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Howard Banwell | profile | all galleries >> Iran tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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Iran

If you want to be surprised – visit Iran. Most people have a pretty superficial knowledge of its politics, its people, and the long and intriguing history of the region. A few weeks travelling around will most likely educate, surprise, fascinate and captivate you. Iranians are hospitable, helpful, friendly and always ready with a quick smile; you will be greeted warmly everywhere you go, treated politely and with respect, and never made to feel unwelcome. You will also leave with a real sense of the power and sophistication of the civilizations and empires that have shaped this part of the world. The Achaemenians built one of the largest empires the world has known in the sixth century BC, well ahead of the Greeks and Romans. Between the third and seventh centuries, the Sassanians re-established dominance across the region, even threatening the existence of the Roman Empire. And from 1500 the Safavids heralded in a golden era of Islamic and secular architectural beauty and presided over a flowering of artistic expression that rivalled that of the European Renaissance. The remains of the various eras of Persian civilization will impress themselves indelibly on your memory. The highlights are many, but certainly include the ruins that were once the glorious city of Persepolis, and the immense royal tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam nearby; Esfahan’s graceful Zayandeh River bridges and its defining Imam Square; the monumental Elamite ziggurat of Tchogha Zanbil; the tranquillity of Hafez’s tomb in Shiraz; the Sassanid citadel of Rayen, chocolate-brown in the morning sunlight; the idiosyncratic watermills of Shushtar; and the palace and fountains of Shahzadeh gardens bathed in warm light as the sun sinks behind the nearby hills and the sky turns cobalt blue.
Faces of Iran
Faces of Iran
Khuzestan
Khuzestan
Kermanshah
Kermanshah
Hamadan
Hamadan
Kashan
Kashan
Yazd
Yazd
Kerman
Kerman
Shiraz
Shiraz
Persepolis
Persepolis
Esfahan
Esfahan
Caspian Region
Caspian Region
Tehran
Tehran