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Azadi Tower in Tehran province

This tower which represents the city of Tehran is part of Azadi cultural complex which is located in Tehran`s Azadi square in an area of some 5 hectares.
This complex is composed of the following sections; The 50 meter high Azadi tower, which forms the main part of the museum and its architecture, is a combination of Islamic and Sassanid architecture style. The audio - video hall of the complex which has been designed based on Iran`s geographical map displays the regional characteristics of Iran in so far as cultural, life style, religious and historical monuments are concerned.
A mechanical conveyer allows the visitors to visit the hall in total comfort. Some art galleries and halls have been allocated to temporary fairs and exhibitions.
The Diorama hall with 12 chambers puts to display activities in agriculture, handicrafts, modern industry, etc. A cinema, library and sideline services complement the activities of this complex.

Vakil Bazaar in Fars province

This bazaar is located in Darb-e-Shahzadeh (Gate of Prince), near the Vakil Mosque. It has five entrances with two rows of shops (Hojreh), situated north-south and east-west direction and perpendicular to each other. It displays a beautiful architecture with wide corridors and high ceilings along with openings which allow air circulation and penetration of light

Persepolis (Takht-e-Jamshid) in Fars province

Persepolis (Takht-e-Jamshid) in Fars province


The vast province of Isfahan, is located almost in the centre of Iran between Tehran and Fars. Although it is mostly arid, there are several high mountains (Mount. Karkas at 3899m) and rivers such as the Zayandeh Rud 1 that dominate its landscape. A large population lives in the numerous oases that mark the old caravan routes, which linked not only the northwest and southwest of Iran, but crossed the mountain cols to the south, towards Shiraz and the ports on the Persian Gulf.
On approaching the city of Isfahan, leaving behind the great deserts bounded by the mountain chains that enclose the Iranian plateau, one comes upon a wide basin at the bottom of which sleeps the historical city. The most striking thing, at first site, is the contrast between the endless expanse of rock and sand behind, and the huge oasis that lies ahead, with its big trees bearing lush, verdant foliage. Only the bulbous domes of the Mosques show above the canopy of vegetation glowing turquoise-green in the sunshine. The cool blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings, and the cities majestic bridges, contrast perfectly with the hot dry Iranian countryside around it.
The main monuments of Isfahan are essentially the work of one man; Shah Abbas I (more commonly known as Shah Abbas the Great), who made the town his capital in 1598, and had it rebuilt with large avenues, magnificent gardens and a royal palace. Shah Abbas chose Isfahan as his capital, prompted by the fear for the safety of the old capitals, Tabriz and Qazvin, which were considered too close to the Ottoman Empire.
During his reign, Isfahan was opened up to the outside world with the presence of a number of foreigners at the Safavid court - English and Dutch merchants, European artists, and diplomats hoping to secure alliances against the common Ottoman enemy - and became one of the most glorious cities of its time. The famous half rhyme "Isfahan nesf-eh jahan" (Isfahan is half the world) was coined in 16th century to express the city’s grandeur.
However, its period of glory lasted, for little more than 100 years. An invasion by the Afghans in the 18th Century, hastened the decline and the capital was subsequently transferred to Shiraz and then to Tehran.
Isfahan’s main monuments are centred around the following areas; the Imam Square (or Royal Square), the Friday Mosque, and the bridges on the Zayandeh Rud. The centre of Isfahan during the Seljuk period was the Friday Mosque. Today, the mosque is like a patchwork of history with a winter hall that is probably Timurid; minarets built by the "Black Sheep" tribe and the interior decorated by the Safavids. In 1598, Shah Abbas decided to shift this centre to the present day Imam Square - according to some, in order to annoy a rich merchant who was reluctant to part with his property.
The Bridges of Isfahan
The Zayandeh Rud (river) starts in the Zagros Mountains, flows from west to east through the heart of Isfahan, and dries up in the Kavir desert.
The bridges over the river include some of the nicest architecture in Isfahan. The oldest bridge is the "Pol-e Shahrestan" which was probably built in the 12th century during the Seljuk period. Further upstream is the "Pol-e Khaju" which was built by Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is 123 metres long with 24 arches, and it also serves as a sluice gate.
Si-o-se-pol or "Allah-verdi Khan Bridge",
built in 1632 by Shah Abbas on the Zayandeh Rud (river), Isfahan
The next bridge is the "Pol-e Jubi". It was originally built as an aqueduct to supply the palace gardens on the north bank of the river. Further upstream again is the "Si-o-Se Pol" or bridge of 32 arches. Build during the rule of Shah Abbas the Great, it linked Isfahan with the Armenian suburb of Jolfa. It is by far the longest bridge in Isfahan at 295m.

