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National Botanical Garden

National Botanical Garden iran

Iran (also known as Persia) is one of the biggest countries in South-west Asia covering an area of 1.6 million km². Iran is the 18th largest country in the world which roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined, or somewhat more than the US state of Alaska. Iran is mountainous, about 52 % of the country area consists of mountains and deserts and more than half of the country is at altitudes between 1 000–2 000 m and 16% is above 2 000 m with some mountains of 3 000–4 000 m. Damavand Mount at 5 610 m is the highest in west Asia and Europe. Some 11 000 km2 equal to 0.9% of the land at the Caspian Sea coast is below sea level. The mean altitude is over 1 200 m above sea level. The lowest inland point is in ChaleLut, 56 m below sea level.
The climate of Iran is one of great extremes due to its geographic location and varied topography. The summer is extremely hot in some places with temperatures in the interior rising possibly higher than anywhere else in the world; certainly over 70°C has been recorded (in Lut Desert). In winter, however, the great altitude of much of the country and its continental situation result in far lower temperatures than one would expect to find in a country in such low latitudes. Minus 30°C can be recorded in the north-west and minus 20°C is common in many places. Topography generally affects climate and soils and plays a considerable role in the differentiation and distribution of climates and vegetation zones. For example, the Caspian zone is humid, due to the high Alborz mountain range. In the Sefid-Rud valley as a result of the low altitude, dry winds from the interior move towards Guilan, creating an area of low rainfall which extends up to some 40 km from Rasht (Capital of Guilan Province). The great chain of Albors and Zagros forms a “V shaped” natural barrier which inhibits the humid winds of the south-west and prevents the majority of clouds from reaching the center of the country, so steppes and deserts are created. Due to the great variations in altitude in mountainous regions, quite different types of vegetation are found over relatively short distances from one another, a factor which encourages the seasonal flock movement. The most outstanding feature in the topography of the Central Plateau is its microrelief which is the outcome of a series of geomorphologic processes, such as erosion, drainage, and peneplanization, which are still in full action. This has led to differentiation of the plateau into a series of habitats that differ from each other in the physical and chemical properties of their soils including salt-moisture relations. This series starts from the foot of each mountain ridge or block and ends in the deepest depressions of the alluvial basins. The rocky slopes of the ridges are often bare or very poorly vegetated.Due to its topographical, climatic and particularly its lithologic diversity, Iran displays a rich mosaic of soils.
Iran has a diverse nature from the Persian Gulf in the South to the coasts of the Caspian see in the North, from central deserts to the Mountains of Alborz and Zagross. These provide us an opportunity to explore the marine or terrestrial plants from different parts of Iran.
Based on geography, Iran is located in special area with several different geographic regions including:
i) Caspian Zone (Caucasian and mid- European affinities, slightly Medi-terranean on the coast). Annual precipitation between 600 and 2 000 mm with a minimum in June but no real drought, maximum in autumn.
ii) Baluchi Zone (Saharo-Sindian and subtropical affinities). Annual precipitation below 300 mm (generally less than 200 mm) almost entirely in winter (six to eight months without precipitation), but high relative humidity (60% to 80%).
iii) Irano-Turanian Zone (slight Medi-terranean affinities). Extremely variable precipitation, generally between 100 and 500 mm; maximum in winter or spring. At least three summer months of total drought extending up to nine months in the most arid regions.
iv) High mountain zone: It is very difficult to give details of the climates of high mountains, as these climates are probably very different according to their northern, eastern or western aspect.
The Irano-Turanian flora covers more than 85% of the country. It is very well characterized by the frequency and richness in species of numerous genera, in particular the genus Astragalus(at least 600 species); the genera: Cousinia(more than 200 species), Silene(more than 100), Allium (approximately 90), Euphorbia, Nepeta, Acantholimon(roughly 80 species), Onobrychis, Salvia, Centaurea(approximately 70 species), etc. Among other genera less rich in species, but present in the greatest part of the Irano-Turanian zone, are: Acanthophyllum, Artemisia, Stipa, Phlomis, Stachys, Achillea, Bromus, Poa, Agropyron, Hordeum, Scrophularia, Eremurus, Echinops, Ephedra, Trigonella, Convolvolus, Alyssum, etc

An innovative approach in music tourism

Music, as the manifestation of human’s emotion is present in all aspects of his life; wedding, funeral, feast, work and war, therefore it best represents the culture of a society. Music as the common language of human beings binds people all over the world together in spite of their difference in mother tongues, cultures and ways of living. Travelling to a destination, one finds watching and even participating in musical performances among the most attracting activities to be engaged in. This is most fascinating when the music is representing the local culture, local games, old professions and accent of that specific region.

music tourism

 Nasl-e-mehr Institute of Kerman having sixteen years’ experience in the artistic-cultural projects of music has developed styles to perform music in museums and historical places as well as the innovative designs of programmatic music, especially vocal music, which are peculiar to the same place in which they are performed and to music tourism and expresses the identity and culture of that region and historical place. Actually, the music styles devised by Nasl-e- Mehr institute enjoys the use of monuments in performing them so that the structure of that monument contributes to the acoustic aesthetics of the performance (performances in Moayyedi ice house of Kerman are carried out without use of Microphone, the circular and conical structure of the building allows the audience to hear the voice of performers) and the ancient atmosphere inspires the singers and performers in executing that program since the songs and movements of the related performances are themselves part of that antiquity to which the monument belongs. In other words, the atmosphere of the historical location reinforces the enthusiasm of the singers and performers. To capture the styles more fully, a brief explanation of each follows.

Musiceum
This style is a combination of vocal music of a cappella (music without instrumental accompaniment) and the use of museum space; in such a way that the museum will become live in and historical currents will be implemented with relevant scenarios. These currents are performed as either vocal or instrumental music and pulls the audience into it; that is, the audience moves in a direction and follows the stream of music which is the narrator of events in the museum and it itself is part of the events and ceremonies of that program. These programs have been held in the museums of Ganjali Khan Bathroom and Harandi music museum of Kerman at special nights and historical occasions and have surprised participants. Undoubtedly, there are few examples of this kind of programmatic music in the world and it is unique in its own way.

Nowruzgah
The rationale behind this style is to present the ceremonies of the last Wednesday of the year, the ceremonies before New Year and their customs through music performance, and to introduce the genuine Kerman foods in these programs. In this style more than 25 local games of Iran and Kerman were revived as a polyphonic choral acapella performed through the voice of children and adolescents and were registered in the list of the Iranian anthropology center.

music tourism-kerman

Actapella (act + a cappella)
Actappella is a combination of the music of a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment) and action; an example of this is the performance of uprising of the shawl weavers acapella, the program was performed for 17 nights and faced an unrivaled welcome and was able to attract more than 3000 audiences. In this program a cultural current related to 250 years ago which was based on the silk industry and shawl weaving was performed in the language of music and motion (the uprising of shawl weavers occurred during Qajar dynasty in Kerman due to the poor life condition of weavers. Although shawl was an expensive and luxurious merchandise since made of silk, its weavers lived in adversity. This rise is said to have been the starting point of constitutionalism movement in Iran).

