We are honored to have been a pioneer in operating cultural tours in Iran. Our exclusive tour itineraries and experienced team have provided memorable experiences for many travelers so far. However, just like many other businesses, we expanded our services to cover more diverse Iran travel packages later. Today, the IDT team is providing a diversity of Iran travel packages and there are also tailor-made tours available, in case our clients’ requests, which could be discussed according to their preferences. The most prominent types of tours we are offering right now include:

Cultural tours
Iran is the land of ancient culture and tradition, so the first thing the word Iran tour would bring to your mind is cultural tours. Cultural tours to Iran offer its own diversity. Some types of tours we are now providing include Persian silk road tour, Iran west to north tour, crossing Iran through Turkmenistan, Authentic Persian civilization, tours to Iran World heritage sites, Iran culinary tour, and Iran astronomy and stargazing tour.

Adventure tours
Believe it or not, Iran is a land of adventures! There are plenty of pristine landscapes and pure-adrenaline activities calling you here. ID adventure tours include Damavand ski tours, Dizin ski tours in Iran, mountain biking in Iran, Birdwatching in 10 days, trekking in Alborz and Zagros, and also caving tours in Iran.

Safari tours
You would have the opportunity of exploring a desert in which people historically believed that it could not be crossed when traveling to Iran. Although we have exact plans to deal with all difficulties, the nature of these trips is to expect the unexpected. Special dune riding techniques with optional activities like sandboarding and skiing on dunes will pump adrenaline into your veins. Campsites with panoramic views of sunrises and sunsets over spectacular oceans of dunes will make an unforgettable memory of a special expedition in one of the most pristine deserts in the world.

MICE tours
MICE Department at Iran Doostan is specialized in planning and organizing MICE events as well as arranging for post-meeting tours. Our team of qualified MICE staff members is dynamic, well-experienced, highly devoted, and cooperative who have held many events successfully so far. They are equipped with up-to-date know-how MICE expertise who are capable of coping with emergencies.

Medical tours
Iran is considered one of the main hubs of medical tourism in the Middle East. World-class medical services by professional surgeons and also the low costs of such reliable medical services have made this country a popular medical destination in the Middle East and around the world. The most common cosmetic surgery in Iran is rhinoplasty.
As an experienced travel agency, Iran Doostan Tours Co. is ready to connect you to the best medical centers with high-quality services in Iran.

Religious tours
Persia once was a land with great unity over the world’s most multi‐national, multi‐lingual, multi‐cultural, multi‐religious, and multi‐ethnic region. Iran is the pilgrimage destination for those who practice Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism.
Religious tours to Iran include the pilgrimage to the holiest shite shrines, visiting ancient mosques, and other holy sites such as important churches, fire temples, and Towers.

If you already have a call for sending package tours to Iran or book Iran travel packages, do not hesitate to get in touch right now via info@idt.com.

Posts

Tehran- Golestan Palace

Tehran attractions district 12: at a glance

You don’t have enough time to visit the whole big city of Tehran? Then replacing that with visiting the Golden District would be a clever idea. District 12 is the main and historical core of the city, where the Treasury of National Jewels _in which is kept the Naderi golden throne and the most valuable crowns remained from Qajar and Pahlavi kings_ and Golestan Royal palace is located, the Grand Bazar of Tehran and many other museums exist. To be clear, you can walk through the history, from thousands of years ago in Iran national museum, cross the Qajar wealth, and drink your evening modern Coffee in Masoudieh garden.

Tehran district 12

To see and download the high-quality infographic, click here: Tehran attractions district 12

Susa: Glorious capital of ancient Iran

Located in the south-west of Iran, on the foothill of Zagros Mountain, 7000 years old Susa is still shining as one of the first places of ancient civilizations in the world. Urbanizations and also the development of early state took place here for the first time in the world’s history.

