Lake Urmia

🕒 2 minute read
Today we are willing to well introduce to you Lake Urmia as it is one of the most amazing spots of Iran. This lake is located in northwestern of Iran in between Tabriz and Urmia.

It’s been always in the center of attention for everyone even in ancient days as it is the 6th largest lake in the world and largest one in the middle east. Many people are of the opinion that this lake was dried up due to persistent general drought in Iran, but also the damming of the local rivers that flow into it, and the pumping of groundwater from the surrounding area.

Luckily, many organization and departments were struggling to preserve this lake and stopped most of activities that caused issued and from early 2019 this is filling up once again. It was the home of several species and birds that immigrated yearly to this spot and many birds watchers came across the world to visit.

Nowadays, it’s one of the highlights of traveling to Urmia and as travel consultants, we would highly recommend visiting this lake either early in the morning or for sunset.

Naranjestan

? 3 minute read

Naranjestan, also known as Qavam house is one of the most beautiful Qajari gardens of Shiraz which dates back to 19th century and has been built by Mr. Qavam 1st as his residential & public spot. Name of this garden comes from having several orange trees which represents local weather.

Nobody can imagine to expose to a beautiful garden from outside that brings the attention of everyone in every single corner. Upon arrival to this building, the first hall is Called Heshti which is translated into lobby, place where guests and strangers must get the approval of owner to go through. Later on everyone will get into court yard which contains several orange trees, Palm trees, Pine trees, etc.

The same as other Qajari mansions, this garden has seasonal rooms in north and southern face. Main hall of this building is in northern side and its symmetric. In the middle of the building there is a two columned portico which has the magnificent glass work on ceiling as well as world class paintings.

It is well noted that, inside monuments there were several public & private rooms that are specified based on their sizes.  There are original paintings of building are still exited in both left and right rooms, however some of them are repainted by local artists.

This mansion has been used a public & Private place for years until Qavam the 5th became of governor of Shiraz and decided to make more privacy in this mansion. He designed this house mostly for audience and his family moved to his sister’s house which is next alley. Both mansions are connected by a underneath tunnel.

It was sold to shiraz university about 1960s and later on it was given to one of the American professors who was excavating Iran and needed to have a proper place for study on found objects aside from living. During this period the structure of this monument was changed, especially in basement it turned to be a museum, however, original shape was such as a storage of food and drink.

As travel consultants we would highly recommend to visit this garden in morning as a MUST_SEE while you stay in Shiraz. 

Soltaniyeh Dome

? 4 minute read

Soltaniyeh dome is one of the marvelous historical sites of Iran that has listed as a world heritage site in 2005 which dates back to Ilkhanid period.

This monument has been built by order the eighth ruler of this dynasty Uljayto who has been converting to Islam and it took them 10 years to build such an extraordinary monument in order to have burial place. The height of this building is about 48.5 m and has been constructed in to an octagonal shape that either of each face is about 17 m length.

The whole building constructed in three floors generally such as Domed hall, praying room & cellar. The purpose of having such an enormous monument in this area is, the King Uljaito has been impressed by visiting tombs of Persian kings in south of Iran and decided to have similar monument for himself. This idea dates back to when he has not been converted to Islam.

According to history of this era, before this monument was finished, king Uljaito traveled to Iraq and visited religious sites of Muslims and got very impressed of those holy places. Therefor he converted to Shiite and decided to bring those graves to Iran in order to run pilgrimage trips for Shiite Muslims and started decorating inside the tomb by glazed tiles and bricks. However, he was stopped by Ayatollahs not to dig out tombs and he was very upset for such a decision and later on he covered all previous decoration by stucco and plaster.

Afterwards he decided to have this property for his tomb again by designing better architecture that has been the combination of Iranian art & Turkish. In this period, he was planning to have his tomb In basement of this monument, in the place where it is called cellar which is located in south of this property.

