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What Does Persian Handicrafts Offer?

Iran is home to one of the richest art heritages and handicrafts in world history and distinguished in many disciplines, including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stone masonry. The high plateau of Iran has seen the development of many cultures, all of which have added distinctive features to the many styles of Persian art and architecture. Although earlier civilizations are known, the first archaeological finds of artistic importance are the superb ceramics from Susa and Persepolis (c.3500 B.C.)

Tourists visiting Iran from different countries, find a variety of Iranian handicraft goods, which are interesting and pleasant to them in the traditional bazaars of Iran, especially in larger cities. Yet the kind of goods offered in the traditional bazaars at the present time does not introduce the real collection of Iranian handicrafts. Some of these products are either obsolete or like hand-woven silk cloths are very rare. Silk cloth is produced only in one or two special workshops so that the amount of production is only sufficient for museums and international exhibitions. Nevertheless it can be said that, Iranian handicrafts reach out to interested people and here we intend to review the manner in which contemporary artists produce some of these goods.

Saraye - Moshir, Shiraz

Saraye – Moshir, Shiraz

Here is a brief list of Iranian art and handicraft:

  • Calico (Ghalamkar)
  • Engraving (Ghalamzani)
  • Gerehchini
  • Inlaid work
  • Making National Musical Instruments of Iran (Tar & Setar)
  • Miniature (Negargari; the Iranian drowning)
  • Persian Carpet
  • Writing and calligraphy
  • Tile work

 

 Calico (Ghalamkar)

Ghalamkar (Persian Tapestry Tablecloth) fabric is a type of Textile printing, patterned Iranian Fabric. The fabric is printed using patterned wooden stamps made of pear wood which has better flexibility and density for carving and long-standing utility. A tapestry may be stamped depending on its density and size, between hundreds and tens of thousands of times. For instance, 2 meters by 1.4 meters should be stamped about 580 times up to 4000 times in an elegant work.

Ghalam Kar, Isfahan

Ghalamkar

 

Metal Engraving (Ghalamzani)

Engraving (Ghalam Zani) is the art of carving superb designs on various metals such as copper, brass, silver and gold. Isfahan is the main center for engraving. The artistic work of this course made by the artists are the glorious and undeniable indication of Previous metal work of Iran and Isfahan. Persian Metalwork Engraving is perhaps the most continuous and best-documented artistic medium from Iran in the Islamic period. Each hand engraved item may take up to one week to be finished depending on its size.

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Ghalamzani

 

Gerehchini

Gerehchini is an art to create beauty with wood and glass. This art beautifys surfaces with use of geometrical figures, colored glasses, wooden pieces of Mo-arragh art, inlaid mirrors shaped with glass cutters which in the end will create a symmetrical and balanced structure.

 

Enamel (Meenakari) Handicrafts

Meenakari is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design. Enamel working and decorating metals with colorful and baked coats is one of the distinguished courses of art in Isfahan. Mina is defined as some sort of glass-like colored coat which can be stabilized by heat on different metals particularly copper. Persian Enamel handicrafts can be used as wall hanging plates, home decor and candy dishes.

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minakari

 

Turquoise Inlaying on Copper (Firoozeh Koobi)

Turquoise Inlaying on containers includes a copper object on parts of the surface of which small pieces of turquoise are set in mosaic fashion thus giving the object a special glamour. The production of Turquoise Inlaying includes two general stages: Goldsmith includes the making and preparation of the object intended for Turquoise Inlaying using one of the metals indicated above.  Then Turquoise Inlaying where the artist buys waste turquoise chips & use them in making each Turquoise Inlaying object in proportion to the surface area.

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Firoozeh Koobi

 

Wood Inlaying (Khatam Kari)

Khatam Kari consists in the production of incrustation patterns (generally star-shaped), with thin sticks of wood (ebony, teak, ziziphus, orange, rose), brass (for golden parts), camel bones (white parts). Ivory, gold or silver can also be used for collection objects. Sticks are assembled in triangular beams, themselves assembled and glued in a strict order to create a cylinder, 70 cm in diameter, whose cross-section is the main motif: a six-branch star included in a hexagon and then plated and glued on the object to be decorated, before lacquer finishing.

