Intrepid-DX Group 2014 friendship tour of Iran-Part 2.

Posted: December 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Iran_Tour

This is part two of my installment of our October friendship tour of Iran, and our meeting with Mohsen-EP3SMH and Mohammed-EP3MIR.

We went to Iran for several reasons, primarily we thought the country would be interesting and enjoyable to visit, and indeed it was!  Having visited many Islamic countries, we enjoy the contrast to life in our country and we enjoy learning the various aspects of other cultures and people. Within a short time of our arrival in Tehran, we learned that a group from Europe had been granted a license for a Dxpedition, so we decided to change our focus and just enjoy the history, culture and scenery of Iran.

I was surprised at how big and modern Tehran is. It is a very large and bustling city. There are glimmering skyscrapers and the Milad Tower rising well above all of Tehran. There are many very old and interesting cultural places in Tehran. We enjoyed seeing the Golestan Palace, the Miavaran Palace Complex and the National Museum of Iran. The Treasury of the National Jewels is spectacular.

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Ancient Stone carving in the Iran National Museum

The people of Iran are very friendly and welcoming. We were regularly asked where we were from and when we responded, we were greeted with surprise and warm smiles and comments.

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Solid gold cup in the National Museum

I really enjoyed our visits to the Tehran Bazaar. Much to our surprise, we were allowed to roam freely in Iran and we could stroll anywhere that we wanted at any time. Unlike some places that we have visited, there were no ever present minders or armed security.

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The entrance to the Bazaar in Tehran.

We did have several uncomfortable brushes with the “Police”. In Iran, there are many kinds of Police. Most do not wear any kind of uniform. We saw plainclothes police at areas where currency exchange takes place. It is against the law for foreign visitors to exchange currency with street vendors. We were merely taking photos inside a Tehran subway station when we had our first encounter with the Police. A plainclothes officer was upset with us for taking photos and demanded that we delete them, which we did. We would have several more unpleasant police encounters before our trip was complete.

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What to wear under your Chador?

We would later learn that there are many kinds of Police in Iran. The only Police that seem to wear uniforms are the “Tourism Police” that are protecting many of the tourism sites. The vast majority of police seem to be tasked with keeping people in line and obeying the laws of Islam. We heard stories of young couples being arrested for merely having a picnic in a public park. Women who expose too much of their hair or their skirts are too short can also be arrested by the police.

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We saw many billboards depicting Martyrs in the war with Iraq.

Each neighborhood seems to have their own plain clothes police. Some of them are hired by shop keepers or business districts much like we would employ security guards. In Iran, you just never know where or when you will encounter the police.

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The Ministry of Communications and Posts building in Tehran.

Anyone planning to go to Iran should review guidebook advice about how to obey the laws (and rules) and you should have little problem avoiding the police encounters. What is most interesting is that with the police being the way they were, people in Iran drive their cars like there is no fear or concern of the police.

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Older American cars are highly desirable in Iran.

Lines, lights and seatbelts don’t matter. If you get in a taxi, hold on-you are in for a wild ride!

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Inside the ancient baths in Shiraz.

Using the Internet in Iran is very interesting. Speeds are very slow and any social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WordPress are blocked. You get a stern government warning page if you try to access any of the forbidden websites. It’s all part of the fun!

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The Arg of Karim Khan citadel.

After several days in Tehran, we boarded our Iranian Airlines flight for Shiraz, located in the Southwestern part of Iran. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

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The Vakil Mosque in Shiraz

We enjoyed visiting the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, the Arg of Karim Khan and the Tomb of Hafez. Shiraz is known as the city of gardens and it is a very pedestrian friendly city. We enjoyed strolling the streets and paths of Shiraz.

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Inside the ancient Vakil Mosque.

We took a long drive to see the ruins of the Achaemenid Palace of Persepolis which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Visitors to the ancient ruins of Persepolis

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The ancient ruins of Persepolis Palace.

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Ancient stone carvings of Persepolis

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The tombs of Naqsh-e Rustam

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A roadside Iranian tank

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Street artists painting a wall in Shiraz

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Inside the ancient bazaar of Isfahan

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Everyone has a cell phone

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Visiting the friendly firemen

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The best antique shop ever!

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A beautiful roadside Mosque

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The Golestan Palace in Tehran

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Part of the Golestan Palace complex in Tehran

My favorite area of Iran was Isfahan. Isfahan is in the center of Iran and was once the capitol of Iran. It is an ancient Persian city. Isfahan is now Iran’s third largest city and produces fine carpets, textiles and handcrafts. I really enjoyed visiting many of the handcraft shops in the ancient Shahi Bazaar. The prices are quite reasonable and the quality and workmanship is amazing. I saw a number of beautiful Persian carpets that I wished I could take home.

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One of the many Mosques that we visited.

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Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan

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A Silversmith works on a large pot in Isfahan

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Artisans hand paint their wares

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Beautiful hand crafted items in the Isfahan Bazaar.

It was very interesting to visit the Shah Mosque, the Ali Qapu Palace and the Naghsh-I Jahan Square in Isfafan.

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Shopkeepers hand painting their creations

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Inside my favorite restaurant in Iran.

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A friendly encounter with the Tourism Police

I’m often asked, what is the food like?  The food is excellent. We mostly enjoyed Kabobs of lamb, beef or chicken, grilled with vegetables and served with saffron rice. The food is hearty and healthy. What was the best part of Iran?  I would say the people, very warm, friendly and gracious. A marvelous experience. I enjoyed the ancient history and to see the positive changes that are happening in Iran.

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The unique architecture inside the Ali Qapu Palace

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Dave-W6DR, Paul-N6PSE and David-AH6HY of the Intrepid-DX Group

I am thrilled that ON4HIL and his group will be able to carry out a Dxpedition from Kish Island in January, 2015. This is a new and exciting development for Iran. Iran is truly an amazing place. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it!

What do you think?

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Comments
  1. Good Evening Paul – I sure wish I was on the trip with you guys. Congrats on your travel and efforts.

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