The Stunning Iran

When first I told a friend that I was going to Iran, his first reaction was: “Are you nuts? Don’t you know that country will get bombed? I hope you’ll stay far away from any nuclear facility then won’t get killed when war starts in the country!”

Well, not much good news recently on media about Iran and it’s nuclear power “conflict” with US and UK. Mostly people thought that being a woman would be hard in the Islamic Republic (must wear headscarf and no sexy outfit). But those opinions were wrong, I could hang out with Iranian girls until late at night at coffee shops, walking with Iranian guys along the street, etc. And it’s safe, just like any other country, to roam around places. There were threats (pickpockets, robbery, tourist touts, etc) but not that scary at all.

SHIRAZ

It was a very romantic city. City of love. City of flower. Perfect for honeymooners. There were two very famous poet, Hafez (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafez) and Saadi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saadi_(poet), their tombs were major tourist destination in the city other than beautiful Eram Garden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eram_garden), Shah Cheragh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Cheragh), The Arg of Karim Khan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arg_of_Karim_Khan), Qur’an Gate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qur%27an_Gate).

Shiraz means “city of mystery” in accordance to a story about some jewels those hidden somewhere in the city, long long time ago. It also means “grapes” (Shirazi wine were very famous until all winery closed down following Islamic Revolution in 1979). Could mean “a kind of music instrument” too.

An hour trip from the city, there was Persepolis, Necropolis (Naghsh-e Rostam), Naghsh-e Radjab, Passargad. I stayed there for only 2 days then sadly must say that it was far from enough to enjoy the beautiful scenery and peaceful environment in Shiraz.

Tomb of Hafez.

With my host, Masoud, in front of king’s palace at Eram Garden.

Shirazi kalam polo is a must-taste cuisine in Shiraz.

Enjoyed the famous Shirazi palodeh with Masoud and Salman, in front of The Arg of Karim Khan.

Persepolis is important part in Christianity history. It was written that at one time then 24 years old then Jesus reached Persepolis, the city where the kings of Persia were entombed; the city of the Three Kings from The East (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who, four-and-twenty years before, had seen the star of promise rise above Jerusalem, and who had journeyed to the West to find the new-born king. They were the first to honour Jesus as the master of the age, and gave him gifts of gold, gum-thus and myrrh. They knew, by ways that masters always know, when Jesus neared Persepolis; and then they girt themselves, and went to meet him on the way. And when they met, a light much brighter than the light of day, surrounded them, and men who saw the four stand in the way declared they were transfigured; seeming more like gods than men. Jesus also attended a feast in Persepolis. Spoke to the people, reviewed the magian philosophy, explained the origin of evil, spent his night in prayer. References: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/agjc/agjc041.htm and http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/agjc/agjc042.htm.

Persepolis was awesome!

This two headed lion must be very famous, the photo seems familiar, right?

Ka’ba-ye Zartosht (Ka’bah of Zoroaster), a 5th century B.C.E. Achaemenid-era tower-like construction at Naghsh-e Rustam, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ka’ba-ye_Zartosht.

Inside Vakil Mosque near Vakil Bazaar.

Sunrise view from the rooftop of Niayesh Hotel.

ISFAHAN

This city had different vibe than Shiraz. Isfahan is a place about history, culture, education (like Jogjakarta, “the city of student” of Indonesia). Naghsh-e Jahan Square was must-visit place (there were Ali Qapu Palace, beautiful mosques, amazing pool with beautiful water spring, arrays of shops and restaurants which offered traditional Iranian cuisines, snacks and handicraft).

And anyone who visits Isfahan must come to the beautiful bridges at nights! Khajou Bridge, Si-o-Se Pol were just two of them.

Lunch at Bastani traditional restaurants with my hosts: Mahsa and Sama, and other CouchSurfers: Rene and Rike from Germany.

Super delicious beryani.

Imam Mosque in Naghsh-e Jahan Square.

Afternoon at the front of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Naghsh-e Jahan Square.

Night light under the beautiful Khajou Bridge.

TEHRAN

The capital. It’s city of business and politics. I smelt money when I was there. People always moved in fast pace, such a hurry in crowds of 14 million people in the town. Traffic jam from dawn until night. I was hosted by Sifa, an Indonesian student who was studying for PhD on politic studies, accompanied when going around the city by Arul, an Indonesian student who was studying for master degree on microbiology.

Sifa and I, shopped for very tasty dried fruit in Tajrish Bazaar.

The view in the city. That was the snowy mountains of Tochal behind me.

The metro subway in Tehran. Very modern and always fully packed with passengers in the very busy city.

Moon and star above The Azadi Tower.

The Azadi Tower is part of Azadi (Freedom) cultural complex which is located in Tehran’s Azadi square in an area of some 5 Acres. It is the symbol of Tehran, Iran, and marks the entrance to the city. Built in 1971 in commemoration of the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, this “Gateway into Iran” was named the Shahyad Tower (Literally: Remembrance of the Shahs) but dubbed Azadi after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is the symbol of the country’s revival, and intended to remind coming generations of the achievements of modern Iran under the Pahlavi Dynasty. It is 50 metres (148 feet) tall and is completely clad in cut marble.

Built with white marble stone from the Isfahan region, there are eight thousand blocks of stone used in Azadi Tower. The stones were all located and supplied by Ghanbar Rahimi, whose knowledge of the quarries was second to none and who was known as “Iran’s Master of stone”. The shape of each of the blocks was calculated by a computer programmed to include all the instructions for the building work. The actual construction of the tower was carried out and supervised by Iran’s finest master stonemason, Ghaffar Davarpanah Varnosfaderani. The main financing was provided by a group of five hundred Iranian industrialists. The inauguration took place on October 16, 1971.

