Posted tagged ‘persepolis’

Let me surprise you about Iran!

May 9, 2013

I’ve been to my share of exotic places, but nothing roused the curiosity of my friends and colleagues more than Iran. And for a good reason. All we know about Iran are terrorism, nuclear plants, third world, etc. etc. Perhaps some are aware that Iran was once part of the Persian empire, which is majestic and amazing in its own way. But present Iran? No, all it provokes are fear and skepticism.

I was lucky I had a friend who went, and reassured me that Iran is a pleasant, safe place to visit. I am even luckier that I have an equally adventurous family to go with. So off we went, not knowing exactly what to expect.

In a nutshell, Iran is practically the opposite of what you think it is.

Misconception # 6. It is a war-zone. Stay away or you’ll get shot!

Any of the cities, Tehran, Esfahan, or Shiraz, is probably safer than most big cities. I observed that our tour bus driver rarely locks the bus when he steps out. You walk on the street and people will not harass you. Things don’t get stolen from the hotel. And no, apart from the occasional checkpoints in the highway, there are no remnants of it being a war city at all. No, people do not carry guns! Although their posters depict people carrying guns. But that’s about it.

"Army" poster - amidst a beautiful snowcapped backdrop

“Army” poster – amidst a beautiful snowcapped backdrop


The "infamous" Supreme Leader!

The “infamous” Supreme Leader!

Misconception # 5. Persian food must suck. Or at the very least, you must get tired of eating kebab day after day.

I loved a lot of the food we ate in Iran. One unforgettable dish is the saffron baked chicken which is absolutely yummy. The restaurant is an old Persian mansion adorned with mirror mosaics. And you know it is not a touristy place because it was packed with locals on a weekday lunch!

My favorite dish during our trip. Saffron baked rice stuffed with chicken!

My favorite dish during our trip. Saffron baked rice stuffed with chicken!


Kebab galore!

Kebab galore!


Hmmm... which is which...

Hmmm… which is which…


Kebab!

Kebab!

Misconception # 4. Cities in Iran must be dirty. It is such an underdeveloped country.

The three cities I went to are all very clean. There is absolutely no trash, and people are very disciplined about it. The only thing that “litters” their streets are rows and rows of flowers, especially roses!

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The garden in our hotel is full of what else??? Flowers!

The garden in our hotel is full of what else??? Flowers!


Garden in our beautiful hotel in Esfahan

Garden in our beautiful hotel in Esfahan

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Misconception # 3. Don’t think Persian or modern Iranian art is that big of a deal

Iranians are naturally artistic and their expression of art is all over tourist sights and their establishments. Even their bus stops are cute!

BC art in the National Museum in Tehran

BC art in the National Museum in Tehran


Restoration

Restoration

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Even the cutlery display is creative!

Even the cutlery display is creative!

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Typical Persian art - in Abbasi Hotel in Esfahan

Typical Persian art – in Abbasi Hotel in Esfahan


Artist at work. The artwork on the intricate vases are drawn by hand. We bought one!

Artist at work. The artwork on the intricate vases are drawn by hand. We bought one!

Never saw a prettier wall!

Never saw a prettier wall!

Even an old door is beautifully decorated

Even an old door is beautifully decorated

Trying to hail something. Actually, just posing for the camera :P

Trying to hail something. Actually, just posing for the camera 😛

This is a bus stop!

This is a bus stop!

Intricate drawings in Golestan Palace, Tehran

Intricate drawings in Golestan Palace, Tehran

Misconception # 2. There must be nothing to see. If there are, they must have been destroyed by the wars.

See for yourself 🙂 I am thankful that there are not much tourists, so we were able to almost monopolize the sights!

Azadi square - the icon of Iran

Azadi square – the icon of Iran

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Milad Tower with a beautiful display of Iranian flags

Milad Tower with a beautiful display of Iranian flags

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I like the chandelier! Hmmm... will this fit into my room?!?!?

I like the chandelier! Hmmm… will this fit into my room?!?!?


Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace


Another angle

Another angle


Fascinating interiors of the Golestan Palace in Tehran

Fascinating interiors of the Golestan Palace in Tehran


Milad Tower in Tehran. The best place to see breathtaking bird's eye views of the city

Milad Tower in Tehran. The best place to see breathtaking bird’s eye views of the city


Another shot of Imam Square

Another shot of Imam Square


One of the beautiful bridges

One of the beautiful bridges


I love the beautiful arches

I love the beautiful arches


Mosque in Imam Square

Mosque in Imam Square


This square is so beautiful, I can sit here the whole day!

This square is so beautiful, I can sit here the whole day!


Bird's eye view - I had to brave a construction site to take this shot!

Bird’s eye view – I had to brave a construction site to take this shot!


Imam Square during the day

Imam Square during the day


Typical Persian interior design

Typical Persian interior design


The famous and beautiful Imam Square in Esfahan at night

The famous and beautiful Imam Square in Esfahan at night


View from my room in Esfahan

View from my room in Esfahan


Tomb in Pasagard

Tomb in Pasagard


Little bazaar in Shiraz

Little bazaar in Shiraz

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Woman in prayer. She was actually crying.

Woman in prayer. She was actually crying.


Mirror mosaics!

Mirror mosaics!


You think this is pretty? Wait til you see what's inside

You think this is pretty? Wait til you see what’s inside


The walls are just beautiful

The walls are just beautiful


The family taking off their shawls for the picture

The family taking off their shawls for the picture

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Wall near the entrance in Persepolis

Wall near the entrance in Persepolis


Persepolis! If there is one sight you have to go, it is this!

Persepolis! If there is one sight you have to go, it is this!

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Hmmm... I forgot what this is called.

Hmmm… I forgot what this is called.


Mosque in Shiraz

Mosque in Shiraz

Misconception # 1. The people must be violent and harsh! It’s understandable, they’ve lived in that condition for such a long time

The Iranians are the friendliest people I know. And it really takes a big deal for me to say that because Filipinos’ friendliness is hard to beat. But yeah, finally, after visiting 80 countries, I concede. They are cheerful, helpful, and just naturally nice. Since they do not see a lot of tourists, they are fascinated with Asian “exoticism” and would politely request for pictures. I felt like a celebrity! Here are some pictures with the amazing locals.

Met the one and only Filipina during our whole trip. She was with her family - she married an Iranian guy and they have a son. And their common language? Japanese! They now live in Bacolod, Philippines but met while living in Japan.

Met the one and only Filipina during our whole trip. She was with her family – she married an Iranian guy and they have a son. And their common language? Japanese! They now live in Bacolod, Philippines but met while living in Japan.


The boys are cute, too!

The boys are cute, too!


Goofing around before the teacher "caught" me!

Goofing around before the teacher “caught” me!


Posing with school children

Posing with school children


School trip

School trip


Isn't the woman stunning? Mind you, she requested for the picture with us!

Isn’t the woman stunning? Mind you, she requested for the picture with us!


The kids are so beautiful!

The kids are so beautiful!

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Peace everyone!

Peace everyone!

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