in different regions of Iran, but there are particularly cold winters and very high temperatures (around 40 ° C) during the summer, between June and August. Rainfall is more frequent in the north and west. The most pleasant periods to visit the country are between April and June, then between September and November, avoiding extreme temperatures.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Iran.
- Day of Ashoura: Taking place in February every year, the Ashoura Festival celebrates the martyrdom of Husayn in Ali, grandson of Muhammad. This is a time for Shi’a Muslims to show their devotion. The event include self-mutilation and flagellation, such as cutting parts of the body, which are viewed as barbaric by some.
- Leilat al Mi’raj: An important day for Muslims in February or March is remembered for when the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is one of the most significant days on the Islamic calendar and celebrated with night prayers and illuminated buildings.
- Navroz (Nowruz): Navroz meaning 'New Day' is a festival which dates back 3000 years to when King Jamshed called astrologers and declared that 21st March, the day that the sun leaves Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac and enters into Aries, the very first zodiac sign would be the day when his kingdom would celebrate 'New Year'. It has been celebrated with pomp and fervor ever since.
- Chaharshanbeh Souri: If Navroz is the Persian equivalent of Easter, Chaharshanbeh Souri, in many ways is the equivalent of Halloween. The event is celebrated on the eve of Navroz.
Chahar-Shanbeh means Wednesday and Souri means both 'Red' and 'Celebration'. In this “red celebration” which takes place on the last Wednesday of the solar calendar, people go out and make bush fires and keep them burning till the next morning. This is symbolic of burning all that was bad pain, unhappiness, sickness and worry and looking forward to a new beginning.
- Tirgan: Tirgan is celebrated by people in the Mazandaran province on the evening of the twelfth day of the fourth month of their own calendar. Tirgan is a celebration born out of the legend of Arash, the legendary bowman who shot an arrow to indicate the borderline between Iran and Turan but died soon after, drained of all his energy. People come together to eat traditional Iranian food, drink lots of sherbets and tea and participate in drama, reciting poetry and singing.
- Mehrgan: Mehr is the name of the Sun Goddess and the seventh month of the Iranian calendar. The Mehrgan festival celebrated by the Zoroastrian people of Kerman is an occasion to celebrate harvest by sacrificing a sheep or chicken and feasting on it.
- Yalda (Chelleh): Celebrated on the 21st or 22nd of September, the Yalda festival celebrates the longest night of the year, at the end of which light triumphs over darkness. The following day is the day of harvest and the beginning of the rest period, a time for family to converge at the home of the oldest member and indulge in a spread of Iranian food, summer fruits and an array of nuts while reciting poetry and catching up with what is happening in each other's lives.
- Sofreye Haft Sin: sofre (tablecloth), haft (seven), sin (the letter S [س]). Al-Bīrūnī said: haftsin came from jamshid because he destroyed the evil that made pars lands weak so in first day of Iranian calendar people called it nowruz (starting of a new day) and they put 7 different beans on their table as a sign of thanking nature for giving humans all they need. Since then every year Iranians put haftsin on their tables, but nowadays they put 7 things that start with letter [س]. Some people also believe that sasanian had a very beautiful plate that was given to them from China and they called it chini plate, and after some years the word chini changed into sini (a beautiful plate) so people would put 7 things in a sini.
- Sizdah Bedar: Persian Festival of "Joy and Solidarity". The 13th and last day of Nowruz celebration. Because of the end of twelve days (a sample of twelve month) they celebrate the 13th day as a new beginning of the next twelve month and it has no relations with the number 13 (as an unlucky number). It is celebrated outdoors along with the beauty of nature. Al-Bīrūnī also called this day: tir ruz: blissed day.
- Jashne Sade: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to "defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold" in which people gather around and build a fire so that they can receive good things from the fire and give the fire their incompleteness.
- Shabe Chelle: The turning point. End of the longest night (darkness) of the year, and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil. Also known as Shab-e Yaldā they have special nuts for that night.
Sepandarmazgan: Day of Love, Friendship and Earth in ancient Persian culture.
- Sadeh: Sadeh meaning "emergence" is a non-religious celebration observed by people of all faiths and is celebrated on the 10th day of Bahman. People set up huge bonfires outside cities and eat special soup (aash), fruits and nuts.
- Pir-e-Chak-Chak: Once in a year, Zoroastrians from across the globe head to Pir-e-Chak-Chak, a pilgrim site 62 km north east of Yazd. The festival is an occasion to pray, mingle and entertain for everyone.
