Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Zagros, land of rise and falls.

  When it comes to mountain climbing in Iran, Zagros is the big one. Zagros is a very vast mountain range which is extended about 1600 kilometers, from north-west of Iran and even borders of eastern Turkey and northern Iraq to the south-east of Iran. The highest point in the range is Dena which is an area about 4,409 meters high, located in middle Zagros. So, Dena is very popular among mountain climbers, adventurers and nature lovers. Visitors usually start their climbing or adventure trip from a town named Si-sakht which is a town in “kohgiluyeh and boyir-Ahmad” province, surrounded by Zagros peaks, with a beautiful wild nature. After few hour of driving from both Shiraz and Isfahan you can reach this city.

  Now you just have to choose what you desire to have in this unlimited nature:

  Staying in Si-sakht, renting a rural house and enjoying the fresh sky and weather, strolling in alleys and gardens full of apple, peach and walnut trees with the background of Zagros heights which are covered with snow during four seasons of the year.

  Having a great camping experience on the gentle slopes, covered by oak and wild almond trees. Maybe you would like to get a little higher and more acquainted with the wild mountains. There is a lake named “kooh-gol” on a mountain that can be reached by about an hour of not tough mountain climbing. You can set up your tent around this little lake and spend an unforgettable camping night. 
The fresh nature of Zagros range's foothills.
  You need more adventure? If you are a professional mountain climber, climbing groups are available in Si-sakht, most of the times and you can join them for an exciting hiking tour in Dena area. They are escorted by a local guide and equipped with technical climbing tools and suits.
"Kooh gol" lake, on the heights.
  There are three main ways to reach Dena ridge: 

  Northern route: You should Start the way from Khafr (the historical city in Semirom, Isfahan), and climb Kay-khosro canyon to the ridge.
  Eastern route: The way starts from Si-Sakht, entering Bijan col. You can reach to different peaks of the ridge, including “Sichanli” and “Howz daal”, passing Bijan col.

  Southern route: This route starts from Si-Sakht and enters “Boz kosh” canyon which means goat killer due to the steep slope! The route finishes on the “Howz daal” peak.

  The famous peaks on Dena ridge, suitable for professional climbing are:

“Sichanli”: 4120 meters                                     eastern and western “Hara”: 4310 and 4300 meters

“Howzdaal”: 4360 meters                                 “Maash”: 4300 meters

“Korsoumi”: 4260 meters                                   “Bon rood”: 4250 meters

“Bijan2” (also called the sky tower): 4435 meters     

“Bijan3” (also called Ghaash mastan): 4450 meters

“Mourgol”: 4420 meters

  During your climbing tour in Zagros you will be amazed with incredible landscapes of wild rivers moving through the valleys, springs like “cheshme-mishi” and different waterfalls. This breath taking nature is territory to many different animals like brown bear, antelope, panther, Persian squirrel, partridges and etc., and also unique types of plants like wild red tulips and cypress trees are existing in this area which is a heaven to mountain climbers and nature lovers. 

  You can just request for mountain climbing tours in Zagros and go for packing your trekking suits! Uppersia will do the rest and arrange your adventures tour.

Young people spending their vacations on the Zagros heights.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Susa, home to many emperors.

  Susa is located in south-west of Iran and it is known as one of the oldest cities in the world, founded 4000 years BC. According to the ancient documents, Susa has achieved urban planning and architectural design during Elamite, Achaemenid, Ashkanid, Sasanid and Islamic era. The ancient area of Susa, including Apadana (Achaemenid palace), Susa Jaame mosque and Islamic monuments, Acropolis hills and the French castle has been registered in UNESCO’s heritage list in 2015. 

Susa during Elimate era:

  Traveling to Susa will take you back to 2700 BC, when it was chosen as the Capital of Elamite emperor, which has been a civilized and long standing emperor because of their high intelligence and the suitable climate of Susa that led to agriculture and animal husbandry. Some of remaining heritages, referring to Elamite era in Susa, are:

1. The remains of Susa, including artificial mounds, excavated 200 years ago.

The remains of Susa dating back to Elamite era.
2. The most important heritage dating back to Elamite era in Susa is “Choqazanbil” temple. This great monument has been made in 5 overlapping floors for worshiping “Inshoushinak”, the Elamite god. Today only 3 floors are remaining. There are some stone benches in front of this giant temple that were the place for sacrificing for the god. “Choqazanbil” is the oldest monument in Iran and the first world heritage of Iran that have been inscribed by UNESCO.

"Choqazanbil", the temple for worshiping Elimate god.

