ToIran.com Life

Daily stories about toiran. Read stories about our road trips adventures in different cities and office life.

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Meet the top 10 hotels in Iran

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Explore our selection of top luxury hotels in Iran carefully selected by our team of luxury travel experts.
1-Parsian Azadi Hotel, Tehran
Parsian azadi Hotel
2- Abbassi Hotel, Isfahan
2- Abbassi Hotel, Isfahan
3- Darvishi Royal Hotel, Mashhad
3- Darvishi Royal Hotel, Mashhad
4- Zandiyeh Hotel , Shiraz
Zandieh Hotel for Life

5-Parsian Khazar Hotel, Chaloos

5-Parsian Khazar Hotel, Chaloos
6-Espinas Palace Hotel, Tehran
6-Espinas Palace Hotel, Tehran
7- laleh kandovan international rocky hotel, Tabriz
7- laleh kandovan international rocky hotel, Tabriz
8-Pars Hotel, Tabriz
8-Pars Hotel, Tabriz
9-Ghasr Talaee International Hotel, Mashhad
9-Ghasr Talaee International Hotel, Mashhad
10-Ramsar Parsian Hotel, Ramsar
10-Ramsar Parsian Hotel, Ramsar
We promise if you are visiting Iran you will not just like, but love at least one of these places.

How to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, like a pro

Nowruz (literally translated as “new day” in Farsi) is celebrated by over 75 million people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds in lands that once belonged to the Persian Empire.
Here are a few expert tips to get you celebrating Nowruz like a pro.
1. Take a crash course on Zoroastrianism
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Zoroastar is depicted in this painting of “The School of Athens.” (Photo via Wikipedia)
Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroastar, the leader of the religion and ancient philosophy of Zoroastrianism.

It emphasizes the broad concept and differences of “good” and “evil.” Believers should be connected to nature and animals, and always respect the element of fire.
2. Meet the Persian Santa Claus

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Haji Firooz gives gifts to celebrators and covers his hands and face with soot. (Photo via Flickr by Sina S)
Haji Firouz, who is known as the “Santa Claus” of this holiday, has been referred to as the Zoroastrian fire keeper, as his face and hands are painted black to represent soot from the fire.

He wears a red cloak and a red felt hat, sings songs on new year and gives gifts to all the children and people who are celebrating. He plays his loud tambourine and sings traditional songs, bringing joyfulness to the Nowruz celebration.
3. Learn the new year greeting, “No-Rooz Mobarak!”

During this time of year, Iranians prepare for the occasion by cleaning their homes, getting ready for guests to come over and share the traditional meal of “sabzi-polo-mahi,” salmon and spinach rice.

Hosts greet their guests by kissing one another on the cheek in gratitude and give the new year greeting, “No-Rooz Mobarak!”

4. Jump over fire!
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A child celebrates Chahārshanbe Suri by leaping over fire. (Photo via Flickr by Quinn Dombrowski)
On the last Wednesday of the year, Iranians celebrate Chahārshanbe Suri. People gather together in the streets and alleys to make bonfires and jump over them while singing the traditional songs.

Jumping over the fire is believed to be burning out all of your fear in your subconscious and spirit, in order to enter the new year brand new.

Traditionally on this night, many children also wrap themselves in cloaks, going door to door and banging spoons on pots and pans, asking for treats from the neighbors.

It is believed that the louder the children bang their spoons, the more they are beating out the last unlucky Wednesday of the New Year.

5. Know how to set your table
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A traditional table is set for Nowruz, complete with the “Seven S’s,” gold fish, painted eggs and a mirror. (Photo via Flickr by Remy)
Iranians traditionally gather around a “Haft-Seen” (translated as Seven-S’s), which is the traditional table setting to bring in the new year and the new beginnings of spring.

It consists of seven items that in Farsi begin with the letter “S.”

Sabzeh (lentil sprouts that grow in a dish, symbolizing rebirth)
Samanu (sweet pudding made from wheat, symbolizing affluence)
Senjed (dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love)
Seer (garlic, symbolizing medicine)
Seeb (apple, symbolizing health and beauty)
Somaq (sumac berries, symbolizing the color of the sunrise)
Serkeh (vinegar, symbolzing age and patience)
Also on the “Haft-Seen,” many people decorate eggs for good luck and fertility. There may also be a goldfish in a bowl to represent new beginnings and a mirror, to always look at your reflection.
6. Pick a book to complete your table
Iranians have been placing the “Shahnameh: The Epic of Persian Kings” at their Haft-Seen. This classic book was written over a thousand years ago by the great poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi, with over 50,000 verses of Persian history, mythological stories and heroic kings.

