Category Archives: History

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Savadkuh County, Mazandaran

The Veresk Bridge and the Three Golden Lines, a railway spiral passing three times by the same area at different heights are located in Savadkuh County, Mazandaran Province. They are part of the Trans-Iranian Railway, a major railway building project that started in 1927 and completed in 1938. It links the capital Tehran with the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.

The Danish firm Kampsax began constructing Veresk Bridge in 1934. The structure stands at 110m height and has a 66m long arch. It connects two mountains in the Abbas Abad region.

The construction of this bridge included craftsmen of many nationalities. The name of the bridge is derived from the name of a Czechoslovakian technician whose name was hard to pronounce for Iranians. Near the bridge is a memorial for the workers who lost their life while building the bridge and its nearby tunnels. The Chief Engineer, Austrian Walter Aigner, following his wishes, is buried in the local cemetery of Veresk.

During World War II, it was known as the Pol-e-Piroozi, or the bridge of victory. During the course of the war, Reza Shah was asked by Hitler to blow up all tunnels and bridges, including the Veresk Bridge, on Iran’s railway lines in order to delay the transfer of goods and reinforcement troops to the north for the Russians. He furthermore promised to replace and reconstruct all of such demolished structures following the Germans’ victory in the war. Reza Shah rejected the request. Today trains connecting Tehran to Gorgan or Sari pass over this bridge an average of four times a day.

Sources: Wikipedia | Veresk Bridge, Borna News, highestbridges.com, fouman.com, Wikipedia | Trans-Iranian-Railway

Iran’s Hamedan Province: ‘Ganjnameh’ – an ancient cuneiform inscription of the Achaemenid Empire (Photos)

Ganj Nameh, literally translated as “treasure epistle”, is an ancient inscription, 5 kilometers southwest of Hamedan, near a natural waterfall, into a rockface on the side of Alvand Mountain, in Hamedan Province, Iran

The inscriptions were carved in granite in two sections. The one on the left was ordered by Darius the Great (521-485 BC) and the one on the right by Xerxes the Great (485-65 BC). Both sections were carved in three ancient languages: Old Persian, Neo-Babylonian and Neo-Elamite. The incscriptions start with praise of the Zoroastrian God (Ahura Mazda) and describe the lineage and deeds of the mentioned kings.

Ganjnameh sits along the ancient Imperial Road, that connected the Achaemenid capital Ecbatana to Babylonia. It was a safe and frequently traveled road and had much visibility during the Achaemeniad period. The inscriptions were studied in detail by the French painter and archaeologist Eugene Flandin during the 19th century. Subsequently Sir Henry Rawlinson, a British explorer, used the inscriptions to decipher the cuneiform characters of the era.

The translation of the text on the right plate, attributed to Xerxes, is: “The Great God Ahuramazda, greatest of all the gods, who created the earth and the sky and the people; who made Xerxes king, and outstanding king as outstanding ruler among innumerable rulers; I the great king Xerxes, king of kings, king of lands with numerous inhabitants, king of this vast kingdom with far-away territories, son of the Achaemenid monarch Darius.”

Later generations who could not read the Cuneiform alphabets of the ancient Persian assumed that they contained the guide to an uncovered treasure; hence they called it Ganjnameh which literally means “treasure book”, but it has also been called Jangnameh, literally “war book”, possibly due to the wrong assumption that the inscriptions described ancient wars of the Achaemenid era.

Two modern contemporary carved tablets have been placed in the site’s parking lot with Persian explanation and its English translation.

Unfortunately, this archeological site is in danger due to the construction of restaurants and entertainment centers in the vicinity of Ganjnameh that have changed the historic atmosphere and endangered the cultural and natural landscape of the area. Adding to these existing problems is the construction of a cable car nearby.

Sources: Historical Iran | Ganjnameh, Wikicommons | Ganj Nameh inscriptions, Mehr News Agency | Photostishineh.com | Ganjnameh, Panoramio | M. Eskandari, Panoramio | Alexandru Velcea, Panoramio | Mauro – Iran 2013, Panoramio | Ehsan Khanjani, Cultural Heritage News Agency (in Persian)

Iran’s exceptional reaction to 9/11 attacks: candlelit vigils for the victims and 60k soccer fans respected a minute’s silence

“Iran’s sympathetic response to the American tragedy has been exceptional for a country under US economic siege for two decades. Only hours after the Sept. 11 attack, President Muhammad Khatami condemned it, as did Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other officials have sent sympathetic messages, including one from the mayor of Tehran to the mayor of New York – the first public official contact between Iran and the US since the 1979 Iranian revolution. […]

More important, 60,000 spectators observed a minute of silence during a soccer match in Iran’s Azadi Stadium, and hundreds of young Iranians held a candle-lit vigil in Tehran.”
Source: The Christian Science Monitor | US and Iran must work together against Taliban by R. K. Ramazani – September 24, 2001

“Iranian women light candles in Tehran’s Mohseni Square in memory of the victims of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC. [see first picture above] […]

Even the most hardline Islamic clerics, who despise the United States, have been shocked into silence by the attacks. President Mohammad Khatami set the tone for Iran’s reaction with a statement that in Persian rang with deep compassion: ‘On behalf of the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic, I denounce the terrorist measures, which led to the killing of defenseless people, and I express my deep sorrow and sympathy with the American people.’ […]

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the attacks which have been blamed on Saudi-born Osama bin Laden. […]

‘Why should Americans deserve this? That’s a sick thought. They are just ordinary people like us,’ said Massoud Moshiri, as he bought cigarettes at a juice stand.” […]
Source: Times.com | Photoessay | Iran mourns America’s dead – September 18, 2001

On Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei, in his first public remarks on last week’s attacks, markedly failed to brand the United States an enemy. ‘Islam condemns the massacre of defenseless people, whether Muslim or Christian or others, anywhere and by any means,’ he said, adding pointedly: ‘And so Iran condemns any attack on Afghanistan that may lead to another human tragedy.’ […]

On Tuesday, more than than 3,000 mostly young people held a candlelight vigil in Tehran for the victims of the terror attacks, closely watched by security forces.