Originally this hall is connected just with an stairs to the main hall and archaeologists are of the opinion that this hall was better designed because of having tomb of the king, however, there is no document to prove this. The last part of this property is Praying room that is just aside the entrance which is designed in rectangular shape. It is very popular to visit its ceiling which contains three arches with Moqarnas that are well designed by Iranian artists. Around the ceiling just under the arches some verses of Quran have been carved.

External decoration is very impressive and brings the attention of everyone to go through the building especially on balcony of this monument which enables to have spectacular view of this region including this castle, old town as well as other monuments that are very close to this site.

As travel consultants we would highly recommend to visit such an impressive site in morning and take 2 days to visiting Zanjan and Soltaniyeh or even it is possible to visit this area on the way of Hamedan.

Ceramic Museum

? 3 minute read

There are always top secret places to visit in Tehran especially when it comes to walking tour, you would be exposed to different types of museums. One of the most beautiful museums of Tehran is in 30 Tir Ave which is a specialty ceramic museum of Iran that has been built in in early 20th century by Mr. Qavam 1st who the was the prime-minister in Qajari period.

It has been used as his own property and office till early 80s that has been taken by Egyptians as their own embassy. In early 90s this building was taken back as on Iranian building and Iranian architectures with cooperate with Austrians changed the function of the complex to a museum by decorating external and internal views.

The current complex contains three different departments:

  • Pottery
  • Glasses
  • Crystals

There are several priceless objects to present in either of these sections that have been collected from different cities and spots of Iran. Let’s get acquainted with collections in each department:

Glasses:
all items and objects of this section are from one & two millennium BC till contemporary period, however, some of these are actually gifts from overseas or as samples for doing the same tact and arts in Iran.  

Potteries:
In this section, you will be exposed to several potteries from ancient Persia till 20th century that have been collected from different locations. Some of these are glazed, gold and some are perfectly painted by several stories such as Iranian stories or Europeans. In fact, the most important cities that all of these are collected are Rey, Qazvin, Gorgan and Neyshabour.

Crystals:
from late 15th century glassblowers of Europe started making glasses that are called Venice style that are quite similar to crystal stones because of having no color. Therefor in some areas of Czech Republic artists started making different types of glasses that are all painted. They started exporting these items from early 18th century to whole Europe.

As a travel consultant we would highly recommend to take a walking tour of Tehran in order to get acquainted with local businesses and museums better that all come from ancient Iranian culture.  

Coffee in Iran

🕒 2 minute read
Nowadays coffee has become very popular in Iranian’s life and is available everywhere. It has been considered as a new job for younger generation from  few years ago and it also gives us a possibility to plan our business/ family meetings in cafes, however, drinking a lot of coffee can affect on everyone’s health.

Apparently those who traveled to Iran in past decade could remember coffee was not available anywhere anytime and they needed to be prepared beforehand by bringing their own French-press machine or similar ones and now this is quite amazing to see how coffee can gather everyone across the globe and many people are of the opinion that this business is one of newest jobs around the world which is quite exciting in terms of providing coffee beans for different tastes, how to grow this, how to serve, etc. Especially younger generation are quite happy to run such a business in every single corner and make their own money.

Having different categories of cafes enable us to plan for your business/family meetings that we would like to discuss very formal rather than sitting in office or at home. This may vary from any city to one another in terms of having different culture.

For example in some of Iranian cities, those who are going to get married traditionally, they plan to meet up in nearest cafes rather than going to girl’s house in order to preserve their own privacy. In another way we would like to notify everyone to take care of themselves before having a bad reflection due to drinking more than enough. It may vary from any person to one another but it is told that drinking coffee has to be in this range of 1-5 cups per day.

As a result, if you are looking for seeing how Iranian people live and what younger people do, having coffee in cafes of major touristy cities is the best choice.

Urmia Bazaar

🕒 1 minute read
One of the most common places to visit in Urmia is old bazaar which dates back to 17th century under Safavid Empire. Its Azeri architecture, caravansaries and singeGog are the attractions for any traveler as well as providing sweets, pastries, knives and different shawls.