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Khatam kari

Hand Painting Miniature (Miniator)

Persian Miniature is a small handmade oil painting on paper or more importantly on a piece of camel bone. The techniques are broadly comparable to the Western and Byzantine traditions of miniatures in illuminated manuscripts. The bright and pure coloring of the Persian miniature is one of its most striking features. The workshop tradition and division of labor within both an individual miniature complicates the attribution of paintings. Some are inscribed with the name of the artist, sometimes as part of the picture itself.

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Miniature

Persian Carpet

Persian Carpet, the art of carpet weaving in Iran dates backs to 2,500 years and is rooted in the culture and customs of its people and their instinctive feelings. Weavers mix elegant patterns with a myriad of colors. The Iranian carpet is similar to the Persian garden: full of floras, birds and beasts. The colors are usually extracted from wild flowers, and are rich in colors such as burgundy, navy blue and accents of ivory. The proto-fabric is often washed in tea to soften the texture, giving it a unique quality. Depending on where the rug is made, patterns and designs vary. Some rugs such as Gabbeh, and Kilim have variations in their textures and number of knots as well. Out of about 2 million Iranians involved in the trade, 1.2 million are weavers who produce the largest amount of hand-woven carpets in the world.

Pattern

 

Writing and calligraphy

Persian calligraphy has several styles. The style initiated by Darvish was emulated by his contemporaries–Mirza Hassan Isfahani, Mirza Kouchek Isfahani and Mohammad Ali Shirazi. After his death, the Shekasteh style fell into stagnation until it was revived in the 1970s. Says writer Will Durant: “Ancient Iranians, with an alphabet of 36 letters, used skins and pen to write instead of earthen tablets.” - 

Such was the creativity spent on the art of writing. The significance of the art of calligraphy in works of pottery, metalwork and historical buildings is such that they are considered deficient without the calligraphic adorning. Illuminations, especially in the Qur’an and works such as Shahnameh, Divan-e Hafez, Golestan and Boustan, are recognized as highly invaluable because of their delicate calligraphy alone. Vast quantities of these are scattered and preserved in museums and private collections worldwide such as the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and Washington’s Freer Gallery of Art among many others. 

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Tile Work

Tile work is a unique feature of the blue mosques of Isfahan. In the old days, Kashan (kash + an literally means “land of tiles”) and Tabriz were famous centers of Iranian mosaic and tile industry in the past. Since centuries, Iranian art has developed particular patterns to decorate Iranian crafts. These motifs can be: – Inspired by ancestral nomad tribes (such as geometrical motifs used in kilims or gabbehs). – Islam influenced, with an advanced geometrical research. – Oriental based, also found in India or Pakistan. 

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Iran’s National Museum consisting of the Archaeological Museum, along with the magnificent collection of the Islamic Museum offers a breathtaking collection of Persian art dating back to some 7 thousand years ago!! The Abguineh museum offers a wonderful exhibition of delicate glass and ceramics housed in an elegant early 20th century building. The Carpet Museum  also justifies the worldwide fame of Persian carpet weaving with its display of beautiful new and old carpets created in the workshops of Kerman, Qom, Tabriz, Isfahan and Kashan, etc.At the same time Persian miniatures and calligraphy – two more artistic traditions in which the Iranians excel – can be seen at the Reza Abbasi Museum. The named museums are just a small selection from the fabulous collections to be visited in Tehran.

Khordadegan Celebration (The Lost Civilization)

27th of June (6th of Khordad of Iranian calendar) is the anniversary of “Khordadegan Celebration”.

 

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Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd

 

Our Zoroastrian ancestors headed to the river bends and sea sides on this day and after praising “Ahura Mazda” (Higher Power), they spent their day with dear ones in the nature, also Lilies and Jasmine flowers were given as part of the ceremony. However, since then, it’s the Lilium Flower which has been the official symbol of this day.

 

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Persian Lilium

Khordadegan Celebration Traditions:

One of the most important traditions on this day is going to the river bends and sea sides accompanied by friends and family, chanting religious benedictions praising “Ahura Mazda” and spending a joyful day.

Some of the activities on this day has been pointed out in the book of “ Farziat Nameh” written by the elder Zoroastrian priest “ Datur Darab Palen” which describes some of the activities on this day including: washing bodies, digging wells and renewing water canals.