Originally, the book was written strictly in Farsi, in order to keep the stories and its language as pure as possible, and rarely translated to other languages.

In 2013, Ahmad Sadri’s version of the “Shahnameh” came to surface along with beautiful images by Hamid Rahmanian. Together they created an English translation of this epic book, creating more opportunities for non-Iranians to learn about Iranian history and culture.
7. Eat at a Persian restaurant

Iranians are extremely welcoming to others and love sharing cultural experiences. This is a great time of year to check out Persian cuisines.

Meet the world’s smallest tea-house in the heart of Tehran bazaar

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The world’s smallest tea-house, which is nearly a hundred years old, is located in the middle of the Tehran bazaar among hundreds of others. You can spend some time in this teahouse and listen to the stories of the old owner who inherited this job from his father, and has since maintained its history and identity, never allowing it to be destroyed by ideas of profit.

Tehran’s smallest tea-house can be found next to the bazaar’s mosque and Haj Abdollah School. In a very small space, hardly two square meters, there’s tons of love and kindness awaiting the customers. He talks about many things, about himself and his feeling of loneliness, his memories of his father, the war, hiking in Darakeh mountains, about his sports shop next to Darakeh cultural house, about his good financial status and his fortune to not have to rely on the tea-house for his income.

We walk and talk for a long time. The numbness in my feet makes me notice how much time has passed. It is nice to talk to a lonely, old man who is extremely kind-hearted, who stands in this little memory-packed space every day. To forget the sadness of his life, instead he serves his customers with drinks like tea and coffee to keep this old heritage alive and lit up. The tea-house was first started in 1917, while his father, Haj Ali Darvish, (the founder of tea-house) is still alive, and lives at home with a nurse. The man has never married, in order to look after his father.

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I don’t know of his education and he doesn’t like to mention it, but he knows Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and even Michel Foucault very well. It’s very obvious that he is also very well-travelled both in Iran and abroad, but he insists on introducing himself simply as a tea server.

He has his own way of giving bills to costumers. If it is your first time at his tea-house, then the first couple of glasses are on him. He asks all the customers whether it’s their first time or not.

Tehran’s smallest tea-house, now over 100 years old, still preserves its history and, more importantly, its identity. You can see this in both Darvish the father and Darvish the son.

100 years of loneliness and kindness, and a hot cup of tea and the sweet smell of coffee, tea or other herbal infusions can still excite any passerby. If your path ever takes you this way in Tehran, don’t forget to pay a visit to Haj Ali Darvish’s tea-house, and to enjoy a nostalgic cup of tea!

IRAN IS BECOMING A PRIME DESTINATION FOR MIDDLE EASTERN MEDICAL TOURISTS

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Iran seems to be an ideal destination for health tourism. Every year, hoping to get better services and healthcare, patients travel to the USA, UK, and Europe, while spending millions of dollars. Iran is proud to offer healthcare services of other countries with lower costs, shorter waiting times, hospitals and clinics equipped with the latest technology and best physicians. Patients can undergo treatment, recover and enjoy a holiday in Iran for much less than what it would cost them for treatment in other countries. Medical Tourism in Iran has been patronized by tourists looking for critical medical treatment as well as by people in need of cosmetic and preventative care. Iran is an opportunity for patients to travel for medical care and take advantage of reduced cost and wait time.

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In brief we can say that, Iran offers a wide range of state-of-the-art treatment, through an extensive network of highly-equipped hospitals, around 850 hospitals, and rehabilitation centers at reasonable costs. An analysis of the costs of the various procedures shows that treatment costs in Iran are much lower as compared to the developed countries. Iran is also very cost competitive as compared to its regional competitors, including Jordan, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain as well as southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and India.

Beside the beautiful landscape, historical sites and the religious shrines that attract millions of tourists to Iran each year, Iran is an example of a country that has made considerable advances through education and training, despite international sanctions in almost all aspects of research during the past 30 years. So you can even turn your trip into a holiday beside your treatment.

In addition, Iran has highly experienced and professional doctors. So the other reason is Iran’s well-educated and skilled workforce in medical treatment and healthcare compared to other main destinations of medical tourism in the Middle East. Its scientific development in some medical specialties has enhanced its position in the field. For instance, Iran is among the world’s top five countries in biotech.

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Ski in a place you have never been before!

