Iran is one of the neighbours of Turkey. Turkey is one of the few nations in the world that can claim to be a Mediterranean nation. You can see the influence of this kind of culture in Iran as many buildings as coloured in a turquoise blue, the seafood is great but also life is slow. Deliberately slow, because much like many Middle Eastern nations, the sweltering heat during the day forces people to go indoors. Once indoors, here you can sip cold tea, eat some hot lamb stews and also play one of the ancient board games still enjoyed by the locals. Iran is a nation that is going through politically challenging times, but the people are going through an amazing change as well. There are chants of more rights for women, and there are movements that are created by the younger generation for their future. It’s quite amazing to watch but even more interesting to visit the country and see the classical antiquity still standing around.
The long-standing tomb
Many people don’t realise it but, Iran was once full of kingdoms and was the home of many kings. One of them has a tomb that is still standing despite being built around 559-530 BC. It’s a tomb that houses the remains of Cyrus the Great who once had an empire called the Achaemenid Empire which we now know as the first Persian Empire. This was significant because the second Persian Empire would be the force that tried to invade Greece but failed. Many historical battles were done in that time period but the first to begin this empire was given a tomb of classical grandeur. As you can imagine this kind of tomb wasn’t erected for just anyone. Cyrus was known as the King of Asia. He would take his armies around to neighbouring countries, conquering and implementing his law and culture. This lead to his influence spreading throughout the region, and thus many communities would follow up and see him as a great king. The stones laid down all those years ago, are still strong. Their sandy colour and sun-kissed texture is something you should experience in person. The tomb is almost 2,600 years old and despite the wars since, has been left untouched since the level of respect in the nation and around it is so bear.
The sun and sand
As you can already see, Iran is much like all the other Middle Eastern nations in that it has some of the best desserts in the world. The sand dunes are multistory, and they carve their way through the landscape, into mountainous regions and onto lake beds. So many explorers have traveled to this part of the world, just to see what kind of cultural and historical important lays hidden in these deserts. On iran travel you have the option of taking a desert tour. Start off by arriving in Shiraz for a meet and greet. You will be met by locals who know the area like the back of their hand. You’ll also be meeting your tour guides so it’s a good idea to get to know them. Then it’s off to the hotel where you will be checked in and all your luggage taken up to your room for you. The following day you will be transported to the oasis gardens of Zandieh, where remarkably there is fresh running water. The flowers of pink and blue are amazing to touch and see out in the middle of the desert. The bright green vegetation shows you how much care is given to these gardens. The pathways are paved with sandstone, and once again the light yellow shade is reminding you of where you are on the planet.
For the next days you’ll be going to religious sites of importance and historical places where many great changes were made to the nation. Whether it be to the ancient capital of Persia with it’s classical antiquity still standing albeit in ruins, or the ancient palaces that were carved into the mountain side, you’ll be in a non-stop adventure. Some of the places you’ll see will remind you of ancient Egypt but take this with a pinch of salt. The Persians knew about the Egyptians and often communicated with each other. Therefore this explains why there are some notable features that remind us of their architectural genius.
As with any nation, the best restaurants you will find are in the capital city. Tehran has a population of around 8.7 million people. Therefore the incentive for many restaurants to be both attractive to local cuisine but also foreign tastes is high on the agenda. Of course if you do come to Iran, you will want to taste Persian food. Go over to Dizi if you want some of the best kebabs and flatbread in the country. Here they serve goat and lamb stews in a red spice blend. Lemon and onions are seen floating in the stew to combine the flavours of sour and earthy sweet.
If you would like something hot and fresh of the barbecue, go over to Shandiz Mashad where they serve all kinds of meat that have been chargrilled. Here the influence of Persian food is present once again, but they also server traditional Middle Eastern dishes such as spicy lamb chops.
If you would like something without meat, check out Yas, where they server vegan options too. They blend local vegetables with spices and herbs to make pattes which can be smeared on toasted flatbread. Fresh cucumbers and lemons go well with a carrot puree with a hint of flower petals.
Iran is a nation that has an important role in the Middle Eastern world. It’s Persian Empire was once known all around the world and nowadays, the classical buildings from that era are precisely kept standing and in good condition. The food is similar to other neighbouring countries but mixed in with special spices only found in the country. The desert tour is one of the best adventures in this region hand down too.