Blog recommendation: American woman backpacking in Iran

Read the blog and enjoy Silvia’s descriptions and pictures. Here are the links to the posts on Iran:

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/backpacking-solo-through-iran/

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/kafka-cigarettes-tehran/

http://www.heartmybackpack.com/blog/isfahan-iran/

If you are lazy just read some quotes here and go to the links to enjoy the pictures:

“I mean, Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, hosts thirteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and boasts beautiful landscapes stretching from dense rain forests to snowcapped mountains to desert basins. Plus, so many travelers whom I met in Central Asia absolutely raved about Iran. The hospitable people, delicious food and historic sites – how could I not add Iran to my travel itinerary?”

“My first Couchsurfing hosts in Tehran, a young Ph.D. student and her roommate, said they were so excited to be hosting an American girl, and that they hope more tourists will start to come to Iran. They were incredibly warm and welcoming hosts, cooking delicious Persian food and asking me countless questions about Norway and the U.S. and foreigners’ impressions of Iran.”

“The thing is, I haven’t felt alone once since I landed in Iran. The receptionist at my first hotel took me in as her daughter, accompanying me to breakfast and lunch and suggesting sites for me to visit, my Couchsurfing hosts were like cool older sisters, chatting with me about religion and politics as well as the plot twists of Lost and J-Lo’s divorce (I’m so out of touch), and Rana truly has adopted me as her sister, with an invitation to lunch turning into a trip to visit Esfahan and then several days with her family in Tehran.”

“So far my experience in Iran has only been one of warmth and hospitality, and really, really amazing food! Though, in a few hours Rana and I are heading to Marivan, a small Kurdish city on the border to Iraq. So you know, maybe I’ll have some more eventful things to share from there! (Kidding, family, Kurdistan is of course totally safe.)”

“My stay in Tehran was far too short and left much of the city unexplored, but I did leave with an overwhelming crush on a city so full of life and passion. Shopkeepers greeted me with warmth (if also a degree of surprise), and the discussions I had with people there were always filled with genuine interest and reflection. ”

“While now a bustling modern city, Isfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world as it sat on a major intersection of the main north-south and east-west  routes crossing Iran. We seemed to stumble on reminders of Isfahan’s past glory around every corner, from impressive squares and tree-lined boulevards to covered bridges, palaces and mosques.”

“Moreover, while Isfahan might be dominated by Islamic architecture, the city is also home to important Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian sites. Rana and I visited the Church of Saint Joseph of Arimathea, built by an Armenian community that settled in Isfahan in the early 1600s.”

Ok if you read so far, just make sure to visit the links above

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Photo gallery: Alvares Ski Resort in Iran’s Ardebil Province

Iran Sareyn Sarein MapAlvares is a ski resort in Iran’s northern province of Ardabil. It is the second standard ski resort in Iran and is situated in the village of Alvares which is located 24 kilometers away from the city of Sareyn.

Sources: TASNIM | Photos, wikipedia | Sareyn

Mahlagha Mallah: 96 year old Iranian environmental activist

Mahlagha Mallah, 96, is an environmental activist who has not produced any waste over the past 60 years.

Mahlagha Mallah

Earlier in March, Mehr News Agency ran a report on the founding mother of Iran’s environmental protection and her waste minimization efforts.

Mahlagha Mallah, who holds a Ph.D. from Sorbonne in Sociology, is the founder and managing director of Women’s Society against Environmental Pollution. She was praised as the 2010 personality of the year in the field of “Natural Heritage and Environment” for her decades-old struggle to preserve the environment.

Back from France where she got her Ph.D. and learned library science, she started to work in a Tehran University library.

“I asked all embassies [in Tehran] to provide me with the environmental information of their countries. After studying the issue, I came to the conclusion that collective measures are needed to do something for the environment. I wanted to teach people how to protect the environment.”

Dr. Mallah was not the first in her family who tried not to produce waste. “My mom would not place the waste outside the house. Back then people produced less garbage and each family would recycle –one way or another – their waste at home. They used to give food leftovers to the poultry.