Susa during Achaemenid era:

 Achaemenid Empire, also called the first Iranian Empire, was founded by Cyrus the great king, on 550 BC and Susa was chosen as a residence for winter. There are some heritages in Susa that belong to Achaemenid era:

1. Daniel was a prophet, prisoned in Babel. There is a tale about Danial, being locked in the lions' cage, but the lions didn’t hurt him due to his holy spirit and that’s why he was called a prophet. Then he got rescued by Cyrus, the Achaemenid king. Daniel was able to predict and foresee and he was a trusted man in Achaemenid Emperor. Daniel the prophet passed away in Iran and got buried in Susa. His tomb is very popular among attractions of Susa because of the great architecture of the tomb with a conical dome and the interesting life story of Daniel the prophet.

Tomb of Daniel the prophet with a cronical dome.

2.  “Apadana” palace was built in Susa on 521 BC, ordered by the king Darius. The walls of this glamorous palace were made of adobes, ornamented with glazed bricks and the pillars (22 meters high) were made of stone. The ruins of this great palace are now available in Susa, including the pedestals and statues of two-head horses.

A two-head horse statue in Apadana palace in Susa.

 Susa during Ashkanid era:

 According to the inscriptions and the coins found in Susa, related to Ashkanid era, this city has been an economic center for trading merchandise through Karoun (Ulai River). Some samples of these coins, inscriptions, and many more ancient objects related to different centuries in this city, are now available in the museum of Susa established on 1966.

Susa during Sasanid era:

During Sasanid era, Susa was a center for trading silk and an educational center named “Jondi shapour” was founded in this city which is known as the oldest university of Iran. The rebellion in the city, which was happened during Sasanid era, was suppressed by Shapour II (The Sasanid king) with an army riding elephants but it led to the destruction of Susa.

Susa during Islamic era:

 Susa was once again an alive city in Islamic era but lost its glory when Ahvaz was chosen as the capital of Khuzestan province.

In 1897 a castle was constructed in city by French archaeologist (Jean-Mari de Morgan), who had come to Iran for archeological exploration and excavation in Susa. This castle is similar to medieval monuments in France and some of the glazed bricks of “Apadana” palace and adobes of “Choqazanbil” were used in constructing this castle.

The castle made by french archaeologists.
Today, Susa is not a political or economic center anymore and not the capital of any emperor but it is busy with hosting thousands of tourist every year, showing them the up and rises during 6000 years of rich civilization.
Visiting Khuzestan province and Sua, this ancient city, in recommended during November to April, because of the climate that goes so mild and cool. Uppersia is available for arranging your winter tour to southern Iran.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

10 reasons to visit Lut Desert in Iran:

“The planet’s famous red color is from iron oxide coating everything. So it’s not just a desert. It’s a desert so old it’s literally rusting.” _Andy Weir, The Martin

“Dasht-e-Lut” or Lut Desert is a vast salt desert located in Kerman province (eastern Iran), known as the world’s 25th largest desert. Lut Desert is the lowest area in Iran and it is about 56 meters above sea level. This desert is incredibly beautiful and it has been inscribed in UNESCO’s world heritage list, recently.

Many tourists travel to Iran for visiting this wierd desert because of:

       1.   Being known as the hottest spot on earth. Measurements done by NASA, from 2003 to 2010 has recorded a 70°C temperature in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 which indicates that “Gandom beryan” (an area in the center of the Lut desert called grilled wheat!) is the hottest spot on earth. Isn’t it worthy to visit the hottest spot on earth? Of course this experience should happen during October to April, otherwise you may be baked like the mentioned wheat!!

       2.  The “Kalouts”. There are thousands of sand castles in Lut ِesert in different shapes, formed by the wind during centuries, named Kaloout. The kalouts are between 10 to 50 meters high and some people call this area “The magical city of Kalouts”. Weird sand castles spread in a natural composition, is not a landscape you may see very often.

        3.  The salty river passing through Lut desert. This River rises in “Khosf” heights in Khorasan province, enters Lut desert and passes the west side of “Gandom beryan” toward a little lake called “Chaleh shour” ( the salty pit). This salty and bitter water with salt crystals floating on, flows in this river during winter and makes this part of Lut Desert a mysterious land.

       4.   The unbelievable stellar sky. As it gets dark in the Lut desert, the show begins! Millions of stars sparkle in the sky and you can count many meteorites passing above your head!

        5.   The pleasure of strolling on the desert sand. It is interesting to know that there is no alive creature found in the Lut Desert. So you can take of your shoes and go for a long walk. The sand is pleasantly warm on days and cool during the nights. I suggest you to get more acquainted with the desert and lie down on the sand for a while.

        6.   The relaxing silence. You are far away from the cities or roads and the desert offers you a heavy silence besides its attractiveness. Free your mind for a while and enjoy the pleasant silence.