Having been the capital of Iran during Elamite, Susa embraces several architectural masterpieces which are quite eye-catching to every visitor. And the interesting point is that history has been documented in this city and they were the very first people who invented script, and more surprisingly, this was not their only amazing invention. Elamites earned many achievements in writing, architecture, sculpture, melting glass, and metalwork. And all these achievements along with natural attractions have made Susa a lovely destination worthy of visiting.

Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, constructed 3200 years ago, is the greatest Ziggurat in the world which is a well-representative of Elamite’s art and architecture. It was a five-floor temple of Elamites with seven gates around and inscriptions with Elamite’s alphabets on its bricks. This great construction has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List and attracts many tourists from around the world every year.

People in Susa and in Khuzestan province are known for being hospitable and the local food here is pretty delicious. Traveling to this city to visit all glorious monuments, and meet warm-hearted people will be one of your life-long experiences you will never forget about.

Susa attractions Infographic

To see and download the high-quality infographic, click here: Susa attractions

Iran travel budget

Iran travel budget – part 2: Accommodation, Food, and Telecom

Well, once we arrived and changed some precious money avoiding traps described in Iran budget travel – part one, several next challenges appear – mainly where to stay, how to move in the cities and inside the country, find good and inexpensive food, and telecom service.

In Iran, Couchsurfing is very popular and many will be happy to host a foreign traveler; if someone likes this kind of experience, it can be a good idea. Just remember, you will need a VPN app to use it in Iran. If however, it is not your preferred way – in Iran, there are hundreds of hostels and cheap hotels.

The main international resource in the case of hostels is www.hostelworld.com, full description and lots of travelers’ reviews will help in your choice, but you can check also the local smaller web www.hostelsiniran.com.

As of December 2019, there are lots of hostels, also in Tehran, offering stay with unlimited breakfast for 4 or 5 euros/night; in dorms of course. The hostel staff is usually very well informed about all your possible questions, speaks good English and can give you advice about local landmarks and how to get there.

As for the typical hostel breakfast, you can have a look here (based on Heritage Hostel, Tehran): My Persian breakfast experience in Iran.

Interestingly, while dorms are now incredibly cheap – these hostels have also some private rooms offered on rather prohibitive 20 to 30 euro prices. Just in case a desire for a small luxury becomes irresistible – there are cheap “1-star hotels” in many less touristic places – in Tehran for example in South Saadi street (close enough to metro Saadi and Great Bazaar). Just asking for curiosity (without trying to bargain), I was offered private rooms for 800 000 rials, some 7 euro – but no breakfast included. These hotels serve mainly locals and hardly you can find them on English language websites, so if interested – ask Iranians (in case you do not find them walking around).

Next comes the transport. About the Tehran public transport, taxi and Snapp you will find more here: Public transportation in Tehran

In other Iranian cities using public transport, consisting mainly of common buses will be a bit difficult without a local helpful to tell you which line of local bus is best for you. I stayed several days in Shiraz and found out how to use to my benefit 2 or 3 bus lines, avoiding kilometric marches. There is always one linking bus terminal in the city center, others to run along main streets, it is good to use them, tickets are very cheap, people pay for drivers.  If you need to go to a specific place far away and have no way to use the city bus – try in first place Snapp, the local Uber-like service. Try to avoid a regular taxi if possible!

By the way, in other big Iranian cities there is a limited metro service, (networks are under construction), actually consisting of 2 lines in Mashhad and just one operating in Tabriz, Esfahan, and Shiraz. On some occasions it can be also useful for tourists, so – why not try?

The most budget-friendly way to travel across Iran is without any doubt by using intercity buses. Even more, the night buses – saving you a hostel fee and also a full day for a new destination.

Tehran has 4 bus terminals, other cities just 1 or 2 – from each one you can pick a normal (Maamuli) or luxury (VIP) intercity bus. Maamuli is a typical tourist bus, usually not the newest one, with some 50 passenger capacity. Another story for VIP – luxury extra large seats, lots of space for legs, great comfort during the journey, some 25 seats altogether – obviously the best choice for a long journey. Unfortunately, there is the price tag – VIP costs around 80% more than a normal bus, to give a fresh example, my recent trip Babolsar – Tehran, some 200 km: Maamuli 240 000 rials vs. VIP 420 000 rials…Btw in any Iranian bus voyage, there is a bottle of water and a small snack included!

