ToIran.com Life

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

Month: July 2015

Shiraz, the city of history, love & poetry

Even though I (Saman) come from Rasht, one of the cities in northern Iran, Shiraz has always been one of my favorite places in the country. So when our photographer Houman and Amir Sina from customer service decided to go on a trip to Shiraz, I jumped at the opportunity to accompany them.

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Tomb of Cyrus the Great who decreed the first Human Rights Charter known to man (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

We spent an unforgettable night at the historical Bekhradi House in Isfahan and early the next day headed towards Pasargadae, the first dynastical capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC), which lies on the way to Shiraz. No matter how many times I see the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the monument still leaves me speechless every time.

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The tombs of Daruis I and three other Achaemenid kings are located in Naqsh-e Rostam. (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

Our next stop was Naqsh-e Rostam, the site which is said to have served as a cemetery for Achaemenid royals. I was excited to see Naqsh-e Rostam as even though I had traveled to Shiraz several times somehow there had never been enough time for the 70-kilometer drive to this site. I stood before the four Achaemenid tombs hewn high above a cliff at Naqsh-e Rostam and could not help but wonder what technology had been employed to create these tombs and their rock carvings in ancient times? The sheer scale of these rock creations left me awestruck!

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Relief showing the triumph of Shapur I (241-272 CE) over Roman Emperor Valerian (reign 253–260 CE). (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

I could not get enough of looking at the details of the seven Sassanid rock reliefs depicting scenes from the lives, conquests and ascensions of the ancient rulers of Iran. I noticed an eighth slab which seemed like an empty canvas ready for the chisel of a skilled craftsman. Houman told me that this slab was prepared for another royal scene but was never used.

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The Cube of Zoroaster is a mystery that has never been solved as no one knows what its function was. (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

Amir Sina pointed out the Cube of Zoroaster to me, the building that has kept scholars and researchers guessing for centuries.  No one knows what this Achaemenid structure was used for. Its walls have inscriptions cataloging Sassanid victories but no mention of the Achaemenids, who created it. Some say it was a royal tomb and others believe it was a depository for objects of dynastic or religious importance.

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Persepolis is the best-known symbol of ancient Persian Civilization. (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

We had a few more kilometers to go before reaching Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire which was once known as the richest city under the sun. The scale and skill employed to create Persepolis is mind-blowing.

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Persepolis is a UNESCO registered World Heritage Site and one of the must-see wonders of the world! (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

Even though a fire destroyed this glorious capital and only its ruins stand today, the surviving remains kick started my overactive imagination and took me back to times when representatives from all nations of the known world would come to seek audience with the reigning Achaemenid king and showered him with presents and paid him their respects.

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Reading poetry at Hafezih at night (toiran.com photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

We arrived in Shiraz late in the afternoon and checked into Shiraz Grand Hotel. We decided to visit the tomb of Hafez, the poet of love and the bard whose poems are cherished by every Iranian. If you ask the people of Shiraz they will all recommend going to Hafezieh after sunset. This is the time when you will see people reciting Hafez poetry or breaking into song just because they feel inspired to sing. I would also recommend having dinner at the Hafezieh Café and trying the Shirazi Faloudeh – a dessert made with thin vermicelli noodles mixed in a semi-frozen sugar and rosewater syrup served with lime juice.

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Eram Garden is an example of the UNESCO registered Persian Garden. (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

We spent a comfortable night at the hotel and in the morning decided to visit the famous Eram Garden. The name of this garden ‘Eram’ means Eden in Persian and with its palm trees, flower beds and fountains it could well be what a heavenly garden looks like.

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A Persian garden full of life, intoxicating scent of flowers and color (toiran.com photo/ Saman Kazemi)

Beautiful ponds full of little fish, colorful flowers, the smell of orange blossoms and a cup of herbal tea were the perfect start to my day.

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Vakil Bazaar is always full of shoppers from Iran and other parts of the world. (toiran.com photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

We had lunch and decided to go for a stroll through the inviting vaulted streets and alleys of Vakil Bazaar. I could not stop myself from buying herbal teas and distillates called ‘Araq’ in Persian. On any warm summer day all you need to do to make yourself a refreshing sherbet is to add some aromatic herbal distillate to ice water and stir in some sugar and voila your sherbet is ready to be served!

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Vakil Mosque is a Zand era (1750-1794) monument of great architectural and artistic significance. (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

When in Shiraz you should not miss the chance to visit Vakil Mosque. This 18th century mosque, which is still used for prayers, is a shining jewel that captures one’s eye with its colorful tile decorations and its unique Shabistan (inner sanctum) that has 48 monolithic marble pillars carved in spirals.

