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Travel Guide To Iran

Grand Escapades’ Travel Guide To Iran – Friendliness, Culture, Modernity: So Far Away From The Clichés!

Jamkaran Mosque, Qom

Itinerary And Time Of The Visit

In April 2014, I spent 2 weeks in Iran and covered the cultural heartland of the country (most of which has now turned into the “Tourist Trail”, except Na’In & Qom): Shiraz, Esfahan, Na’In, Yazd, Kashan, Qom and last but not least Teheran.

In September 2017, I spent 3.5 weeks and wanted to discover less visited parts of the country and covered Tabriz & Northwest Iran (Zanjan, Soltaniyeh, Takht-e Soleiman); Teheran; Mashhad & Torbat-e Jam; the Southwest of Iran (Sushtar, Choqa Zanbil & Shush); before returning on the “Tourist Trail” (Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd & Shiraz). Continue Reading →

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Esfahan – The Touristic Town Of Iran

Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah, Naqsh-e Jahan or Imam Square, Esfahan

Is there some truth in the Esfahani proverb: “ Esfahan Nesf-e Jahan ” or “ Esfahan is Half of the World ”? Discovering this city will most probably be the highlight of everyone’s visit to Iran, offering some of the finest architecture of the whole country, and actually some of the finest architecture I experienced altogether during my many trips. Continue Reading →

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Pigeon Towers

Pigeon tower, Esfahan

Pigeon tower, Esfahan

The outside of this terracotta colored circular tower would never give away their very purpose – ancient guano factories. The inside is intriguing, a dazzle of geometrical patterns, a maze of corridors, floors and levels that make you feel lost easily. But the birds feel comfortable and clean. Each one has its small cubicle and when sitting on the roosts, the droppings fall straight onto the floor. All this is still intact, but only a few odd pigeons reside here now. Nothing compared to the 4.000 pigeons that would live in each of those once 300 towers. Nowadays, only a couple of these guano producers are left. Continue Reading →

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Esfahan’s Water Issue

Allahverdi Khan Bridge, also known Se-o-Se Pol, Esfahan, during the day, with the dried Zayandeh River, Esfahan, Iran

Allahverdi Khan Bridge, also known Se-o-Se Pol, Esfahan, during the day, with the dried Zayandeh River, Esfahan, Iran

The truly sad story about Esfahan is the dried up Zayandeh River. Its riverbed does not even show a small puddle, making beautiful old bridges like Se-O-Se Pool Bridge rest in a dire-looking flat terrain of gravel. Why is that? The precious liquid is diverted upriver, around the area of Yazd, watering pistachio farms and used for making tiles (the desert sand providing unlimited material to do so) in the many factories around Yazd. Of course the lack of rain has added to the problem. Continue Reading →

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Christian Julfa

The Place To Go Out In Esfahan

Holy Savior Cathedral, or Vank Cathedral or The Church of the Saintly Sisters, in the Armenian District Jolfa of Esfahan, Esfahan, Iran

Holy Savior Cathedral, or Vank Cathedral or The Church of the Saintly Sisters, in the Armenian District Jolfa of Esfahan, Esfahan, Iran

The Armenian Quarter, Julfa, is where we ended up staying in Esfahan, by sheer incident. All the hotels closer to the center were booked, only the Julfa Hotel had rooms. How lucky we were! This neighborhood has an almost Mediterranean flair: small alleys all lined with trees, cafés and chic restaurants. Throngs of young people stroll the sidewalks and the girls are super stylish, dress elegantly and are so very pretty. Trendy clothes shops that would never make you guess of where you are. Obviously Iranians dress – especially women – very differently in private. Continue Reading →

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Esfahan – Love At First Sight

The Shah Mosque or Imam mosque (after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran) or Jameh Abbasi Mosque - Maydan-e Imam, or Maydan-e Shah or Maydan-e Naqsh-e Jahan, or Imam Square in Esfahan -, Esfahan, Iran

The Shah Mosque or Imam mosque (after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran) or Jameh Abbasi Mosque – Maydan-e Imam, or Maydan-e Shah or Maydan-e Naqsh-e Jahan, or Imam Square in Esfahan -, Esfahan, Iran

This was love at first sight! Islamic architecture of its finest and a refined urban flair. What left an equally everlasting imprint in our memory was the friendliness and openness we were received with in this town. Hardly anybody passed without giving us a smile, the braver ones whispered a shy “Hello”, “How are you?” or “Welcome to Esfahan”, while passing by. Quite a few stopped to ask how we liked Iran and their city. We also heard brave remarks like: we are not like our government. Continue Reading →

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