The best way is to ask an Iranian to book for you using local websites – or doing yourself a trip to terminal, there are at least several companies and their hawkers, initially insisting you should take a VIP bus. If you resist and insist on Maamuli, you will be able to buy the cheaper one, of course!

Avoid English language bus booking sites directed to tourists – it is easy, but you’ll pay double or triple. For example on one such “helpful” website, my Tehran – Babolsar tickets were for “only” 5 euro – in real exchange 700 000 rials at that moment –  for Maamuli bus – while I paid for the same ticket 240 000 rials, like normal Iranians, at the bus station.

There is quite a good railways network, but tickets are more expensive, and often no places available in immediate days. As for local airlines, it can be an idea in case you want to do a really long jump –  f. ex. Tehran – Bandar Abbas flight can cost around 30 euro (at this time). Always ask an Iranian to help you, using local booking sites; if you do it by an agency or English language website – you will pay more.

BlaBlaCar does not include Iran, unfortunately (neither AirBnB).

Irandoostan

Irandoostan tours and Travelife Sustainability System

Iran Doostan Tour (IDT) is engaged with the Travelife certification program and it has started the process to work step by step towards complying with its international sustainability standards. Travelife is a fair and affordable system that helps tour operators and travel agencies, accommodations, and destinations to manage and improve social and environmental impacts by complying with sustainability criteria.
The Travelife initiative is based on the central role of tour operators and travel agents in internal management as well as the tourism supply chain. This initiative allows IDT to contribute significantly to sustainable development and environmental and cultural protection while operating.
Travelife is a three-stage certification program for tour operators and travel agents:

  1. Travelife Engaged;
  2. Travelife Partner;
  3. Travelife Certified.

IDT is at stage 1 – Travelife Engaged. IDT is working to move forward to stage 2 – Travelife Partner. With Travelife Stage 2 Certified award IDT can communicate its commitment in sustainability to its clients and other partners.
After compliance, IDT will receive Travelife Certified status as proof of internationally recognized high sustainability performance and excellence that comply with ISO 14001 and EMAS III standards. The performance requirements include the full set of ISO 26000 and OECD Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines which include labor conditions, human rights, environment, biodiversity, and fair business practices.

sustainability

Waste Separation at Source: The first step to go green

Have you ever wondered what will happen to the unseparated wastes? Can it be recycled? Well, the very sad answer is; No! Contaminated waste, paper, or plastic bottles that are smeared by food leftovers or other unsorted waste will cost more to be processed and recycled. So, in many cases, the contamination will not allow the plastic and paper to be recycled and they will, unfortunately, end up in a landfill. Waste separation at source is the key factor to avoid such contamination and maximize the recovery of useful waste. Read more

green tourism

Irandoostan align with sustainable tourism

Tourism always has both positive and negative impacts on the environment and target communities. The development of tourism, without managing its effects, can harm the environment, culture, and the host community. The development of sustainable tourism, by managing the effects of tourism on the environment, the economy, and the destination community, preserves the resources of the destination and even promotes them. Today, with the increasing number of tourists around the world and with the aim of preserving, and protecting the environment, social structures, cultures, and customs, the new concept of “sustainable tourism” has attracted the attention of many. Along with global activities, Irandoostan company is also taking steps towards sustainable tourism.

What activities does Iran Doostan do to reach the purpose of sustainable tourism?

