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4 Myths And Realities About Travelling In Iran

Friends have always asked me where am I travelling next, and I’m usually happy to share and talk about my next destination. But there was one destination which I was reluctant to mention for I knew the questions coming my way, given the unusual choice of country. It’s the country that has a bad reputation in the West and there are not many news media releases that state the good stuff about the country. That country is Iran. You must be thinking, “but…why Iran?”  Typically, I would have responded cheekily, “hmm…why not?” but prior to the trip, I gave vague

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Churches and Coffee in New Jolfa, Armenian Quarter in Esfahan

New Jolfa is the Armenian quarter of Esfahan established in 1606 by Shah Abbas I during the Safavid era. The Armenians were fleeing the Ottoman Empire’s persecution and because Iran and Armenia had a long history of close relations, Shah Abbas relocated 500,000 Armenians to Persia. New Jolfa quarter became their new home and over time, the Armenians became active in the cultural and economic development of Persia. Shah Abbas treated the Armenian population well, as such, the Armenians were able to assimilate with the Persians while keeping their Christian faith and Armenian traditions. In the 20th century particularly during

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More Discoveries in Esfahan: Frescoes and Sunset

Our time in Esfahan got better each day. Not that the previous trips to Tehran and Shiraz weren’t great, they were just different. Each city has a special theme: palaces and museums in Tehran; gardens, poetry, Islamic shrine and Persian ancient cities in Shiraz; and mosaics and frescoes in Esfahan. And the frescoes in Esfahan are so well preserved like they were recently painted in the 21st century. Just a stone throw away from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square is a pavilion called Chehel Sotoun, a palace situated amongst beautiful landscape of gardens and a long pool. The pavilion was built by Shah

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Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square: Ali Qapu Palace and The Grand Bazaar

Last week I shared with you a glimpse of Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Esfahan, mainly the southern and eastern part of the square – Imam Mosque and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – both feature beautiful and jaw-dropping Persian-Islamic architecture and mosaics. Moving on to the western side of Naqsh-e-Jahan Square is the Ali Qapu Palace. The palace was used by the first Shah Abbas of Persia in the 17th century to greet and entertain noble visitors and foreign ambassadors. It has 7 floors and is accessible by a spiral staircase. We climbed the stairs all the way up to the 7th

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Arrived in Esfahan and Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square

The melancholic Persian songs played on the car radio lulled us to sleep. I don’t know what the songs were about as Mustafa, our driver from Shiraz, spoke very little English, but it must have been about love, lost love, heartache, or…perhaps a lost goat. Although the car had air-conditioning, we could see the weather outside was hot. It was spring in Iran but there were times when temperatures shot up to mid 30 degrees Celsius and got uncomfortably hot. We drove past dry and rugged landscape – though some areas were dotted with cypress trees – but the land

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Vivid Colours of Flowers in Iran

I was captivated by the variety of flowers while I was travelling in Iran. It was towards the end of spring moving on to summer when we visited, and coming from the tropics, I never realised that parks and gardens could be an attraction. Moreover, with the dry and arid landscape especially in Shiraz, a visit to the gardens was a refreshing change – flowers bursting with vivid colours, as if welcoming me to their lovely abode, their lovely country. ***** Pin it!

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But…Why Iran?

I had decided in Feb to travel to Iran in early May. It was only for 8 days – a short trip – enough to see Iran as a first-timer though I have later learnt that the average time a traveller spends in Iran is 2 weeks. My sister was interested to join me on this trip. We did all the necessary research in March: organized a private tour through a travel agency in Iran, booked our flight tickets and applied for travel visa. In all my travels, friends have always asked me about my next destination, and I’m usually

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