Last holiday season, Geraldine came for a ski adventure to Iran, to a place she had never been before. Fresh powder, Abundant snow, high slopes took her breath away, the experience was extremely fun and amazing, for her and us as well.

We, as toiran.com team got some footage of her experience with us and other professional skiers in the slope.

Watch the footage and join us for an amazing ski trip.

For your comfort and convenience, toiran.com offers you different ski packages in order to make your ski trip an unforgettable one!

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www.toiran.com/ski

Book today and don’t miss on an unforgettable adventure in Iran.

Four-season land of hospitality

Iran lies between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea in the south and north, the Alborz and Zagros Mountain ranges in the north and west and has two deserts,Markazi and Lut, at its heart. The hottest spot on earth has been identified in Lut Desert where temperatures reach 70.7 °C.

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Blossoms mark the start of spring in Iran

This geographical situation has made Iran dry and warm in its central parts, hot and humid near the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf, and cold in the northwest and areas close to the mountains. This geographical variety has resulted in the country experiencing four seasons often at the same time.

 

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Summer – Chabahar , Tis Beach (Photo by Shahin Kamali)

This has also contributed to the unique landscape of the country, bestowing upon it long winding rivers, captivating waterfalls, aquatic caves, snow-topped mountains, lush valleys, golden deserts and green forests which are thousands and sometimes millions of years old. One of the many natural treasures of Iran is the Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forests, which have survived from the Tertiary. The lush landscape of these ancient forests captivates all with their relic and endemic plant species. These forests were once the habitant of the now extinct Caspian Tiger and are considered a living museum that showcases the evolution of plant and animal lives over 40 million years.

There is a Persian saying that guests bring with them bread and blessing to the Sofreh (table spread where food is set) of the host. The importance of the Sofreh and its blessing to Iranians highlights the significance of the culture of hospitality among them.

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Autumn in Tehran,Iran. (Niavaran Park)

Accounts given by adventurers, explorers of the ancient world and modern travelers about their journey to Persia/Iran each detail the graciousness, warmth and hospitality of Iranians and often urge others to visit this mysterious land. In Persian literature there are numerous examples encouraging the importance of hospitality to familiars and strangers alike. These values have been passed down through the words of Persian bards from one generation to the next and are instilled in Iranian children from a young age.

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Winter. Dizin,Iran.

This is perhaps one of the reasons behind thousands of years of peaceful coexistence among different nations and ethnicities in the Iranian plateau. What is known today as the Persian culture is the result of the amalgamation of Kurdish, Azeri, Baluch, Lur, Arab, Turkmen and… subcultures. This unique model of peaceful diversity is definitely one of the many reasons that makes Iran great.

 

Distillation of Rosewater ‘Golabgiri’

The city of Kashan, which lies in a desert at the eastern foot of the Central Iranian Plateau, 220 kilometers south of Tehran, was once a popular vacation spot for Safavid Kings.

The city has found fame for its many traditional mansions including the Tabatabaei House,Boroujerdi HouseAmeri House and Abbasi House.  The most delicate of Persian arts and crafts have been employed in the design and decoration of these mansions. The 10th century Kashan Bazaar with its magnificent lightwells, the heavenly Fin Garden with its Safavid and Qajar bathhouses and the Jame Mosque of Kashan are some of the city’s major attractions.

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Kashan is also popular for its rosewater, In Ordibehesht (Mid May to early June), an annual festival of Rose and Rose Water is being held in this city , which is the product of Qamsar, Niyasar and Barzak, smaller towns of Kashan province, and the three main producers of rosewater (Golab) for over 800 years.

Golab (rosewater) is a fragrant distillate of rose which in Iran is used in different traditional dishes to flavor them or consumed as a religious perfume as well. Although there are many modern manufactories constructed to produce rosewater but it is still made traditionally in kashan and around kashan with distillation equipment containing large copper pots with special pipes to obtain herb hydrosol and special oven made by bricks.

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In spring, The Ceremony of Rosewater Distillation, flower picking (Mohammadi roses) and extraction of rosewater (Golabgiri), starts when rose buds begin to open. In this season, the whole town is filled with the aroma of roses and rosewater. Before distillation people starts collecting Mohammadi roses and collect their petals to put into the copper pots. Then the pots are put on the oven made from bricks or stones and mud.

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Almost every 30 Kg of rose petals are poured into the pot containing 80 liters of water. The pot is then covered to steam the water and rose. The pots include iron or aluminum pipes for the steam moving through to obtain hydrosol.