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Inside Vakil Bath (toiran.com photo/ Houman Nobakht)

The founder of the Zand Dynasty, Karim Khan (1705–1779), who built Vakil Bazaar and Vakil Mosque, also built a public bathhouse in this neighborhood. The bath is now a wax museum where visitors can learn about the Persian culture, customs and costumes.

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A wax figure in Vakil Bath (toiran.com photo/ Saman Kazemi)

Saying goodbye to Shiraz is always hard as this city is an enchantress and my love for it grows with each visit. If you haven’t already been, trust me this city is one for the bucket list.

Want to see more of Shiraz? Toiran.com is at your service!

Feeding seagulls in Bushehr

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The wonderful sunset of Bushehr coast (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

On the shores of the Persian Gulf lies the beautiful city of Bushehr. This city is one of the most important Iranian seaports and a great destination for travelers visiting Iran in the fall and winter as Bushehr’s hot and humid summer temperatures turn into a pleasant warmth in the colder months of the year.

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Locals feed seagulls in Bushehr. (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

But what should you expect in Bushehr?  Walking along the shore and watching seagulls spread their wings over the sea in search of food. The seagulls of Bushehr are comfortable around humans and feeding them has become an attraction for all visitors.

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At a distance the Salt Dome of Jashk resembles a snowcapped mountain. (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

Driving 144 kilometers southeast of Bushehr to see the Jashk Salt Dome with its salt waterfalls, tent rocks, salt crystals and salt caves. This dome spans an area of 3,666 hectares and initially appears to be covered in snow!

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A salt cave at Jashk Salt Dome (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

Standing on the rocky coast of Rey Shahr (also Reishahr) to enjoy the endless blue of the Persian Gulf and the cool sea breeze caressing your face. You can walk barefoot on the wet sands where waves meet the shore!

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Enjoy the cool sea breeze and the blue waters of the Persian Gulf in Rey Shahr. (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

Rey Shahr is the ruins of an old Elamite city named Liyan, which was rebuilt by Ardashir I (180-242 CE) the Unifier, the founder of Sassanid dynasty. The city was once an important literary and scientific center where countless books were written and housed in its libraries.

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The Persian Gulf bestows a plentiful bounty on local fishermen. (toiran.com photo/ Shahin Kamali)

Going for local food! Not surprisingly, there are several good seafood restaurants in Bushehr where tasty local dishes like Qalieh Meigoo – a spicy, sour stew made with shrimp, cilantro, fenugreek and garlic in a red pepper and tamarind sauce- are served.

Curious for Bushehr? Visit toiran.com and we can take care of your trip!

Getting around Iran will never be easier with the toiran mobile app!

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team toiran discussing the app with Mohammad. (toiran.com photo/ Saman Kazemi)

One of our major concerns at toiran.com has always been to the comfort of travelers when going around Iran. This is why the dev team was tasked with designing a comprehensive mobile application. Salman and I (Mohammad) started developing the application 8 months ago.

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We have worked endless hours to develop the toiran app. (toiran.com photo)

Sometimes when you travel in Iran, mobile internet coverage can be spotty especially when you are visiting a site outside a city or for instance when you are in the desert. This is why we wanted an application that would allow access to most of its features offline. With the help of Salman, for whom I have great professional respect, the project was able to move forward smoothly.

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Mohammad simultaneously writing code and checking functions. (toiran.com photo/ Saman Kazemi)

Imagine you are visiting Pasargadae which is 135 kilometers outside of Shiraz and lunch time is approaching. Where do you eat? No need to worry! Just open the application and it will show you a list of nearby restaurants with full detail! All you have to do is to choose. Select your restaurant and just ask the app how to get there. No Internet connection? No Wi-Fi? You are still ok! The map and navigation features are both available offline.

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Hundreds of pages of code were written to develop an easy-to-use app to help you to get around Iran in the easiest way! (toiran.com photo)

The best part is all the information and pictures available on the toiran.com website will be available offline on our app. The only thing you need to do is download the application. Leave the rest to the app! Every time you connect to the internet, the app updates data automatically. This was you will always have toiran.com wherever you go in Iran!

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Mohammad hard at work. (toiran.com photo/ Saman Kazemi)

Want to go skiing or fancy a trip to the desert? Just go to the toiran app on your phone and look at the weather forecast for any place you want in Iran!

Our app also has a bilingual talking dictionary! It will help you find useful sentences along with their pronunciation and meaning in English. You can use the app to communicate with locals and even pick of some Persian during your stay.

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When in Iran, no information will be inaccessible with the toiran app. (toiran.com photo)

You can also go online and book your hotel in Iran with a single tap! Getting around Iran will never be easier! Can you wait another month for the app to be released on Google Play?!

 

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