Voice work and behavior work
It is the production and performance of the steps of forgotten old jobs in the language of vocal along with their collective and related motions. In this style which is a choral a cappella each voice group plays its role and the sum of those songs and movements represent that profession.
Choir rock
This new style is built on two music methods of polyphonic a cappella choral and rock music which performs choral quartet parts accompanied with rock structure and wording. This kind of music consists of religious and local choral vocal parts some of which are performed with a specific dialect and in a special and energetic way. Basically, these two genres of music are fundamentally different, but the difference is undeniably attractive when combined.

Trash melody
Producing and performing music with waste items and garages to make people alert about less trash production and not using plastic packs was carried out in Kerman by Nasl-e-mehr institute in cooperation with Municipality and had an excellent feedback at national and international assemblies and had been displayed in various internal and external networks.
Nekooei festival and local tour
New experiences in vocal tours around the world is always attractive and informative for choral groups and singers. We have provided this opportunity for vocal groups in an appealing and spectacular place in Iran, Kerman. This event will be performed in Kerman with the participation of Iranian groups and groups from around the world. This festival and vocal tour is designed for Iranian and foreign groups to perform music in Kerman tourism places and has begun its national and international movement in the competitive, non-competitive and music video production sectors. This musical event can annually attract more than 10,000 Iranian and foreign tourists to Kerman and in return these vocal groups will produce their music video clips in Kerman historical places.
The main parts of this event are:
1. Non-competitive part
2. Competitive part
3. Tourism and recreational events
Kerman is an ancient city with a several-thousand-year-old history and cultural and artistic extraordinary attractions and special customs which will be attractive for Iranian and foreign tourists. For example: The Kalut (one of the most famous and specific deserts in the world), Meymand (the hand-carved and several-year-old village), the Ganjalikhan bazaar (400 years old), the citadel in Bam (2000 years old), the Shahzade garden in Mahan and… attract thousands of tourists every year.
Conducting master classes and specialized workshops by specialist tourists in Kerman
Conducting this masterclass and workshops in Kerman performed by Marcus Dieter Beck, the assistant director of the Choir Department in Europe, and Jan Schumacher, one of Europe’s well-known choir leaders, is the beginning of cooperation in attracting Iranian and foreign tourists to Kerman.

Iran is a country without fast food restaurants and large hotel chains; it has a spectacular cultural and architectural heritage, exquisite gastronomy, magnificent natural places, as well as an agreeable and extremely hospitable people. However, it receives hardly four million tourists per year, a scarce figure the government of Hasan Rohani is trying to increase.

The impressive plaza and mosque of Isfahan, the maze-like bazaar of Tabriz, the Zoroaster temples of Tajt and Soleiman, the enchanting deserted city of Yazd, Alborz mountain skiing, or the impressive ruins of Persepolis are, today, marvelous exemptions from the ills that accompany the growth of tourism.

In Iran, a traveler can take pictures without 20 other people wearing backpacks, hats, and sunglasses in front of them. A traveler can eat truly local dishes or walk around calmly without being accosted on streets where almost everyone will smile at them and say, “Hello.”

“This year, there were 4.6 million entries in the first 10 months of the year,” explained the sub-director of the Organization for Cultural, Artesanal, and Touristic Heritage of Iran, Morteza Rahmani Mohaved, who clarified that the statistic includes all foreign entries.

Some months ago, many tourists entered Iran with an expedited visa. The tourists, he affirms, come to be 65% of this amount, and, of them, around half come from neighboring Iraq and come to go to the doctor or to visit the Imam Reza sanctuary in Mashad, a sacred place for Shiites.

Rohani wants to change this situation and bets on tourism, not only for contributing to the economic recuperation this isolated country is yelling for, sanctioned, with rates of inflation of 40% and a fifth of the population actively unemployed; but also as a fundamental tool for public diplomacy. “Tourism can help to create relationships and interaction between nations and bring cultural proximity and mutual understanding,” he said at a conference in September where he pointed out “the brilliant past of civilizations, hospitality, rich cultural heritage, good weather and beautiful nature” of his country to tempt potential visitors.

Ways to motivate tourists have started by relaxing visa policies, and a few months ago, travelers who entered the country with an expedited visa were many. According to the Iranian agency ISNA, Teheran is trying to provide a visa to nationals from all over the world except for 10 countries, among which will include the United Kingdom and the United States.

The system still isn’t 100%, and a traveler without a visa can find himself, very kindly, kicked out of the airport without much of an explanation regarding their rejection. According to Tourism, arrivals have increased around 20% since Rohani arrived in August to the Presidency.

“Traveler security is far greater than what countries like Egypt or Jordan have.” The Worldwide Tourism Organization confirmed this month that in the last half a year ‘it is easier’ to travel to Iran. “Paying more attention to the development of tourism is among the main policies of this government,” says Rahmani.

Its prime markets are “China, countries of Western Asia, and the neighboring states,” and areas where major growth is foreseen are cultural, historical, nature, and medicinal tourism. According to Worldwide Advice on Travel and Tourism, Iran will experience a 7.4% increase in tourism this year and will increase its investments in hotel and restaurant infrastructures by 7.6 %.

This year, the contribution of trips and tourism to the Iranian GDP was 6.1% of the total, around two billion dollars, and the sector generated 5.3% of employment, around 1.2 million people. The Islamic Republic has fixed their goal at 20 million tourists by 2025.

The head of Tourism highlights that, in addition to its beauty and 16 declared world heritage sites, another Iran attraction that is not valued sufficiently outside is “the security of the traveler, which is highly superior to the other countries of the region that receive many tourists, like Egypt or Jordan.” Rahmani discards the reluctance that the most conservative sectors have toward the arrival of foreigners, above all Westerners, and assures that: “We are prepared to receive them. We are not worried about having relationships with the outside. Iran, as much now as before the arrival of Islam, has always had a history full of relationships with other people.”

Kalout will attend the most reputable tourism exhibition in Austria Wien.

Kalout would like to invite you to meet us in Hall A, Stand A0821, and it would be a great opportunity for us to discuss the inbound tours for Iran.

Some Facts about the exhibition:

  •  Austria’s largest tourist industry event
  •  Contact with new and potential customers
  •  Large numbers of visitors
  •  The right target group of visitors – great visitor quality
  •  Messe Wien has excellent infrastructure
  •  Benefit from the support of an expert expo team
  •  Pinpoint promotion on all channels
  •  Experience-orientated concept

 

Ferien messe Wien

Ferien messe Wien

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Booming Tourism in Iran in New Presidency!

Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran has been a no-go area for most tourists. Even today, moral enforcers are watching the streets of Teheran checking the inhabitants’ behavior. But recently, increasingly large amounts of foreign tourists have arrived to the country.