In general, the main and long-term goals of Iran Doostan, in line with sustainable tourism include tourism efficient & eco-friendly waste disposal, maintaining the environment, and minimizing the environmental damages. It is worth mentioning that this company has done good environmental activities in this direction so far. Here are some of these activities:

  • Cooperating with sustainable lodges

With all respect for those who prefer a neat stay in many star hotels, the process of hotel buildings can be harmful to nature and also the local culture. Ecolodges, on the other hand, use eco-friendly materials and methods to be built and relive the ritual and cultural heritage helping the destination society to remain for the future. Irandoostan group supports these green ecolodges and eco-camps to offer the guests experience of the local culture and also guaranteeing the maintenance of host society and environment. Let’s review how does it help to save our planet:

1-Using less Disposable utensils other plastic packaging materials to avoid producing garbage

2-Preserving the culture and tradition of the local community

3_contributing in the conservation of local ecosystems

ecolodges in IRan

Not Using disposable containers and waste sorting makes ecolodges the green residence.

  • The volunteer nature cleaning

It’s 2020 and so many people know the real value of a healthy environment, but there are also some people still leaving their trash by purpose or even inadvertently in nature.  The various climbing and hiking groups in Iran clean the nature of garbage sometimes in turn and sometimes individually and voluntarily. Iran Doostan group is definitely one of those. In every ascent and any other activities by our responsibility the team takes any piece of garbage on the ground and brings that back to the living area well-packed. In each ascent to Damavand, a number of rental mules are allocated to return the waste.

  1. People with the purpose of reaching the peak, preserve the mountain environment themselves.
  2. The old Shelter, with the same environment protection activities, has been emptied of garbage and has been renovated to a sustainable residence.
green tourism in iran

The volunteering activities for cleaning nature saves the planet.

  • Helping the economy of host societies

Taking trash from nature might be an easy task for hikers, but carrying all those packages requires renting the mules and also asking for villagers’ help. This behavior not only promotes the community but also creates jobs for the villagers and increases the income amount for the local community.

The mules carrying the garbage packs_Damavand

The mules carrying the garbage packs_Damavand

Besides all the above, the Irandoostan group is paying for the hiking permits between 30-50 dollars per person which is used as the budget of the renovation of huts and shelters, and also for carrying the garbage to the right place. It should be noted that most of these activities have been carried out during the ascent season, and at the end of each season, Irandoostan Company will conduct a final review of the activities related to this issue.

 

Ramadan

The traditional Persian cuisine of Ramadan

Only a few days are left to the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and everything in Iran likewise the world is overshadowed by the outbreak of a Coronavirus that has infected nearly two million people and claimed many lives in Iran and around the world. In recent days, some of Shia Maraji have announced that fasting will be ok for people with a strong immune system who are home quarantined and follow a healthy nutritious diet. The mentioned group can fast and perform their duties as in previous years. But people with weakened immune systems that doctors diagnose fasting makes them more prone to illness should avoid fasting.

This year Muslims are breaking their fast on smaller Iftar tables, but more solidarity to save lives. Stick with us to see what are the traditional Iranian Ramadan meals and diets and how will Coronavirus affects them.

Sahari or The pre-dawn meal

Eating the predawn meal is one of the indicators of the health of fasting. In this meal, which is served before sunrise, enough protein and water should reach the body. the regular Iranian foods, which are served in lunch meals during the year are usually served as the pre-dawn during Ramadan.

predawn or sahari

Sahari or Predawn meal, taking place before sunrise.

Iftar meal

Since fasting people do not receive the nutrients, sugars, and water they need during the day, they should make up for this deficiency by eating nutrients at predawn and iftar so that they do not have the ability to fast and their health is not endangered. Iftar meal should include a variety of foods that are good for the body and maintain the strength of the fasting person, so it is better to get acquainted with the foods and beverages that have these characteristics. Iftar meal includes 3 parts itself :

  • Aperitifs:

In the first half of the year, the fasting hours may long up to 18. Fasting people do not break their fast at once, but first, they drink a hot soft drink as an aperitif. The most popular aperitif of Iranians is hot tea with rock candy. But warm milk and dates, herbal teas, rose and saffron syrup, are also served before the appetizer.

Iranian tea

Tea drinking is an inseparable part of Iranian culture.

  • Appetizers:

Ash Reshteh

Ash Reshteh is the traditional Iranian version of nuddle soup, cooked with beans, pea, and vegetables. Whit a strong taste of the dried mint powder. The Ash is garnished with a salty diary sauce named “Kashk”. That’s why it also is called Ash_e Kashk.

