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

Page 3 of 5 Short-Video Competition


How would you like the world to see Iran? If you were to give the world a tale about your land, what story would you tell? If you were to reveal an unexposed part of the culture, nature or the history of Iran, what would you show? has created a collaborative project inviting all the Iranian creative individuals who are interested in filmmaking to take part and give us a short film about Iran. Please give it your best passionate shot and submit a short film by March 3rd.

This is a competition where the first winner would win one GoPro Hero 4 camera and all the filmmakers would get credit for their clips used on our international website. We’ll announce the winner by March 6th. To obtain further information please visit We are looking forward to see Iran through your eyes and share it with the world.


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Four marvelous ski resorts within a half hour drive from one another and between 45 minutes to 2 hours from Tehran, the heartbeat of Iran. You can ski down the Alborz Mountain with a view of a bustling metropolis like Tehran so grab your ski gear and prepare yourself for our crisp mountain air and beautiful slopes.

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

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Ya Shasin Azerbaijan!

Once again Shahin and I (Amir Sina) hit the road to discover another part of Iran. Our destination was northwestern Iran, where the provinces of East and West Azarbaijan are located at the head of the cat that is Iran on the world map.

Our first stop was Tabriz, the capital of East Azarbaijan. In Iran, Tabriz has a reputation for being home to the most compassionate people in the country and as a place where trends are set. Tabriz is actually where Iran’s first municipality, school for the hearing impaired and chamber of commerce were established. The kind-hearted people of Tabriz have made it a tradition to leave no person in need and as a result this city has no impoverished population.

The road to Sahragheh Village was picturesque with a blue sky, cotton candy clouds and cool fresh air. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

Even though we arrived in Tabriz late at night, we were still impressed by its many eye-catching squares and network of freeway tunnels. Shahin and I drove around a bit to get a feel of the city. Shahin had visited Tabriz before I joined the team, so he took me to a little place he had discovered before for Tabriz-style Baklava and ice-cream.

Night view of the two-story El-Goli Monument which sits in the middle of the artificial lake  in the famous El-Goli Park in Tabriz. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

Night view of the two-story El-Goli Monument which sits in the middle of the artificial lake in the famous El-Goli Park in Tabriz. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

We woke up early in the morning to continue our trip to a border town named Jolfa. Our plan was to see as many of the old churches and monasteries scattered along the way.  I had heard about one particular church named “Mojumbar” that was located on the road to Jolfa and was lesser known. No matter who we asked for directions on the road, no one knew where this church was. I was frustrated. I was upset because I thought I had wasted our time. Suddenly Shahin came across “Sahragheh Church” on the map that was not far from where we were.

Amir Sina and Shahin stop on the road to Sahragheh Village and Church to take photos. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

Amir Sina and Shahin stop on the road to Sahragheh Village and Church to take photos. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

I googled the church but there was no information about it. This was exciting! We felt like exploders going on an expedition to discover a place that is virtually unknown.

( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

The road to Sahragheh was unbelievably beautiful. Colorful mountains with wheat fields stretched as far as the eyes can see, cattle and sheep grazing together under a blue sky with cotton candy clouds and cool fresh air. I felt like we are in a dream! We pulled over several times to snap pictures. Every time Shahin or I would say ‘we can’t find a better shot than this!,’ the next bend in the road would prove us wrong and present us with another breathtaking view that would force us to pull over for a photo.

Sahragheh Church stands on a hill overlooking the village. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

Sahragheh Church stands on a hill overlooking the village. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

We finally arrived at Sahragheh and immediately spotted the church standing atop a hill next to the village. It was an old church that had been recently renovated. It was modest yet beautiful. There was no one there except for me and Shahin. We were enjoying the calm and quiet when one of the villagers came to greet us. We chatted with him and offered him some grapes we had purchased on the way there. We spend a few hours there before it was time to go.

 The brick decorations Sahragheh Church which has been recently renovated. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

The brick decorations Sahragheh Church which has been recently renovated. ( photo/ Amir Sina Rezai)

Although we had originally set out to find the elusive “Mojumbar Church,” our trip unexpectedly turned into an entirely different adventure. Perhaps this is exactly what life wanted to teach me: don’t lose hope or be disappointed when your plans fall through because if you keep an open mind, you just might stumble upon an unforgettable experience that will make up for everything lost.

Golestan Palace, where traditional Persian arts meet European architecture

We had a group of businessmen who came to Tehran for work. On the last night before their departure, one of them told me (Amirsina) he had extended his trip by one day to have time for a tour of Tehran. He insisted he could not leave until he had at least visited Golestan Palace or the Rose Garden Palace.

