Iran’s Golestan Province: Turkmen Sahra (Photos)

Turkmen Sahra (meaning Plain of Turkmen) is a region located mainly in Golestan Province, reaching to the Provnice of Razavi Khorasan and North Khorasan. It is situated in the northeast of Iran, near the Caspian Sea, bordering Turkmenistan. The majority of the inhabitants of the Turkmen Sahra are ethnic Turkmen. The biggest city is Gorgan which is dominated by Persian inhabitants, though in recent years there has been immigration of Turkmen and Zabuli from southern Iran. Other cities of Turkmensahra are Gonbad (called Kummet in Turkmen), Aqqala (Ak Qala), Kalaleh (Kelala), Gomishan (Kumushdepe), meaning the “silvery hill” in Turkmen, and Bandar Torkaman (Bender Turkmen), generally just called Bandar.

Sources: Tasnim News | Photos, Wikipedia |  Turkmen Sahra, Wikipedia | Iranian Turkmen

Italian festival ‘Il Cinema Ritrovato’ screening movies from Iranian New Wave cinema

Il Cinema Ritrovato, an Italian festival dedicated to screening newly restored classics running in Bologna until July 4, is showing four Iranian films from the Iranian New Wave cinema. The program is curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht in collaboration with the National Film Archive of Iran.

The black comedy “Night of the Hunchback” (1965) directed by Farrokh Ghaffari, set over the course of one night against a backdrop of uptown Tehran partying to Ray Charles, focuses on the efforts of a group of stage actors, the father of a bride, and a hairdresser and his assistant (played by Ghaffari himself) to rid themselves of an unwelcome corpse.

The satirical documentary “The Night It Rained or The Epic of the Gorgan Village Boy” (1967) directed by Kamran Shirdel, offers a crash course in 1960s Iran. A newspaper story of a heroic village boy who prevented a train disaster appears and spreads quickly. The incident, reported on and challenged by local officials and journalists, is soon doubted and leads ultimately to confusion, with nobody knowing exactly who has saved whom.

“The Cow” (1969) by Dariush Mehrjuii, which is considered as the milestone of Iranian new wave cinema, tells the story of a poor villager whose only source of joy and livelihood is his cow, which provides milk for the village. One night the cow is mysteriously killed and that’s when the madness, or rather transformation, begins.

“A Simple Event” (1973) by Sohrab Shahid Saless depicts a few days in the life of a young boy living by the Caspian Sea. At school he falls behind his classmates and is almost expelled. He helps his father to fish illegally, and at home watches as his mother’s health deteriorates.

About Iranian New Wave
Iranian New Wave cinema came about as a reaction to the popular cinema of the time which did not reflect the lives of regular Iranians. It began in 1969 and then ended with the beginning of the Iranian revolution in 1979. The films produced were original, artistic and political. The House Is Black by Forough Farrokhzad (1963) is considered to be a precursor to the New Wave cinema. Other films such as Farrokh Ghaffari’s “The Night Of The Hunchback” (1964), Abrahim Golestan’s, “Mud-Brick And Mirror” (1965), and Ferydoon Rahnema’s “Siavush in Persepolis” are all considered to be precursors as well. The first film considered to be part of this movement is Darius Mehrjui’s “The Cow” (1969). Other films considered to be part of this movement are Naser Taqvai’s “Peace in the Presence of Others” (1969/1972), which was banned and then heavily censored upon its release, and Sohrab Shahid Saless’ “A Simple Event” (1973) and “Still Life” (1974).

Sources: Tehran Times | News, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Wikipedia | Iranian New Wave

Works by Iranian artist Pariyoush Ganji on display in Tehran

The current exhibition ‘A decade of paintings” is a selection of works from Pariyoush Ganji’s Red, Night and Day Windows, Roses and Water series.

Over the past ten years Ganji has worked on several collections ‘Day, Night Windows’ (2012), ‘Day, Night Windows’ (2010), ‘Roses’ (2006), ‘Windows Red’ (2003), ‘Sumi-e, Ink Paintings’ (2000-2012) and ‘Windows, Memories of Childhood’ (1997-2007).