There has been a full-fledged hype around Iran-tourism since 2013 – which has been validated by multiple travel companies. Demand has been so high that additional programs had to be set in place. Gebeco, a large tour operator for study- and experience-traveling, talks about a „large boom” in Iran-tourism since 2013. Almost all study tours for Spring 2016 are already booked out. Gebeco stated that their revenue from trips to Iran have doubled once more. Iran has become a trend destination.

Other tour operators are experiencing similar growth as well. Study tour operator Studiosus confirms. While there were roughly 500 bookings in 2013, the number of trips to the Islamic Republic increased to 2700 in 2015. “With no evidence of stopping anytime soon,” according to Studiosus-spokesman Frano Ilic. According to the statements made by the travel company, Iran is their currently most popular long distance travel destination. Despite this high number of bookings, the country however is far from populated by tourists – there is no mass tourism in sight.

Especially popular are the cities of Teheran and Schiras (or Shiraz), the city of gardens and poets. From there, you can easily drive to the royal city Persepolis, which is one of the most attractive ruin cities of the world. Another highlight in Iran is Isfahan: With its many colorful mosques and the world’s second largest square; it is one of the most important culture cities of the Middle East.

Guided group tours around Iran have the benefit that guides can explain and remind you of the rules of Sharia. In practice, this means that women need to dress appropriately and wear a headscarf, men need to dress conservatively as well. Furthermore, there is a strict ban on alcohol and sexual contact outside of marriage. Tourists need to be aware of all of this when they visit Iran. Single travelers need to be especially careful since they are solely responsible for their own safety.

Especially those interested in culture will find Iran to be an exciting travel destination. However, one should be clear that Sharia laws very much shape the travelers’ experience. Iran is still a place that requires a certain amount of caution. Speaking your mind about current political developments can bring your trip to a bad and premature end – and you could get into police custody sooner than you would think, which is especially hard to get out of. Despite lots of improvements, Iran is still a country where tourists should take care to avoid any unwanted trouble.

Iran Must See Wonders!

 

Iran, known as Persia until 1935, is a partly undiscovered gem. It offers rich culture, history and provides visitors with impressive heritage. Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world as regards the number of World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO. Historical and urban settlements date back to 4000 BC in this area. Locals are called Persians and represent about 51% of the population. Tourism-review.com, in collaboration with prominent Iranian tour operator kalouttour, introduce the best, most famous, historical and prominent places of the “Land of the Aryan’s” – the 7 wonders of Iran.

Persepolis

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Once the thriving cultural and art center of Iran, today Persepolis is considered one of the most beautiful historical locations in the world. The ancient city, situated 60 km northeast of the city Shiraz, had long been buried under the sand for centuries until its discovery in the 1930s by Erich Frederich Schmidt and his colleagues.
It was founded by Darius I in 518 B.C. and served as the capital of the Archaemenid Empire. The ruins of Persepolis, which burnt down at the order of Alexander the Great, are considered one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites and is also registered as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Shah Mosque

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Created during the Safavid era, the Shah Mosque, also known as Imam Mosque, is situated in the south side of the Naghsh-e Jahan Square. The square is in the center of the city Isfahan. Its construction began in 1611 and the mosque represents the culmination of a thousand years of mosque building.
It is a remarkable example of the diversity of Iranian architecture, with its seven-color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions being the highlights. The port of the mosque measures 27 m high and is crowned with two 42 m tall minarets. It is also surrounded by four iwans and arcades. The Shah Mosque, one of the seven wonders of Iran, is also registered as a UNESCO Heritage site.

Haft Tepe

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Haft Tepe is located 15 km to the south of the ancient city of Susa. It is one of Iran’s most significant archaeological sites and the remains of the ancient Elamite city of Kabnak were discovered here. It is composed of seven ancient mounds. The site was first excavated by French archaeologist Jacques de Morgan, with Iranian Ezzat Negahban continuing work in the second half of the 20th century.
Excavations on the site revealed a large temple founded by Tepti-Ahar where the god Kirwashir was worshiped. Below the temple lay a funerary complex for the king and his family, with skeletal remains found in the tomb. Other than that, structures reminding of the foundations of a ziggurat were found here, along with courtyards and suites of rooms.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

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Naqsh-e Jahan Square is a square located in the center of the city of Asfahan. It was constructed between 1598 and 1629 and is now a very important historical site and one of Iran’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is 160 meters wide and 560 meters long. The square is bordered by two -story arcades and surrounded by many buildings from the Safavid era, such as the already mentioned Shah Mosque, the Ali Qapu Palace or the Mosque of Sheykh Loftollah. It is one of the largest city squares in the world and another great example of Iranian and Islamic architecture.

Eram Garden

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The Eram Garden, another of the seven wonders of Iran, is a historical Persian garden located in Shiraz. The whole complex is located at the northern shore of the Khoshk River in the Fars province. The word “Eram” is the Persian version of the Arabic word “Iram” which means heaven in the Quran.
No one is quite sure when construction of the beautiful complex began, but it is suggested that the gardens were built during the Seljuk Dynasty (11th – 14th centuries) under the rule of Ahmad Sanjar. Later it was repaired by the Zand kings of the Zand Dynasty in the second part of the 18th century. Many more rulers decided to improve the gardens, with the Qajar Dynasty leading constructions to what now stands in the gardens: beautiful flowers, refreshing air, myrtles and enormous cypress trees surrounded by typical Iranian architecture.

Nasir ol Molk Mosque

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The Nasir ol Molk Mosque, nicknamed the Pink Mosque, is a traditional mosque located in Shiraz. It was built between 1876 and 1888 during the Qajar era. What makes it unique and beautiful is the extensive use of stained glass in its facade, with many pink tiles as well.
It also displays other traditional elements, such as Panj Kase (“five concaved”) design. The best time to visit the mosque is in the morning, when the sun rises over Shiraz. During this time, the sunlight bursts through the windows and illuminates the walls and floors of the mosque with beautiful colors.

Vank Cathedral

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The Vank Cathedral, also known as the Church of Saintly Sister, is a cathedral located in the New Julfa district, specific for its predominant Christian community, in the city of Isfahan. Construction began in 1606 during the Safavid period, but in 1655 the Armenian church was rebuilt to adapt to the growing Christian community in the city. A tilework plaque inscribed in Armenian can be seen by the entrance to the cathedral.
The cathedral’s interior is a prime example of the mixture of Islamic and Christian style. The interior is covered with frescos and gilded carvings as well as wainscot of rich tile work. The courtyard contains a large belfry towering over the graves of both Orthodox and Protestant Christians. In one corner, there is also a memorial to the Armenian Genocide in Turkey.

Ahwaz Visiting Places

Ahvaz

Chogha Zanbil is an ancient Elamite complex in the south of Iran. It is one of the few existent Ziggurates outside of Mesopotamia. Choga Zambil means ‘basket mound.’ It was built about 1250 BC by the king Untash -Napirisha, mainly to honor the great god Inshshinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means ‘town of Untash’, but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. The complex is protected by three concentric walls which define the main areas of the ‘town’. The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha. The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs.