In the evenings music is played and people sing till midnight, to entertain the visitors and tourists, and to sooth the weary gardeners and their families. The festival is truly worth visiting.

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Nomads OF Persia

 

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Iranian civilization dates back to thousands of years ago. While Iran is known for fascinating historic architecture as well as fabulous city and garden designs, the non-settled nomadic way of life is another intriguing aspect of Iranian culture. The mobile civilization or the nomadic lifestyle is the oldest way of life of human beings that still exists in Iran despite all the difficulties.

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One exceptional opportunity that traveling in Iran offers is visiting and getting a taste of the nomadic way a life with certain tribes. The nomadic lifestyle in Iran has been lived for thousands of years and it still exists. Even though the nomadic life is becoming more and more difficult, the nomads of Persia are holding on tight not wanting to change their life style. Today there are 1.5 Million registered nomads still living in Iran.

Nomadic culture usually means that people move around through out the year with their tribe, tents, animals and belongings. Most of the nomadic tribes Migrate in fall and spring. However, some tribe of Iran who live in tents do not move around any more and therefore it is advised that they be called clans instead of tribes. The tribes of Iran are divided to two groups of full migrating nomads and semi nomads.

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There are several nomadic tribes in Iran from different ethnic origins such as Turks, Turkmans, Kurds, Lurs, Baluchis, Arabs and Persians. The nomads of Persia each speak a different language, have different biological make-ups and keep a distinct culture. Quashkis, Bakhtiari’s, and Baseri’s are amongst the most famous tribes of Iran.

The nomadic lifestyle of Iran is based on the pastoral livestock. They distinctively use the wool and the dairy products of their animals for different productions, trades and their own use. The diet of the nomads usually consists of dairy products and local vegetable and rice. Nomads consume very little meat and meat is usually considered a food of special occasions such as weddings.

The tribes of Iran in large scales do the production of beautiful Iranian carpets, rugs and qulims. Women and girls solely do the making of the rugs and they know the designs by heart and do not use cartoons. The patterned textiles of the nomads each tell a tale of an era.

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The tribal culture is very music oriented and their music is usually inspired by nature. They have their own distinct instruments and use music in celebrations as well as in mourning ceremonies. Music is also a way to cope with life and day to day difficulties for the nomads. The wedding celebrations are usually very festive and take a few days. Family creation is a necessity to nomadic culture and divorce is prohibited in many tribes and considered a shame in others. The wedding customs outfits of the nomads are very colorful and tastefully designed. Qashqi’s tribal designs and outfits are amongst the most beautiful Iranian designs.

 

 

Spring Season In Iran

For any inquiries, hotel booking, visa and tailor-made tours, you can contact us: cs@toiran.com

Astara in Spring

Astara in Spring

While traveling in a four-season country extends the advantage of new experiences, varied sceneries and different activities associated with each season, yet spring remains the prime time to travel in Iran for many people. The Pleasant climate and the green terrains in the diverse geographical locals of Iran enhance the festive mood of celebrating spring season throughout the country. Spring in Iran offers the most moderate weather with delicate, fresh landscapes complimenting voyage in Iran.

Spring Mood in Tehran

Spring Mood in Tehran

Despite the fact that many people imagine Iran to be a mostly deserted region, the geography of the country is rather uniquely diverse. Mountains bordering large deserts cover half of Iran while the country lies in between two sea-sides, the Caspian Sea up north and the Persian Gulf down south. While the hottest spot on the earth has been identified in Lut desert in the center of Iran, half of the country located in the mountains or the areas nearby can be extremely cold. Iran could be extremely hot or cold in many parts due to the combination of the dry mountain and desert climate. The coastal parts near the Caspian Sea and the Persian Golf are exceptionally humid and could get extremely hot and humid during summer. Spring season in Iran, on the other hand, bestows the most pleasant and moderate weather in all region.

Spring in Iran starts with a festive celebration of Nowruz or New Year on March 21st. Persian calendar just like the western calendar consists of four seasons. Each season has three Months of thirty days each and Farvardin, Ordibehesht and Khordad are consecutively the names of the three months of spring. The Persian New Year commences on the first day of spring. Therefore, Farvardin the 1st, that usually falls on March 21st is the first day of Spring and the new-year. Ordibehesht is the second month of spring that usually begins on April 21st and ends on May 20th. Khordad is the last month of the spring season, which coincides May 21st till June 20th.