One reformist member of Parliament, Ahmad Borghani, even went to the United States interest section at the Swiss Embassy on Tuesday with a wreath of white flowers to sign the memorial book in sympathy with the family’s of the victims. ‘This tragedy has brought the two countries closer,’ he said. ‘But the United States must not expect Iran to cooperate in a military attack — considering our past relations.’
Source: The New York Times | World | A NATION CHALLENGED: TEHRAN; Iran Softens Tone Against the United States by Nazila Fathi – September 21, 2001

“IRAN — President Mohammad Khatami condemned ‘terrorist’ attacks on the United States”
Source: The New York Times | US | Reaction from around the world – September 12, 2001

“Leaders of Middle Eastern nations, including U.S. foes Libya and Iran, have condemned the terror attacks on the U.S. […] Mohammad Khatami, the Iranian president, said he felt ‘deep regret and sympathy with the victims.’ ”
Source: CNN.com | World | Attacks draw mixed response in Mideast – September 12, 2001

“Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate who is struggling for power against the country’s hard-line Islamic leaders, expressed ‘deep regret and sympathy with the victims’ and said ‘it is an international duty to try to undermine terrorism.’ ”
Source: FoxNews.com – September 12, 2001

“And in Iran, Tehran’s main football stadium observed an unprecedented minute’s silence in sympathy with the victims. Iran’s Ayatollah Imami Kashani spoke of a catastrophic act of terrorism which could only be condemned by all Muslims, adding the whole world should mobilise against terrorism.”
Source: BBC News | World | Americas | Islamic world deplores US losses – September 14, 2001

“Even in Tehran, where anti-American chants are all too common, thousands of people attending a World Cup qualifying match between Bahrain and Iran observed a moment of silence.”
Source: The New York Times | US | AFTER THE ATTACKS: THE VIGILS; Surrounded by Grief, People Around the World Pause and Turn to Prayer by Dan Barry – September 15, 2001

“In Iran, antipathy toward the United States was set aside as 60,000 spectators and players observed a minute of silence at the Tehran soccer stadium before a World Cup qualifying match.”
Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal | REACTION ABROAD | World grieves along with America by Audrey Woods from Associated Press – September 15, 2001

“Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has strongly condemned the suicide terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. ‘Mass killings of human beings are catastrophic acts which are condemned’ he said ‘wherever they may happen and whoever the perpetrators and the victims may be’. ”
Source: BBC News | World | Middle East | Iran condemns attacks on US – September 17, 2001

“Last week, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, one of the most conservative and anti-American Muslim clerical leaders, called the fight against terrorism a ‘holy war.’ He joins a host of learned Muslims who have loudly condemned terrorism as forbidden in Islamic law in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11.”
Source: The New York Times | Opinion | Islam and the opposition to terrorism by Roy Mottahedeh – September 30, 2001

“After news of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks spread to Tehran, hundreds of Iranians, students, merchants and housewives joined in a candlelight vigil in a downtown square. Many were crying. Three weeks later, I am still approached by ordinary Iranians, in restaurants, Internet cafes and on the street, telling me how sorry they are, and how worried they are about the ‘American war’ that is about to begin, just next door.”
Source: NBC News | Inside Iran, a nation conflicted by Jim Maceda – October 7, 2001

“On the evening of September 11, 2001, about two hundred young people gathered in Madar Square, on the north side of Tehran, in a spontaneous candlelight vigil to express sympathy and support for the United States. A second vigil, the next night, was attacked by the basij, a volunteer force of religious vigilantes, and then dispersed by the police. […]

The statement that Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s popularly elected President, made was extraordinary — extraordinary to American ears, at least. ‘My deep sympathy goes out to the American nation, particularly those who have suffered from the attacks and also the families of the victims,’ he said. ‘Terrorism is doomed, and the international community should stem it and take effective measures in a bid to eradicate it.’ ”
Source: The New Yorker | Letter from Tehran | Shadow Land by Joe Klein – February 18, 2002

“Iranian Students are calling for pro-american demonstrations, marking 9/11
A Public Call For Rememberance of the 9/11 Tragedy […]
Now, with the first anniversary of 9/11 tragedy upon us, as SMCCDI expresses its sympathy to the families of the victims and survivors of that ungodly event, and the honorable nation of America; it invites all free spirited Iranians to honor the memory of the victims of that day by gathering and lighting a candle in front of the main entrance of the Tehran university and major public squares in Tehran, and the main squares in other cities and townships, from 6:00 PM till 9:00 PM, on Wednesday 11 September.”
Source: daneshjoo.org | Post 1873 by SMCCDI Political Committee – September 10, 2002

“Finally, I’ve found a pro-American country. Everywhere I’ve gone in Iran, with one exception, people have been exceptionally friendly and fulsome in their praise for the United States […]. Iran is also the only Muslim country I know where citizens responded to the 9/11 attacks with a spontaneous candlelight vigil as a show of sympathy. ”
Source: The New York Times | Opinion | OP-ED Columnist: Those Friendly Iranians by Nicholas D. Kristof – May 5, 2004

“Ordinary Iranians have long had a softer stance toward the West than their leaders; after the Sept. 11 attacks, Iranians held a spontaneous candlelight vigil in Tehran.”
Source: Chicago Tribune | News | Contenders for Iranian presidency talk up U.S. by Evans Osnos – June 12, 2005

“In Iran, vast crowds turned out on the streets and held candlelit vigils for the victims. Sixty-thousand spectators respected a minute’s silence at Tehran’s football stadium.”
Source: BBC News | Middle East | Iran-US: Gulf of misunderstanding by Gordon Corera – September 25, 2006