Although construction in the city abruptly ended after Untash-Napirisha’s death, the site was not abandoned, but continued to be occupied until it was destroyed by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 640 BC. Some scholars speculate, based on the large number of temples and sanctuaries at Chogha Zanbil, that Untash-Napirisha attempted to create a new religious center (possibly intended to replace Susa) which would unite the gods of both highland and lowland Elam at one site.The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. In 1979, Chogha Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.

Tomb of Daniel is the traditional burial place of the biblical prophet Daniel. Various locations have been named for the site, but the tomb in Susa, Iran, is the most widely accepted, it being first mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Asia between 1160 and 1163.The Book of Daniel mentions that Daniel lived in Babylon and may have visited the place of Susa‌, Iran, but the place where he died is not specified; the tradition preserved among the Jews and Arabs is that he was buried in Susa. Today the Tomb of Daniel in Susa is a popular attraction among local Muslims and Iran’s Jewish community alike.

The earliest mention of Daniel’s Tomb published in Europe is given by Benjamin of Tudela who visited Asia between 1160 and 1163. In the fa’ade of one of its many synagogues he was shown the tomb assigned by tradition to Daniel. Benjamin declares however, that the tomb does not hold Daniel’s remains, which were said to have been discovered at Susa about 640 CE. The remains were supposed to bring good fortune: and bitter quarrels arose because of them between the inhabitants of the two banks of the choaspes River. All those living on the side on which Daniel’s grave was situated were rich and happy, while those on the opposite side were poor and in want; the latter, therefore, wished the bier of Daniel transferred to their side of the river. They finally agreed that the bier should rest alternately one year on each side.

This agreement was carried out for many years, until the Persian shah Sanjar, on visiting the city, stopped the practise, holding that the continual removal of the bier was disrespectful to the prophet. He ordered the bier to be fastened with chains to the bridge, directly in the middle of the structure; and he erected a chapel on the spot for both Jews and non-Jews. The king also forbade fishing in the river within a mile of Daniel’s bier.[2] According to Benjamin, the place is a dangerous one for navigation, since godless persons perish immediately on passing it; and the water under the bier is distinguished by the presence of goldfish.

Shushtar is an ancient fortress city in the khuzestan province in southwestern Iran. It is approximately 92 km away from Ahwaz. In the Elamite times Shushtar was known as Adamdun. In the Achaemenian times its name was Å urkutir. The modern name, Shushtar, is connected with the name of another ancient city, Susa, and means “greater (or better) than Shush.” During the Sassanian era, it was an island city on the Karun river and selected to become the summer capital. The river was channelled to form a moat around the city, while bridges and main gates into Shushtar were built to the east, west, and south. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture; the cultivation of sugar cane, the main crop, dates back to 226.

A system of subterranean channels called Ghanat, which connected the river to the private reservoirs of houses and buildings, supplied water for domestic use and irrigation, as well as to store and supply water during times of war when the main gates were closed. Traces of these ghanats can still be found in the crypts of some houses. The ancient fortress walls were destroyed at the end of the Safavid era.The Band -e -Kaisar was a Roman arch bridge, and the first in the country to combine it with a dam. When the Sassanian Shah Shapur the first defeated the Roman emperor Valerian, he is said to have ordered the captive Roman soldiers to build a large bridge and dam stretching over 500 metres. Lying deep in Persian territory, the structure which exhibits typical Roman building techniques became the most eastern Roman bridge and Roman dam.

Its dual-purpose design exerted a profound influence on Iranian civil engineering and was instrumental in developing Sassanid water management techniques. The approximately 500 m long overflow dam over the Karun, Iran’s most effluent river, was the core structure of the Shushtar Histoical Hydraulic Systems, a large irrigation complex from which Shushtar derived its agricultural productivity, and which has been designated World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2009.

 

Masuleh one of the most beautiful Stair villages

situated in a mountainous area covered with lush vegetation and luxuriant forests, Masuleh is a village enjoying the splendid natural beauty. Being a village of great antiquity, it is like a living architectural and anthropological museum, attracting a great number of tourists each year.

Masuleh is 36 kms south -west of Fuman, in the province of Gilan. It is bounded on the north by the village of Alyan, on the east by Shaft, on the south by Poshtkuh-e Khamesh, and on the west by Zanjan province. It is surrounded by the Talesh mountains, some of which , located in the west, are more than 3000 meters

high. Although Masuleh is near the Caspian Sea i is 1050 meters   above sea level. This creates a pleasant climate. Lying between the sea and the high Alborz Mountains, wich trap humidity from the air, it enjoys a pleasant climate with high annual precipitation and lush vegetation. The fluctuation of temperature varies from a high of 20 ° in to a low of -2° in winter. The annual average precipitation is 713 millimeters , wich occurs mainly in autumn and winter.

The most important mountains, affording spectacular landscapes, are as follows: Kuh -e Rash, Kuh -e Makuf , Kuh-e Dasht-e Gileh Sar and Kuh-e Gur. Many rivers originate in យ៉ា , the largest of which is the Masuleh Rud. This river wich is formed by the merging of the Zangol and Gilvan rivers, runs as a mountain stream but flows into the plain and then to the swamp of Siyah Kashim. There are some other rivers, like Andareh and Nilikhali , merging into the Masuleh Rud .

 In this area are found broad-leafed deciduous trees – maple , hornbeam, beech, walnut, taxus and fagus. Grass and vetch grow on the highlands.

Masuleh dates back to great antiquity and was on the road connecting Azerbaijan to Gilan .

The ancient village of Masuleh was located 4 kms north-west of the present one Masalar and Khortab Khani are old names of the village. In winter, it is thinly populated, since most people leave the village. The people living in Masuleh are the Talesh ethnice group , speaking the Taleshi language.

Because of the topographical features, agriculture is not an active industry and most people are engaged in animal husbandry and producing handicrafts. The articles such as gelims (rugs made of goats’ hair), jajims (fine carpets made of wool or cotton), socks. traditional dress, knives, spades, axes, scissors, and scythes are produced in Masuleh . Making a certain type of shoes called chamush is another occupation. The leather used for making chamushes are produced in the tanneries of the village itself. The shops selling traditional goods are scattered throughout Masuleh .

Some people earn their livings by selling goods to the shepherds and buying dairy products from them. Apart from natural beauty, the unique architecture of the buildings is of high attraction for tourists. Most houses are two or three storeys high . Set on the slope of the mountain, the houses are arranged in a stair-step, so that the roofs of some houses are the yards of the others. The roofs also form the public passages.

Masuleh consists of four neighborhoods : Khanehbar , Masjedbar , Asad and Kash-e sar-e-Olya. It covers an area of 150000 square meters, and the difference between its highest and lowest point is 100 meters. The configuration of the village indicates that in the past the people showed much consideration for security . The houses and the decorations  the rooms represent the oriental character of life . The lattice windows and closets with exquisite decoration  are exponents of  the original Iranian craftsmanship. Most  houses  include a certain hall in which the family lives in winter  , a small veranda  extending from the  front of the house , and a guest – room . The houses of the rich include curtain small rooms in which precious articles are kept .

