(In no particular order. All photos taken by myself)
Aqa Bozorg Mosque Kashan at dusk.
Visit Zoroaster (Persian ancient religion) temple in Yazd to be amazed because several of the rituals are similar to Chinese traditions, like this table spread for some celebration. There are more or less 300 thousands Zoroastrian left in the world, with 200 thousands live in Iran.
Tower of Silence, "planet Tatooine" look alike landscape as seen from the top. In zoroastrianism, dead bodies should not pollute the earth, so it will be brought to the tower for nature (and birds) take care of it. After 3 months, the clean bones then be buried in the deep hole in the tower.
Explore Tehran using Metro, while shopping - on the train - some knick knacks such as socks, mobile phone accessories, chewing gum, hat, even travel bags!
Nasqh E Jahan Square in the evening with perfect reflection from its pool.
.... or in daylight.
Nasqh E Jahan Square in Esfahan might be one of the most important travelers destination in Iran - aside from Persepolis. This magnificent place (one of the biggest public square in the world) needs at least 1 full day to be explored. In this UNESCO heritage site, there are 3 sites not to be missed (2 mosques and a palace), surrounded by indoor and outdoor bazaar. Photos can’t do justice of how magnificent this area is.
Golden hued Vank Cathedral in Esfahan. Refresh or learn yourself new things from the murals. Don't forget to visit the museum next to the cathedral, and see (with microscope provided) a verse written in a piece of hair.
.... or learn about one of Persian dynasty in Chehel Sotoon palace in Esfahan.
This shrine in Yazd! Surreal experience, it reminds me of Frozen and Aladdin.
Long journey trip with VIP Bus.
Almost all bus operators offer VIP and regular buses. VIP bus seat arrangement is single seat on the left and double seat on the right. Affordable, spacious, reclinable (your back will thanks you), with foot rest, and snack box. But you need to ask if you wanna pee.
Former US embassy in Tehran, where you can freely exploring the communication room, sound proof meeting room, document room, you name it.
Take a leisure walk in Si Oh Se Pol Bridge, Esfahan .....
... or UNDER Si Oh Se Pol Bridge.
Or the side of it.
Look up for surprising marvel of geometry and symmetry.
Waiting for sunset in Persepolis.
Karim Khan fort in Shiraz, with one of its leaning column like Tower of Pisa.
Exploring Esfahan bazaar and find this gem, Azadegan Cafe, for some beryani.
... or just simple establishment turns tea house in the bazaar of Shiraz.
Look up to be surprised (again).
Visit madrassa, have a little chat with Mullah.
Wander your mind, imagine the atmosphere and the guests of caravanserai hundreds or even thousands years ago. Caravanserai is kind of hotel for traders and merchants and their camels and donkeys, in the Silk Road trading route. Chinese merchants carry silk, and European traders carry perfumes (among other things). Persia is one of the most important hub in the middle of Silk Road.
Armenian Quarter (New Julfa) in Esfahan.
Armenia and Iran has long relationship as far as 500 BC. In the early 17th century (during Persian - Ottoman War) Shah Abbas relocated 500.000 Armenians to this neighbourhood.
Fresh pistachios are much more delicious than dried one, in my opinion!
3 layered 270 meters long Tabiat Bridge in Tehran, best enjoyed at night.
Abyaneh. The land that time forgot between Kashan and Esfahan. Surrounded by mountains and isolated from harsh winter. The people of Abyaneh have their own culture, language, and distinctive clothing (especially the older generation).
Friendly pedestrian with extra trees as your umbrella, in most part of Tehran as well as Esfahan and Shiraz.
Camel stew with egg plant. I never knew camel meat can be so tasty. Poor camel.
This "Herb Drink". I didn't know what I will get when first order it (and I thought herb drink is anything but clear transparent coloured). But it didn't disappoint!
Dinner in Darband, northern elevated area of Tehran, for fresh mountainous air.
Ride a horse cart in Nasqh E Jahan Square. Touristy, but whatever.
Getting lost in Kashan bazaar to find an intersection like this one.
Observing incredible small details.
Race with sunrise for the perfect angle of rainbow shine. Nasr Ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz.
Nasqh E Rustam. Necropolis of 4 Persian kings.
Quirky street art!
Again. Always look up for architectural wonder from different periods.
Staying in old town Yazd, an ancient city made of muds and weeds. Getting lost in the labyrinth like alleys, go to the roof top tea house to found out where exactly we are.
Traditional houses turn hotel (lots of them in Kashan and Yazd). Iranian traditional houses usually 3 storey building goes underground with open courtyard in the center, to avoid the harsh winter or the peak of summer. And why 3 storey? They said in the old day the house occupied by 3 generations at the same time.
Which one is appetizer and which one is the dessert? Just take a bite and let your taste buds be surprised.
Tomb of Hafez, one of Iran prominent poet. In the evening, lots of lovebirds sing or read poems about love.
"Hipster" store with strange trend like this plants with colourful condoms.
Vakil Bath, Shiraz. A place to socialise, have a nice a massage and bath and get your beard trimmed. There are now dioramas with super real mannequins showing us the activity of this place at the ancient time.
Eat like a local in 'Moslem Restaurant' next to Tehran Grand Bazaar main gate. My friend said this place could cater 4000 clients a day. It's amazing to find how fast they prepare the food!
... try Shirin Polo. Rice under grilled chicken under generous chunky sauce made of pistachios and sweet orange peels served with tahdig. Tahdig is crusty rice full of flavour, a byproduct from the bottom of a rice pan (but now Iranian specially cook tahdig ... for tahdig). My Iranian friend said the competition of who will get the tahdig is the main and common reason of 'fight and war' in the dining table.