Taking great care and attending water reservoirs and rebuilding water sources such as:

Fountains, wells, streams and water canals which are responsible for providing all living creatures on earth with water.

“Abolqasem Ferdowsi Tusi, The Poet Who Rescued Iran”

“Knowledge is Power”

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In the darkest moments of Iran’s history when Persia had been conquered, first by the Arabs who brought Islam, and later by barbarians from central Asia, one man sets out to revive its past and keep the Persian language and culture alive. Ferdowsi is credited with preserving the Persian language.

Arguably the most important work of Iranian literature, Ferdowsi’s epic poem Shahnameh was written without a single word of Arabic. He is therefore credited with saving the Persian language from becoming Arabic after the Islamic conquest. In fact, when asked why present-day Egypt speaks Arabic instead of Coptic, a prominent Egyptian historian stated matter-of-factly, “Because we had no Ferdowsi.”

 

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Rostam Mourns Sohrab

 

Ferdowsi (940 – 1020Ad) was born in Tus, a town in North Eastern Iran, in the province of Khorasan. He devoted over 35 years of his life to the creation of the Shahnameh, which is the longest work of epic poetry ever written, composed of over 60,000 verses. Translated as ‘The Book of Kings’, the Shahnameh spans the history of Iran from mythical times until the Sassanid period in the 7th century, telling the tales of heroic blacksmiths, despotic rulers and wicked demons who form the currents of good and evil which run throughout human history. Through his complex characters, Ferdowsi demonstrates the capacity for lightness and darkness and for happiness and unhappiness, in every being, encouraging his readers to actively take the side of good. He glorifies war and warriors, yet his characters rarely escape the consequences of their actions. The most famous story in the book is that of Rostam, a warrior whose bravery and skill surpass all others, and who defeats unbeatable foes.

 

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Iranians compare him to the Greek poet Homer. His statue gazes over the traffic in a Tehran square. The closing couplets of his great poem are chiseled into the walls of the classical tomb built to his memory in northeastern Iran. Most importantly, his book remains in many Iranian homes and hearts.

 

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It is true that it was Ferdowsi, with a single great book, who preserved the Persian language, history and mythology from being erased.

Ferdowsi concludes the Shahnameh by writing:

Much I have suffered in these thirty years,
I have revived the Ajam with my verse
I will not die then alive in the world,
For I have spread the seed of the word
Whoever has sense, path and faith,
After my death will send me praise.

Translation by Reza Jamshidi Safa

Shiraz, City of Roses and Poets

History is a poem written by time on the memories often fade and new generations always replace the old, Shiraz is faithful custodian of the past that has shaped the Iranian nation.

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Shiraz. Persepolis

The ”Gate of All Nations” at Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenids, is where dignitaries from every comer of the Persian Empire passed through before entering the Throne Hall to pay homage to the reigning Achaemenid king. A pair of Lamassi (winged lions with human heads) guard the eastern entrance of this structure.

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Shiraz. Arg Karim Khani

Shiraz is a museum of time, where one can witness the rise and fall of empires, the triumph and defeat of dynasties and the artistic ingenuity of Persian craftsmen, magnificent mosques, lively markets, massive cliff tombs and embellished shrine. Every year on 5th of May (15 Ordibehesht) everyone travel to Shiraz to celebrate the “National Day of Shiraz” because of its reach history, outstanding culture and of course its mild weather in May.

Every corner of the city boasts a memorial built by a past ruler – a contribution that ensures their benefactors will not be consigned to oblivion and will live on in memories for as long as these monuments stand.

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Shiraz. Narenjestan Qavam

The ancient Persians were the creators of parks known as Paradise Gardens which inspired garden design throughout Asia and Europe. The lavish use of flowers in these gardens inspired the weaving of floral designs into what is known as the garden carpet. Eram, which means Eden, is one such garden in Shiraz where palm trees, flower beds and fountains have created a pleasant atmosphere for all to enjoy.

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Shiraz.Eram Garden

Shiraz is where once dignitaries from every corner of the empire converged to pay homage to their king. Shiraz is still the city of ancient customs, timeless traditions, and colorful costumes. Where nomadic tribes still offer their handmade creations in the city’s market.

