The Jewel of Islam's Crown
> Journeying 2 months in Iran <
Could Iran be the friendliest country on earth? During our first visit, this old Persian empire didn’t fail to get under our skin. As wide-eyed first-timer’s we fell instantly in love with the warm-hearted people, legendary hospitality, bombastic nature, and signature Islamic architecture and art – single handedly, all of these are reasons enough to visit. Now, as frequent visitors, we are still amazed, and when bumping into other world travelers during our many journeys we can always identify people with a common passion for Iran by their shiny eyes and big smiles as the question is mentioned: Have you been to Iran?
Iran really is vast. Comprising the size of the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland all combined, it is a land of great contrasts, physically, climatically and culturally. We’ve visited the Zagros Mountains and Kurdish regions in West, which form a natural barrier with Iraq (see our Kurdistan site for more info). We’ve also been exploring the Gulf and the Sea of Oman, marking Iran’s southern limits (see our Persian Gulf site for more info). Then we crossed Iran during our Hippy trail journey.
During this “classical Persia”-journey, though, we focus on the legendary Persian trails: from the Northern areas and Iranian Azerbaijan, bordering the Caucasian republics and Alborz mountain range, over the big Islamic cities, to the huge desert sitting in the centre. We uncover several of the old, magical silk road cities and bazars, some of the most beautiful architecture on the planet, and unparalleled mountain climbing across the Middle East region. Jewel-like mosques, palaces, gardens and old bridges as well as Iranian people and mountains is what this journey is all about.
As mentioned, Iran's greatest attraction could just be its people. Being a nation made up of numerous ethnic groups and influenced over thousands of years by Greek, Arab, Turkic and Mongol occupiers, history has put is mark on the endlessly welcoming Iranians. It is impossible to return even from a short visit without being compelled to consider your own stance on kindness and generosity.
Also see our 'Hippy Trail' page covering more remote parts of Iran, our 'Kurdistan' page for the Kurdish provinces inside Iran bordering Iraq, and our 'Persian Gulf' site which is about an island hopping adventure in that part. We also climbed 'Damavand', the highest mountain in the Middle East.