“Mourners held a spontaneous candlelight vigil as thousands of people took to the streets of north Tehran chanting, ‘Death to terrorists.’ Iranian soccer fans observed a minute of silence before a match with Bahrain. Even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the attacks: ‘Mass killing is wrong, whether it’s in Hiroshima, Bosnia, New York, or Washington.’ During Friday prayers at Qom, Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini said that the Iranian people grieved with the relatives of those killed, and the traditional slogan ‘Death to America’ was absent from the crowds’ mantras.
Source: Command Posts | Focus on: 9/11, Iran | After 9/11: The United States and Iran by David Crist – September 11, 2012

“Iranians mourn 9/11 victims”
Sources: shabhaft.blogfa.com | Post 134 and LiveLeak.com | Forgotten fact: night of 9/11, Iran – Spontaneous candlelight vigil to express sympathy and support for the American people

Other must read Iran-USA news: The other Iran | Tag | USA

” 2001/09/11, thousands and thousands Iranians went instantly in the streets with candles in homage to the victims ”
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/category/terrorism/september-11/” iranians mourn 9/11 victims ”
http://shabhaft.blogfa.com/post-134.aspx” Iranian Students are calling for pro-american demonstrations, marking 9/11 ”
http://daneshjoo.org/article/publish/printer_1873.shtml
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=44b_1359356589&comments=1#DDqQZ5dOfJ70MPYf.99
” 2001/09/11, thousands and thousands Iranians went instantly in the streets with candles in homage to the victims ”
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/category/terrorism/september-11/” iranians mourn 9/11 victims ”
http://shabhaft.blogfa.com/post-134.aspx” Iranian Students are calling for pro-american demonstrations, marking 9/11 ”
http://daneshjoo.org/article/publish/printer_1873.shtml
Read more at http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=44b_1359356589&comments=1#DDqQZ5dOfJ70MPYf.99In Iran, vast crowds turned out on the streets and held candlelit vigils for the victims. Sixty-thousand spectators respected a minute’s silence at Tehran’s football stadium. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5377914.stm

Iran’s Isfahan Province: The underground city of Nushabad (Photos)

The underground city of Ouyi (Noushabad) in northern Kashan, Isfahan Province, is considered one of the masterpieces of ancient architecture. The complex spreads across thousands of square meters and consists of many labyrinth-like architectural structures, corridors, rooms and wells. Natural air conditioning and water supply of the city are among its ancient engineering wonders. The ventilation system used in the underground city through devising canals made it possible for the refugees to breathe even at a depth of 20 meters below the ground.

A large number of historic evidence including earthenware vessels and stone instruments ranging in date to Sassanid (224-651 AD), Ilkhanid (1256-1336), and Safavid (1501-1736 AD) dynastic periods have been retrieved from the underground city. After three seasons of performing archeological studies, tourists can once again visit the city from entrances adjacent to two old water reservoirs.

In the past this region was quite insecure and by forming an underground chain of passages beneath the entire city, the inhabitants would shelter there in the time of being attacked. Through these passages they could reach any spot of the city without being seen.

The depth of this underground city varies from 4 to 18 meters. Entrances to the city were from population concentration points such as water reservoirs, markets, fortresses and also some individual houses. People could live in the underground passages and room for several days without the need of going outside.

There are three levels in this underground city and these levels were cleverly planned in a way that going to the different levels required moving from down to up. This made it easier for the people sheltering in the underground city to prevent enemies from getting to the upper levels.

Another interesting feature of their architecture was the curvy passages that made it possible for the inhabitants to ambush enemies. Furthermore there were several other tricks that were used to resist against the enemies, for instance digging deep holes in the middle of the rooms and covering it with rotating stones that would fall down if anyone stepped on them.

Other great photo series and stories on Iran: The other Iran | Photos

About Nushabad
Nushabad (Persian: نوش آباد‎, also Romanized Noshabad) is a city in the Central District of Aran va Bidgol County, Isfahan Province, Iran about 5 kilometers north of Kashan. At the 2006 census, its population was 10,476, in 2,859 families. As Nushabad city is located in the region of central desert of Iran, its weather is quite harsh. During the day Nushabad has a very hot temperature and during the nights it gets pretty cold.

Sources: Wikipedia | Nushabad, Hamshahri Online (Photos), Fars News | Photos, Historical Iran

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

Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province: Saint Stepanos Monastery near Jolfa

The St. Stepanos Monastery (Armenian: Maghardavank) is an Armenian monastery about 15 km northwest of Jolfa, East Azarbaijan Province, northwestern Iran. It is situated in a deep canyon along the Arax river on the Iranian side of the border between Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and Iran. Since 2008 it is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with the St. Thaddeus Monastery and the Chapel of Dzordzor.

The general structure mostly resembles Armenian and Georgian architecture and the inside of the building is adorned with beautiful paintings by Honatanian, a renowned Armenian artist. Hayk Ajimian, an Armenian scholar and historian, recorded that the church was originally built in the ninth century AD, but repeated earthquakes in Azarbaijan completely eroded the previous structure. The church was rebuilt during the rule of Shah Abbas the Second.

History
The first monastery was built in the seventh century (AD 649) and completed in the tenth century. However, St Bartholomew first founded a church on the site around AD 62 but it was partly destroyed during the wars between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

Following the conquest of the region by the Mongols of Hulagu, grandson of Genghis Khan, in the middle of the thirteenth century, Christians benefited from the favorable Ilkhanid dynasty, and a peace agreement is signed between the Armenian Church and the Ilkhans. The monastery was restored in the second half of the thirteenth century.

The monastery was completely rebuilt in 1330 under the leadership of Zachariah. St. Stepanos Monastery found the height of its cultural and intellectual influence in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The monastery produced paintings and illuminated manuscripts, in areas as diverse as religion, history and philosophy.

