Thursday, September 29, 2016

The ancient heritages of Khajeh Mount.

Khajeh Mount is a basalt lava formed like a trapezoid, which is about 609 meters high above the sea level, located in the middle of Hamoun Lake near Zabol city of Sistan va Baluchistan province in the south east of Iran. Sistan (known as the land of sunrise) has been a thriving region in Iran during Ashkanid (247 BC-224 AD) and Sasanid era (224-651 AD) and many monuments like fire temples and castles with glorious corridors and porches were built on this mountain which used to be an island in the middle of Hamoun Lake when it was full of water. Hamoun Lake has been a holy water for Zoroaster people and they believed that the Saoshyant (the promised savior) will rebirth out of this lake.

Khajeh Mount and the historical monuments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Golden springs of Badab- e Surt!

Badab- e Surt (Badab Soort) is a magnificent natural heritage site in the north of Iran, in Mazandaran province, including a range of stepped travertine springs. Badab means carbonated water (Bad= gas/ Ab= water) and Surt refers to an old village in the area named Orost, which has been destroyed many years ago. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Rivas eco-lodge" in Meymand, Kerman.

“Rivas eco-lodge” is located near Shahr e Babak in the east of Kerman province, on the way to main touristic cities of Iran, like Kerman, Yazd and Shiraz. Rivas eco-lodge is a simple rural house in a garden and the tourists will be greeted with a simple and traditional atmosphere. The rooms are furnished with objects like traditional mattresses and old ovens, offering you pleasant smoky heat and in the morning you will be served a great breakfast including fresh dairy and home baked bread.

"Rivas eco-lodge"

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hormoz is land of colors!

Hormoz is a small island in the Persian Gulf (south of Iran) with an area of 42 kilometers squares, which has been an important military spot during Safavid era and Portuguese soldiers occupied this island and built a castle in it which is still available. Shah Abbas, the Safavid king, rescued Hormoz Island in 1621. The dwellers live in a village at the center of the island.

Hormoz is madly colorful! The mountains are made up of soil in different color layers and the women wear nice colorful cloths and they cover their faces with a burqa. The mountains, the weird shaped hills and the unlimited landscape of the Persian Gulf have made this island a great destination, especially among young artists. They usually make backpacking trips to Hormoz Island and experience a simple lifestyle for some days. This is the place for long walks on the seashore, swimming, drawing and painting, collecting weird stones, enjoying photography and doing yoga while all you hear is the sound of waves.

Women of Hormoz Island, wearing colorful clothes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

27 September is World Tourism Day!

World Tourism Day (WTD) has been celebrated by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) every year on September 27th since 1980 to foster international awareness about the importance of tourism and its positive impact on culture, politic and economy. This date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the adoption of UNWTO statutes on 1970.

World tourism day theme for 2016 is: “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility”, which means providing accessible tourism for all of the people including disabled people even temporary, families with small children and old population.

UNWTO forecasts a 3.5 % to 4.5% growth in international tourist arrival in 2016 and predicts that tourist arrivals will reach 1.8 billion by 2030!

Tourists in Iran.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

"Shafi Abad", a desert eco-camp in Lut.

“Shafi Abad eco-camp” is located near Shafi Abad village and Shahdad town in Lut desert, in the east of Kerman province. Lut desert is inscribed as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO and a spot in the Lut desert (Named Gandom Beryan) is known as the hottest spot on the earth!

"Shafi Abad" eco-camp.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The land of heights and Kurdish myths!

Oraman Takht or Huraman Takht is a village in Oraman region in the west of Iran, between Kurdistan and Kermanshah. Oraman Takht is located in a beautiful slope valley with a unique architecture. The yard of one building is the roof of the building below and some call these houses “stairways to heaven!”

Ancient objects from the Paleolithic era like some stone made tools and remains of an oven show that this area has been home to first men since 12000 to 40000 years ago. But the madly beautiful nature and the nice weather is more 
motivating for visiting Oraman Takht.

Kurdish people of "Oraman Takht" playing Daf in "Pir Shalyar" ceremony.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pieces of paradise on the ground!

Climate and the geography of a specific area impacts on the people’s character, traditions and even their fears and wishes! Totally, Iran is a dry land and worrying about drought has accompanied Iranians during millenniums. They have stimulated paradise to a vast garden full of trees and two intersected rivers and they weaved this green garden on their carpets to bring paradise to their houses.