Ash reshteh

Ash Reshteh, or Persian noddle soup.

Halim

Halim is a nutritious and stodgy food that is served as breakfast on normal days and a small amount of it is served as an appetizer during Ramadan. There are various versions of Halim in different countries, but honestly Iranian one The main ingredients of Halim are wheat and mutton. The word Halim means patience and endurance because cooking Halim requires patience. This dish is cooked slowly for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste-like consistency ― blending the flavors of spices, meat, barley, and wheat. Finally, you can add cinnamon with sugar or salt up to your choice and taste it.

Persian Haleem

Persian Halim of meat and wheat, is a strong appetizer.

  • Main course :

The main course food varies on different families with different tastes. Some people eat only bread, cheese, fresh herbs while others prefer rice and chicken for example. But the popular main course in most Nazri (Cooking and distributing free foods in holy days) ceremonies are Persian kebab and Gheymeh:

Gheymeh

Often cooked in enormous copper pots over wood-burning fires, is beef and split pea stew with the reddish tune of tomato sauce, in addition to some saffron and rose water. This luscious stew is served with white rice.

Gheymeh

Gheymeh, Iranians favorite Nazri.

  • Desserts:

Sholeh Zard

This Persian Saffron rice pudding is very delicate and light in texture, mild in sweetness and it gets its golden color from saffron. Sholeh Zard is served as a dessert in Iftar, garnished with designs made with ground cinnamon and slivered pistachios or almonds.

Sholeh Zard

Sholeh Zard, the Persian saffron rice pudding.

Zulbia and Bamiyeh

These sticky cookies are going to make your sweetest memory of Ramadan in Iran.  Bamieh is a small fried sweet, maybe a kind of donut, which is rolled in the rose water and Saffron syrup. The same way is cooked Zulbia, but it’s thinner and crunchier. Diabetics bear in mind that if you start eating one of these cookies, you can’t help the rest!

zoolbia bamiyeh

The crispy Zulbia and tasty fluffy Bamiyeh are among the most popular Ramdan sweets.

 

 

Irandoostan

Coronavirus and travel industry: Our story of dealing with the challenging situation

The travel industry is experiencing the hardest hit by the unexpected wave of COVID-19 outbreak. We are all facing a situation that was quite unimaginable some weeks ago, but rarely people ask how about the future? What will the travel industry look like after the coronavirus?

Iran Doostan Tours Co.: The best tour operator in Iran

About 30 years ago when we decided to start our business with cultural tours to Iran, we were totally aware of how sensitive the industry might be to different circumstances ranging from political tensions to social unrests, health issues, and etc. We have either experienced or witnessed many of these obstacles as a tourist company in Iran over these years. Yet, what made us continue to struggle was the passion for our work!
Today, Iran Doostan has been expanded in spite of all the restrictions. There are various departments handling a diversity of package tours and services including cultural tours, adventure and eco-tours, medical tours, and Mice tours. Besides these, there are supporting departments as well, such as accounting, operation, human resources, IT, and digital marketing.

 

How do we deal with the situation?

Until some weeks ago we were growing, but now we are witnessing changes in travel demand. Well, it is a tough situation but not happening for the first time! Fortunately, Iran Doostan Tours Co. was the first Iranian tour operator that adopted a fully fleshed out remote infrastructure for its employees to work from home in order to care for their health and prevent the transmission of the virus, by the time the first few cases were identified in Iran, we continued to work online. My colleagues are online at home to deal with any phone call or email and they are pleasantly ready to assist you with any requests.

Nearly all of our tours have been canceled until the end of July, which was quite unpredictable by the beginning of 2020. To deal with it, we kept negotiating with our service providers, mainly the hotels, not to receive cancellation fees.

Although many companies decide to shut down over the epidemic, we are optimistic toward the future of the travel and tourism industry and we do not mean to ruin what we have built over all these years. To make better use of this time, we came up with a creative solution that is taking the situation as an opportunity for our organization to train the personnel through online sessions. This is how we will make ourselves prepared for the productive tomorrow.