Walking randomly is highly recommended in this bazaar that every single lane enables to experience different types of products such as typical shoes, Knives as well as Jewelry market. What makes this bazaar quite interesting is, seeing citizens of Urmia who shop from the same market rather than malls.

Apart from these businesses, spice shops are the most familiar place for travelers to experience the local products, however, nearby bazaar, there are several activities to do such as fruit market, selling baked bit-roots as well as visiting Friday Mosque, Sine Gog, etc.

Anthropology Museum

🕒 2 minute read
There is no doubt that one of the most common activities to do in Urmia is visiting Anthropology museum that has been built in 20th century and was used as main office of municipality until a decade ago that it has been converted to a museum.

History of this building dates back to early 20th century that it has been built in city center by order of Reza Shah, the founder of Pahlavi Dynasty in order to have a military base. It is well noted that the architecture of this monument is Mr. Hosein Memar who was one of the most well-known architects of Iran back then.

The structure of this building is the combination of Iranian-European in 2 floors and it looks like an eagle. The entrance of this building is in eastern face and main material of this monument is mostly bricks, wood, stone as well as cement, however, its roof has been designed by gable.

A decade ago in 2007 local government decided to convert this building into an anthropology museum in order to present local lifestyle, music instrument, farming tools as well as culture and tradition of Urmia.

It is well noted that way of presenting objects and Items are considered from three different views of;
1- Human & Environment
2- Human & human
3- human resources.

There are several halls and passages in this museum that enables everyone to visit exciting items and from travelers point of view those halls that represents local costumes of men, women as well as Nomadic dresses that is the most exciting part of the whole museum

As travel consultant we would highly recommend visiting Urmia and surrounding in a guided tour for few days especially stunning lanscapes in north and southern Urmia aside from museums.

Assyrian Church

🕒 1 minute read
It is known as St. Mary or Mart Mary which is one of the oldest churches of the world. Most of archaeologists are of the opinion that this Assyrian Church could have been the 2nd oldest church of the world after Bethlehem in Palestine.

History of this ancient church dates back to Sassanid dynasty and it has been used as a fire temple, however, Assyrian & Christian authors are of the opinion that locals converted to Christianity back then and it has been used as a church.

It is well noted that those Zoroastrian priests who were attending in this temple, traveled Jerusalem in order to greet the birth of Jesus as the preventor of the entire world and as soon as they returned, they changed the function of this temple into a church.  

There are few buildings in this complex that represents their residential & holy places of Assyrians in Urmia. The older construction contains a tiny entrance which leads everyone toward main hall or altar. There are some tomb stones in one of the rooms inside building that are belonged to priest’s who have taking care of this sacred place.

Se Gonbad

? 1 minute read

Let’s get acquainted with one of the most beautiful spots of Urmia. Three Domed Tower, also known as Se-Gonbad has been built in 12th century AD in southeastern side of city as an historical site from Seljuk period.

About history of this building, Several stories have been mentioned, however, it seems there are not such enough evidence to prove those but many people are of the opinion that this monument has been built above the ancient fire temple of Sassanid. Another common story is there were of towers in the past that two of were gone and this is the reason to be called Three Domed Towers.

The fact is, the building has been built in 12th century AD and had to be as a mausoleum of Seljuk monarch who was named Sheys Qa’ate Mozafari because of having few calligraphies on façade which proves this monument has been built in Moharam of 580 AH. Although there is no tomb stone in such a monument people strongly believe this has been related to Monarchs.

In terms of architecture it looks like other monuments of Seljuk such as those that are in Maraghe or other Central Asian countries but the only difference is it has been divided into 2 floors of cellar and main hall. Unfortunately internal design has been damaged sharply and there are only three little calligraphies preserved.

As a travel consultant we would highly recommend to take a look at this spot in a walking tour because this spot is very close to Bazaar and Friday mosque. Apparently visiting this historical site would not take that much time but relatively recently it has been used a Stone Museum too because of persevering several stones from different locations and periods.