In the early fifteenth century, the new Safavid dynasty protected the Armenians but the region is at the center of the rivalry between the Safavids and the Ottomans, who invaded Western Armenia in 1513. St. Stepanos in the sixteenth century observed a gradual decline until Shah Abbas I decided to evacuate the region from its inhabitants in 1604. The monastery then was abandoned. From 1650, the Safavids, however, decided to occupy the region again, and the damaged and abandoned St. Stepanos monastery was restored in the middle of the century.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the area became a challenge for the conquest of the Russian Empire. Yerevan was conquered by the Russians in 1827. The border between Persia and Russia was established on the Araxes by the Treaty of Turkmenchay. Consequently part of the population was displaced by force to Russian Armenia. The Qajar rulers continued to protect the Armenians. They encouraged the rebuilding of St. Stepanos Monastery between 1819 and 1825.

The monastery has undergone several restorations recently twentieth and twenty-first centuries, especially since 1974.

On UNESCO World Heritage List
The Armenian monasteries in Northwestern Iran have borne continuous testimony, since the origins of Christianity and certainly since the 7th century, to Armenian culture in its relations and contact with the Persian and later the Iranian civilizations. They bear testimony to a very large and refined panorama of architectural and decorative content associated with Armenian culture, in interaction with other regional cultures: Byzantine, Orthodox, Assyrian, Persian and Muslim. The monasteries have survived some 2,000 years of destruction, both of human origin and as a result of natural disasters. They have been rebuilt several times in a spirit in keeping with Armenian cultural traditions.

Further information: Iran Chamber Society | Church of Saint Stephanos

Sources: Wikipedia | Saint Stepanos MonasteryIran Chamber Society | Historical Churches in Iran, Tishineh | St. Stepanos Monastery, Wikimedia Commons | Saint Stepanos Monastery, UNESCO World Heritage List | Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2

Iran’s South Khorasan Province: Furg Citadel (Photos)

The Citadel of Furg, or Arg e Furg, is a citadel from the 12th century, located in Iran’s South Khorasan province 90 km east of the city of Birjand. The citadel was founded by Meerza Muhammad Rafiee Darmiany I (Lama). Materials used in the building include stone, brick, clay, gypsum, lime and mortar (Sarouj).

Source: Payvand News of Iran

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Snow in Bisutun, Kermanshah Province

Please also check out the amazing story and photos of the Bisutun Inscription – the Iranian Rosetta Stone, that was vandalized by Allied soldiers during the Anglo-Russian invasion of Iran.

Sources: Tasnim News | Photos, The other Iran

Photo gallery: Bisutun Inscription – Iranian Rosetta Stone from 522BC in a 116 hectar UNESCO World Heritage Site

Bisutun Inscription (Behistun Inscription) is a multi-lingual inscription located on Mount Bisutun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran.

Authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a later form of Akkadian). In effect, then, the inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script.

The inscription is approximately 15 metres high by 25 metres wide and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines.

The monument suffered some damage from Allied soldiers using it for target practice in World War II, during the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran.


In 1999, Iranian archeologists began the documentation and assessment of damages to the site incurred during the 20th century. Malieh Mehdiabadi, who was project manager for the effort, described a photogrammetric process by which two-dimensional photos were taken of the inscriptions using two cameras and later transmuted into 3-D images.

In recent years, Iranian archaeologists have been undertaking conservation works. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. In 2012, the Bisotun Cultural Heritage Center organized an international effort to re-examine the inscription.

The site covers an area of 116 hectares. Archeological evidence indicates that this region became a human shelter 40,000 years ago. There are 18 historical monuments other than the inscription of Darius the Great in the Behistun complex that have been registered in the Iranian national list of historical sites.

Sources: Tasnim News | PhotosWikipedia | Behistun Inscription

Photo gallery: Exhibition showcasing ancient Iranian artifacts returned from Belgium

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition at the National Museum of Iran showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles.

The antique collection was returned to Iran on Thursday Dec. 24. This came after an appeals court in Belgium’s eastern city of Liège ruled in September 2014 that the country’s authorities restitute 349 smuggled artifacts to Iran. The legal process has lasted 33 years.

Praising the efforts made by the Iranian legal team in returning the valuble antiques, Rouhani said the move showed the resolve of the government in “safeguarding the rights of the Iranian nation.” He noted that such cultural exhibitions can help “defuse Iranophobia” in the world.

The stolen artifacts comprising of 221 clay and 128 bronze antiques had been discovered in Khorvin, Savojbolagh County, Alborz Province, 80 kilometers (49 miles) northeast of the Iranian capital and date back to the end of the second millennium and the first millennium BC and are some 3000 years old.

In 1965, a French woman who had acquired an Iranian nationality due to her marriage to an Iranian professor and had been living in Iran for some 18 years, with the help of a Belgian diplomat began to gradually transfer to Belgium the collection.

After the Iranian government was informed of the existence of this antique collection in a Museum in Ghent, Belgium, it filed a lawsuit in the Belgian courts in 1981 and made the claims that these artifacts had been illegally transferred out of the country, belonged to Iran, and as such must be returned home.

Following Iran’s demand in 1981, a Brussels court ordered the seizure of the pieces and their preservation at the Museum of Brussels University, pending a final verdict. The court of first instance ruled out Iran’s claims as the rightful owner in 1998 and again in 2012 the claims were rejected due to pass of time. Iran made an appeal to the Belgian court and finally in September 2014, the court of Appeals established Iran’s ownership of Khorvin’s collection of antique artifacts and ruled that they be returned to Iran.

Iranian officials have filed several other lawsuits in courts in Britain, France, Turkey, and Pakistan for the return of smuggled artifacts over the past years.

Sources:
Press TV
Mehr News Agency
realiran.org
Photos by E. Naredipour for IRNA

Iran’s Ancient City Nishapur in Razavi Khorasan Province

Nishapur or Nishabur from Middle Persian “New-Shabuhr” (meaning New City of Shapur, Fair Shapur, or Perfect built of Shapur) is a city in the Razavi Khorasan Province, in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Mount Binalud. It has an estimated population of 239.000 (as of 2011). Nearby are the turquoise mines that have supplied the world with turquoise for at least two millennia.