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Golestan Palace was once the residence of Safavid, Zand and Qajar kings. ( photo/ web)

We made the trip from north Tehran to the palace compound in downtown Tehran near the Grand Bazaar. Golestan Palace, a UNESCO registered world heritage, is a masterpiece of Qajar era (1785–1925) crafts and architecture and the place where traditional Persian arts meet European architecture. The palace was originally known as the Arg of Tehran and was built in the 16th century during the reign of the founder of the Safavid dynasty, Shah Abbas I (1571-1629). It found importance after Agha Mohammad Khan (1742-1797), the first of the Qajar Kings, chose Tehran as his capital and this palace as his residence.

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Talar-e Salam (Reception Hall) was built by Nasser-al Din Shah Qajar after a trip to Europe. ( photo/Houman Nobakht)

Our guest was very impressed by Talar-e Salam (Reception Hall). This hall was built to resemble a museum by Nasser-al Din Shah (1831-1896) to impress his European visitors upon arrival. The coronation of the two Pahlavi kings (1925-1979) were held here. He could not contain his amazement upon seeing the intricate mirrorwork of Talar-e Aineh (Hall of Mirrors). our next stop was Talar-e Berelian (Brilliant Hall) which has extravagant mirrorwork and chandeliers.

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The UNESCO registered Golestan Palace has 17 different halls each famed for its elaborate decorations. ( photo/ Houman Nobakht)

I took our guest to  Khalvat-e Karim Khani (Karim Khan Veranda) which was built in 1759 by the founder of the Zand dynasty (1750-1794) as part of his residence. This nook has a marble throne and houses the tombstone of Nasser-al Din Shah, which was originally located in Shah-Abdol-Azim Shrine in Rey and was moved and installed here after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Khalvat-e Karim Khani (Karim Khan Veranda) was built in 1759 by the founder of the Zand Dynasty. ( photo/ web)

Our guest found the marble throne on the terrace in front of the complex that was commissioned by Fath-Ali shah Qajar in 1806 very impressive.  This throne, which has 65 pieces of marble from the mines of Yazd and crafted in Isfahan, is inspired by the story of Solomon whose throne was said to have been carried by fairies and other supernatural beings.

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The Marble Throne was crafted in 1806 and has 65 pieces of marble. ( photo/ web)

On the way to IKIA airport our guest continued asking questions about Golestan Palace. He was sad he did not  have enough time to see more of Tehran. He told me he would be back and asked  me to show him more of Tehran when he returns.

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 ( 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. ( 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). ( 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. ( 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. ( 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! ( 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 ( 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. ( 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 ( 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. ( 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. ( 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 ( 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 ( 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? is at your service!

Feeding seagulls in Bushehr

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The wonderful sunset of Bushehr coast ( 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. ( 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. ( 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 ( 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. ( 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. ( 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 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. ( photo/ Saman Kazemi)

One of our major concerns at 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. ( 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. ( 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! ( photo)

The best part is all the information and pictures available on the 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 wherever you go in Iran!

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Mohammad hard at work. ( 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. ( 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?!


Meymand, not your ordinary stone village


Homes in the 3,000-year-old Meymand Village, Kerman Province, have been built partially underground. ( photo/ Shahin Kamali)

During our road trip to Kerman Province Shahin and I (Amir Sina) visited the historic Meymand Village. This village which is north of Sirjan has a known history of 3,000 years. I had read articles where Meymand had been compared to Cappadocia in Turkey and Kandovan Village near Tabriz in East Azarbaijan. Having previously visited both Cappadocia and Kandovan I was eager to see Meymand for myself.


Meymand homes are built to protect inhabitants from extreme winter cold and summer heat. ( photo/ Shahin Kamali)

After a 90-kilometer drive we arrived at our destination. The village did in some ways resemble Cappadocia in that houses are made of stone but unlike the fairytale Turkish town which has been abandoned by its inhabitants, Meymand is still full of life.


Meymand Village is only 90 kilometers from Sirjan in Kerman Province. ( Photo/ Homeyra Tayebipour)

I realized that Meymand is also similar but still very different from Kandovan. While Kandovan houses were carved in stone to protect inhabitants from the Mongol army, I was told by one of the locals that in Meymand houses were created partially underground to protect inhabitants from extreme winter cold and summer heat. He told me that temperatures inside these homes seldom vary and are almost always consistent.


the inside of a residence in Meymand. Temperatures seldom vary inside these residences and remain mostly the same. ( photo/ Shahin Kamali)

I was surprised to see that despite its small size the village had signs at every corner showing directions to the apothecary store, souvenir shops and other landmarks. To make extra cash Meymand locals sell dried and fresh walnuts, almonds and other nuts, and are always inviting passersby to try their product.


