Glossary

Here, with definitions, are some unfamiliar words and abbreviations. Generally the Farsi words in this book are transliterations of colloquial usage. See Language (p423) for other useful words and phrases. See also the food glossary (p84) for culinary terms. aramgah - resting place burial place tomb ateshkadeh - a Zoroastrian fire temple where a flame ayatollah -Shiite cleric of the highest rank, used asa title before the name literally means a 'sign or miracle of God' azad - free liberated...

The Carpetwashing Ceremony Of Ardehal

On the second Friday of the Iranian month of Mehr (usually early October, unless there is a clashing religious festival), the qali shuran (carpet-washing ceremony) is held at Mashhad-e Ardehal. The ceremony commemorates the assassination of Sultan Ali ibn Mohammad, the son of the Fifth Imam, who had settled in Fin (near Kashan) to bring Shia Islam to the people. After living in Fin and Ardahal (during summer) for several years, jealous officials plotted to assassinate him because he had become...

Embassies Consulates in Iran

The embassies of many European countries, plus the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were asking travellers to register their presence by phoning in and asking for the consul. If you do, be sure to let them know when you leave. In the event of a genuine emergency (not to ask about the embassy swimming pool), call the number listed here, wait until the message gives you the emergency number, and call that. Afghanistan Tehran (Map pi 10 g 021-8873 5040 fax 8873 5600 cnr4th St & Pakistan...

Mountaineering

It may come as a surprise to learn that Iran boasts several high mountains, some of them permanently snowcapped. Many can be climbed by anyone fit without special equipment, experience or a guide, but you should always check the situation before embarking on a mountain trek. Early June to late August is the best climbing season. Northeast of Tehran, Iran's highest and best-known peak, Mt Damavand (5671m p 131) has a classic Fuji-esque profile, but reaching the summit is not of great technical...

TOURS

Most hotels can arrange tours but using an independent guide can be more rewarding. The following can lead tours to almost anywhere in Yazd province, and further, and have been recommended. The most common tour is the Kharanaq-Chak Chak-Meybod loop (about US 40 for three or less people, US 55 with breakfast and lunch), which is impossible on public transport. Other options include camel tours (about US 25 per person for a half-day, US 75 overnight, more for groups comprised of fewer than five...

Getting Started

When deciding when to go to Iran you must first work out where you'd like to go. Temperatures can vary wildly when it's -5 C in Tabriz it might be 35 C in Bandar Abbas, but for most people spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to visit. At other times, the seasons have advantages and disadvantages depending on where you are. For example, the most agreeable time to visit the Persian Gulf coast is during winter, when the humidity is low and temperatures mainly in the 20s. At this time,...

Itineraries

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF EMPIRE Two Weeks Tehran to Tehran Two busy weeks is just long enough to get a taste of the jewels of Iran's rich history. Fly into Tehran (p92) and spend two days seeing the major sights, including the Golestan Palace (plOl), National Museum of Iran (pl04) and Tehran Bazar (plOO). Fly to Shiraz (p267), where in three days you can see the Zand-era mosques, gardens and bazaar, and magnificent Persepolis (p279). Take a bus or taxi and stop in Abarqu (p267) on the way to Yazd...

Bus Minibus

Most long-distance buses operate from busy Carandish bus terminal (Terminal-e Bozorg Salman-e Farsi Blvd). Prices are for mahmooly Volvo buses (or just Volvo), and the main (but usually not the only) departure times are noted. Destination Fare Duration Departures 7.30am, (T8), 5-8pm 2pm, 3pm (Seiro Safar Jonub) If you're on a tight schedule it's worth booking ahead at the Iran Peyma (Taavoni 1 222 3888 Zand Blvd S 7am-8pm Sat-Thu, Sam-noon Fri) office near the corner of Sa'di St, or nearby Pars...

Getting There Away

From Esfahan take the 1pm bus to Khur, 38km to the north of Garmeh on the Na'in to Tabas road. Or meet the bus in Na'in at about 4pm. From Tehran, buses come direct from Terminal-e Jonub to Khur (14 hours) on Sunday and Wednesday. On other days, the bus to Birjand stops in Khur. From Tehran, five or six buses (Taavonis 8 and 10) depart every day Terminal-e Jonub for Birjand between 2.30pm and 5pm. All of them stop at Khur about 10 hours later call Ateshoni to...

Saheb A Zaman Club Zurkhaneh

JUjll l. lin 4JU. jjj Just off the north side of Amir Chakhmaq Sq is the Saheb A Zaman Club Zurkhaneh (admission IR10,000 s workouts 5pm & 8.30pm Sat-Thu), which is worth seeing both for its Iranian brand of body building and because it's a quite amazing structure. The modern club is inside a cavernous ab anbar (water reservoir) built about 1580. Looking like a 29m-high standing egg from the inside, and crowned with five burly badgirs, the reservoir stored water for much of the town. The...