The materials used for building the houses are mud-bricks stones, timbers, clay and wild ferns (which abound there and are used in the roofs). Two kinds of soils, called yellow soil and dark soil. found on the river, are used for covering the outer walls and the roofs respectively.

The configuration of the village’s buildings makes the entering of the automobiles impossible . This has helped the original atmosphere to survive. The oldest buildings date back to 300 year ago, but their architecture is similar to that of the Sassanian period  . There are eighteen mosques and five shrines in Masuleh , the mostirnportant of which are Jame mosque and the mausoleum  , the Imam Zadeh Own obn-e Mohammad-e Hanafiyyeh located in the neighbourhood of Masjedbar the door of the mausoleum  , on  which there are highly impressive carved designs, is made of ebony.

The bazaar from which a spectacular landscape can be seen, is roofless and multi-storeyed . It is in the bazaar that many of handicrafts are produced and sold.

The library of Mausleh, dating back to thirty years ago, includes over 5000 volumes . The hotel of Masuleh is an impressive building .

The people living in Masuleh have the greatest respect for their own traditions. A religious ceremony called Touqbandi, being of high importance, is taken place in the seventh night of each lunar Islamic year, in front of Jame’ mosque. The wedding ceremonies are also of high importance . In the wedding night, the bride

followed by her relatives and friends who are singing songs praising Ali (peace be upon him ), the first Imam of the shi’it branch of Islam , walks to the groom’s home , entering it just at dawn. Spelendid natural beauty, a pleasant climate, luxuriant forests, lush vegetation , the unique architecture of the buildings and hospitable people make Masuleh a point of great attraction, regarded and registered as a national asset.

 

Mamarz Lake in Iran’s Mazandaran province is widely known as the Ghosts Lake thanks to its horribly calm appearance.

If you are interested in off-road driving, you can experience it by setting off a journey to Mamarz Lake through a byway.

Throughout most days of the year, the virgin ecosystem of the lake is covered with fog and non-stop far sounds of wild animals. Add to the scene, the presence of dried out trees in the lake making it more and more closer to what is called the Ghosts Lake.

With a length of 700 metres and width of 300 metres, the lake is very attractive. Due to its unique scene and rare beauty, it has been registered as a natural heritage.

One of the main features of Mamarz Lake which attracts the visitors’ attentions is the remains of some old trees in the middle of the lake. They are known as dead trees. As a part of the lake’s nature, the scene contributes to the horrible nature of the lake.

The lake is located in the middle of an eye-catching forest near Nowshahr, which the visitors can enjoy along with the lake’s nature.

Persepolis:
Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.
The site includes a 125,000 square meter terrace, partly artificially constructed and partly cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Rahmet Mountain. The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. Rising from 5–13 meters (16–43 feet) on the west side was a double stair. From there, it gently slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips.
Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I who built the terrace and the palaces.
Since, to judge from the inscriptions, the buildings of Persepolis commenced with Darius I, it was probably under this king, with whom the scepter passed to a new branch of the royal house, that Persepolis became the capital of Iran proper. As the residence of the rulers of the empire, however, a remote place in a difficult alpine region was far from convenient. The country’s true capitals were Susa, Babylon and Ecbatana. This accounts for the fact that the Greeks were not acquainted with the city until Alexander the Great took and plundered it.
Darius I ordered the construction of the Apadana and the Council Hall (Tripylon or the “Triple Gate”), as well as the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings. These were completed during the reign of his son, Xerxes I. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid Empire.

Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun. The stairway was initially planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 meters (66 feet) above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan Stairway, was built symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall. The 111 steps measured 6.9 meters (23 feet) wide, with treads of 31 centimeters (12 inches) and rises of 10 centimeters (3.9 inches). Originally, the steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories, however, suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending. The top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of All Nations.
Grey limestone was the main building material used at Persepolis. After natural rock had been leveled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began.

The uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus Siculus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel. The first wall was 7 meters (23 feet) tall, the second, 14 meters (46 feet) and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 meters (89 feet) in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times.

Persepolis-Iran-Shiraz

Persepolis-Iran-Shiraz

Naqsh-e Jahan Square:
Naghsh-e-Jahan Square is a huge rectangular square in Isfahan, Iran, which is surrounded by monuments from Safavid period. Naghsh-e-Jahan Square was built during the reign of Safavid Shah Abbas. There are other historical monuments in the square including Ali Qapu Palace, Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, Qeisarieh Gate. In addition to these monuments, there are 200 chambers around the square, in which Isfahan’s handicrafts are presented.
In comparison with “Place de la Concorde” in Paris, Naghsh-e-jahan Square is historically superior, and after “Tiananmen Square” in Beijing, it is the second largest square in the world.
Due to the harmony existing in the construction of it, Naghsh-e-Jahan Square has surprised Europeans during centuries.
The square was registered in Iran’s National Heritage on January 28, 1935 under the registration number of 102. Also, it was among the first Iranian monuments, which was registered in UNESCO World Heritage in April, 1979 under the registration number of 115.
The square was named “Shah Square” after it was built, and it was registered in World Heritage list under this name. Currently, however, it is also known as “Imam Square” in that list.

Naqsh-e Jahan

Naqsh-e Jahan

Yazd city:
Yazd city is the center of Yazd province, Yazd is considered to be of the old cities of Iran and one of the best desert cities. It’s the first raw adobe city and the second historical city in the world after Venice in Italy. This region has been considered as one of the main and historical path and passageways of Iran and has always been noted by governments. Yazd is known as the “City of Wind Tower”. Also, “Bride of the Desert”, “Dar al Elm”, “City of Bicycles” and “the City of Sweets” are considered to be its other titles. Yazd is the city of different cultures and religions and its cultural inhabitants live peacefully together. This city is sister to the cities of Homs in Syria, Jaszbereny in Hungary, Nizwa in Oman, Jakarta the capital of Indonesia, Holguin in Cuba and Yeosu in South Korea.Yazd city was Just registered in UNESCO World Heritage in July, 2017

Yazd city

Yazd city

Tabriz Bazaar:
The Bazaar of Tabriz (Romanized as Bāzār-e Tabriz) is a historical market situated in the city center of Tabriz, Iran. It is one of the oldest bazaars in the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. [Citation needed] and is one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tabriz has been a place of cultural exchange since antiquity. Its historic bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centers on the Silk Road. A bazaar has existed on the same site since the early periods of Iranian urbanism following Islam.

Located in the center of the city of Tabriz, Iran, the structure consists of several sub-bazaars, such as Amir Bazaar (for gold and jewelry), Mozzafarieh (a carpet bazaar, sorted by knot size and type), shoe bazaar, and many other ones for various goods such as household items. The most prosperous time of Tabriz and its bazaar was in the 16th century when the town became the capital city of the Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as a capital in the 17th century, but its bazaar has remained important as a commercial and economic center. Although numerous modern shops and malls have been established nowadays, Tabriz Bazaar has remained the economic heart of both the city and northwestern Iran.

