It’s been hard following news for the past few years without coming across something about Iran. Sometimes, there’s even a photo of beautiful blue mosques or a group of veiled women. And since as travellers we have an adventurous spirit, all those photos make us want to explore the proud Iranian soul ourselves, the soul that originates from the awe-inspiring past and the compelling present. A country, whose very name evokes curiosity in people and offers us a chance to talk about our travel for years to come, invites us to explore it. Tourism hasn’t fully developed in Iran yet, which means there won’t be any significant crowds anywhere.
The best time to visit is during autumn or spring. Going by the first travel tip, you’ll need a visa in order to visit Iran, and you can obtain one at embassies all over the world. During your visit, it’s necessary to respect the dress code: women need to wear a headscarf and long sleeves, and men should wear long trousers. The headscarf shouldn’t be removed, not even on a bus, as there are lots of checks when it comes to that. Besides, it can come quite useful in the harsh climate. You can buy beautiful dresses in Iran, so you won’t need to rummage through all your clothes at home to find a suitable outfit.
Before long, you’ll be with your feet on the ground in Tehran, the capital of Iran. You must be wondering what’s there to see. You’ll quickly notice the presence of the spirit of the late Iranian religious authority, Ayatollah Khomeini. You can explore his mausoleum where the memory of him still lingers. A tip for travelling around Iran is to choose the cheap and comfortable buses. But if you don’t have a lot of time to spend, you can fly south where Shiraz, the city of the Sufi, life-loving people, awaits you. Once there, you can visit the majestic tombs of Persian poets, Hafez and Saadi, and listen to their poems and give in to their spirits conjured up by the locals. After that, head to Iran’s desert world where numerous landmarks await. The most famous monument of Persian history is Persepolis, the capital of Darius I. There are hundreds of remnants of palaces and other treasures reminiscent of the once famous capital. The rock masses in Pasargadae shelter the resting place of the Persian kings. But there’s another important architectural monument of the Old World hidden among all the stones and rocks – Yazd. Explore the labyrinthine streets and take a look at a peculiarly shaped towers that function as old air-conditioning, and then descend all the way down to the underground water tunnels. The best tip for overnight stays is to use traditional accommodation or old merchant houses that have been transformed into hotels and are like old caravanserai, which once served as places where tired merchants could rest. But don’t expect too much from the morning coffee. Most often, it’s just a Nescafé bag. Outside the city, there are Towers of Silence, the burial place of hundreds of Zoroastrians; Yazd is the birthplace of their religion and a flame that must never go off still burns there. The desert is full of other secrets, though, from mountain temples where women mustn’t enter during their periods to Pigeon Towers from which pigeons still flock. Abandoned villages made out of mud are also quite famous. Travelling north, you slowly reach Isfahan, the name of which sounds like a song. The city is known for its bridges, numerous mosques, royal palaces, and minarets. After you’re done sightseeing, head to the bazaar where you can haggle and drink tea as much as you please. If you want to learn more about Iran, read one of the great travelogues. After Isfahan, we’re already on our way back to Tehran and come full circle.