One of the dynasties to rule Shiraz and construct a royal district were the Zands (1750-1794) Vakil mosque is a remainder of that era. The mosque is famed for its Minbar (pulpit) which has been cut from a solid piece of green marble and its Shabistan (inner sanctum) which has 48 monolithic marble pillars carved in spirals.

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Shiraz.Vakil Mosque

Shiraz is where the most eloquent of Persian bards like Hafez, Saadi and Khwaju Kermani lived and died, poets who captured the hearts and inspired the minds of not only their nation but also some of the greatest writers and scholars of the word. It is the city of mystics, Sufis and saints, the city of hypnotic melodies and poignant song, the city of artist’s expression and innovation, the city of acceptance, of warmhearted and fun-loving people.

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Shiraz.Sadi Tomb

Saadi, wrote a poem eight century ago that later became a motto on the entrance of the United Nations building:

     Human beings are members of a whole,
     In creation of one essence and soul.
     If one member is afflicted with pain,
     Other members uneasy will remain.
     If you’ve no sympathy for human pain,
     The name of human you cannot retain!

 

Famed for its unique colored glass facade, Nasir ai-Mulk Mosque or the Pink Mosque was built in 1888. Because of its elaborate decorations the mosque is a popular tourist destination at all hours of the day, however, many opt to visit the Pink Mosque between 7 am and 10 am in order to witness the pink glow the mosque is famous for.

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Shiraz. Nasir Al Mulk Mosque

Shiraz is the city of poetry, the city of wine garden and roses. The city of flowers and nightingales. The city of Cypress trees and orange blossoms. The city of love. Shiraz is the cultural capital of Iran. Shiraz is an enchantress that beckons one and all to come revel in its beauty, discover is treasures and witness its glory.

Meet the Top 15 Most Successful Iranian Women on Intl. Women’s Day 2017

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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The United Nations first began celebrating the day on 8 March in 1975, and each year has given focus to women’s status around the globe.

Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended the ethos of many countries, primarily in Europe, especially those in the S.Bloc.

In some regions, the day missing its political flavor, and became basic an occasion for people to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

In other regions, however, the political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social cognizance of the struggles of female worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful demeanor.

Meet the Top 15 Most Successful Iranian Women on Intl. Women’s Day:

1- Anousheh Ansari

Anousheh Ansari  (born September 12, 1966, in Mashhad, Iran) is an Iranian-American engineer and co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems. Her previous business accomplishments include serving as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc.  In 2001 in a stock-for-stock transaction for 10.8 million shares of Sonus stock. Anousheh Ansari became “a vice president of Sonus and general manager of Sonus’ new INtelligentIP division.”In 2006, she co-founded Prodea Systems, and is the current chairman and CEO. Ansari was the fourth overall self-funded space traveler, and the first self-funded woman to fly to the International Space Station.

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2- Parisa Tabriz

Parisa Tabriz born 1983 is an American computer security expert. Forbes included her in their, “30 Under 30” list (30 Tech Pioneers under the age of 30) and she now works for Google as the self-appointed, Security Princess, and head of the team responsible for Chrome Security. She joined Google just a few months after graduation. Tabriz was born to a Polish-American mother, a nurse, and an Iranian-immigrant father, a doctor.

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3- Roxanna Varza

Roxanne Varza currently leads Microsoft’s startup activities in France, running both Bizspark and Microsoft Ventures programs. In April 2013, Business Insider listed her as one of the top 30 women under 30 in tech.  Prior to Microsoft, she worked for several European startups and was also the Editor of TechCrunch France. She also co-founded the French and British chapters of Girls in Tech and is the co-organizer of the Failcon Paris conference. Roxanne is trilingual, an epilepsy advocate, and holds degrees from UCLA, Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics.

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4- Soraya Darabi

Soraya Darabi is the co-founder of Zady, a mission-driven content and commerce brand described best as “The Whole Foods of Fashion.” Zady creates and sells stylish, timeless, sustainably produced apparel and tells the story of each product, down to the raw materials.  Soraya began her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, where she kept her finger on the pulse of today’s ever-changing digital landscape. While at The Times, she positioned the global news leader on social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, partnered with startups large and small, and established award winning campaigns. Soraya received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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5- Roxana Moslehi

Roxana Moslehi, Ph.D. is a genetic epidemiologist. Most of her research is dedicated to the study of cancer and cancer precursors. Born in Iran and raised in Canada, she is currently an associate professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she has been teaching multiple courses, including those she developed in genetic and molecular epidemiology. Through her research she has been contributing to the understanding of hereditary causes of diseases as well as the influence of gene-environment interactions on the risk of developing disease.