Hamedan Alisadr Cave

The Alisadr cave-lake, 120 km to the north-west of Hamadan near a village by this same name and at the foothill of Su-Bashi, is one of the strangest natural sights in Iran, in fact, the latter is an endless network of caves full of clear water.
The Alisadr cave-lake was discovered in the first half of 70s, and is now being visited by waves of local and foreign tourists. In some sections the caves are more than 100 meters wide.
In some sections the cave ceiling,is more than 10 meters high.
This cave is located 80 kilometers northwest of Hamadan, in the Subashi mountains close to Ali Sadr village and is one of the most beautiful natural features in the world.
This cave is composed of large and small spiral channels which are linked to one another.
In some sections the cave is 100 meters wide and 10 meters high.
Ali Sadr cave was discovered during the fourth and fifth centuries and today lots of tourists visist it in the summer.

Dizin in Tehran province

Skiing has become immensely popular in Iran. The first ski-lifts seen in Iran were installed after World War II at Ab-i-Ali, about 40 miles by road east of Tehran, which is still a popular ski resort despite the counter attractions of the longer and steeper slopes at Dizin and Shemshak, the latter about 35 miles north of the capital.
The skiing season usually lasts from December until March or April

Golestan Palaces in Tehran

During the reign of the Safavid Shah Abbas I, a vast garden called Chahar-Bagh (Four Gardens), a governmental residence and a Chenaristan (a grove of plane trees), had been created on the present site of the Golestan Palace and its surroundings.
Then, Karim Khan Zand (1163-1193 = 1749-1779 A.D.) ordered the construction of a citadel, a rampart and a number of towers in the same area.
In the Qajar period, some royal buildings were gradually erected within the citadel; for instance, in 1268 A.H. (1813 A.D.) which coincided with the fifth year of the Nasir al-Din Shah, the eastern part of the royal garden was extended and some other palaces were built around the garden, called palaces the Golestan Garden. The group of palaces located in the northern part of the Golestan Garden, consists of the Museum Hall (Talar-i-Brilian), the Ivory Hall, the Crystal Hall, and the Talar-i Narinjistan (orangery hall), which have all been built prior to the construction of the other parts of the palace.
The Museum Hall has been built in 1296 A.H. (1878 A.D.).
In the upper section of the Royal Reception Hall of the Golestan Palace, there is a large bejeweled golden throne, called Takht-i- Tavus (The Peacock Throne), which must be the same as the Solar Throne (Takht-i Khorshidi).
The Qajar`s royal residence, the oldest substantial building in the city, and one of a group of royal buildings then enclosed within mud walls known as the Arg, the Golestan Palace (Rose Garden), too, was completed by Fath Ali Shah Qajar. However, its construction is attributed to the Safavid Shah Abbas I.
Nasser ad-Din shah, influenced by what he had seen during his first European tour in 1873, added a Museum in the from of a large, first-floor hall decorated with mirror work, where some of the priceless Crown jewels were put on show side by side with many other things of much less value, mainly acquired by the King during his European tour.
The coronation ceremonies of the last two kings of the Pahlavi dynasty took place in the first-floor hall, however, after a re-arrangement, complete renovation and redecoration of the interior with the intention of reviving the palace`s ancient splendor.
The last King used to hold New Year and Birthday Salams in the Coronation Hall, where Ministers, foreign Ambassadors and other dignitaries in full dress offered their congratulations to the King of Kings. But generally, the Golestan Place is open to strollers and tourists.
The Palace garden offered an oasis of coolness and silence in the heart of the city, Shade is provided by what the inhabitants of Tehran call (the finest plane tree in town), rose bushes, blue fountain-bowls and ancient of water recall the charm of ancient Iranian gardens.
Altogether, here you will see little more of the palace than the visitor hoping for a tour around Buckingham Palace who is fobbed off with the Royal Gallery.
But while the state-rooms of the Palace may appeal to some others will turn to the Palace Library for the discovery of Iranian paintings, which owes its relative lack of popularity to the inaccessibility of originals scattered from Cleveland to Istanbul, from Washington`s Freer Gallery to ST Petersburg, and from the British Museum to Cairo`s National Library.
Address: 15th Khordad Square.

Tus in khorasan

The small town of Tus, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) north of Mashhad, was once the regional capital. The Turkish and Monghol invasions, as well as its proximity to the great city of Mashhad, contributed to its decline. Today, it is best known to most Iranians as the hometown of the poet Ferdowsi, the author of the epic Shah-Namah. His mausoleum lies over what is believed to be the exact place of his death. It was built in 1933 to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the poet's death a year later. The overall shape of Ferdowsi's tomb is reminiscent of the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, and in a room underneath the tomb, there are a series of modern bas-reliefs illustrating a few episodes from the Shah-Namah.

  • Intro Written Jan 9, 2008
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Mahbod Valipour
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