Almost all of old Persian gardens are built based on the same structure, named “Chahar Baghi” style (four gardens), which means that the garden is usually divided into four main sectors by two main water ditches and a pavilion is at the center. Long standing cypresses, beautiful plane trees, cobblestone paths and little blue pools are some elements usually seen in a Persian garden. This is how paradise is pictured in holy books like Quran, Torah and ancient Zoroastrian texts.

Many Persian gardens have been constructed in cities of Iran, especially the cities with a dry climate and the people could enjoy the cool water and the tree shade during hot summer days. These gardens were usually houses of the Persian kings and governors. Nine of Persian gardens have been inscribed as a world chain heritage site by UNESCO:

The oldest remains of a Persian garden is the leftovers of intersected ditches of Cyrus the great’s garden (550 B.C.) in Pasargadae (in Fars province), which shows the antiquity of “Chahar baghi” style.

The remains of a water ditch in "Pasargadae Garden".
  "Fin Garden" in Kashan have been built on remains of ancient Sialk civilization, in 1852 B.C and it is constructed based on “Chahar bagh” style with main ditches dividing the garden into four sectors and a two story beautiful pavilion is in the middle of the garden.

"Fin Garden" in Kashan.
"Dowlat Abad Garden" of Yazd (built in 1747 B.C), is another Persian garden which is famous for its beautiful pavilion with a tall wind-catcher on top. The building is located on the corner and a long water ditch, surrounded by trees, passes all along the garden.

"Dowlat Abad Garden" and its famous wind-catcher in Yazd.
"Shazdeh Garden" of Kerman (built in 1880 B.C) is located in the middle of barrens and looks like a green oasis in the heart of the desert. The water is supplied by Qantas and a long ditch flows all along the garden. This stair garden is known for showing a beautiful connection between Persian architecture and water.

"Shazdeh Garden" looks fabulous in the evening.
"Abbas Abad Garden" in Behshahr (north of Iran) has been constructed during Safavid era (1611 B.C) ordered by Shah Abbas and it includes a vast lake surrounded by many old trees and a brick pavilion in the middle.
"Abbas Abad Garden" in the north of Iran.
"Eram Garden" is constructed during 19th century in Shiraz, known as the city of gardens. "Eram Garden" is a fabulous place for its Orange trees and tall cypresses, especially during spring when the Orange blossoms change the whole city into a perfume factory! The two-story pavilion in "Eram Garden" shows the combination of Persian and European architecture style.
The beautiful "Eram Garden" in spring.
"Chehel Sutun Garden" (40 columns) has been built in Isfahan during Safavid era. The stunning pavilion in the garden has 20 columns and the big pool in front of the pavilion shows the reflected image of this beautiful building and its columns. That is why they call this Garden Chehel sutun (40 columns). The big pool is surrounded by old plane trees.

"Chehel sutun Garden" in Isfahan.
"Pahlavan Pour Garden" is built in Mehriz of Yazd province, by a businessman named Ali pahlavan Pour, during Qajarid era. A beautiful adobe pavilion is built on the main axis of the garden and the trees are watered by a long main ditch and canals, originating from three different Qantas.

The adobe pavilion in "Pahlavan pour Garden".
"Akbariyeh Garden" is constructed in Birjand city, in eastern Iran, during Qajarid era. The main pavilion is ornamented by great Persian brickworks and the long-standing trees give an ancient face to the whole garden.
"Akbariye Garden" in Birjand.

There are many more fabulous gardens in Iran that were not mentioned in this article. Walking in a Persian garden gives you information about Iranian architecture and the pleasant image of being in paradise for a while! Uppersia tours, like Iran photography tour usually include visiting the Persian gardens in each city.

Monday, September 19, 2016

"Gileboom eco-lodge"

  “Gileboom” is an eco-lodge in Ghasem Abad village of Gilan province, in the north of Iran and it is located between the Caspian Sea and “Samamoos” peak, covered in Hyrcanian forest. This beautiful eco-lodge is a two story house with different rooms for group tourists and individual tourists. The rooms are decorated with wicker and felt carpets and traditional mattresses are available for sleeping. The vast garden in front of this house has many orange, fig and pear trees and a seasonal ditch passes through the garden.

  “Gileboom” has been founded to provide and revive old costumes and rich culture of northern Iran. Visitors have the chance to get familiar with different handicrafts done in this village, like pottery and felting.  They can also take part in fruit picking in the garden and experience fishing in the Caspian Sea. There are more adventurous activities available. For example, climbing “Samamoos” peak and “Gisharkouh” peak, walking through different forests or riding a safari car to “Javaher-dasht” bungalow village.