Wondering what (and where) is this European style hand painting I found in the wall of mosque in Shiraz.
Zhurkaneh (house of strength), combination of body building, righteousness, and chivalry. These "gym members" exercise while a man sing or read verses about wisdom.
Enjoy open air bazaar ....
... or indoor one .....
... from the most crowded one to the most quiet one, to appreciate how great Persian ancient engineering and design are. The Bazaars are always have pleasant temperature no matter how hot outside is. And they said it also warm enough in winter. Modern buildings should learn about the design of ventilation from Iran.
Don't forget. Keep looking up!!!
Find a lot of places which millennials will say: Instagrammable.
Magnificent Shah Cheragh in Shiraz with its beautiful mirror hall inside. This compound has already been a pilgrim site from 14th century.
Freshly squeezed carrot juice and pomegranate juice.
While in Yazd buy famous Iranian sweets, inside and around Amir Chakhmaq complex.
The harmony of cooking utensil sound in front of Jame Mosque Yazd. People prepare Ash (some kind of porridge, beloved Iran comfort food) for the poors.
Because vanilla flavoured ice cream is sooo last year!
Feel the Iranian youth energy in this popular local coffee chain. I just read that Iran has now around 80 million population, and half of them are younger than 30 years old.
Faludeh. Famous treat from Shiraz. Frozen vermicelli soaked with syrup and lemon juice.
Shop till you drop. In the jewellery section, or copper section, or carpet, sweets and nuts, spices, or anything. (Including china products which seems invade every bazaar or shopping mall or market in every country in the world).
Again and again, I remind you to look up and be marveled.
Well maintained parks.
Traditional houses and Persian gardens. UNESCO heritage sites.
Take shades from the sun under hundreds years old cypress trees in Eram Garden, Shiraz.
Some neighbourhoods which make you forget that you are in the Middle East, not in Europe.
Call it a night, after sip some tea in roof top.
Geometry and symmetry.
Visit underground tea house to get first hand experience of how badgir (wind catcher) works. Be amazed of how this place in oasis city could have temperature as cold as a fridge.
Safe and friendly cities, even when you are alone at almost midnight (well at least for a male).
Be amazed and amused of Azadi Tower in Tehran. This monument seems like have power to shape shifting. Different angle you look, different shape it will be.
This stove under restaurant table to warm you up. Errr.. this might be the only experience I didn't like in Iran. It reminds me of "roasting nuts on open fire".
This cute roof top tea house in Yazd.
Having some regrets for not buying these. And can't let go of the feeling now.
And lastly, wake up early in the morning with excitement of "I am in Iran", having simple but fulfilling breakfast of boiled eggs, breads with butter, cheese, carrot jam, and tomatoes and cucumbers, and do some planning for the day.
And those 75 photos are just from 5 cities only.
From central part of Iran only.
I will be back.
oh.. and here a bonus, 76th photos. A stick of not-so-good-for-your-teeth-don't-let-the-dentist-found-out rock sugar with saffron!
Saya sendiri bertanya, kapan ketertarikan untuk mengunjungi Iran mulai terjadi? 2 atau 3 tahun lalu? Rasanya sejak Iran dikukuhkan Lonely Planet sebagai ‘top destination to travel’ beberapa tahun lalu. Saya mulai browsing mengenai Iran, dan ada satu foto yang membuat saya memutuskan ‘I will be there someday’ (Mesjid Nasir Al Molk di Shiraz). Keinginan untuk pergi semakin menjadi ketika banyak membaca sejarah negara ini, baik ancient Iran maupun modern Iran termasuk tentang revolusi Iran, dan juga Oscar winning movie Argo mengenai penyanderaan staf kedutaan besar Amerika Serikat tahun 1979.
Keramahan dan budaya Persia ‘guests are gift from God’, betapa Iran itu ternyata aman, berbagai miskonsepsi negara ini sebagai sarang teroris, pengalaman dan cerita dari pejalan yang telah mengunjungi Iran, semuanya semakin meyakinkan saya untuk pergi.
1 tahun lalu, saya bergabung dengan grup Facebook ‘See You in Iran’ yang beranggotakan lebih dari 130 ribu orang, mulai dari pejalan yang akan atau telah mengunjungi negara ini, Iranian diaspora berbagai negara yang bekerja keras untuk menceritakan kondisi sebenarnya yang ada di tanah kelahirannya, tourguide, dan sebagainya. Di grup ini pula saya berinteraksi dengan banyak Iranians yang memberi berbagai informasi pariwisata, beberapa pejalan Indonesia yang telah duluan berkunjung, dan seorang perempuan asal Aceh yang telah bermukim di Iran lebih dari 5 tahun.
4 bulan lalu saya memutuskan untuk mencari tiket keberangkatan bulan Oktober, saat iklim Iran di siang hari sekitar 25C dan malam hari sekitar 10C. Nice breezy weather. Rute dari Jakarta yang paling mudah adalah lewat Kuala Lumpur yang memiliki penerbangan langsung ke Tehran (tapi kita juga bisa menggunakan maskapai Timur Tengah, transit di Doha atau Dubai lalu terbang 1 – 2 jam ke Tehran).
3 hari yang lalu saya baru tiba kembali di Jakarta setelah solo traveling di 5 kota di Central Iran selama 2 minggu.
Dari 37 negara yang telah dikunjungi, dengan mudah saya bisa menyatakan Iran berada di top 3 negara favorit saya. Dan saya akan kembali lagi ke sana.
Banyak sekali yang bisa diceritakan mengenai kisah perjalanan saya ke Iran. Penuh surprising moment yang menarik dan tak terlupakan. Saya memutuskan untuk membuat section tersendiri di blog ini.