 

What do we think about the future of the travel industry?

We do believe despite what is happening, being optimistic in an integral part of our business. The travel industry has rebounded from past crises and it will bounce back again. After all, people would always dream about more traveling and new experiences and we would be there to offer the desirable service they wish for.

We would overcome the situation pretty soon; hope the remaining months of 2020 would be productive and successful for all tourism businesses around the world, and that we continue our fruitful cooperation more than before.

Hospitality Tomorrow: The virtual Conference on the future of Hospitality

As many as 5000 hospitality professionals participated in the virtual conference called “Hospitality Tomorrow” yesterday on 7 March to unite as “one” community encountering the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and society.

Although assessing the impacts of the pandemic on the hospitality industry is not certain right now, the tourism and hospitality professionals took part in the conference to discuss three main concerns regarding the world’s unprecedented situation:

  1. Changes in our world and people – operationally, financially, and psychologically
  2. Where, when and how signs of recovery can be anticipated
  3. The role of Travel & Tourism in accelerating momentum for recovery

Most of the specialists who gave a speech in this show expressed an optimistic view of the future of the hospitality industry.

Paul Stoltz, chief executive of Peak Learning and a leading resilience analyst argued that “companies should grab this opportunity to create a new experience, one that is safer, better, more relaxed and enjoyable than even a guests’ own home.”

Roger Bootle, chairman of Capital Economics, a leading independent macroeconomic research firm also stated his optimistic view on the crisis: “although some countries will see falls in GDP of 20 percent or more in a very short period, there is every chance we will get a ‘v’ shaped recovery – a very fast pick-up once the worst is past.”

Discussing changes in our world and people he believes that the situation may damage the personal finance of people even for a year or two, but after this time the memory will fade in the longer term.

Roger Dow, chief executive of the United States Travel Association said: “tourism would be a key part of the economic recovery.” Regarding the anticipation of a recovery, he stated: “we must be prepared in the right time for the recovery”. However, as he argues the recovery will also come in waves, first shows itself in domestic tourism and then internationally.

Richard Haddad, chief executive of Jannah Hotels & Resorts pointed out that the “hospitality industry is facing, joining hands and knowing that everyone is working globally towards the brighter ‘tomorrow’ is vital for the travel and tourism world.”

These are just some of the optimistic viewpoints expressed by the professionals of the industry in this virtual conference. We are all now united as “one” community gets prepared for a brighter future when tourism and hospitality will be flourished again. Hope we all benefit from sustainable tourism around the world once more.

Zeras khuzistan

A complete guide to travel to west of Iran

Unlike the classic route of central Iran which tends to cross deserts, western Iran, including the Zagros area and < Kurdistan hills and Khuzestan plain is so rich naturally and because of this excellence has been always populated during history. Which gives the second priority to the region: historically and culturally rich.

Khuzestan

The name of Khuzestan might remind of the Iran-Iraq war, but the history of civilization in Khuzestan dates back to more than 7000 years, to the Elamite period. The historical sights aside, the tropical nature of this region has a lot to offer to its visitors.

Choghazanbil, The Elamite Ziggurat

Choghazanbil ziggurat known as the Elamite religious center in Shush is the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia and the best preserved of this type of stepped pyramidal monument from 1275-1240 BCE. The word “Chogha Zanbil” in the local language means “large basket-shaped hill.” This well-constructed monument is a dedicate from Untash Gal, the Elamite King to their gods Inshushinak and Naapirisha. The monument was built on five floors, with a height of around 50 meters at the time. The first glazed brick of the world in gold and turquoise was used in the decoration of the outside walls, on which the king personally left a message for you: “I Untash Gal, carved the golden bricks and set up home for the gods and I have dedicated this sacred place. May my work which is a gift to the Gods Gal and Inshushinak be accepted.”