Local woman sits by her assortment of dried nuts as she waits for customers. ( photo/ Homeyra Tayebipour)

We met up with the resident Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization authority who invited us for a chat over tea. He was extremely friendly and told us about the 10,000-year-old stone carvings found near the village. He told us he was taking two German tourists to see the Meymand sheep pen and that he would be happy to show us the way as well.


Shelters made with twigs, branches and leaves near the Meymand sheep pen where shepherds rest. ( photo/ Shahin Kamali)

There were several makeshift shelters near the pen where shepherds rest. We met Sakineh Khatoon outside one of these shelters. She invited us into her home and offered us some clove tea and gave us fresh walnuts and dates. Even though she didn’t have much she didn’t think twice about offering us what little she had. We were moved by the hospitality shown to us in Meymand and left the village with fond memories.


Sakineh Khatoon invited us into her home and offered us endless cups of clove tea with fresh walnuts and dates. ( photo/ Shahin Kamali)

My advice, visit Meymand during the fall or early spring. Don’t say no to tea invitations by locals. Buy some dried nuts from locals and take pictures!


If you are interested in visiting Meymand, you can join our 12 Days of Desert Life tour or contact us for a tailored tour of Kerman. Remember you are only a few clicks away from an unforgettable trip!

Taking on Armand River rapids in Iran

I (Iman) have always been known as a thrill seeker and an adrenaline junky so when the long weekend came up I jumped at the opportunity to go on a rafting trip on Armand River in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province in southwestern Iran.

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The group took on the challenge of a 22-kilometer rafting trail on Armand River. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)

I met my fellow travelers at the rendezvous point in Tehran at 7:30 am. We were a group of 40, around 30 of us were traveling on the tour bus and the rest had decided to follow the bus in their cars. Our destination was Darreh Yas Village, just before the city of Borujen, which was our base camp. The bus had to stop a few kilometers from the village as the road was too narrow for it to pass and we boarded minibuses that were to transport us the rest of the way.


The base camp can be reached after passing tall cliffs. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)

We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch and were surprised to see the unbelievably low prices on the menu. The restaurant did not have tables and instead served food on Takhts. A takht means bed or throne in the Persian language and is actually a wooden platform covered with a rug that simultaneously serves as a table and a chair. I opted for Qormeh Sabzi, a lamb stew with parsley and other herbs cooked to perfection with beans and dried lime, served with rice. The running joke in Iran is that knowing how to cook this all time favorite Persian dish tops every eligible Iranian bachelor’s list of marriage criteria!!


The group stops for lunch at a local restaurant along the way. The restaurant serves well-priced Persian dishes including the all time Iranian favorite Qormeh Sabzi. ( Photo/ Amir Arbabian)

The remainder of the way to base camp we experienced changing weather at every turn of the road from sunny to an overcast sky and even rain and wind. After passing a few cliffs and a thin line of trees we reached our base camp. A zip line cable extended from a hill above camp to all the way across Armand River. No one dared to try the zip line as it looked very scary.


The group unwinds after a long road trip at the dorm at base camp. A zip line cable extends from the hill above camp to all the way across Armand River. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)

Out of nowhere spring rain began to fall on the camp and quickly created a beautiful mess. When the rain stopped we had a delicious meal of rice and fish and a pickled side dish. We turned in early to prepare for the adventures of the next day.

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As part of the tour, participants rappel down a draw bridge suspended 58 meters above the river. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)


Early in the morning we put on our rafting clothes, helmets and life jacket and headed for a draw bridge suspended 58 meters above the river. We rappelled down two ropes hanging from the bridge to reach the river where 6 rafts and fast moving Grade 4 rapids awaited us.


The group listens to the rafting coach before beginning their river experience. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)

We paddled for 2 hours and stopped at one of the small islands along the river to rest and treat ourselves to some tea/ juice and cake. We resumed paddling until reaching the second camp at Darreh Eshq (Love Valley). There is no better welcome after a day of strenuous physical activity than a delicious campfire kebab.

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The group prepares to begin their second day on Armand River. ( Photo/ Iman Jahangani)

On day 2 we set out to tackle the fierce rapids of Armand. The rafting guide proposed a challenge to swim across the river and back. Rafts would wait ahead to catch anyone who was swept by the currents. The currents looked fierce and only 10 people volunteered. Only 2 of the volunteers, a water polo coach and a rafting guide, managed to reach the shore.