Tabriz Bazaar has also been a place of political significance, and one can point out its importance in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the last century and Islamic Revolution in the contemporary time.

The bazaar was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2010.

Tabriz-bazaar

Tabriz-bazaar

Traditional water sources of Persian antiquity (Qanat):
Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. Major rivers like the Arvand, Aras, Zayandeh, Sefid and Atrak were few and far between in the vast lands of Persian antiquity.
With the growth of urban settlements during the ages, locally dug deep wells (up to 100 meters deep) could no longer keep up with the demand, leading to the systematic digging of a specialized network of canals known as Qanat.
Persia’s Qanat system dates back many centuries, and thousands of years old. The city Zarch in central Iran has the oldest and longest qanat (over 3000 years and 71 km long) and other 3000 years old qanats have been found in northern Iran. The Qanats mostly came in from higher elevations, and were split into a distributing network of smaller underground canals called Kariz when reaching the city. Like Qanats, these smaller canals were below ground (~20 steps), and were built such that they were very difficult to contaminate. These underground aqueducts, built thousands of years ago suffer no evaporation loss and are ideally suited for drinking water since there is no pollution danger.
But with the further growth of the city in Persian lands, even the Qanats could not respond to the needs of residents. That is when some wealthy inhabitants started building private reservoirs called Ab Anbar.
This Qanat surfacing in Fin is from a spring thought to be several thousand years in running, called The Spring of Solomon (“Cheshmeh-ye Soleiman”). It is thought to have been feeding the Sialk area since antiquity.
In the middle of the twentieth century, it is estimated that approximately 50,000 qanats were in use in Iran, each commissioned and maintained by local users. Of these only 25,000 remain in use as of 1980.
One of the oldest and largest known qanats is in the Iranian city of Gonabad which after 2700 years still provides drinking and agricultural water to nearly 40,000 people. Its main well is more than 360 meters deep and the qanat is 45 kilometers long. Yazd, Khorasan and Kerman are the known zones for their dependence with an extensive system of qanats.

In traditional Persian architecture, a Kariz is a small Qanat, usually within a network inside an urban setting. Kariz is what distributes the Qanat into its final destinations.
Qanats of Gonabad also is called kariz Kai Khosrow is one of the oldest and largest qanats in the world built between 700 BC to 500 BC. It is located at Gonabad, Razavi Khorasan Province, Iran. This property contains 427 water wells with total length of 33113 meters. This site were first added to the UNESCO’s list of tentative World Heritage Sites in 2007, then officially inscribed in 2016 with several other quants under the World Heritage Site name of “The Persian Qanat.

Qanat

Qanat

Shushtar:

Shushtar is located in Khuzestan province. This region is situated on the slope of Zagros mountains and has unparalleled historical and tourist attractions. This county is known as one of the most important tourist areas of Iran and its mills and hydraulic systems, which have been registered in World Heritage, attracts many Iranian and foreign tourists.

 

shushtar-historical-hydraulic-system

shushtar-historical-hydraulic-system

Susa:

Susa is of the northern counties of Khuzestan province and its center is the city of Susa. The ancient Susa city has been of the centers of old civilization, of the most famous cities in the world, several thousand year old capital of Elam civilization and also the winter capital of the Achaemenian empire. Of its valuable historical monuments Chogha Zanbil ziggurat and the historical site of Susa can be mentioned; which are all registered as world heritage. Susa county, due to its special geographical location and valuable and unique historical and religious monuments, has a special place in the area of tourism

Susa

Susa

Gonbad-e Qabus Tower:
Tower of Gonbad-e Kabus is a historical and glorious construction and it is one of the attractions of Gonbad-e Kabus town in Gulistan province and it is located in a vast and beautiful park and attracts the eye of any observer from kilometers long. The Tower of Gonbad-e Kabus is a valuable relic left from the fourth Hijri century and is a remnant of Ziyarid dynasty in this land of Iran. This tower used to be the guide and landmark of travelers who used to pass this land. Tower of Gonbad-e Kabus is the largest brick tower of Iran and is one of the longest towers of the world.
Tower of Gonbad-e Kabus was registered in the 36th UNESCO conference as a world heritage.

Gonbad-e Qabus Tower

Gonbad-e Qabus Tower

Jameh Mosque, Isfahan:
Isfahan is one of the famous cities in the world due to its ancient history and numerous ancient monuments. According to Andre Malraux, it is only comparable to two cities of Beijing and Florence. The major part of this city is related to the period after the advent of Islam, especially Seljuks and Safavid eras and precious monuments have remained among the mosques, inns, squares, bridges and streets from those periods.
Isfahan has sister city relationship with ten cities of Freiburg in Germany, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Florence in Italy, Xi’an in China, St. Petersburg in Russia, Havanna in Kuba, Yash in Romania, Kuwait City and Barcelon in Spain.
Jom’e Mosque or Jameh Mosque of Isfahan is one of the most important and oldest religious monuments in Iran. This mosque presents a vast historical complex of 170 × 140 meters in dimension in the north east of Isfahan and beside the old square and today it includes different parts such as Nezam al-Molk Dome, Taj ol-Molk Dome, four-porch yard and its circle chambers, Mozaffari School and Aljayto Altar, each of which represents the process of Islamic architecture over different periods. Architecture of this mosque is admirable and it has a unique altar. Based on historical evidences, Jameh Mosque of Isfahan has been built on the ruins of an even older mosque which was built in Judea by resident Arabs of Tehran in the second Hijri century. The first mosque was established on the ruins of buildings related to the late Sassanid period.
The most important development plans took place in Buyids and Safavid era. The architecture of the mosque is in Razi Style. Jameh Mosque of Isfahan reflects Byzantine and classic art in the form of a traditional and Islamic building.
This mosque is one of the monuments registered in UNESCO World Heritage.

Jameh Mosque

Jameh Mosque

Pasargadae:
Pasargadae was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great who had issued its construction (559–530 BC); it was also the location of his tomb. It was a city in ancient Persia, located near the city of Shiraz (in Pasargad County), and is today an archaeological site and one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Cyrus the Great began building the capital in 546 BC or later; it was unfinished when he died in battle, in 530 or 529 BC. The remains of the tomb of Cyrus’ son and successor Cambyses II have been found in Pasargadae, near the fortress of Toll-e Takht, and identified in 2006.

Pasargadae remained the capital of the Achaemenid Empire until Cambyses II moved it to Susa; later, Darius founded another in Persepolis. The archaeological site covers 1.6 square kilometres and includes a structure commonly believed to be the mausoleum of Cyrus, the fortress of Toll-e Takht sitting on top of a nearby hill, and the remains of two royal palaces and gardens. Pasargadae Persian Gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian chahar bagh, or fourfold garden design (see Persian Gardens).