- Tehran International Puppet Theater Festival: This Iranian festival takes place every two years and attracts leading puppeteers from all over the world to Tehran. Dating back to 1989, participants have included acts from Germany, Canada, Austria, and England. Although event dates vary, it usually takes place in June.
- Tehran Book Fair: The Tehran Book Fair is one of the leading publishing events in the region. It takes place annually in May or June and attracts roughly five million visitors and thousands of domestic and international publishers. It is one of the pre-eminent book events in the Middle East and Asia, and usually takes place on the Grand Prayer Grounds in Tehran, a special venue for visitors to pick up rare and out-of-print literature.
- Tehran International Short Film Festival: The Tehran International Short Film Festival has been taking place every year in October or November since 1983. It is a wonderful opportunity to see contemporary Iranian artistic talent. Movies are screened at various venues in Tehran, usually in the Mellat Cinema Complex.
- Festival of Fire (Chahar Shanbeh Soori): Taking place annually on the last Wednesday of December, the Festival of Fire sees bonfires sprouting up in various public areas and parks. People jump over the burning cinders and shout, “Give me your red color and take back sickly pallor," which is a purification ritual. Many Iranians believe their ancestors’ spirits visit during the last few days of the year.
- Qara Kelisa: Qara Kelisa, an ancient church near Maku, West Azerbaijan province in Iran is a pilgrim site for the Armenians who head here in mid August every year. Qara Kelisa is a three day fiesta marked by color, music, dancing, and horse riding and, of course, feasting on a sumptuous spread.
- Moharrum: Moharrum, the first month of the Islamic calendar is a somber event marking the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Imam of the Shia Muslims. An occasion when people gather in mosques, mausoleums and Imambargahs to mourn the Holy Imam and all those who were martyred with him in Kerbala, Iraq. Dressed in black, people beat their chests and lament the tragedy of Kerbala while clerics narrate instances from the tragedy. Aashura, the 10th day of Moharrum, the day of martyrdom is marked by rallies and processions of mourners.
- Carpet Washing in Mashhad: The people of Mashad-e Ardehal and Kashan converge at a nearby spring to wash the carpets of the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Imam of the Shiite Twelvers.
- The Anniversary of the Death of Ayatollah Khomeini: A solemn occasion when people from various parts of Iran head to the shrine of Imam Reza (AS), Masuma-e-Qum and the shrines of many Imamzadehs (sons of the Imams) across Iran and mourn the late Ayatollah on the anniversary of his death.
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH IRAN
There are many international flights serving Iran: you will land in Tehran, but many other cities have an international airport, such as Isfahan, Shiraz and many others.
To travel in the country, you can also use the plane, with flights proposed at very interesting rates. There are also bus lines with comfortable vehicles and very low prices, as well as minibuses for shorter journeys, with slightly higher prices. If you want to travel faster between major cities, take the collective taxis, a little more expensive but still very affordable. You can also rent a vehicle with a driver. Another solution from Tehran, the train, which serves many destinations, is comfortable and inexpensive. In the city you can travel by bus, taxi, minibus, and to Tehran by metro and tram.
by plane, main airports are:
- Tehran (Imam Khomeini International)
- Tehran (Mehrabad International)
- Bandar Abbas
GENERAL INFORMATION ON IRAN
country entry requirements: passport + visa (no visa is issued to travellers that have previously travelled to Israel, check your visa requirements)
health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice. Vaccine against cholera, typhus, hepatitis A and B and malaria prophylaxis are recommended.
local currency: Iranian Rial
local time zone: GMT+3:30
electricity: type C and F (220 V, 50 Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN IRAN
typical food in Iran
- Chelokhoresh: Rice topped with vegetables and meat in a nut sauce.
- Polo sabzi: Pilau rice cooked with fresh herbs.
- Polo chirin: Sweet-sour saffron-coloured rice with raisins, almonds and orange.
- Adas polo: Rice, lentils and meat.
- Morgh polo: Chicken and pilau rice.
- Chelokababs: Rice with skewered meats cooked over charcoal.
- Kofte: Minced meat formed into meatballs.
- Koftegusht: Meatloaf.
- Abgusht: Mutton and chickpea stew.
- Fesenjan: Pomegranate walnut stew.
- Bademjan: Aubergine and tomato stew.
- Doogh: A cold drink made from yoghurt and mineral water.
souvenirs from Iran
- hand-carved items
- inlaid woodwork
- carpets and rugs
- leather goods
- gold and silver
How are you?: Hale shoma chetor ast?
Thank you: Mersi
What is your name?: Esm e shoma chist?
How much is it?: gheymatesh chande?