The city was founded in the 3rd century by Shapur I. Nishapur later became the capital of Tahirid dynasty and was reformed by Abdullah Tahir in 830. In 1037 it was selected as the capital of Seljuq dynasty by Tughril.

It reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, but was destroyed by Mongols in 1221, and further ruined by other invasions and earthquakes in the 13th century.

After that time, a much smaller settlement was established just north of the ancient town, and the once bustling metropolis lay underground—until a team of excavators from the Metropolitan Museum arrived in the mid-twentieth century. They worked at Nishapur between 1935 and 1940, returning for a final season in the winter of 1947–48.

The excavators had been drawn to the city because of its fame in the medieval period, when it flourished as a regional capital and was home to many religious scholars. It was also known as an economic center—Nishapur was located on the Silk Road.

The city was an important center for the manufacture of glass, metal, and stone vessels. The distinctive ceramics produced in Nishapur were traded around the region, and have been found at Herat, Merv, and Samarqand.

In addition, Nishapur was a source of turquoise and a center for growing cotton, producing cotton textiles as well as several types of fabric incorporating silk. One of the most unusual products of Nishapur, however, was its edible earth, which was believed to have curative properties.

Images of some artefacts found in Nishapur during the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations there

Sources: Wikipedia | Nishapur, Mehr News Agency, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Memorial honoring Jewish heroes of Iraq-Iran war unveiled in Tehran, Iran

Earlier this week, authorities in Tehran unveiled a monument to slain Iranian Jewish soldiers who died during the country’s long and bitter war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988. Death tolls for the hideous conflict differ, but casualty counts usually reach more than 1 million for both countries.

A public ceremony marked the memorial’s opening on Monday, with speeches that took place at a dais flanked by the Iranian flag and a menorah. Banners showed the images of fallen soldiers, hailed as “martyrs” in Farsi and Hebrew inscriptions.

[…]

After Israel, Iran has the Middle East’s second-largest community of Jews — with its current population estimated between 20,000 and 30,000.

“We are not tenants in this country. We are Iranians, and we have been for 30 centuries,” Ciamak Morsadegh, the Iranian Jewish parliamentarian, told Washington Post reporter Rezaian last year.

“There is a distinction between us as Jews and Israel,” added a shopkeeper in the historic city of Isfahan. “We consider ourselves Iranian Jews, and it has nothing to do with Israel whatsoever. This is the country we love.”

Sources:
Washington Post
IRNA

Rayen Castle – more than 1000 year old adobe castle in Kerman, Iran

Rayen Castle (in Persian Arg-e Rayen) is an adobe castle in Kerman Province, Iran. The medieval mudbrick city of Rayen is similar to the Arg-e Bam city which was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran.

Rayen Castle was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran - arg-e-rayensh

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran – Arg-e-Rayensh

Adobe castle of Rayen Rayen Kerman Iran

Adobe castle of Rayen, Kerman, Iran

Source: Wikipedia | Rayen Castle

Also check this related post: The other Iran | Arg-é Bam

Sar Yazd Castle in Yazd, Iran wins the grand prize for the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage

The grand prize for the 2014 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage went to Sar Yazd Castle in Yazd, Iran.

In June 2014, a panel of judges composed of international experts in conservation and restoration evaluated 46 projects from countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Among the projects, Sar Yazd Citadel restoration project from Iran managed to receive the grand prize. The grand prize was awarded to Iran due to the role of private institutions in preserving this historical location which has consequently influenced the socio-economic status of the locals in regard to creating job opportunities.

Sar Yazd is situated 30km south of Yazd province. Some speculate that the castle belongs to the Sassanid era.

Conserved and restored sites with more than 50 years of age which have been finished within last 10 years and have been open to visitors for at least a year have been considered eligible for this contest.

Yazd, Iran - Saryazd citadel - inside

Yazd, Iran – Saryazd citadel – inside

The 2014 and 2015 contests are held with the financial support from Beijing Sino-Ocean Charity Foundation.

Call for participation in the 2015 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation contest will be announced in October 2014 via the contest’s website.

Source: Iran Review | Iranians’ Achievements (scroll down)

Series American couple in Iran: Audry’s cites on Persepolis: Ancient Persia, Modern Lessons

Although Persepolis is one of Iran’s top archeological and tourist sites, I was careful to keep my expectations in check before visiting. After all, what would remain of the 2,500 year-old capital of the Achaemenid Empire? Amidst crumbled columns, I found great detail that blew me away and a surprising connection to the present.

Gate of All Nations - Persepolis, Iran

Gate of All Nations – Persepolis, Iran

When I first entered Persepolis through the Gate of All Nations, I was struck by the scale of it all – the statues, the columns, the great stone. I tried to imagine the process of transporting the raw materials to this place, constructing the city and palace, and fashioning it all without the mechanical means we have today. […]

Persepolis eastern staircase leading to Apadana Palace, all 23 subject nations represented.

Persepolis eastern staircase leading to Apadana Palace, all 23 subject nations represented.

Like a camera lens, my eyes began to focus on stone-carved details — hair, faces, beards, hats, and clothes, gifts carried in hands. That you could still make out every curl in a beard, eyelash on a camel and softened skin of soldiers holding hands — 2,500 years later – struck me as truly spectacular. […]

And it went on like this, through the citizens of each member nation — Egyptians, Assyrians, Indians, Tajiks, and so on. Each was easily identifiable, their physical appearance and cultural trappings preserved in stone from 500 B.C. […]

It was the whole of these details that to me seemed to define the character of the Achaemenid Empire: a multi-ethnic ancient empire built on respecting – if not maintaining — the diversity of many cultures amidst a unifying loyalty to one king. […]

Persian and Median soldiers holding hands, leading the way to the king.

Persian and Median soldiers holding hands, leading the way to the king.

Cyrus the Great’s Human Rights Charter
While it was Darius the Great who built this palace at Persepolis, it was his father-in-law – Cyrus the Great – who attempted to set the foundation of mutual respect within the Achaemenid Empire. In his Babylon Cylinder (539 B.C.), Cyrus put forth some of the first recorded mentions of human rights, an expression of tolerance, and of religious, linguistic and racial equality across the empire.