The Gate R, located at the eastern edge of the palace area, is the oldest known freestanding propylaeum. It may have been the architectural predecessor of the Gate of All Nations at Persepolis.

Pasargadae

Pasargadae

Arg-e Bam:
The Arg-e Bam was the largest adobe building in the world, located in Bam, a city in Kerman Province of southeastern Iran. It is listed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site “Bam and its Cultural Landscape”. The origin of this enormous citadel on the Silk Road can be traced back to the Achaemenid Empire (sixth to fourth centuries BC) and even beyond. The heyday of the citadel was from the seventh to eleventh centuries, being at the crossroads of important trade routes and known for the production of silk and cotton garments.

The entire building was a large fortress containing the citadel, but because of the impressive look of the citadel, which forms the highest point, the entire fortress is named the Bam Citadel.

On December 26, 2003, the Citadel was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake, along with much of the rest of Bam and its environs. A few days after the earthquake, the President of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, announced that the Citadel would be rebuilt.

Arg-e Bam

Arg-e Bam

Takht-e Soleyman:
Takht-e Soleyman, also known as Azar Goshnasp, literally “the Fire of the Warrior Kings”, is an archaeological site in West Azarbaijan, Iran. It lies midway between Urmia and Hamadan, very near the present-day town of Takab, and 400 km (250 mi) west of Tehran.

The originally fortified site, which is located on a volcano crater rim, was recognized as a World Heritage Site in July 2003. The citadel includes the remains of a Zoroastrian fire temple built during the Sassanid period and partially rebuilt during the Ilkhanid period. This site got this Semitic name after the Arab conquest. This temple housed one of the three “Great Fires” or “Royal Fires” that Sassanid rulers humbled themselves before in order to ascend the throne. The fire at Takht-i Soleiman was called ādur Wishnāsp and was dedicated to the arteshtar or warrior class of the Sasanid.

Folk legend relates that King Solomon used to imprison monsters inside the 100 m deep crater of the nearby Zendan-e Soleyman “Prison of Solomon”. Another crater inside the fortification itself is filled with spring water; Solomon is said to have created a flowing pond that still exists today. Nevertheless, Solomon belongs to Semitic legends and therefore, the lore and namesake (Solomon’s Throne) should have been formed following Arab conquest of Persia. A 4th century [citation needed] Armenian manuscript relating to Jesus and Zarathustra, and various historians of the Islamic period, mention this pond. The foundations of the fire temple around the pond is attributed to that legend. Takht-E Soleyman appears on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

Archaeological excavations have revealed traces of a 5th-century BC occupation during the Achaemenid period, as well as later Parthian settlements in the citadel. Coins belonging to the reign of Sassanid kings, and that of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius II (AD 408-450), have also been discovered there.

Takht-e-Solyman-Iran

Takht-e-Solyman-Iran

The Armenian Monastic Ensembles:
The Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran, located in the West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces in Iran, is an ensemble of three Armenian churches that were established during the period between the 7th and 14th centuries A.D. The edifices—the St. Thaddeus Monastery, the Saint Stepanos Monastery, and the Chapel of Dzordzor—have undergone many renovations. These sites were inscribed as cultural heritages in the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee on 8 July 2008 under the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The three churches lie in a total area of 129 hectares (320 acres) and were inscribed under UNESCO criteria (ii), (iii), and (vi) for their outstanding value in showcasing Armenian architectural and decorative traditions, for being a major centre for diffusion of Armenian culture in the region, and for being a place of pilgrimage of the apostle St. Thaddeus, a key figure in Armenian religious traditions. They represent the last vestiges of old Armenian culture in its southeastern periphery. The ensemble is in a good state of preservation.

Armenian Monastic Ensembles

Armenian Monastic Ensembles

The Bisotun Relief:
The Behistun Inscription (also Bisotun, Bistun or Bisutun ‎‎, Old Persian: Bagastana, meaning “the place of god”) is a multilingual inscription and large rock relief on a cliff at Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, near the city of Kermanshah in western Iran. It was crucial to the decipherment of cuneiform script.

Authored by Darius the Great sometime between his coronation as king of the Persian Empire in the summer of 522 BC and his death in autumn of 486 BC, the inscription begins with a brief autobiography of Darius, including his ancestry and lineage. Later in the inscription, Darius provides a lengthy sequence of events following the deaths of Cyrus the Great and Cambyses II in which he fought nineteen battles in a period of one year (ending in December 521 BC) to put down multiple rebellions throughout the Persian Empire. The inscription states in detail that the rebellions, which had resulted from the deaths of Cyrus the Great and his son Cambyses II, were orchestrated by several impostors and their co-conspirators in various cities throughout the empire, each of whom falsely proclaimed kinghood during the upheaval following Cyrus’s death.

Darius the Great proclaimed himself victorious in all battles during the period of upheaval, attributing his success to the “grace of Ahura Mazda”.

The inscription includes three versions of the same text, written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian (a variety of Akkadian). The inscription is to cuneiform what the Rosetta stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script.

The inscription is approximately 15 metres high by 25 metres wide and 100 metres up a limestone cliff from an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media (Babylon and Ecbatana, respectively). The Old Persian text contains 414 lines in five columns; the Elamite text includes 593 lines in eight columns, and the Babylonian text is in 112 lines. The inscription was illustrated by a life-sized bas-relief of Darius I, the Great, holding a bow as a sign of kingship, with his left foot on the chest of a figure lying on his back before him. The supine figure is reputed to be the pretender Gaumata. Darius is attended to the left by two servants, and nine one-meter figures stand to the right, with hands tied and rope around their necks, representing conquered peoples. Faravahar floats above, giving his blessing to the king. One figure appears to have been added after the others were completed, as was Darius’s beard, which is a separate block of stone attached with iron pins and lead.

bisotun

bisotun

Meymand Village:
Meymand (Romanized as Maymand, Meimand and Maimand) is a village in Meymand Rural District, in the Central District of Shahr-e Babak County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 673, in 181 families.

Meymand is a very ancient village which is located near Shahr-e Babak city in Kerman Province, Iran. Meymand is believed to be a primary human residence in the Iranian Plateau, dating back to 12,000 years ago. Many of the residents live in the 350 hand-dug houses amid the rocks, some of which have been inhabited for as long as 3,000 years. Stone engravings nearly 10,000 years old are found around the village, and deposits of pottery nearly 6,000 years old attest to the long history of settlement at the village site.

Regarding the origin of these structures two theories have been suggested: According to the first theory, this village was built by a group of the Aryan tribe about 800 to 700 years B.C. and at the same time with the Median era. It is possible that the cliff structures of Meymand were built for religious purposes. Worshippers of Mithras believe that the sun is invincible and this guided them to consider mountains as sacred. Hence the stone cutters and architects of Meymand have set their beliefs out in the construction of their dwellings. Based on the second theory the village dates back to the second or third century A.D. During the Arsacid era different tribes of southern Kerman migrated in different directions. These tribes found suitable places for living and settled in those areas by building their shelters which developed in time into the existing homes. The existence of a place known as the fortress of Meymand, near the village, in which more than 150 ossuaries (bone-receptacle) of the Sassanid period were found, strengthens this theory.