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6- Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani is an Iranian mathematician working in the United States. Since 1 September 2008, she has served as a professor of mathematics at Stanford University. In 2014, Mirzakhani became both the first woman and the first Iranian honored with the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics. The award committee cited her work in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces. Her research topics include Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry

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7- Maria Khorsand

Maria Khorsand, M.Sc. Computer Science, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, Sweden. Ms. Khorsand has been the President of the Financial Markets at OMX Technology AB since April 2004. She has been the President of Ericsson Technology Licensing since 2001. She worked within OMX Technology, as the Chief Executive Officer of Ericsson Technology Licensing and as Chief Executive Officer of Dell AB. Ms. Khorsand has been a Member of … the Board of Directors at Beijer Electronics AB since April 2010. She holds M.Sc. degree in Computer Science.

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8- Pardis Sabeti

Pardis C. Sabeti is an Iranian-American computational biologist, medical geneticist and evolutionary geneticist, who developed a bioinformatic statistical method which identifies sections of the genome that have been subject to natural selection and an algorithm which explains the effects of genetics on the evolution of disease. In 2014, Sabeti headed a group which used advanced genomic sequencing technology to identify a single point of infection from an animal reservoir to a human in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. RNA changes suggests that the first human infection was followed by exclusive human to human transmissions. Sabeti is a full professor in the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and on the faculty of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health, and is a senior associate member at the Broad Institute

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9- Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour is a British-Iranian journalist and television host. Amanpour is the Chief International Correspondent for CNN and host of CNN International’s nightly interview program Amanpour. Amanpour is also a Global Affairs Anchor of ABC News. As of 2014, she has been recognized as one of the journalists most world leaders follow on Twitter, according to a report by the PR firm Burson-Marsteller.

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10- Minoo Akhtarzand

Minoo Akhtarzand is the current governor of Jönköping County, Sweden. Minoo Akhtarzand was born and raised in Tehran. Her father was a high-ranking officer in the Shah’s army. At the age of 17 she moved to Stockholm to study at the Royal Institute of Technology. Later she held various managerial posts at the Swedish energy company Vattenfall and was the director of the former regional labour agency in Uppsala. In February 2008 she was appointed Director-General at Banverket, the Swedish Rail Administration. She was elected a Vice-President of European Rail Infrastructure Managers in June 2009. She became the last Director-General of Banverket as that government agency merged with the Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket) in 2010 to create the new Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). In September 2010 she was appointed the governor of Jönköping County.

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11- Taraneh Razavi

Taraneh Razavi is not your ordinary physician. She’s the doctor at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, where she’s in charge of maintaining the Googlers in good health. But she’s also interested in how tech trends affect our health and preventive care in general.

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12- Rudi Bakhtiar

Rudi (Rudabeh) Bakhtiar is a producer for Thomson Reuters television. She is most known for anchoring a prime time national three-hour newscast in the United States, called “CNN Headline News Tonight”. She also anchored other high profile newscasts for CNN, including Anderson Cooper 360. She has over a decade of experience working for major international news outlets CNN, Voice of America, and Reuters News.

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13- Goli Ameri

Goli Ameri is an Iranian-American diplomat and businesswoman. She is the President and CEO of the Center for Global Engagement, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering engagement between U.S. society and the rest of the world with a view to promoting shared values and common interests and increasing mutual understanding and respect.[1] She is the former Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Values and Diplomacy for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. She is also the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. She ran for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in 2004 and is a former U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

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14- Mona jarrahi

Born in Iran, professor Mona Jarrahi is one of Iran’s and also world’s most influential scientist, mathematician, physicist, and senior researcher and professors at the Terahertz Electronics Laboratory Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Professor Jarrahi is one of the youngest Assistant Professors at Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and also at Berkeley Micromechanical Analysis and Design Laboratory – University of California, Berkeley.

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15- Farah Karimi

Farahnaz (Farah) Karimi is an Iranian-Dutch politician. She was a member of the House of Representatives between 1998 and 2006 for GreenLeft.

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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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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.

 

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