  The most pleasant thing about staying in “Glieboom” is the cuisine! Different traditional cuisines and appetizers of Gilan are served here. Sour chicken stew, stuffed barbecued eggplant, roasted cheese and different kinds of seafood are some of the dishes served in “Gileboom”.

a colorful room in "Gileboom eco-lodge".
The guests gather in the balcony of "Gileboom", in night.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

To walk on clouds!

This is a never-ending land covered with oak, alder, beech and pine trees and an ocean of clouds is flowing just under your feet. Let pure oxygen and pleasant moist run into your lungs after a long hiking, then set up your tent or hang your hammock on trees and listen to woodpeckers digging into the trees. This foggy atmosphere is just  beautiful and surreal!

"Jangal e Abr" or "Clouds forest" during October.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Ateshooni ec-lodge"

Ateshooni is a 400-year-old desert house that has been restored and converted into a cozy and beautiful eco-lodge by the owner of the house. This house is located near remains of Ateshooni oasis (dating back to Sasanid era), near Khur o Biabanak of Isfahan province, in the central desert of Iran.  Khur o BIabanak, which is a touristic attraction itself, is a historical town with a remarkable desert architecture and many palm trees.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A desert getaway in Mesr!

“Rohab eco-lodge” is located in the middle of the central desert of Iran in a village named Mesr. Mesr village and desert are very popular adventure destinations in Iran. Rohab has been an old desert house that is converted into a cozy eco-lodge, offering tourists the unforgettable experience of desert lifestyle. There are 7 twin bedrooms and a 4-bed suite in “Rohab eco-lodge”. The cozy rooms are decorated with traditional objects, representing old desert houses for the guests. There are many unique attractions around “Rohab”, which you can reach by riding off-road cars. Riding off-road cars, jumping on sand dunes is a delightful experience itself!

A beautiful bedroom of "Rohab eco-lodge".

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Javarg eco-lodge"

Javarg is a village near Sepidan, in the north of Fars province. This area has a great nature with oak and wild almond trees and many springs. An eco-lodge named “Javarg” has been recently founded in this area and many tourists go there for experiencing nomadic life and exploring the amazing nature.

“Javarg eco-lodge” includes a central building with simple rooms and some nomadic hand-made tents. These rooms and tents are decorated with stunning hand weaved Qaghqai kilims and rugs which are so colorful that makes you feel happy! It is interesting to know that Qashqai carpet is known as an intangible world heritage.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stepping through the weird caves of Iran.

Iran is a weird land with many natural wonders like high mountains, deserts, caves and etc. About 1200 caves have been discovered in Iran until today. Some of these caves have been home to first men and they sheltered in them from rain, wild animals or any threat in nature.

Today, caving is getting popular among athletes and adventurers in Iran and many foreign athletes travel to Iran for having a caving experience in this country. Some famous caves of Iran are introduced in the following:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A home for Damavand climbers.

  Damavand Mountain with 5610 meters height is the highest peak in Iran and the second volcanic peak in Asia. This mountain is located in the north of Tehran and the south of Caspian Sea, in Amol county of Mazandaran province. Many mountain climbers and adventurers from Iran and other countries, travel to Damavand for climbing trips to the peak which usually takes three or four days.

  Damavand mountain eco-camp has been founded in two departments in order to provide services to climbers during their climbing trip:

  The base camp is located in a small village named Nandal in the middle of the route to Damavand peak (2300 meters high) and this is a good place for the climbers to take a rest. You can enjoy a hot shower and have delicious and nutritious meals (prepared by a good cook) in this eco-camp which has 10 twin tents. There is a garden outside the tent where you can enjoy your barbecued meat and drink your tea while making new climber friends.

  You will be accompanied by a local guide on your climbing trip to the Damavand peak if you ask for it. The advanced camp is located on the northeastern heights of Damavand, at an altitude of 4300 meters and it is known as the second and last mountain camp in the route to Damavand peak. This eco-camp is founded with temporary constructions including 10 double tents and another tent as the kitchen that provides warm and healthy food to you after your long and tough climbing day. The electricity required in the kitchen is provided by a generator and you can recharge your electronic devices here.

This is so enjoyable to get refreshed in this camp and sleep in cozy tents with comfortable mattresses.
The advanced camp of "Damavand eco-lodge", 4300 meters high.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sheikh Safi eddin’s tomb, a home to generosity.

  Khanqah (monastery) and tomb of Sheikh- Safi eddin- Ardebili is a great historical complex in Ardebil, located in northwestern Iran.