Iranian Airlines Their International Destinations

All airlines are based in Tehran except for Taban Air, which is in Mashhad. Caspian Airlines (code RV www.caspian.aero) Beirut, Budapest, Damascus, Dubai, istanbul, Kiev, Minsk, Yerevan. Iran Air (code IR www.iranair.com) Amsterdam, Ankara, Bahrain, Baku, Beijing, Caracas, Cologne, Copenhagen, Damascus, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Istanbul, Kabul, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, London, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Stockholm, Tashkent, Tokyo, Vienna. Iran...

Pop elev m

With its winding lanes, forest of badgirs, mud-brick old town and charismatic accommodation, Yazd is one of the highlights of any trip to Iran. Wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, it doesn't have the big-ticket sights of Esfahan or Persepolis, but as a whole, and in the context of its relationship with the desert, it is at least as enchanting. It is a place to wander and get lost in the maze of historic streets and lanes (and your imagination), before returning...

Outdoor Adventure Agencies

Some of the travel agencies listed under Tours (p415) can arrange walking and climbing trips. We've had positive feedback about the following companies, which specialise in trekking, mountaineering and eco-tourism in Iran. If you have good (or bad) experiences with these or other agencies, please let us know at www.lonelyplanet.com contact. Aftab Kalout ( 021-6648 8374 www.kalout.com) Professional Tehran-based outfit specialising in eco-tourism, desert trips, trekking and eco-cum-sociological...

Kashan

Amir Kabir Exchange .ink hi.ii.it e ltl lt ll Ity lt lt lte let .V.il.id Mo pii.il Sep,Kit lt 1 utteellet I deplume ttlce Hammam-e Sultan Mir Ahmad Imamzadeh-e Habib Ibn-e Musa Imamzadeh-ye Sultan Mir Ahmad Khan-e Abbasian Khan-e Ameriha Khan-e Khan-e Tabatabei Old City Soltaniyeh Mosque Staircase to Bazaar Roof Mosaferkhaneh-ye Gochariyan 23 C4 Chaykhaneh Caravan Sara Hammam-e Khan Buses amp Savaris to Tehran 27 B2 Buses amp Savaris to Tehran 27 B2 or are literally turning to dust, but several...

Shopping

Iran has plenty of products that make good souvenirs, with the widest selection sold in Esfahan and Shiraz. Prices are low and quality ranges from cheap rubbish, such as plaster of Paris griffins at Persepolis, aimed at domestic tourists, to high-quality carpets. If you are prepared to search through old stuff in smaller bazaars you should come away with a great souvenir and a good story as to how you found it. If you'd prefer to do it all at once and aren't too worried about price, the bazaars...

Language

Conversation amp Essentials 425 Farsi also often referred to as Persian is the official language of Iran. Travelling in the country without at least a basic grasp of Farsi will prove difficult, as English speakers are few and far between. Farsi is an Indo-Iranian language and a member of the Indo-European language family. While it is written in Arabic script, which runs from right to left, the language itself isn't related to Arabic at all. There are a number of mutually intelligible dialects...

Bus Minibus Savari

As with Qom, most buses that pass through Kashan are going to or from Tehran. They are supposed to stop at the bus terminal Molla Sadra Blvd north of the city but often will leave from Montazeri Sq, where an office on the south corner sells tickets. There are regular Volvo services to Esfahan IR21,000, four hours and Tehran IR25,000,3 4 hours via Qom IR10,000, one hour , and mahmooly normal, usually old Mercedes buses leave less frequently for about half the price. Minibuses to Qom IR7000, two...

Hosseinieh Rooftop

With its badgirs poking out of a baked-brown labyrinth of lanes, the old city of Yazd emerges like a phoenix from the desert - a very old phoenix. Yazd's old city is one of the oldest towns on earth, according to Unesco, and is the perfect place to get a feel for the region's rich history. Just about everything in the old city is made from sun-dried mud bricks, and the resulting brown skyline is dominated by tall badgirs on almost every rooftop see the boxed text The Badgirs of Yazd, p257 . The...

Baghe Tarikhiye Fin Fin Garden

Designed for Shah Abbas I, Bagh-e Tarikhi-ye Fin Fin Garden Amir Kabir Rd admission IR5000 S Sam-sunset is a classical Persian vision of paradise and is renowned as one of the finest gardens in Iran. It's famous for its spring water, which flows into the garden via the Lasega h, an octagonal pool behind the garden. From here the water, which has unusually high levels of mercury, is channelled through several pools and fountains, watering the garden's orchards and tall trees, before continuing...