Choghazanbil ziggurat

Choghazanbil ziggurat, the Elamite religious center in Shush and the largest ziggurat outside of Mesopotamia.

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Intelligently constructed hydraulic systems of Shushtar including water mills, dams, tunnels were used for optimal use of water in ancient times. This aquatic structure which is considered one of the unique works of the Achaemenid period gives good information and statistics from ancient Iran. The first of the Shushtar aqueduct was built by Cyrus the Great in current Khuzestan. The Achaemenid era can be considered the culmination of Iranian civilization, art, and science. They built this industrial and aquatic structure with very precise engineering to overcome the power of nature. It was repeatedly rebuilt during the Sassanid, Seljuk, Qajar, and even Pahlavi periods. But a massive flood eventually destroyed the huge part of the structure in 1963. One of the most important architectural uses of Shushtar water structures was the diversion of Karun water to the other side. This was done in a fine manner and the floor of the creek was well sealed so that its bed would not be destroyed over time. The water would then have to collect behind a high barrier and eventually pass through the holes created on the rock and the Achaemenid plaster.

Shushtar hydraulic system

This aquatic structure which is considered one of the unique works of the Achaemenid period

The ritual ceremony of Mandaean in July

Not all Khuzestan citizens are Arab or Shiit. At the edge of Karoon river, lives the ethnoreligious group called “Sabin” and also “Mandaean” who are adherents of John the Baptist. The public beliefs of Mandaean consider the natural fluid water as the sacred element which is a symbol of purity and cleaning impurities and guilt, that’s why Mandaeans say their prayers in sunrise and sunset beside Karoon river. Every year on 19 July Mandaean celebrates their new year’s eve which is their sacred day since it is considered as the nativity of Adam. On the mentioned day Sabein wears The white ceremonial robes and performs their baptism rite by immersing themselves in the river. It worth always participating in ritual ceremonies.

Mandaeans

Mandaeans believe that fluid water is a symbol of purity and cleans impurities and guilt.

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

The palace was built by the order of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king, in about 515-521 BC in Susa on the remained parts of Elamite artifacts. The walls of the palace are made of clay and its columns are made of stone. If we drive 40 km from Andimeshk on a lush and beautiful road, we will reach the city of Shush, which is one of the oldest cities in the world. Archaeological excavations show that the area was inhabited by farmers 9000 BC. In 5,000 BC, people lived in the castle, and since 4,000 years ago, it has been the first place on earth to create urban life. As a noticeable point in the excavations of Apadana Palace, we can mention the discovery of an inscription related to the reign of Darius, which is written an inscription from the words of Darius describes the process of construction of Apadana Palace.

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

Apadana, the Palace of Darius in Susa

Ritual Arabic coffee drinking in Mozif

The literal meaning of “Mozif” is “the place of celebration”. As the guests are highly respected and sacred in Arabic culture, our Arab compatriots in Khuzestan build up some arched shaped rooms made of straw to host people for coffee drinking ceremonies. There are no doors in the entrance of Mozifs which means everyone is welcome. The coffee making and serving have a particular formality. For instance, when coffee is poured, the guest should drink it instantly without putting it down to show his respect and shaking the cup means that the guest wants no more coffee. but that’s not all, there is a lot to learn before going to Mozif.

mozif

There are no doors in the entrance of Mozifs which means everyone is welcome.

Dehdez, The tropical paradise

If you felt like “Enough for history” in your Khuzestan trip, just take your backpack and go for a cool adventure in Dehdez riverside strict. Zeras is among the most amazing villages in Dehdez which is called “lost paradise”. Tucked between the green mountain ranges, the blue lake of Zeras offers a landscape like “get away from it all”. Surrounded by palm trees and green hills, just don’t sit on the sidelines watching people have fun. There a lot to do in Zeras: you can fish, hike, swim jet around the Lake, ride the boat, and use the water complex.  You’ve got 2 choices for setting your camp, on the green hills if the day wasn’t too hot and the humidity doesn’t bother or getting back to the village and pick your own picturesque view. Zeras would be the best to travel in the first half-year period, especially from April to June.