  Sheikh Safi eddin was the ancestor of Safavid kings who ruled Iran for 220 years. Sheikh Safi eddin had a very decent personality and the people believed in him as a moral leader because of his amnesty and generosity. His thin and weak body was due to all the penance he put himself through and he grew so sick in the last days of his life, when he had nothing except water and sugar as his meals but he was still focused on moral duties and he assigned his own monastery to a place for feeding and helping the poor. On 1335 Sheikh Safi eddin passed away while he was 85 years old and he was buried in a room of his own monastery.

  Sheikh Safi eddin’s tomb which is built in1335 is registered in UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites because of its fabulous and unique architecture. The walls and arcs are constructed by baked bricks, laid out in amazing geometrical and rhythmic forms. The domes and some other walls are ornamented with turquoise and ultramarine blue tiles forming religious phrases and simple geometric patterns. Fantastic Muqarnas is done inside the monument. Muqarnas is an Iranian ornamenting art and it includes geometric and rhythmic forms, spreading in different floors of inner surface of the dome and half domes. The whole complex is built under influence of Sufism philosophy.

  In 1539, two pieces of twin carpets were weaved for this holy tomb that are known as one of world’s most fabulous art pieces. The beautiful toranj (medallion) at the center and delicate floral margins have made these carpets comparable to famous abstractive paintings in the world. One of these two carpets is now kept in Victoria and Albert Museum.

  Jannat Sara mosque, Ghandil Khane and Chini khane are other parts of this historical complex. Shah Ismail (the first Safavid king) and the soldiers of Chalderan war that happened between Safavid and Ottoman Empire in 1514 A.C are also buried in this complex.

  Ardebil has a cold weather, so you can enjoy visiting Sheikh Safi eddin’s tomb and other attractions of Ardebil during summer and October, when the weather is at its best. Uppersia travel is at your service for arranging you a great tour on North West of Iran, where you can visit four of world heritage sites.  

"Sheikh Safi eddin's tomb in Ardebil/Iran.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Nakhjir eco-lodge"

  “Nakhjir eco-lodge”, founded in 2015, is located in Naraaq city of Markazi province (central Iran). This hundred-year-old house is constructed exactly on principals of Persian architecture style. The rooms, which are surrounding the yard, are equipped with cooling and heating system and the whole eco-lodge is capable of receiving 15 to 25 guests. You can choose to sleep on beds or on old-style mattresses. “Nakhjir eco-lodge” has a nice yard with old trees and a small blue pool at the center. You can seat on old benches in the yard and enjoy the old Iranian atmosphere.

   While you are staying in “Nakhjir eco-lodge” you can visit different attractions of Naraaq which is a historical city. The old district, including old houses, Jaame mosque, Ab-Anbar (water reservoir), bazar and caravanserai are historical attractions and Gisu waterfall, Jasb wildlife refuge and Nakhjir cave are natural attractions of Naraaq.

   “Nakhjir eco-lodge” is focused on serving traditional cuisines, like Kashko bademjan (eggplant and whey), Gheymeh (spilt peas and lamb stew), Ghorme sabzi (vegetable and lamb stew) and other Iranian cuisines which are prepared with organic and healthy ingredients.

  Promoting the cultural and traditional ethics of Naraaq and reviving old Iranian costumes have been the main goals of founding this eco-lodge and you can touch old Iranian lifestyle in this peaceful eco-lodge.

The beautiful yard of "Nakhjir eco-lodge".
A bedroom in "Nakhjir eco-lodge".

Monday, September 5, 2016

Back to 3200 BC, in Shahr- e Sukhte.

   5000 years ago during Bronze Age, Shahr- e Sukhte (the burnt city) was built on the bank of Helmand River in Sistan (South East of Iran) which had been a fertile land with plenty of water. This metropolitan was constructed 2000 years before Achaemenians built Persepolis and 1000 years before Elamites constructed Choqazanbil! The remains of this city are so precious to the world and they give a lot of information about mankind’s development during millenniums and that is why this ancient area has been registered as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

  They built the walls of this city with mud bricks, considering principals of urban architecture and embedded earthen pipes under the ground as the sewage system that has been discovered by archeologists. These people, whose race is not identified, were busy with industrial and artistic activities. Making jewels with gold and blue azure stones, pottery, weaving textiles and wicker and fishing in Helmand River and Hamoun Lake were the activities these people were busy with.

The remains of Shahr- e sukhte.
  So much information has been obtained by the discoveries done in the 2500 graves of this city’s cemetery:
  The people used to put clay dishes in the grave with the corpse. These pots may have been containing food or precious jewelry according to the ancient belief that the dead might need food and precious stuff.