On the swim back the rafting guide was caught in the rip current and was picked up by the safety rafts. It was the water polo coach who gave us the biggest scare as he suddenly disappeared under water. We feared the worst and thought the currents had pulled him under but suddenly he broke surface near the rafts!


A group photo to mark an adventurous day of rafting on Armand River. ( Photo/ Uncredited)

Once everyone was on the rafts, the guide gave us safety instructions on how to swim to the shore or the next raft and not drown if our boat capsizes. Our adventure continued with more paddling and a short stop to rest.

Iman (R) with a fellow traveler on Armand River, which is the origin of Karoun River - the longest and only navigable waterway in Iran- in Khuzestan Province. ( Photo/ Siavash)

Iman (R) with a fellow traveler on Armand River, which is the origin of Karoun River – the longest and only navigable waterway in Iran- in Khuzestan Province. ( Photo/ Uncredited)

We reached our final camp a bit after noon. This time chicken kebab grilled over campfire awaited us. After lunch, minibuses transferred us back to our bus for the journey back home. We arrived back in Tehran at 5 am. Despite being tired I was full of energy and ready to start work at 9 am.

The 22-kilometer rafting trail on Armand River was an unforgettable experience that I am eager to repeat.


For more information about the rafting tour featured in this blog, check out the Iran River Rafting tour on our website.

Stone Garden, one man’s silent protest to injustice

I (Amir Sina) always try to refer to different sources from Google to books and even friends to find information about a city prior to traveling there with Shahin.  When we decided to go to Sirjan in Kerman Province I found out about the extraordinary Bagh-e Sangi or Stone Garden.


The eerie Stone Garden in Kerman Province was created by Darvish Khan Esfandiarpour over 50 years in protest to the Pahlavi era Land Reforms that cost him his lands. ( Photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

After an approximately 40-kilometer drive on the Sirjan-Baft road we reached Balvard Village. This village does not have breathtaking nature or ancient ruins to offer. Its attraction is a garden, a massive art installation created over half a century.

This art installation is a garden but one with no living plants, flowers or fruit trees. The trees of the garden are all dead and bear fruits of stone that hang from their lifeless branches and perform an eerie death dance in the wind.


Darvish Khan transported single-handedly transferred massive pieces of stone to his garden to create this art installation. ( Photo/ Shahin Kamali)

What is known about the history of this garden is that it was created by a man named Darvish Khan Esfandiarpour who lost most of his lands during the Land Reforms of 1963 in the Pahlavi era (1925-1979). He lost his remaining garden to drought. As he was deaf and mute and could not protest using words, he dedicated the remainder of his life to creating this morbid conceptual work of art.


The car parked in front of the Stone Garden as the team prepares to take photos. ( Photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

For over 50 years, Darvish Khan single-handedly transported mammoth pieces of stone that would pose a challenge to even people with physical strength from nearby mountains and valleys to the garden and used everything from telegraph cables to bicycle chains to hang them from the branches of his dead trees. Locals say Darvish Khan transported most of the dead trees in this garden from elsewhere and planted them in the ground to create his artwork.


Darvish Khan used everything from cables to bicycle chains to hang stones from the dead trees in his garden. ( Photo/ Shahin Kamali)

When you see the size of these stones you can feel the depth of Darvish Khan’s rage at the injustice he suffered. Darvish Khan passed away in 2007 at the age of 90. Nearly eight years on and one can still sense his rage reverberating through the garden.


The poem on Darvish Khan’s gravestone reads: Saw a man no stranger to pain who lost his all, After a lifetime of pain and sorrow he created a garden of stone, Fruits of the garden are stones of all sizes, Hung with much labor from branches, No oppressor will take this stone garden from him, This was his hope when creating his garden.” ( Photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

We reached the garden around 2 pm. The sun was perfect for taking photos. We took pictures for four hours but Shahin was not satisfied with the result as the magnitude of the garden could not be captured in any frame. Tired and frustrated we laid down on the ground.


Amir Sina (pictured) takes selfie after a few hours of photography.

That’s when we found the best angle to photograph the garden and its massive scale. Shahin and I both got down on our backs in one corner of the garden and began taking pictures.


No one knows how Darvish Khan Esfandiarpour managed to lift and hang these heavy stones from the trees in Bagh-e Sangi. ( Photo/ Amir Sina Rezaei)

If you ever decide to visit Kerman Province, its endless deserts and Shahdad Kalouts (yardangs) do not hesitate to take the road to Bagh-e Sangi. Eerie as it may be, this garden is an attraction you should not miss.


Darvish Khan Esfandiarpour in a scene from the 1976 ‘The Garden of Stones’ by Parviz Kimiavi, which won a Silver Bear prize at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) the same year.

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