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Azady, Tehran


  • Iran general: For Europeans it's a fantastic country to visit. I worked in Esfahan for about 4 months and enjoyed every minute of it. So did my wife, when she visited me. Okay, she had to wear a long coat and scarf. But so what? She could roam around the city on her own, enter the smallest alleys and largest buildings, without any danger to herself. She loved it. The country is beautiful although harsh. The people are very friendly, as are the authorities. The language is a bit of a problem. Farsi (Persian) is a difficult language. If you speak Arabic, you'll find you will understand quite a bit. English is being taught in industries and at schools now, so slowly on, you can make yourself understood better and better. There are shuttle aircraft to every main town for ridiculous low prices: I traveled from Tehran to Esfahan and back (700 kilometers, 50 minutes flying time each way) for about 20 US dollars!!! The comfort is reasonable, however, if the plane sits on the tarmac, they won't switch on the airco, even with the engines rolling. Not until they are at cruising height! And in summer, that's very hard to bear, especially if you have to wait for some time before takeoff. Still, 20 bucks....And yes, a day after I flew vice versa Tehran-Esfahan, one of these aircraft crashed somewhere in that desert. True, there were no crashes since. Oh, by the way: There is another way to travel that distance and it's an extremely interesting way. Go by taxi!! It takes a seven hour drive and is best done at night, when the sun doesn't try to broil you. Don't forget, air conditioning in cars is not everywhere available...The price for that trip is very reasonable and may compete with the flying price.

  • Language: Persian (Farsi). In the southwest (Khuzestan) it's Arabic and Turkish in the northwest near Tabriz. Some speak French or German, but English is being taught at many places and you can get by with that.

  • Voltage 220V AC, 50Hz. Bring a universal adapter.
  • Time compared to GMT Summer +3.5. Winter +4.5.
  • Religion: Islamic, mostly Shi'ite and a few Sunnis. 300,000 Christians, 80,000 Jews, 30,000 Zoroastrians. The constitution allows freedom of religion. And the Iranians are very proud of their historic churches. You'll find a beautiful church in Esfahan, which is richly decorated, with an adjacent museum, housing, amongst others, the smallest Bible in the world. I guess it's less than 2 cm square. I know it was once stolen, but they caught the fellow at the airport. Well, it's small enough to hide! There are Jewish Synagogues actually active. Just to show you, that sometimes media and press can be misleading!

  • Calls to Holland: 0031-
  • Mosque in Tehran

  • Tehran Population 6.5 million. A large, beautiful city, bordered by high mountains, where one can go skiing in winter. It may snow in winter, but in summer the temperatures soar high. Restaurants are everywhere and reasonably priced for a good and tasty meal. Travel within the city is easiest by taxi. One can travel throughout the city for a very small amount of money. Haggle for it!! 2000 or 3000 Rial will get you far. And that's about one US dollar!

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  • Esfahan used to be the capital of Iran. It is a magnificent town, spread along a fast flowing, but mysterious river. This river runs into the desert and utterly disappears. An Italian exploration team did some studies, but have never been able to explain where it went. There is a story, that says that in the far past, King Abbas wanted water in his town. There was none. But far away there was and only a mountain stood in it's way to get it to Esfahan. So, he had lots of workers dig a tunnel right through that mountain, so that the river started flowing towards Esfahan. It never stopped flowing since. At least, if you believe the story....! There are many sights to see. Go to a tourist office and rent a guide with a taxi. Take a real guide! You'll find one in the tourist office opposite the Abbasi hotel (named after this legendary King Abbas, and well worth looking into as it is unbelievable beautiful and eat there, on the wide terrace in the courtyard! Their specialty: American Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers! Mind you, they are nothing compared to the real thing, but they do their best! And when you have worked there for a few months, they are heavenly!). You can book trips by car, sightseeing in and around Esfahan, but also out, to f.i. Naii, where you can find old ruins of Jewish and Christian people. In and around Esfahan visit the Shaking Minarets, the huge and centuries old Mosques, the Minarets, the Fire Temple, etc. etc. There is also a travel agency there from the Iranian Airlines where you can book any flights and any airline. Do visit the historic bridges and stroll through the parks along the riverside banks. Eat at the Kowsar Hotel (the better kitchen) or the Abbasi hotel or in any of the many restaurants in town. Fruit, hand painted vases (if you buy the latter, feel it's weight. If it's light, don't buy it. When it's heavy, it has been painted and baked on a 100 percent copper vase. That's the one that's really worth buying). Tablecloths are very cheap and beautiful. They are made using a "batik" technique using a stamp and wax. Visit the Imam square, with the soukh, {all along the square, but behind the buildings, so you can't see it from the square. It's completely covered), it's shops, the Palace and Mosque. The mosque is something special. It has a stone on it's square inside. When you hit that with a hard kick, you will hear seven (yes, 7) echo's!

  • Just enjoy yourself!!! Males are now allowed to wear short sleeved shirts. No shorts! Ladies must wear a long coat and scarf everywhere, also in restaurants, everywhere except in their own room. But if you do open the door: put them on!! The gents: do not wear ties. They are seen as a western decadency and are not appreciated. So, if you have a business meeting, no matter how important: don't wear ties!! Nobody will say anything and you may notice nothing. But the absence of ties is appreciated!

Imam Square, Esfahan

Weather Weather in Tehran!

Weather Weather in Esfahan!

Travel Docs Info from traveldocs

Lonely Planet Info from Lonely Planet

Info Learn Arabic or Farsi (Persian)!


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Copyright © 1998-2010 Luuk Francken
Map Iran: permission for use granted by
Created: April 14, 1998. Updated: januari 24 2010

Copyright © 1998-2018 Luuk Francken