  The residents of Shahr- e Sukhte have been so bright and intelligent. An artificial eyeball made of bitumen paste have been discovered beside a woman’s body remain in one of the graves. The surface of the eyeball is covered with a thin layer of gold and two tiny holes have been noticed on the skull, through which a golden thread may have been passed in order to hold the eyeball and the signs of practical brain surgery have been noted on another skull belonging to a girl.

The eyeball discovered in Shahr- e sukhte.

  These genius people spent their spare time playing a board game like backgammon that has been excavated by the archeologists in this ancient area. And by the way, they were the first animators due to the goats painted on an earthen goblet jumping up and down on a bush in order to create a visual motion!
The goblet of Shahr- e Sukhte.
  This great metropolitan was home to mankind for 1400 years during four main periods and it was abandoned on 1800 BC, maybe because of conflagrations or the changes of climate.

  Visiting Shahre- e Sukhte gives you a weird feeling and takes you back to 5000 years ago. Ask Uppersia travel to arrange visiting this fabulous ancient site for you during your Iran tour. The best time to visit this site is during March to April and also November to December.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"Khoone Geli", a cozy eco-lodge in the north.

“Khoone Geli” is a two-floor rural house in Chalasar village of Tonekabon city, in the beautiful northern forests of Iran. In 2003 this house, which is built on a tea farm, was restored and changed into an eco-lodge by the grandson of the family who owned the house. The tea farm and the citrus trees around the house and the landscapes of northern forests and the Caspian Sea has made this eco-lodge a lovely place for accommodation and it is fully booked most of the time. There are three kinds of rooms in "Khoone Geli", that you can stay in. the rooms of the ground floor, the upstairs rooms and the huts located in the garden.

There are many activities available around Khoone Geli. You can choose exciting activities like water skiing, mountain climbing or hiking in the forest or you can visit pottery workshops, the old bazaar where the fishers gather and meet the nice people of northern Iran. Khoone Geli itself can be a perfect place for spending an afternoon. Sitting on the balcony, drinking herbal tea, tasting homemade jams, made with the oranges planted in the yard, and enjoying the stunning landscapes of the dense forests and the Caspian Sea is so relaxing.

You can also learn how to cook northern cuisines while you are at Khoone Geli. You can buy the ingredients from the traditional bazaar and the cook will teach you how to prepare delicious northern foods.

"Khoone geli", a cozy eco-lodge.
A tree house in the garden of "Khoone Geli".

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Direct flights from London to Tehran.

Six return flights are going to be operated by British Airways, between London (Heathrow 
Airport) and Tehran (Imam Khomeini Airport) every week. There had been direct flights between London and Tehran since 1946, but the service was ended in 2012 and now it is resumed after four years.

The news agent of British Airways has introduced  Tehran as one of the biggest metropolises in the Middle East with hospitable people and many attractions like museums, galleries, gardens and a diverse cuisine. More than half of the population is under 30 years old and it is going to be a hub of contemporary art.

The flight duration between London and Tehran is only about six hours and tourists can easily reach Iran and its beautiful cities. 

Tehran, capital of Iran.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Meymand eco-lodge with 12000 year old rooms!

“Meymand eco-lodge” has been founded about 15 years ago in Meymand, a weird village in the east of Kerman province. This special residence includes 7 sets of old hand-dug rooms named “Kicheh” that can be rented by the tourists. These hand-dug rooms with low ceilings are still home to the families living in Meymand village, which is inscribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. According to the potteries found in this area, the archaeologists have estimated that this village is 3000 years old, but studies on some petroglyphs in the area take this village’s antiquity to 12000 years ago!

  These hand-dug rooms are equipped with a piece of kilim and a wooden bed and this is what makes this simplicity eco-lodge so special. The best months for visiting Meymand is March to June. During these months the weather is at its best and the nature around the village is so stunning. In summer the weather is quite hot in Meymand and it gets mild during late September to November. So, autumn is a good time for visiting this eco-lodge, too.

  What is interesting to the tourists, is meeting the nomad people who have chosen to sojourn in these small rooms and keep their old lifestyle which is dependent on nature. These nomads stay in the pastures during spring and spend their time feeding their livestock. The next four months (approximately July to October) is the farming season and they stay in their rooms during the cold winter months.

  Visitors can have their meals in one of these hand-dug rooms which is converted into a small restaurant. Different kinds of traditional cuisines, like “Kale josh” (made with zucchini, lamb and whey), “Eshkeneh” (a simple dish made with egg) and different kinds of stews are served in this restaurant. Well-brewed tea, made with wild herbs, found in this area is also available.

The hand-dug rooms of Meymand village.