The exhibition will run until July 23rd at Aryana Gallery (No.9, Fayazi St.,(Fereshte St.), Tehran).

About Pariyoush Ganji
Pariyoush Ganji (1945 in Tabriz, Iran) studied painting from 1968 to 1975 in London (St. Martin School of Art, Sir John Cass Art School, Chelsea School) and Paris (École de Beaux Arts). Her research include ‘The History of Persian Textile’ (Italy, 2007), ‘The Influence of Sassanid Patterns on Kimono and Obi Patterns through the Silk Road’ (Kyoto, Japan, 1996) and ‘Saffavid tiles in Isfahan’ (London, England, 1974). She held exhibitions at Luci Makintosh Gallery (Switzerland, 2012), Bank Art Museum (Japan, 2006), Museum of Art and Science (USA, 2003) and National Museum of Tashkent (Uzbekistan, 1999). A more detailed biography: Pariyoush Ganji | About

Sources: Iran Daily | News, Art 360° | Ariana Gallery, | Featured

Rice fields in Iran (Photos)

Iran is a vast country, covering 1,648,000 km2 (164.8 million ha). Its topography is dominated by two mountain ranges – Alborz and Zagros – while two great deserts extend over much of the central region, leaving about 20 million ha for crop production. On account of the highly diverse climatic and soil conditions, only 12.5 million ha are cultivated annually with a wide range of food crops. Wheat, rice and barley are the most important cereals cultivated.

Rice is the staple food in Iran, with the quality of cooked rice outweighing all other considerations for Iranian consumers. The total area under rice is more than 600 thousand ha and rice is now grown in varying degrees in nearly all provinces of Iran. However, more than 80 percent of rice area is distributed in the two northern provinces of Mazandaran and Gilan.

Iran’s rice production in 2011 was 2.4 million tons, which increased from a total of 2.3 million tons in the previous year. Iran has 3,800 rice milling units (2009). Iran has imported about 1.4 million tons of rice from UAE, Pakistan and Uruguay worth $800 million in 2009. Iran’s rice imports drop by 40% in 2010. The average per capita consumption of rice in Iran is 45.5 kg, which makes Iranians the 13th biggest rice consumers.

The photos were taken in different Iranian provinces: Qazvin, Gilan, Kurdistan, North Khorasan, Fars and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.

Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) | The rice situation in Iran by N. Shobha Rani, Wikipedia | Agriculture in Iran, Encyclopaedia Iranica | Berenj “rice”, Mehr News Agency | Photos, MNA | Photos, Tasnim News Agency | Photos 1, Tasnim | Photos 2, Tasnim | Photos 3, Tasnim | Photos 4, IRNA | Photos, ISNA | Photos 1, ISNA | Photos 2

John Speraw, U.S. men’s national volleyball team head coach: “Iranians are wonderful people”

“My first impression was that everyone here has been incredibly hospitable. Everyone has been very nice. They have gone out of their way to make sure that we had really nice experience here. I think we have enjoyed it tremendously.”

“We had the opportunity to get out into the city one day. We went to the [Milad Tower] and learning a little more about Tehran, and I think that is good for us. We went to a nice lunch on the [Darakeh] hills. I think we wanted to do those things because I think we are all aware that the portrait of the relationship between Iran and the United States is inaccurate in the media. Probably on both sides, my guess.”

“What I know and have known from spending time with Iran and the United States both last year and this year is that the relationship between the people is not reflective of the relationship between our governments and that the Iranian people are wonderful people and have treated us kindly.”

“I think we have shown the same because America is a wonderful country with wonderful people too. Yes, it a great place, so the message we would bring back is this: it was a great trip and we look forward to coming here again. And I think we have much better understanding of what the environment is both inside the arena and outside.”

Iran coach Slobodan Kovac added: “I want to say something about this. We want to return this hospitality (Mr. Speraw said about); last year we stayed in the USA for more than fifteen days. Everything was perfect. They gave us the maximum things to prepare for world championship.”