Mahabad Friday Mosque

? 2 minute read

There is no doubt that one of the most impressive sites of Mahabad is Friday mosque that is called Sorkh Mosque because of having redish tiles. It dates back to 17th century and has been built by order of Shah Soleyman in the center of the city in order to give a possibility to people for praying at noon by bazaar.

It’s located in the old district of the city and based on renovating program for old city, some part of this mosque has been renovated over the last few years. Although it is surrounded by old & new buildings still is one of the nicest ancient sites. In terms of architecture this mosque has two Iwans in southern and northern flanks. There is a huge difference between this mosque and others in central of Iran when it comes to structure which is mostly because of weather condition that it is impossible to have a summer hall and it just has one praying room which can be used for seasons aside from its own Madraseh.

What makes this praying room very especial is its plain decoration that is mostly red bricks and mortar (that has been replaced with cement) and there is not any particular design which reminds everyone similar structure at Tabriz Jame Mosque, however, many people are of the opinion that this mosque reminds Vakil mosque of Shiraz in terms of pillars decoration and shapes and distance.

People are always discussing about having any calligraphy or inscripts in this mosque in order to prove the ancient period and the answer is yes. There were several inscripts in Arabic calligraphy in this mosque but some are missing after renovation and today there is only one left one façade of northern gate which represents the name of founder and date of establishing.

As a travel consultant we would recommend to take a look at this mosque in your own time as one of the Must-See activities in Mahabad, however, people would prefer to see other sites such as old dam, old bathhouse that has turned to be a museum of anthropology.

 

Tape Hasanlu

? 3 minute read

Welcome to ancient Civilizations of Iran
Tape Hasanlu is one of the most popular ancient sites of Iran that has been excavated in early 20th century by an American archaeologist, however, there were several teams of archaeologists from all over the globe.

It’s located in the Hasanlu village on the way of Urmia to Mahabad. There are several studies about civilizations of this region and it is worth studying for archaeologists in terms of finding several layers of civilizations especially the particular layer which dates back to 9th century that has been frozen back then.

The height of this ancient hill is about 25 m that leads us to think, it might have been a fort in the middle by having a round defense wall which looks like about 600m. What makes visiting this site very fascinating is it was inhabited for continuously from 6th century BC to the 3rd century AD which means during this period the famous Gold Bowl has been produced.

From Archaeological point of view
Although there were several illegal/commercial digging in this area and many priceless objects were moved to European/American museums by dealers the site was first dug by Aurel Stein in 1936 for the first study. Later on several archaeological teams started excavating these hills in 10 seasons from 1956 till 1974.

History
As it was mentioned this site is one of the most important and valuable spot in terms of finding several information about lifestyle of people, architecture, civilizations, etc. all excavators are of the opinion that this site has to be divided into 10 layers which leads us to at least 10 occupation history based on natire of materials that have been found Especially from Neolithic till Iron age.

Urmia Friday Mosque

? 3 minute read

There is no doubt that one of the most beautiful historical sites of Urmia is Friday Mosque that’s also known as Rezaiyeh Mosque which dates back to 14th century in Ilkhanid period. Although archaeologists are of the opinion that this building was originally a fire temple its function was converted to a Mosque after Islam came through Persia.

There is not sufficient documents about this Mosque but people strongly believe that original building has been ruined and a mosque was built over the ancient temple that looks like a Seljuk monument from Architectural Point Of view.

Currently the oldest part of this Mosque is its Mehrab that dates back to 14th century but other places might have been built later in Ilkhanid era. This mosque does have a domed Hall which is absolutely stunning in terms of Architecture & stucco working and praying room which has 40 leaning pillars that are all made by stone.