Living conditions in Meymand are harsh due to the aridity of the land and to high temperatures in summers and very cold winters. [citation needed] The local language contains many words from the ancient Sassanid and Pahlavi languages.

In 2005, Meymand was awarded the UNESCO-Greece Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes (about $20,000).

On 4 July 2015, the village was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

meymand

meymand

The Golestan Palace:
The Golestan Palace (‎‎Kākh-e Golestān) is the former royal Qajar complex in Iran’s capital city, Tehran.

One of the oldest historic monuments in the city of Tehran, and of world heritage status, the Golestan Palace belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s arg (“citadel”). It consists of gardens, royal buildings, and collections of Iranian crafts and European presents from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Golestan-Palace-Tehran

Golestan-Palace-Tehran

Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble:
Sheikh Safi al-Din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble is the tomb of Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili located in Ardabil, Iran. In 2010, it was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sheikh Safi, an eminent leader of an Islamic Sufi order established by the Safavids, was born in Ardabil where this complex is located. The Safavids valued the tomb-mosque form, and the tomb with its mausoleum and prayer hall is located at a right angle to the mosque. The buildings in the complex surround a small inner courtyard (31 by 16 meters). The complex is entered through a long garden.
The Mausoleum of Sheikh Safi, in Ardabil, was first built by his son Sheikh Sadr al-Dīn Mūsā, after Sheikh Safi’s death in 1334. It was constructed between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century. The mausoleum, a tall, domed circular tower decorated with blue tile and about 17 meters in height; beside it is the 17th-century Porcelain House preserving the sanctuary’s ceremonial wares. Also part of the complex are many sections that have served a variety of functions over the past centuries, including a library, a mosque, a school, mausolea, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery, and some offices. It incorporates a route to reach the shrine of the sheikh divided into seven segments, which mirror the seven stages of Sufi mysticism. Various parts of the mausoleum are separated by eight gates, which represent the eight attitudes of Sufism.

Several parts were gradually added to the main structure during the Safavid dynasty. A number of Safavid sheikhs and harems and victims of the Safavids’ battles, including the Battle of Chaldiran, have been buried at the site.

safiodin-ardebili

safiodin-ardebili

The Lut Desert:
The Lut Desert, widely referred to as Dasht-e Lut (“Emptiness Plain”), is a large salt desert located in the provinces of Kerman and Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran. It is the world’s 27th-largest desert, and was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List on July 17, 2016. The surface of its sand has been measured at temperatures as high as 70 °C (159 °F), making it one of the world’s driest and hottest places.

lut-desert

lut-desert

Soltaniyeh Dome:
Soltaniyeh (Romanized as Solţānīyeh, Solţāneyyeh, Sultaniye, and Sultānīyeh; also known as Sa‘īdīyeh; Latin: Soltania/ Sultania) is the capital city of Soltaniyeh District of Abhar County, Zanjan Province, Azerbaijan, northwestern Iran.
Soltaniyeh, located some 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the north-west of Tehran, was built as the capital of Mongol Ilkhanid rulers of Iran in the 14th century. Its name which refers to the Islamic ruler title sultan translates loosely as “the Regal”.

In 2005, UNESCO listed Soltaniyeh as one of the World Heritage Sites. The road from Zanjan to Soltaniyeh extends until it reaches to the Katale khor cave.

William Dalrymple notes that Öljaitü intended Soltaniyeh to be “the largest and most magnificent city in the world” but that it “died with him” and is now “a deserted, crumbling spread of ruins.

Soltaniyeh-dome-zanjan

Soltaniyeh-dome-zanjan

Persian Gardens:
The tradition and style of garden design represented by Persian gardens or Iranian gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond. The gardens of the Alhambra show the influence of Persian garden philosophy and style in a Moorish palace scale, from the era of al-Andalus in Spain. Humayun’s Tomb and Taj Mahal have some of the largest Persian gardens in the world, from the era of the Mughal Empire in India.
Persian gardens may originate as early as 4000 BCE. [dubious – discuss] [verification needed] Decorated pottery of that time displays the typical cross plan of the Persian garden. The outline of Pasargadae, built around 500 BCE, is viewable today.

During the reign of the Sasanian Empire (third to seventh century), and under the influence of Zoroastrianism, water in art grew increasingly important. This trend manifested itself in garden design, with greater emphasis on fountains and ponds in gardens.

During the Islamic period, the aesthetic aspect of the garden increased in importance, overtaking utility. During this time, aesthetic rules that govern the garden grew in importance. An example of this is the chahār bāgh, a form of garden that attempts to emulate the Garden of Eden, with four rivers and four quadrants that represent the world. The design sometimes extends one axis longer than the cross-axis, and may feature water channels that run through each of the four gardens and connect to a central pool.

The invasion of Persia by the Mongols in the thirteenth century led to a new emphasis on highly ornate structure in the garden. Examples of this include tree peonies and chrysanthemums. [clarification needed] The Mongols then carried a Persian garden tradition to other parts of their empire (notably India).

Babur introduced the Persian garden to India. The now unkempt Aram Bagh, Agra was the first of many Persian gardens he created. The Taj Mahal embodies the Persian concept of an ideal paradise garden.

The Safavid dynasty (seventeenth to eighteenth century) built and developed grand and epic layouts that went beyond a simple extension to a palace and became an integral aesthetic and functional part of it. In the following centuries, European garden design began to influence Persia, particularly the designs of France, and secondarily that of Russia and the United Kingdom. Western influences led to changes in the use of water and the species used in bedding.

Traditional forms and style are still applied in modern Iranian gardens. They also appear in historic sites, museums and affixed to the houses of the rich.

Elements of the Persian garden, such as the shade, the jub, and the courtyard style hayāt in a public garden in Shiraz.
Sunlight and its effects were an important factor of structural design in Persian gardens. Textures and shapes were specifically chosen by architects to harness the light.

Iran’s dry heat makes shade important in gardens, which would be nearly unusable without it. Trees and trellises largely feature as biotic shade; pavilions and walls are also structurally prominent in blocking the sun.

The heat also makes water important, both in the design and maintenance of the garden. Irrigation may be required, and may be provided via a form of underground tunnel called a qanat, that transports water from a local aquifer. Well-like structures then connect to the qanat, enabling the drawing of water. Alternatively, an animal-driven Persian well would draw water to the surface. Such wheel systems also moved water around surface water systems, such as those in the chahar bāgh style. Trees were often planted in a ditch called a juy, which prevented water evaporation and allowed the water quick access to the tree roots.

The Persian style often attempts to integrate indoors with outdoors through the connection of a surrounding garden with an inner courtyard. Designers often place architectural elements such as vaulted arches between the outer and interior areas to open up the divide between them.

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