Read all posts on this blog related to USA-Iran here:

IRAN - USA -- USA & Iran national coaches at the press conference before the match

Speraw and Kovac in press conference before the match on June 19 (Photo credit: FIVB)

About John Speraw and Slobodan Kovač
John Speraw is an American volleyball coach. He is the head coach of the United States men’s volleyball team and UCLA. He was the former coach of UC Irvine volleyball program where he led the team to three national titles in six years. Speraw graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a B.S. degree in micro-biology and molecular genetics.

Slobodan Kovač is a Serbian former volleyball player and current coach. He is coaching Iran men’s national volleyball team until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Previously competing for Yugoslavia, he won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and won his first gold medal with the Yugoslav team at Sydney at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Source: FIVB | World League 2015 | News, Wikipedia | John Speraw, Wikipedia | Slobodan Kovač, TPA | US national volleyball team visited Milad Tower, Tasnim News | Photos

Iran’s Kerman Province: Rageh Canyon (Photos)

The Rageh canyon is one of the unique and beautiful natural places, in the desert of Rafsanjan County. It was created by the floods and soil erosion of the Givdary River over twenty thousand years. This 20km long, 70m deep and 180m wide valley, with sharp conical peaks, blades and strip wise walls, has interesting and various spatial shapes, narrow and wide passages alongside the river and valley walls.

The nearest city to Rageh Canyon is Rafsanjan, the capital of Rafsanjan County. It is Iran’s center of pistachio cultivation and also a major center of carpet production even though the rugs are sold as Kermani rugs rather than Rafsanjani ones. Another large employer is the nearby Sarcheshmeh copper mines.

Sources: Wikipedia | Rafsanjan (in English), other sources in Persian: ISNA | Photos, Mehr News Agency | Photos, Mehr News Agency | News,

Iran’s Khuzestan Province: Ahvaz – About bridges and a rainbow colored waterfall (Photos)

Ahvaz is a city in the south of Iran with a population of 1,400,000 (2006). Ahvaz is built on the banks of the Karun River and is situated in the middle of Khuzestan Province. The city has an average elevation of 20 meters above sea level.

The Karun is Iran’s most effluent and only navigable river. It is 720 km long. It rises in the Zard Kuh mountains of the Bakhtiari district in the Zagros Range, receiving many tributaries, such as the Dez and the Kuhrang, before passing through the capital of the Khuzestan Province of Iran, the city of Ahvaz.

The river divides the city in two; east and west and with its many bridges connecting both sides of the city over the Karun, Ahvaz is called “The city of Bridges”:
1st) Black Bridge or Railway Bridge (Pol-e Siah): Built in 1919. It is 1050m long and 6.00m wide.
2nd) White Bridge (Pol-e Sefid): Built in 1936, it was the first suspended bridge of Iran.
3rd) Third Bridge: Finished in 1970, it is 496m long and 14.50m wide.
4th) Fourth Bridge or Salman Farsi Bridge: Built in 1975. It is 576m long and 16,70m wide.
5th) Fifth Bridge: It was inaugurated in 1996. It is 480m long and 30,70m wide.
6th) Sixth Bridge or Steel Bridge (Sana-ye Foolad): The bridge was completed in 2007. Its lenght is 740m and its width 30.40.
7th) Seventh Bridge: Finished in 1998. There is an artificial waterfall on this bridge to enjoy on weekends and special days.
8th) Eighth Bridge or Cable Bridge: Inaugurated in 2012 as the biggest cable bridge in the Middle East, it is 1,014m long and 22m wide.

Alongside the seventh bridge, on weekends and special days, there is a beautiful artificial waterfall. It combines water eruption and light games on both sides of the bridge. The waterfall is from one side 150m long, from the other side 200m and has a a height of 35 meters.

Sources: ISNA | Khuzestan | Photos, ISNA | Photos, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos, | News, ISNA | Khuzestan | News, Wikipedia | Ahvaz, Ahvaz Municipality | Tourismus | Bridges, Wikipedia | Karun, | Karun Rainbow Waterfall, Payvand News of Iran, ISNA | Khouzestan | Ahvaz in black and white bridges