Spring starts with two weeks of Nowruz celebration that is the longest holiday in Iran. Nowruz takes place from 1st to 13th of Farvardin (usually coinciding March 21st till April 2nd). People go back to work and school on the 14th day of spring with high spirits to have a fresh start of the year. As the temperature rises people’s mood enhances with the sight of the green landscapes of the mountains, forests, and coast sides.

Imperial Crown Fields

Imperial Crown Fields

Even the plains, deserts and Sahara bloom in spring with fresh vegetation and desert flowers all over. The breathtaking vista of large wild Imperial Crown flower fields of foothills of Zagros mountains and the terrains nearby in Ordibehesht is a must see.

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Ordibehesht (April 20th till May 21st) is known to be the month of traveling amongst Iranians as the pleasant air reaches its peak and the fragrance of orange blossoms are scented in many parts of Iran including the Caspian Sea coast and Shiraz. Ordibehesht of Shiraz is famous for the scent of Orange blossoms and has always been an inspiration to the poetic Persian culture. There are numerous poems by the prominent poets of shiraz regarding the spring.

Golabgiri, Kashan

Golabgiri, Kashan

Amongst many festivals that take place in spring, Golabgiri of Kashan, the festival of collecting rose water in Ordibehesht in Kashan stands out. Sizdahbedar in Farvardin is also a widespread, festive tradition of Iranians in Farvardin. Panjah Bedar (50 Bedar) is another tradition of the spring, that takes place on 19th of Ordibehesht, that is the 50th day of the New Year. The tradition of Panjah Bedar is very similar to that of Sizdah Bedar with the exception that it’s no longer as commonly celebrated in many areas except in Ghazvin Province. Panjah Bedar takes place on Ordibehesht 19th that is the 50th day of the New Year. As spring is the most popular season to travel to Iran, it is advisable to book accommodations and flights in advance.

 

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Sizdah Bedar is the thirteenth day of Norooz celebration, which signifies a transition from the holiday to remerge to one’s day-to-day life.  As Charshanbeh Souri marks the beginning of Norooz Holidays, Sizdah Bedar announces its end. Sizdah bedar is a very festive event and is also known as the nature day of Iranians. It is customary for people to leave their homes and to spend the whole day out in nature. People joyously gather with their friends and families in parks, gardens or mountains and spend the whole day celebrating with a picnic, eating the special food, playing lots of different games and performing their special Sizdah Bedar rituals.

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The word Sizdah means thirteen and Bedar means getting rid of. The name of this holiday literally means getting rid of 13 that was known as an unlucky number in Persian culture as well as in many other cultures. Even though this is an ancient festival of Iranians, it signifies no religious ties and it is solely a festive celebration in Iranian culture today. In the ancient times, the first 12 days of Norooz were associated with order and the thirteenth day symbolized chaos, which explains why people would leave their homes and spend the day out in the abundant, peaceful nature to avoid the omens. In the ancient culture the 13th day of Norooz was also associated with the deity of water that was depicted by a horse symbol. Therefore, people used to do sports that involved horses and made offerings to water that was an element of rain deity and asked for rain, which was essential for agriculture.

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One custom of Sizdah Bedar is that people have to remove Sabzeh from their Haft Sin and throw it out in nature, usually giving it to a running water stream like a river. To grow Sabzeh, that is an integral component of Haft Sin, Iranians soak grains such as wheat and lentils to represent rebirth and growth usually a week before the Norooz. Sabzeh is present on Haft Seen and kept till the Sizdah Bedar while it supposedly absorbs all the pain and illnesses of the coming year. After Sizdah Bedar it is unlucky to keep the Sabzeh in the house, it is also considered unlucky to touch anybody else’s Sabzeh or bring it back home.

Other customs of Sizdah Bedar include eating an Iranian noodle soup called Ash-e-Reshteh accompanied with a variety of food and drinks and knotting blades of grass by unmarried girls to wish marriage the upcoming year.  It is also customary that while socializing and enjoying each other’s company during the picnic, people make a bluff or tell a lie. Much like April Fool’s, one is supposed to make a lasting joke that people would believe.  Once they unveil the truth about the ruse it becomes the joke of Sizdah Bedar or “Doroogh e Sizdah” which literally means the lie of the 13th. The joy, happiness and laughter are known to clean people’s minds to prepare for a fresh start of daily life in New Year. The memorable fun event of Sizdah Bedar is enhanced by joy and laughter with friends and family to welcome the New Year. We wish you all a happy and very jolly Sizdah bedar and a beautiful year to come.

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