The Iranian vets exposed to Saddam Hussein’s mustard gas (made with ingredients provided by the West) suffer to this day. Here’s one story.
All posts related to travel and touring in Iran.
Despite the state’s best efforts, Farsi is as Westernized as ever because acculturation is a way of life in Iran. Iranians are enamored with all things Western. Tourists quickly discover that from the way the locals greet them in the streets and boldly initiate conversation. Sometimes total strangers ask to have selfies taken with tourists they met seconds earlier.
The furnishing of their homes, the pictures they put on their walls, the brands they put on display at every opportunity, the media they consume, even television news on state networks – much of life here one way or another originates outside Iran.
I have a soft spot for staying in village homes in Iran. I appreciate the simple architecture using rustic material, the thick walls, the thatch ceilings, everything weather-beaten. Furniture, if there is any, is usually the bare necessities. The decoration minimalist and fascinating, as in pictures of dead relatives on prominent display in antique frames…
It’s amazing how much of Kashan you can see in a single day, the bus ride from Tehran included, provided you make it to the bus station early. The town is small and taxi rides cheap and plentiful. I did have the advantage of being accompanied by a guide who swiftly took me from site..
The before photos remind me of post-war Germany. No bombing necessary, though. Disinterest in one’s past did the job. No after photos necessary either. The impossible stood in front me; the 230-year-old Ameri House of Kashan (kaw-SHAWN) back in its full glory, a veritable witness to persistence, thoughtfulness and love for Iran’s heritage. Before and after of Ameri..
One of the unique things about Mashhad is that it’s surrounded by fascinating landscape, only minutes outside the city. The stark landscape north of Mashhad is dotted with endless hills, lonely villages and gorgeous rocky outcrops. The area is known for its wild cherries. Winters are relatively mild in the plains. The snow stays on..
Bagh-e (Garden of) Akbarieh (or Akbariyeh), ancient home to the rulers of the area, today is the site of two museums, in Birjand, the capital of South Khorasan province, in northeast Iran. The garden is one of nine in UNESCO’s “Persian Garden” collection. Ali Torkzadeh with Saeideh Ajilchi Ali & Saeideh plan their Iran roadtrips..
The morning after our rat-or-snake-infested stay in the village of Naiband, Saeideh wanted to just drive away and not pay for the room. I said we owe ourselves the experience of complaining and seeing where it takes us.
We arrived at the home of the village chief Gholamreza Hassankhani and his wife Zahra in the new Naiband, a modern village down the mountain from the ancient Naiband village we stayed the night before.
The Hassankhanis had rented to us a room in a vacant home in the 1,000-year-old village. The rustling in the wooden ceiling kept Saeideh up all night who suspected rats or snakes.
Her anger rose again when we pulled up in front of the Hassankhani home.
The tourist wants authenticity, but not the discomforts of authenticity. So the tourist gets angry when she experiences the reality of village life in Iran. This is the lesson we learned in the village of Naiband (also spelled Nayband, Nay Band), after we fell in love with its architecture and the children who guided us..
The unprepared visitor who glances up at the cliff dwellings of Naiband is prone to spit out a bunch of superlatives. “Ali, it’s so beautiful. It’s just like those Moroccan towns in the movies,” Saeideh exclaimed as we pulled up from the highway to Kerman, tired and thirsty after hours of driving along the edge..