A rural lifestyle helped people to use less paper and plastic and do less damage to the environment in the process. But today new sources of pollution cause new diseases. Something must be done about it.”

For the past 60 years, Mrs. Mallah and her family have not placed any waste in the garbage can to be collected unless it was recyclable. They bury the waste in a pit in their yard to let it turn into fertilizer.

“We still don’t use plastic bottles. In the past I used to take a cloth shopping bag to store to help the environment, and I’d encourage others to follow suit. We need to stop harming the environment so that future generations can use this natural heritage.”

Mrs. Mallah talks with people in different neighborhoods and teachers at schools about the need for waste sorting. […] We can run environmental programs to raise public awareness. We love nature and the environment and we do not work to get money in return.

Dr. Mallah has always offered great ideas about environment protection. “We can do more for a plan which segregates the [dry and wet] waste at households. We can teach women in this regard. […]

“Municipalities can separately collect disposable batteries, which leave a destructive impact on the environment. The used cooking oil – which harms the environment after entering the sewage system – can be collected, refined and reprocessed, exactly like used engine oil.” […]

Mrs. Mallah says the waste produced in Tehran is too much. Everyone can do their share and help reduce waste production. People can turn the waste to compost –a fertilizer for plants in organic farming – or Vermicompost – which is light and odorless. […]

Other great Iranian women: The other Iran | Women

Source: Iran Front Page

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Snowfall in Tabriz

Iran, Tabriz MapTabriz is one of the historical capitals of Iran, and the present capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Tabriz is located at an elevation of 1,350 meters above sea level in the Quru River valley between the long ridge of the volcanic cone of Sahand and Eynali mountain. The valley opens up into a plain that gently slopes down to the eastern shores of Lake Urmia, 60 kilometres (37 miles) to the west. With cold winters and temperate summers, the city is considered a summer resort.

The city has a long and turbulent history with its oldest civilization sites dated back to 1,500 B.C. It contains many historical monuments representing the transition of Iranian architecture in its long historical timelines.

The predominant language spoken in Tabriz is Azerbaijani language. The language has a strong Iranian substrata since it has for many centuries been in close contact with Persian. Like every other part of Iran the lingua franca is Persian. For the first time, an academic program on Azeri opened in Tabriz University in 1999.

Tabriz was a house for numerous Iranian writers, poets, and illumination movements. In old times the city notables, supported poets and writers by organizing periodical meetings. Within its long history it was a residence for many well known Iranian writers and poets. The list can start from the old time Rumi, Qatran, Khaqani to recent years Samad Behrangi, Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi, Parvin E’tesami.

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos, ISNA | Photos, wikipedia | Tabriz

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Snowfall in Kerman

Kerman is the capital city of Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2011 census, its population was 821,374, making it the 10th most populous city of Iran.

Iran, Kerman mapIt is one of the largest cities of Iran in terms of area. Kerman is famous for its long history and strong cultural heritage. The city is home to many historic mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples. Kerman is also on the list of the recent world’s 1000 cleanest cities. Kerman is also a former capital of Iran, a position that it held during several periods. It is located on a large, flat plain, 1,036 km (643 mi) south of Tehran, the capital of Iran.

Sources: ISNA | PhotosWikipedia | Kerman

Photo series: Winter in Iran – Snow sliding in Mahnan near Bojnord

North Khorasan, Iran – Mahnan (Mehnan) MapMehnan (also Mahnan and in Persian: مهنان‎) is a village in Aladagh Rural District, in the Central District of Bojnord County, North Khorasan Province, Iran. Its populations (2006) was 1.341 inhabitants.

Bojnord is the capital city of North Khorasan province, Iran. It is about 701km (436mi) from Tehran.

The city is quite famous for its multicultural background. Many people speak at least 2 different languages including Persian, Tati, Khorasani Turkic, Kurmanci Kurdish, and Turkmen. Intermarriage between said ethnic groups is common.

Sources: Mehr News Agency | Photos, Wikipedia | Bojnord, Wikipedia | Mehnan