History tells us that great civilizations have come and gone, risen and fallen, ascended and crumbled. The pity of the great Persian empire — 23 nations under one roof and the nascent echoes of human rights — was that a great man came and went well before his time. […]

Head over to: Uncornered Market – Travel and Life Adventure | Persepolis to see all photos, and read the whole text.

Iran’s 5200-year-old Shahr-e Sukhteh (Burnt City) joins UNESCO World Heritage List

The 5200-year-old Shahr-e Sukhteh (Burnt City) located in southeastern Iran was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on Sunday. The site was registered with no opposing vote during the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee …

https://i0.wp.com/www.payvand.com/news/14/jun/Shahr-e-Sukhteh--Burnt-City-ruins-Iran-1-HR.jpg
Located 57 kilometers from the Iranian town of Zabol in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, the Burnt City was excavated for the first time by the Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO) team led by Maurizio Tosi in 1967. […]

After a 19-year hiatus, a team led by Professor Seyyed Mansur Sajjadi began studies on the Burnt City and conducted 22 seasons of excavations at the site.

A 10-centimeter ruler with an accuracy of half a millimeter, an artificial eyeball, an earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation and many other artifacts have been discovered among the ruins of the city in the course of the 22 seasons of archaeological excavations conducted by Iranian teams. […]

An archaeological team, which will be led by Sajjadi, is scheduled to reconstruct the ancient society of the Burnt City during the new excavation season this year in October.

Sixteen Iranian ancient and historical sites have previously been registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

https://i1.wp.com/www.payvand.com/news/14/jun/Shahr-e-Sukhteh--Burnt-City-ruins-Iran-14-HR.jpg

More photos: Payvand News of Iran

Tomb of famous poet Hafez I

 

Shiraz, Iran -Tomb of Hafez

Shiraz, Iran -Tomb of Hafez

Hafez was born in Shiraz, Iran. His parents were from Kazeroon (Fars Province).
Modern scholars generally agree that Hafez was born either in 1315 or 1317.

Today, he is the most popular poet in Iran. Libraries in many other nations other than Iran such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia contain his Diwan.[6]

Much later, the work of Hāfez would leave a mark on such Western writers as Thoreau, Goethe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson—the latter referring to him as “a poet’s poet.”[citation needed] His work was first translated into English in 1771 by William Jones.

There is no definitive version of his collected works (or Dīvān); editions vary from 573 to 994 poems. In Iran, and Afghanistan,[10] his collected works have come to be used as an aid to popular divination.

Twenty years after his death, a tomb (the Hafezieh) was erected to honor Hafez in the Musalla Gardens in Shiraz. The current Mausoleum was designed by André Godard, French archeologist and architect, in the late 1930s. Inside, Hafez’s alabaster tombstone bears two of his poems inscribed upon it.

Goethe fans will also know this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West-%C3%B6stlicher_Diwan

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafez

Statues of 4 Iranian scientists, astronomer, physicist at the UN office in Vienna Austria

Photo: ‎در مقابل ساختمان سازمان ملل در کشور اتریش شهر وین ، تندیس چهار ستاره شناس پزشک و عالم بزرگ تاریخ را ساخته اند ...    1- ابو علی سینا( ابوعلی حسین بن عبدالله بن سینا، مشهور به ابوعلی سینا و ابن سینا و پور سینای بلخی (زادهٔ ۳۵۹ ه. ش در بخارا -درگذشتهٔ ۲ تیر ۴۱۶ در همدان، ۹۸۰-۱۰۳۷ میلادی) فیلسوف و دانشمند ایرانی ، نویسنده کتاب شفا یک دانشنامه علمی و فلسفی جامع است و القانون فی الطب یکی از معروف‌ترین آثار تاریخ پزشکی است    2- ابوریحان البیرونی ( ابوریحان محمد بن احمد بیرونی<br /><br /><br />  زادهٔ ۱۴ شهریور ۳۵۲، کاث، خوارزم -<br /><br /><br />  درگذشتهٔ ۲۲ آذر ۴۲۷، غزنین) ، دانشمند بزرگ و ریاضی‌دان، ستاره‌شناس، تقویم‌شناس، انسان‌شناس، هندشناس و تاریخ‌نگار بزرگ ایرانی در سده چهارم و پنجم هجری است. بیرونی را بزرگ‌ترین دانشمند مسلمان و یکی از بزرگ‌ترین دانشمندان ایرانی و همه اعصار می‌دانند. همین‌طور او را پدر علم انسان‌شناسی و هندشناسی می‌دانند.    3- حکیم خیام نیشاپوری (نام کامل: غیاث‌الدین ابوالفتح عُمَر بن ابراهیم خیام نیشابوری - زادهٔ ۲۸ اردیبهشت ۴۲۷ خورشیدی در نیشابور - درگذشته ۱۲ آذر ۵۱۰ خورشیدی در نیشابور) فیلسوف،<br /><br /><br />  ریاضی‌دان، ستاره‌شناس و رباعی سرای ایرانی<br /><br /><br />  در دورهٔ سلجوقی    4- زکریای رازی ( ابوبکر محمّد زَکَریای رازی ۲۵۱ ه.ق. – ۳۱۳ ه.ق.) پزشک، فیلسوف و شیمی‌دان ایرانی که آثار ماندگاری در زمینهٔ پزشکی و شیمی و فلسفه نوشته است و به‌عنوان کاشف الکل و جوهر گوگرد (اسید سولفوریک) مشهور است.    اين چهار دانشمند در زير چهار طاقی بزرگ ايران تربيت يافتند و دانش خويش را به چهار سوی جهان پراکنده اند، که يادآور مشارکت مردم ايران در دانش و علوم نوع بشر می باشد. جالب است بدانید معماری این طاق همانطور که مشاهده می شود همانند معماری پارسه بنا شده است.‎
Statues of 4 Iranian Scientists,Astronomer,Physisian opposit the Building of UN office in Wien Austria
 
Ibn Sina, Avicenna, was a Persian who wrote almost 450 works on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving works concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine. His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine,[8] which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities.

