Category Archives: Travel

Photo Series: Autumn in Iran – Mashhad

Mashhad is the second most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Razavi Khorasan Province. It is located in the north east of the country close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its population is 3,131,586. It was a major oasis along the ancient Silk Road connecting with Merv in the East.

Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran. The city is also well-known and respected for housing the tomb of Imam Reza, the eighth Shia Imam.

Sources: Tasnim News, Wikipedia | Mashhad

Iran’s West Azerbaijan Province: Shalmash Falls (Photos)

Shalmash Falls is a cluster of three waterfalls, each of them about 10m high, along a branch of the Little Zab River, situated on the outskirts of the village of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran.

The falls lie in a beautiful valley, surrounded by scattered forests. There is a staircased viewing platform to ease the access to the falls but a good hike deep into the valley would be necessary to go near the other two falls.

Sources: Wikipedia | Shalmash Falls, Iran Daily, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, tishineh.com

Jangal-e Abr: Beautiful cloud forest in northern Iran (Photos)

Jangal-e Abr (Cloud Forest or Cloud Jungle) is one of the oldest and most beautiful forests in Iran. It is located on the eastern part of Alborz mountains, on the border between the provinces of Semnan and Golestan, 45km north east of Shahrud.

Sprawling on an area of 35,000 hectares, the Cloud Forest is a remnant of the ancient Caspian and Hyrcanian forests, encircling the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains like a belt, covering the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea. Inside the thick woods, it is hard to imagine that the forest is located in the semi-arid province of Semnan, close to the Central Desert and Khar-Turan National Park.

When the temperature falls, two or three hours before sunset, clouds rush into the forest. They are so thick that you may not see an arm lenght in front of you. Above them Ghale Maran, a peak of high altitude, seems to be floating on the sea of clouds. It is said that there was ancient castle located on top of this mountain, south of Ramian. After a while into the night, the clouds usually scatter away, letting a clear view of the surrounding valleys, if the moon is up.

Sources: ISNA 1, ISNA 2, irpedia.com, financialtribune.com, tishineh.comiranlandmark.ir, instagram @chamgir, instagram @yasin_0500, instagram @sshnzk, instagram @arsalanpartovianobanini.com, Wikipedia | Jangal-e Abr (in Persian)

Iran’s Tehran Province: Park-e Shahr in Tehran

Park-e Shahr, literally the City Park, is one of the oldest parks in Tehran, located just a few blocks north of the Grand Bazaar. The park covers over 25 hectares and, besides its 17.3 hectares dedicated to green space, it houses a lake, a library, a small aviary garden and a traditional restaurant.

The Tehran Peace Museum, a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace, is also located within Park-e Shahr. The main objective of the museum is to promote a culture of peace through raising awareness about the devastating consequences of war. The museum coordinates a peace education program that holds workshops on humanitarian law, disarmament, tolerance, and peace education.

Sources: Wikipedia | Park-e Shahr, The Culture Trip, Untold Iran, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, Wikipedia | Tehran Peace Museum

Iran’s Alborz Province: Dizin Ski Resort hosts snowboard competition (Photos)

Iran hosted earlier this month a snowboard and freestyle ski competition event in Dizin Ski Resort, north of the capital Tehran. Eight female and twenty eight male athletes competed alongside, defying the unexpected, unfavorable weather conditions at the beginning of the tournament.

Dizin, established in 1969, is one of the larger Iranian ski resorts in the Alborz mountain range, 120km from Tehran by car. The ski season in Dizin lasts from December to May, because of the resort’s high altitude.

Related article: The other Iran | Dizin Ski Resort

Sources: IRNA, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, Tasnim News Agency, Fars News Agency, Young Journalists ClubISNA, PressTV

Photos: Sand sculptures in Kish Island, Iran

Kish is a duty-free, resort island in the Persian Gulf 19 kilometers from mainland Iran, in Hormozgan Province. It has a population of 26,000 residents and about 1 million visitors annually. The island is located on a narrow strip of tropical vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere and has a semi-equatorial climate. Along its coast are coral reefs and many other small islands.

Sources: kish.ir, Tasnim News Agency, Mehr News Agency, Wikipedia | Kish Island

Photos: Nowruz and the Year of the Monkey combined in Hamedan

Nowruz, as the Iranian New Year is called in Persian, means “new day” and falls on the first day of the spring equinox every year. It is an ancient ritual dating back 2500 years and is rooted in Zoroastrianism. The Chinese Lunar New Year is also known as Spring Festival, as the season signifies a new start from the depths of winter, carrying the same meaning as in Iranian culture.

This is the Year of the Monkey in Chinese zodiac. Hence, the city of Hamedan included it in its urban decoration for Nowruz, placing monkeys along the different haft-seen elements.

Haft-Seen is the traditional table setting of Nowruz in Iran. It includes seven items starting with the letter S (called seen in Persian alphabet): sabzeh (greenery: wheat, barley or lentil sprouts grown in a dish), samanu (a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat), senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), sir (garlic), sib (apples), somagh (sumac berries) and serkeh (vinegar).

Other symbolic items which are usually set along the Haft Seen are candles, a mirror, decorated coins (sekkeh in Persian), spring flowers like hyacinth (sonbol in Persian) or tulips, decorated eggs, a bowl of water with goldfish, a holy book and/or a poetry book, rose water and pomegranates.

Related articles: The other Iran | Customs & Traditions

Sources: IRNA, Nafee.ir, Wikipedia | Nowruz