It was a tradition in old days to build a Mosque nearby Bazaar that anyone could go to pray with ease especially this mosque had three Accessible gates to Bazaar. As a travel consultant, we would highly recommend to take a guided tour of Urmia and stay for few days in this religion in order to get acquainted with local culture, tradition in addition to historical sites especially this Mosque in the morning by taking a short cut from ancient Bazaar.

Karaftu Cave

🕒 2 minute read
There is no doubt that one of the most impressive sites of Iran is Karaftu cave which is located on the way of Urmia-Mahabad.

This is also known as historical-natural cave because of having hand-made connected rooms as well as natural halls that dates back to the 3rd Geological age. It has been found in middle of 20th century by American travelers and later on, they commerce to study about this ancient cave and troglodytes who have been living in this cave for about 15000 years.   

It is well noted that hieroglifies of those people are well preserved that have been excavated by Russian archaeologists over the past decades. Most of these hieroglifies are in 3rd floor & entrance of first floor that maintained by Mr. Khanikov.

The hand-made rooms of this cave are in 4 floors that have been used a Solukids and were expanded by Parthians in about 2200 years ago. In Sassanian dynasty, function of this cave was changed into a holy temple apart from being a castle and it had become a sacred place for Zoroastrians back then.

It has been used until Mongolians invaded Persia and later on it got abandoned for centuries. As a travel consultant we would highly recommend to take a guided tour of this ancient-holy cave to get acquainted with its water system as well as its extraordinary design by taking a day trip from either Zanjan or Sanandaj.

Belbar

? 3 minute read

One of the most impressive spots of Kurdistan province is Belbar village that is located in Huwraman County. In fact its unique architecture is the main purpose of traveling to this region aside from marvelous landscapes.

There is no doubt that Howraman county is one of the oldest regions of Iran from archaeological point of view that several excavations has been done over the last decades. People of this region are extremely friendly and would love interacting with any domestic & foreign tourists who come to visit their village.

It’s noticeable that people of this region are extremely friendly and would invite travelers to their house in order to get acquainted with local culture and events. It will be very exciting to taste local foods of this city that are very delicious and brings the attention of everyone.

Therefor we would like to introduce you one of the most well-known foods of this region which is called Kalaneh that is made out of wheat, vegetable, local spices, etc. It is available in every market or local bakeries and can be considered as a main course for any meals.

Most of the people work on farms or have their own private orchards as well as building new structures. What makes traveling to this region very fascinating is its landscape that is exquisite and brings everyone’s attention to visit especially those who are looking for having active tours such as trekking in the middle forests & mountains.

As it is located in the middle of Zagros Mountain and there is not such a road to this region, all its beauty are well-maintained. We would highly recommend to take a trekking tour in this region along the Sirvan river and meet locals in every single corner that are quite hospitable.

Uraman

🕒 2 minute read

This region is highly recommended to those who are looking for having an adventure and trekking tour in order to visit stunning landscapes, villages and unique architectures as well as meeting amazing people.

There is no doubt this Iranian Kurdistan Province is one of the most of beautiful regions of Iran and those who are nature lovers call this area, a piece of Heaven. It has been untouched until few years ago and locals had some difficulties to travel, however, new road has been built relatively recently and made such a access for everyone to go forward visiting this marvelous village.

What makes traveling to this village quite especial is, its unique architecture that are all well preserved from ancient days as it’s been located on Silk Route. The village itself is a tiny spot of Huwraman County and all locals speak in Kurdish with several dialects.

People are of the opinion that locals of this village are originally Zoroastrians because of having a particular mausoleum which is called Pir-e Shaliar that hosts yearly several domestic & foreign tourists to visit as well as Iranian Zoroastrians who come to practice their own religion in Aug.

It is well noted that there is a trekking route for those who are looking for having active tours in this rein that enables everyone to go randomly all around this village and end up trekking by visiting an spectacular view of this village that can be taken from private garden.

We would highly recommend to visit this region from April till late Oct every year that is accessible from Marivan town which enables everyone enjoy its landscape, fresh air, foods as well as meeting amazing people.

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