The architect, Hossein Amanat, won a competition to design the monument. Azadi Tower combines Sassanid and Islamic architecture styles.

References: http://www.homedit.com/azadi-tower-in-tehran-iran/ and http://wikimapia.org/4758973/Azadi-Tower

MASHHAD

This city is the most sacred for Muslim Shia, millions people come from all over the world, spiritual trip to Holly Shrine of Imam Reza. The minarets were made from real gold, the inside interior of the mosque was awesome glittering with mirror works.

In December 2011, I hosted an Iranian girl from Mashhad, her name was Mahdieh. When I visited her hometown, then I stayed at her mom’s house.

My host in Mashhad, Mahdieh’s mom, Mrs.Toussi.

Holly Shrine of Imam Reza, the minarets were made from real solid gold.

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6 thoughts on “The Stunning Iran

  1. Bu, kami sekeluarga berencana melakukan perjalanan wisata ke Iran (dengan kota-kota tujuan sama dengan yang ibu kunjungi) akhir April ini. Tolong info-info tambahannya mengenai : (1) transportasi dalam dan antar kota yang ibu kunjungi di sana (biaya, mudah/susah nya, jadwal, dll). (2) Kondisi hotel yang sempat diinapi atau kondisi hotel secara umum di sana yang ibu dapatkan. (3) Nama dan alamat email teman ibu (orang Indonesia) yang mungkin bisa juga membantu untuk rencana perjalanan kami (untuk ini bisa japri ke : zuhairqatar at gmail dot com). Terima kasih banyak sebelumnya. Zuhair

  2. Duh mohon maaf telat menyadari bahwa ada comment berisi pertanyaan-pertanyaan ini, Pak Zuhair. Saya baru jawab sekarang berarti Bapak sudah menyelesaikan perjalanan di Iran ya? Anyway semoga berguna untuk pembaca yang lain.

    (1) Transportasi dalam kota
    – sharing taxi (mustakim) di Shiraz dan Isfahan.
    – sharing taxi, bis, metro di Tehran.
    – sharing taxi dan bis di Mashhad.
    Kalau sharing taxi sekitar 3,000-10,000 rial per perjalanan (tergantung jarak), bis kalau nggak salah 2,000 rial. Kalau metro di Tehran saya udah lupa, tapi murah kok. Taxi selalu ada 24 jam (kalau bukan mustakim jadinya sekitar 50,000-80,000 rial misalnya dari hotel ke bandara), tapi bis dan metro sepertinya hanya hingga pukul 9-10 malam.

    (2) Transportasi antar kota
    – Dari Shiraz ke Isfahan, dan dari Isfahan ke Tehran, bisa naik bis. Murah kok hanya 120,000 rial sudah kelas paling bagus (reclining seat, dapat snack box, boleh ambil air putih kemasan sepuasnya sepanjang perjalanan).
    – Dari Tehran ke Mashhad bisa naik kereta tapi mesti pesan minimal beberapa hari sebelumnya. Karena saya udah mepet waktunya, naik pesawat deh cuma 760,000 rial.

    (3) Hotel
    Saya hanya sekali menginap di hotel, yaitu di Shiraz. Namanya Niayesh hotel (http://en.niayeshhotels.com/home) bisa booking di sana nanti ada jemputan gratis dari airport, tarifnya US$30 per malam untuk single room. Selebihnya untuk penginapan saya memanfaatkan jaringan pertemanan, http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/desrinda/ aja.

    Salam,
    Desi.

  3. bun, trmksh bngt ats tulisanny,, mhn info, unk pnerbangan lngsung jkt-shiraz ada bu? biayany? dn klo tdk bisa bhsa iran ga apa2? trs, klo bw obat2 unk jaga2 slama di sana, boleh bu? ya khwtr jg bu, mngingat bnyk brita2 negatif. trmksh bny sblmny bu.

    • Maaf terlambat reply nya. Penerbangan langsung ke Shiraz nggak ada, harus via UAE. Check aja di http://www.kayak.com untuk lebih banyak informasinya. Obat-obatan di sana banyak apotik kok, jangan kuatir karena negaranya jauh lebih maju daripada Indonesia (Tehran itu lebih modern daripada Jakarta).

      Not sure berita negatif yang mana mengenai Iran, 100% negara aman sejahtera. Hanya saja saat ini dalam kondisi ekonomi buruk karena embargo oleh seluruh negara barat yang nggak suka negara Islam memiliki teknologi nuklir (toh Israel dibiarkan aja).

      Met jalan-jalan…

  4. hallo mbak, salam kenal. keren mbak perjalanannya, salut banget sama jiwa petualangnya mbak. bener2 mengubah pandangan saya soal iran. one day kayaknya saya juga pengen ke sana, bagus banget dan makanannya juga menggiurkan,. hahaha

    • Makasih udah baca blog ini.

      Yes, we mostly only read and see what Americans want us to read about Iran. The country is actually beautiful and peaceful, the people are friendly and helpful.

      Beberapa bacaan menarik: http://goatsontheroad.com/iranian-really-nice-people-say/ dan http://www.smh.com.au/travel/the-friendliest-people-on-the-planet-20130611-2o116.html

      Satu lagi: “The friendliest country I went to, by a mile, was Iran. I just wasn’t expecting that. I was on this overnight bus, and this little old Persian grandmother was sitting in front of me, nattering away on a mobile phone. She turned around and waved at me and gave me her phone. I didn’t know what she wanted me to do with it. I said “Hello,” and there was a guy on the other end, perfect English. He said that his grandmother was concerned about me—the bus gets in very early in the morning, and she’s worried that you won’t have anywhere to go or anything to eat, so she wants to know if she can take you home with her so she can cook you breakfast. Faith in humanity, restored. ” (http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/around-the-world-without-a-plane)

      Iran is highly recommended country to visit!

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