Hushed whispers about Iran’s friendly people, intriguing history and stunning historical sites are finally starting to penetrate through these once secluded borders. The closer you travel to Iran, the more you’ll hear about what an amazing travel destination it is.
But what makes Iran so special? Why are so many people talking about the Persian Islamic Republic? This post will attempt to shed some light on this amazing travel destination, while putting to rest some of the misconceptions about the nation, its motives and its people.
Iran has a deep and compelling history. This is where religions have been born, empires have risen and fallen and kings and queens have come and gone, leaving thousands of myths, legends and tales in their historical wake. Experiencing Iran first-hand is like stepping back into time. Ttravelers have the opportunity to walk into temples that have stood for thousands of years, observe ancient cities that have crumbled to ruins with little remnants of their triumphant past, and get lost in a labyrinth of back roads and alleyways in the mud towns of Yazd and Karnaq. Iran’s history is forever present and makes any visit to the country one of learning and exploration.
Without a doubt, Iran’s most endearing quality is its friendly, welcoming and hospitable people. Trtravelers always claim to have been to countries with “the friendliest people” but anyone who has been to Iran will unanimously agree that the Iranian people are on a whole different level.
Just try to walk down a street, take a bus or enjoy lunch in Iran without a smiling local coming by to have a chat. It’s almost guaranteed that your new friend will ask three questions:
1) Where are you from?
2) Why did you decide to come to Iran?
3) What do you think of Iran?
From there the conversation will likely move onto religion, friends, family, politics and life in general, and within a few minutes you’ll have a new phone number in your contact list and a new friend in your life.
Most of the time, your conversation won’t stop there. Your new friend will likely invite you to his home to eat dinner with his family and enjoy a night of chai and qalyoon (Iranian tobacco water pipe).
You may not have heard much about Iranian cuisine in the past, but you’ll be in for a delicious surprise when you start sampling some of the country’s many national dishes. Rich stews, roasted meats and delicious breads are accompanied by fresh rice and a wide variety of delicately sprinkled spices. The use of fruits like plum and pomegranate give dishes like fesenjān a sweet balance, while aromatic Persian spices like saffron, cinnamon and parsley add a punch of flavor to grilled lamb and kebab plates.
The food in Iran is rich, flavorful and unique, and you’ll likely leave with a new appreciation for this underrated cuisine. Oh, and don’t forget to wash all of your meals down with a delicious date milkshake, possibly the best beverage on earth.