The Jewels of Islam's Crown and top five cities: Esfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Teheran and Tabriz
> 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 traveled in the North, mostly off-the-beaten-track, from Iranian Azerbaijan to Tehran along Jolfa, Tabriz, Mausuleh, Kandovan, Zanjan, Lahijan and Rasth. Many of these places were part of the old Silk Road (see our 'Hippy Trail I' site for more info). We've travled in the West in the Kurdish regions (see our 'Kurdistan' site on Iranian Kurdistan). We've seen the Central and Sourthern parts from Qom and Kashan, over Esfahan, Shahr-e Kord, Na'in, Tabas, Kharnaq, Yazd, Chak Chak, Meybod and Garmeh to Bandar Abbas, Minab and Zahedan. Along the way we've explored several historic sites, including Ardalan, Kizerun, Bishapur, Persepolis and Parsargadae, while also spending time in the Dast-e Kavir desert and the Lut desert, Iran's two largest deserts, with charming oasis villages and sand castles (see our 'Hippy Trail II' site for more info on these parts). Oh, and finally, 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), and we've also climbed climbed 'Damavand', the highest mountain in the Middle East.
This page is dedicated to what we coin as Classical Persia with a focus on the five main cities: Esfahan, Shiraz & Persepolis, Yazd, Teheran, and Tabriz – and a focus on portraying the Iranian people. We uncover several of the old, magical silk road cities and bazars and some of the most beautiful architecture on the planet. 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.