Teahouses Cafs

There are some cracking teahouses in Shiraz, and a few decent caf s too. Unfortunately, the historic and popular Hammam-e Vakil has closed as a teahouse. Aroosh Khorshid Dehnadi St meals IR25,000-45,000 S 8am-10pm Sat-Thu Convenient to the cheap accommodation, the Aroosh has plenty of old paraphernalia hanging about and the big space can have a decent atmosphere when it's busy. The food is decent if unadventurous check the bill carefully. oSeray-e Mehr Teahouse 222 9572 Seray-e Mehr, Bazar-e...

Budget

Amir Kabir Hostel Map p234 222 7273 mrziaee hotmail.com Chahar Bagh Abbasi St dm s tw tr IR35,000 75,000 120,000 150,000 B For years the Amir Kabir has been Esfahan's backpacker base and, for lack of competition, it still is. The managers, Ziaee brothers, might not like spending money, but they're helpful enough with advice on timetables, booking onward tickets and some reasonably priced tours. Rooms and the dorm are basic, and cleanliness is not as consistent as it could be. Breakfast is...

Pop about people two camels elev m

The tiny oasis village of Garmeh is everything you'd imagine an oasis village to be. More than 25 varieties of date palm spread out from a small spring, and where the palms finish the 1600-year-old mud-brick village begins. In the midst of this village is Ateshoni 443 2156, 0913 223 0874 www.ateshooni .com per person IR220,000 , where Tehrani artist Maziar Ale Davoud and his family have renovated their 265-year-old home into an oasis of the soul in this oasis in the desert. Rates include all...

Voices Of Iran Majid Piroozmand

Occupation Architect, consultant to Miras Feranghi Cultural Heritage Organisation 'I like Shiraz more than anywhere in the world. My childhood was here in these kuches lanes and the city has a very rich history. Until now it still doesn't have the terrible traffic you have in other cities, people are especially friendly and the weather is perfect - not too hot and not too cold. I work with Miras Ferhangi and we want to preserve the cultural heritage. Now Shiraz is ready to grow and advance, but...

Midrange

All the rooms in this range have bathrooms, air-con, fridge and TV, though there's no guarantee on English-language channels. Bekhradi Historical Residence Map p234 448 2072 Sonbolestan Alley, off Ebn-e Sina St r IR250,000-900,000 E This quiet, modest-sized khan-e sonnati traditional house is the real Safavid-style deal five wonderfully restored rooms, some with bathrooms, some not - like the old days. Set around two garden courtyards, there is also a restaurant. It's beside the Masjed-e...

Bavanatiji

In a quiet valley 230km northeast of Shiraz, the Bavanat region is a 20km-long walnut forest in a lush valley between the Zagros Mountains in the south and deserts to the north. The main town is Suryan, aka Bavanat, but the real destination here is the village of Shah Hamzeh Bazm or just Bazm 18km further east. The mountains near Bazm are home to Khamseh nomads, a confederation of five groups of Arabic, Turkish and Farsi-speaking people. From about April until October they pitch their tents in...

Jameh Mosque

Hypostyle Mosque

The Jameh Mosque Masjed-e Jameh Map p234 Al-lameh Majlesi St admission IR5000 S 8-11am amp 1-5pm is a veritable museum of Islamic architecture and still a working mosque. Within a couple of hours you can see and compare 800 years of Islamic design, with each example near to the pinnacle of its age. The range is quite stunning from the geometric elegance of the Seljuks, through to the Mongol period and on to the refinements of the more baroque Safavid style. At more than 20,000 sq metres, it is...

Bus Companies

Most bus companies are cooperatives and until recently they were referred to simply as Cooperative Bus Company No X Sher-kat-e Ta avoni Shomare X , or whatever number it is. In recent years most have taken on more varied names, but in the terminal they ll still direct you to, for example, ta avoni hasht cooperative number 8 . The best ta avonis, with the most extensive network of services, are TBT Taavoni 15 and Iran Peyma often with the word Ta avoni or Bus No One written on it . For a bit...

Hammame Ali Gholi Agha

In the historic district of Bid Abad, the recently restored Hammam-e Ali Gholi Agha Ali Gholi Agha Bathhouse Map p234 Ali Gholi Agha Alley, off Masjed-e Sayyed St admission IR10,000 S 8.30am-5pm Sat-Thu, 9am-3pm Fri is now a well-maintained but poorly signed museum to bathhouses. Fortunately there is information at the entrance, explaining the Qajar-era history and uses of the hammam. English-speaking guides are also available. It s worth a look, especially if you didn t see Hammam-e Sultan Mir...