Monday, March 18, 2013

Nowruz in Iran

Celebrating Nowruz, the moment of changing seasons from winter to spring, which is being celebrated in many countries has roots in ancient Persia and Zoroastrian traditions. Nowruz is the first day of year on Persian calendar and people celebrate the exact moment of new year. Persian calendar is based on seasons, starts with spring and ends with winter. For thousands of years Nowruz has been celebrated because it’s the symbol of renewing everything, Nov(Now) means new and ruz means day. This day corresponds around 21 march. You can find more accurate information on many websites like Wikipedia but what I am going to talk about is something that you need to know for arrange your travel in Iran during these days
Blossoms are everywhere in Nowruz

For first and most important comment is “Everywhere is off” so don’t expect normal life in Iran. You will be in trouble if you are planning to get or extend your Iranian visa or even visa for other countries. Yes, embassy of many countries in Iran would be closed during Nowruz.
Rarely you can find 24/7 exchanges in Iran (going to write about whole currency issue soon) and it's more difficult to find open ones in 1 day before and 5 or 6 days after Nowruz, a whole week in sum.
Let’s forget about hypothetical problems and take a look at beautiful aspects of biggest event and longest holiday in Iran. Two major groups of people enjoy Nowruz in two different ways.
First Cluster prefer to spend holidays traveling around Iran or abroad. Booking hotels, trips, villas, flights, bus etc. is a profitable business during last month of Persian year. Tehrani people are in a long term relationship with north of Iran. Shomal means north and the word is being used for a typical destination in Iran with splendid landscape including green forests, Caspian Sea beaches, fog, etc. During Nowruz everything will be more expensive around Shomal for example they will charge you 3000k Rials for a villa which costs about 500k Rials normally. Some other cities like Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Kerman and Mashhad also expect lots of guests. Main destination for foreign travelers is Turkey, Dubai, Erbil in Kurdistan-Iraq, Armenia, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Cyprus and Georgia. For instance if you walk in Istanbul streets during these days, you will attend so many Persian speakers. In 2010, because of huge number of tourists, Armenia closed borders for not having any more room for guests and published an announcement apologizing about not having enough space for more visitors.
Kids are choosing Haft-Sin items
In other side, some people like to keep traditions and do stuff which always Iranians did in the same period. Every family prepare a “Haft-Sin” which is a symbol and always buy some fruits and nuts for receipting guests. Older members of family always keep some new notes of money and give these notes to children as “Eidi” which means “Gift for feast”. Sometimes people go and make a Reconciliation between people who had problems and ask them for reconsider the relationship in next year.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Milad Tower

Milad tower
Milad tower is a multipurpose tower in Tehran, Iran. Here you can see some photos of this tower:

Milad tower and surroundings can take half a day to visit. There is photo gallery, handmade Persian art shop, restaurant and coffee-shop and seasonal activities like Kurdish dance (YES, DANCE), pantomime etc. You can also take the elevator to highest point of Tehran for 140,000 Rials per person. The view of city at night is beautiful from up there.

How to go?

There is not direct bus or shared taxis to Milad tower but as everybody knows, taxi fares are not that high in Iran so take a taxi. If you want to make your visit more affordable, it's better to go to Vanak square using bus and then take the taxi to Milad tower. Maybe you can take shared taxis to somewhere and taxi passes the Hemmat highway. so you can take those taxis and get off the taxi beside the tower and walk about 15 minutes.

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