         7.  Being the place for the photographers. Lut Desert is a heaven for photographers! The clear sky, bright lights and the eye-catching dunes and Kalouts are photography subjects that are not found everywhere.

         8.  The beautiful sunrise. Seeing sunrise is a very joyful experience for many. Imagine your camping night to be finished with seeing the magical change of sky’s color from dark blue into purple, orange and then light shiny blue, with no sky scratcher standing in front of you!

         9.  Being disconnected. Although technology is so essential nowadays, but I think that it feels so free to be disconnected from your Email, Facebook or Twitter, for a while. You can be disconnected from crowded society and technology in Lut Desert and get connected with this wonderful nature.

         10.  Being mysterious. The Kalouts (being simulated to an abandoned city), the salty river flowing in the desert, the silence and the hollow atmosphere makes Lut Desert a mysterious place, interesting and exciting to any visitor.

       Uppersia tours usually include a excursion or an overnight tour in Lut Desert and we look forward to operating you fantastic Lut Desert tours during autumn and winter.

A salty river passing through Lut Desert.


A beautiful kalout in Lut Desert.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Iran has 2500 traditional cuisines!

  A Persian cuisine festival has been held in Mazandaran province this summer and 2500 kinds of Iranian cuisines were introduced.

  Any food eaten, effects the body and activities. So traditional cuisines of any area or city effects the society’s life style as well. In Iran, traditional cuisines of the different climates are in harmony with the character of the people and they are cooked with the vegetables and stuffs, available in the area.

Iranian northern cuisines:

  North of Iran is the most humid and rainy area in the country. Northern cities are located between dense forests and the Caspian Sea, so the people usually have seafood and rice for their meals. 

  Ozun borun fish (Beluga fish), pike fish, white fish and many more kinds of fish, living in Caspian Sea, provide great seafood for the people. Because of forests and the agriculture in the north, different kinds of herbs are available widely. Garlic, spearmint and many more aromatic herbs are used in cooking fish. Gilan has the maximum number of traditional cuisines among all provinces of Iran. “Baghala Ghatogh” (cooked with peas, garlic, herbs and egg), “Mirza Ghasemi” (the mixture of smoky eggplant, tomato, garlic and eggs) and different kinds of fish cooked in different ways are some of Gilan’s traditional dishes.

Iranian western cuisines:

  Healthy meat and fresh vegetable available on the west of Iran, (because of the Zagros heights) are the reasons why most of traditional cuisines of the westerns are made with meat and animal fat.

 “Khalal-Badam” stew is a famous dish cooked by the people living in Kermanshah, made with peas, pieces of lamb meat and almond. “kolouche berenji” (Rice cookie) made with animal fat and rice flour is known as the traditional sweet of Kermanshah. “koofte Tabrizi” is another traditional food, cooked in Tabriz a city in the north-west. “koofteh tabrizi” which is a big meatball filled with nuts and plums is a nutritious food, which gives so much energy during cold days in north-west. “Bakhtiari” kebab is also a great meat dish made by Bakhtiari nomads of western Iran, living on Zagros heights. This Kebab is served in most of Iranian restaurants all over the world.

Iranian southern cuisines:

  Southern cities of Iran are located on the shores of Persian Gulf. Most of southern residents are fishers and spend their time on boats and fishing ships. So, seafood is the main dish in southern Iran. These people are just as energetic as their chili and spicy cuisines! You will feel starved if you walk on alleys during lunch time because the pleasant smell of southern chili food is spread everywhere!

 “Ghaliye Maahi” and “Ghaliye meygou” are the most popular southern cuisines, made with pieces of fried fish or shrimp floating in cooked green herbs like coriander with too much garlic and different kinds of hot peppers. “Sambuseh” (Samosa) is a famous southern junk food including some potato, meat and vegetables wrapped in bread, fried in oil and served with hot sauce.

Iranian eastern cuisines:

  Eastern people eat so much sweets and make different kinds of delicious sweets, usually made with local substances like date and pistachio.

“Kolompe” is Kerman’s famous sweet, made with date and walnut, wrapped and baked in paste. “loz” and “Qotab” are traditional sweets of Yazd made with grinded nuts like pistachio, walnut and almond. “Boz-Ghorme” is a traditional dish cooked in Kerman with meat, beans and whey, which is a very nutritious food.

 Each city, town or village in Iran has a special and traditional cuisine or sweet which is made with available stuffs in that area, which supplies body requirements for living in that area. So, tasting each town's traditional food is recommended as an entertaining experience. Many people from different countries join Uppersia’s culinary tours and learn cooking Iranian cuisines. You can enjoy Uppersia's culinary tour anytime you wish.


"Kebab", popular Iranian cuisine.