Zeras

Tucked between the green mountain ranges, the blue lake of Zeras offers a great landscape.

The cuisine of Khuzistan

The Arabic coffee of Khuzestan aside, the other must-taste of the region is “Ghaliyeh Mahi” which is a delicious spicy chopped fish baked in vegetables.

Lorestan

Falakolaflak castle

Atop an ancient hill in Khoramabad is located Falakolaflak castle, known as the engineering and architectural masterpiece and which is registered in the list of Iran’s National Heritage. Although the original date of construction of the castle is yet unknown it’s been speculated that Shapur Sassanid is the founder. This hexagonal building was used as military fortress, treasury, and prison for centuries after the Sassanid area up to the Qajar period. When Alexander invaded Iran, the rulers of the time decided to hide valuable gold and silver objects in them and thus protect them from Alexander. Two thousand years later, antiques were accidentally found by thieves and are now preserved in the Anthropological Museum of the castle. The visiting hour change in different seasons but it is almost possible every day from 9:00 to 17:00.

Falakolaflak castle

Falakolaflak castle, known as the engineering and architectural Sassanid masterpiece.

Azna snow tunnel

My highest recommendation for adventurers during spring and summer would definitely be the Azna snow tunnel. The Lorestan province has snowy winters, the accumulation of tons of snow in Oshtoran Kooh over many years, has formed this spectacular natural wonder in Azna area. Huge masses of snow accumulate in the winter and as the weather warms up in the spring and summer, the snow masse starts to melt slightly which makes a hole in it and forms the snow tunnel. Azna valley gives the chance to experience strolling through an 800 meters snow tunnel while the melting drops whisper and the froze strokes the face skin.

Khazineh valley

“Darreh Khazineh” or “Khazineh Valley” is located near the namesake village in Lorestan Province in the southwest of Iran. Although it gets a little chilly in fall and winter, summers are gloriously temperate affairs in Lorestan. So many people claim that Khazineh valley and Grand canyons could be twins in another world, well who knows! The spectacular stone forms, shaped by erosion in this valley enchants every visitor. Then check your camera twice before leaving for Lorestan!

Khazineh valley

Khazineh valley is called the Iranian twin of Grand Canyon.

Kurdistan 

The Kurdistan region in Iran embrasses three provinces: Kurdistan, Kermanshah and Ilam, the majority of people in these provinces are Kurdish and culturally so close, here are the most remarkable sights to visit in the great region of Kurdistan :

Tagh_E Bostan

“ Tagh_E Bostan” or “The Arch of the Garden” is a collection of inscriptions and rock paintings from the Sassanid period, which is located in five kilometers northwest of Kermanshah. These inscriptions picturing the coronations of several Sassanid kings such as Khosrow Parviz, Ardashir II, Shahpur II, and Shahpur III, remained almost 1800 years. Being located on the path of silk road and the and the agreeable climate and nature made Tagh_E Bostan region very populated and persuaded the kings to make carve their inscription there, why don’t we call it the royal billboard then?

a collection of inscriptions and rock paintings

Houramanat

Located in the green mountains of Kurdistan, this hilltop village, is famous for its stunning nature as well as ritualistic music, dance, and ceremonies. The greatest event which takes place in Howramanat is the wedding of “Pir Shalyar”. This musical festival is held twice a year in mid-spring and mid-winter, for 950 years, in honor of a wise old man, called “Pir Shalyar”.The legends say that the King of Bukhara had a deaf-mute daughter.  The more he sought the cure for her, the less he found it.  The king decided to send the princess “Shah Bahar Khatoon” to Kurdistan, to find the cure. When she arrived in Howraman, Pir Shalyar healed her with his special powers and married her. the midwinter festival is the anniversary of their marriage. Which takes place by a group of Dervishes, playing rhythmic music, singing religious chants, and doing ritualistic dances.

PirShaliyar festiva

PirShaliyar festival is held with playing rhythmic music, singing religious chants, and doing ritualistic dances.