 

Abu reyhan Biruni,
(born 4/5 September 973 in Kath, Khwarezm,] died 13 December 1048 in Ghazni)was a PersianKhwarezmian Muslim scholar and polymath from the Khwarezm region.Al-Biruni is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences

Umar Khayyam Nishaburi,
(18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131; Persian‎,  was a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music

Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī(Persian(854 CE – 925 CE), was a Persian,polymath, physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher and important figure in the history of medicine and as the discoverer of alcohol and vitriol (sulfuric acid) is well known.[

Ref. Wikipedia

Ararat Armenian Sports Club and it’s stars

The Vanak neighborhood of central Tehran is home to a high concentration of Armenians; half of the approximately 80,000 Armenians in Iran live in Tehran, and most of those Tehrani Armenians live within Vanak and its orbit. […]

The Ararat Armenian Sports Club predates the Revolution and predates Reza Shah Pahlavi. […] The Sports Club is home to FC Ararat Tehran, a borderline-defunct soccer club that produced two heroes of Iranians, Armenians, and of course Armenian-Iranians. Andranik Eskandarian played for two years at Ararat before moving onto Taj (now Esteghlal due to yet another Revolution-necessitated makeover) as a stalwart defender. His national teams won the 1968, ‘72, and ‘76 and went to the country’s first World Cup in 1978. Andranik would later move to the United States to play for a legendary New York Cosmos side. A generation later, Andranik Teymourian would play youth ball for Ararat before moving on to Bolton in the English Premier League.

Teymourian collapes after Iran’s game against AngolaOne of the most iconic images from the 2006 World Cup

Someone like Teymourian can be a hero for Iranians of all religions without a hint of conflict.

The situation of Armenians (and other Christians) in Iran is of course far more normal than prevailing Western discourse may have an outside observer understand. Armenians have different treatment from most Iranians, with special privileges to consume pork, alcohol, and having Sundays off work that Muslims do not enjoy. But they are still effusively Iranian. Surp Khatch, for example, was built in part to memorialize the thousands of Armenian service members killed in the Iran-Iraq War. When Teymourian crosses himself before a match, his countrymen cheer this act as the mark of a pious Iranian. […]

Unfortunately, these days Ararat FC is far from its glory days. The team last competed in Iran’s top league in the 1995-1996 season.

Source: Ajam Media Collective (ajammc.com)

Iranian players handed white roses (a symbol of peace in Iran) to the US players prior to soccer match

All must read USA – Iran posts: The other Iran | Tag | USA

The game was an exceptionally fair game and both teams received the 1998 World Cup FIFA Fair Play Award “for the two countries’ good sportsmanship surrounding the World Cup match between their teams, despite their mutual political tensions for nearly 20 years.”

Below more photos from the match and the episode “Breaking Barriers: USA vs. Iran, 1998” from Fox Sports’ “Rise as One Series”:

Ancient Iran in The British Museum

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/galleries/middle_east/room_52_ancient_iran.aspx

“Iran was a major centre of ancient culture. It was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.”

ps295640_m ps207493_m

Iran hosted 114 – 300 thousand Christian and Jewish Polish refugees in World War II

In 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union. The war and the destruction caused by heavy bombardment resulted in the displacement of millions of Polish civilians. Most of them were sent by Joseph Stalin to Russia as prisoners in labor camps in Siberia and other parts of the Soviet Union. It was not until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 that Stalin freed the Poles and agreed to the creation of a Polish army to fight the Nazis, and that’s when the great journey started. Iran was chosen as the rendezvous point of the now-free Polish prisoners in Russia. […] Every day, more ships came from Russia bringing more Poles to Bandar-e Anzali. Some Poles also entered Iran from the north-eastern city of Mashhad.

The healthy men and women were organized in an army and were sent to join the war effort. The rest were sent to Tehran and Ahvaz. The sick were treated in hospitals in Tehran, and the American and British Red Cross donated clothes and food. Additionally, Polish language classes were established for the kids. The orphans were sent to Isfahan. Ryszard Antolak claimed that Iranian civil authorities and certain private individuals vacated the premises to accommodate the children. Schools, hospitals and social organizations sprang up quickly all over the city to cater to the growing colony. The new Shah took special interest in the Polish children of Isfahan. He allowed them the use of his swimming pool and invited groups of them to his palace for dinner. […]

After the war was over, many Polish men, women, and children who lived in Iran went back home. The Poles who lived in Iran, even for a little while, however, always remember Iran as a great host. As said by Ryszard Antolak, “The deepest imprint of the Polish sojourn in Iran can be found in the memoirs and narratives of those who lived through it. The debt and gratitude felt by the exiles towards their host country echoes warmly throughout all the literature. The kindness and sympathy of the ordinary Iranian population towards the Poles is everywhere spoken of.” In the summer of 2008, the Polish postal service issued a stamp commemorating the role of Isfahan in caring for Polish children. Source: www.mypersianspeakingfriends.org

In all, between 114,000 and 300,000 Poles are thought to have made it to Iran. […] “The friendly Persian people crowded round the buses shouting what must have been words of welcome and pushed gifts of dates, nuts, roasted peas with raisins and juicy pomegranates through the open windows,” wrote Krystyna Skwarko, a schoolteacher who came with her own two sick children to take charge of a growing orphanage in Isfahan. Skwarko’s book, “The Invited,” recounts a journey from Anzali, through Persia and on to New Zealand, where she and 700 orphans were eventually resettled. She died in 1995. More than 13,000 of the arrivals in Iran were children, many orphans whose parents had died on the way. In Russia, starving mothers had pushed their children onto passing trains to Iran in hopes of saving them. Skwarko’s impossible task was to wipe the scars of war from children who had been robbed of their childhood. […] Jewish orphans were cared for by a Jewish organization in Iran and later sent to Israel. Others went on to new lives in the United States, Britain, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and elsewhere. Source: Cornell University Library

Book on this topic: The Children Of Esfahan – Polish Refugees in Iran by Abolqasem Jala

Abdol Hossein Sardari – The Iranian Muslim that saved the lives of thousands of Jews from the Nazis

Image

Abdol Hossein Sardari: Iranian Schindler

An Iranian official risking his life to save Jews? This scenario, while implausible nowadays, actually happened during the Holocaust.

Meet Abdol Hossein Sardari, a diplomat at the Iranian mission in Paris during the 1940s. Known as the “Iranian Schindler,” he helped thousands of Jews escape certain death – by turning the Nazi race ideology on its head. […]

Born into a privileged Iranian family, Sardari was a junior diplomat at the Paris embassy who enjoyed fine dining and the company of pretty women. After the Germans invaded France and the Iranian ambassador left the capital and went to Vichy to reconstitute the embassy there, Sardari was put in charge of consular affairs in Paris. When the Nazis started implementing anti-Jewish decrees in occupied France, Sardari made it his mission to protect his fellow Iranians in the region, regardless of their religion. […]

Writing on the letterhead of the Imperial Consulate of Iran, Sardari tried to convince the authorities that according to “an ethnographic and historical study,” the members of the Jewish communities of Persia and central Asia were not Semitic but rather Aryan, like the Germans themselves. […]

Sardari’s plan actually worked. When Jews were forced to wear the yellow Star of David, a directive was issued that Iranian Jews should be exempt. In addition, Sardari gave out between 500 and 1,000 Iranian passports, without the consent of his superiors. This saved 2,000 to 3,000 Jewish lives, as passports were issued for entire families.

Sardari never took any credit for what he did. When Yad Vashem asked him in 1978, three years before he died a poor exile in London, about his wartime activities, he responded: “As you may know, I had the pleasure of being the Iranian consul in Paris during the German occupation of France, and as such it was my duty to save all Iranians, including Iranian Jews.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and other Jewish institutions have posthumously honored Sardari for his actions.

Read more: Beating the Nazis at their own game | The Times of Israel

The BBC adds:

When Britain and Russia invaded Iran in September 1941, Sardari’s humanitarian task become more perilous. Iran signed a treaty with the Allies and Sardari was ordered by Tehran to return home as soon as possible. But despite being stripped of his diplomatic immunity and status, Sardari resolved to remain in France and carry on helping the Iranian Jews, at considerable risk to his own safety, using money from his inheritance to keep his office going. […]

Fariborz Mokhtari, the author of “In the Lion’s Shadow: The Iranian Schindler and his homeland in the Second World War,” a new biography about Sardari states:

“Here you have a Muslim Iranian who goes out of his way, risks his life, certainly risks his career and property and everything else, to save fellow Iranians,” he says. “There is no distinction ‘I am Muslim, he is Jew’ or whatever.”

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16190541

Iranian contribution to SUNNI Islam

While anti-Iranian sentiment is present particularly among Sunni Arabs it´s highly interesting that all six authors of the so called canonical “Sahih Hadith” books were Iranians:
http://saeedtalpur.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/six-persian-iranian-imams-sunni-hadith-collectors/

“According to the Cambridge History of Iran: After this period commences the age of the authors of the six canonical collections of Sunni hadith, all of whom were Persian. The authors of the six collections are as follows:

  1. Muhammad b. Isma’il al-Bukhari, the author of the Sahih Bukhari, which he composed over a period of sixteen years. Traditional sources quote Bukhari as saying that he did not record any hadith before performing ablution and praying. Bukhari died near Samarqand in 256/869-70.
  2. Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Naishapuri, who died in Nishapur in 261/ 874-5 and whose Sahih Muslim is second in authenticity only to that of Bukhari.
  3. Abu Dawood Sulaiman b. Ash’ath al-Sijistani, a Persian but of Arab descent, who died in 275/888-9.
  4. Muhammad b. ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi, the author of the well-known as Sunan al-Tirmidhi, who was a student of Bukhari and died in 279/892-3.
  5. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nasa’i, who was from Khurasan and died in 303/915-16.
  6. Ibn Majah al-Qazwini, who died in 273/886-7.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kutub_al-Sittah

In addition two of the most relevant early islamic historians, Tabari and Baladhuri were Iranians:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_ibn_Jarir_al-Tabari
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baladhuri

Castles in Iran since pre-islamic times

800px-Falak-ol-Aflak_Castle_07

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle, Lorestan Province, Iran

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle (in Persian: Dez-e Shapur-Khwast and in ancient times known as Dezbar as well as Shapur-Khwast) is a castle situated on the top of a large hill with the same name within the city of Khorramabad, the regional capital of Lorestan Province, Iran. This gigantic structure was built during the Sassanid era (226–651).
Source: Wikipedia | Falak-ol-Aflak Castle

babak

Babak Castle, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran

Papak Fort or Babak Castle (in Azerbaijani Baezz Qalasi), also known as the Immortal Castle or Republic Castle, is a large citadel and National Symbol of Iranians on the top of a mountain in the Arasbaran forests, which is located 6 km southwest of Kaleybar City, East Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran.
Source: Wikipedia | Babak Fort

800px-Narin_ghaleh_2

Narin Ghaleh, Yazd Province, Iran

The Narin Qal’eh or Narin Castle is a mud-brick fort or castle in the town of Meybod, Yazd Province, Iran. Structures like these constituted the government stronghold in some of the older (pre-Islamic) towns of central Iran. Some of these castles incorporate mud bricks of the Medes period and of the Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties.
Source: Wikipedia | Narin Qal’eh

Further links:
1. Payvand | Ardeshir Palace in Kerman
2. The other Iran | Roudkhan Castle
3. Payvand News of Iran | Behestan Rock
4. Wikipedia | List of castles in Iran