Tehran Journals

What to do in Tehran when everything is closed

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A November 2006 trip to Tehran by koshkha

The Azadi Monument Photo, Tehran, Iran More Photos
Quote: Our final day in Tehran was a religious holiday leaving us with a challenge to find things to do when all the obvious attractions were closed. Some of these are things that don't normally make it into the tourist guides!

Here Come the Men in Black!

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Singing for all their worth Photo, Tehran, Iran
Quote:
They say that cameras never lie but most people would agree they have the power to mislead. How often have you seen television news coverage of what looks like an intimidating crowd of religious fanatics, their fists raised in the air, the eyes rolled back in religious fervour, chanting something you assume must be rather aggressive and unpleasant?When we found ourselves outside a shrine in central Tehran on a holy day we got caught up in such an event. The sight of marching gangs of men singing in the square filled us with a mix of fascination and fear. There's always the little nagging voice at the back of your head saying "Watch out! This could turn nasty" and as I tackled the ethical d...Read More
Roasted Beetroots and fast food Photo, Tehran, Iran
Quote:
One thing that many people will find hard to believe is that Tehran is one of those cities where you could - if you chose - spend your morning in the museums and your afternoon on the ski slopes. Tehran is situated at the foot of the Alborz mountain range, the highest mountains in the Middle East. These loom, sometimes rather menacingly, often rather prettily above the city. Except of course when the pollution is so bad that they just disappear and you wouldn't even know they were there.On our final day in Iran we found ourselves with time to kill. Our flights had been postponed giving us an extra day in the city but what we'd not realised was that the delights on offer for this last day w...Read More
Quote:
With a day to spare and all the obvious attractions closed for a religious holiday, we found ourselves clutching at straws for things to do on out last day in Tehran. We'd been up the mountain to try to get the cable car and failed. We'd been to a shrine and had a jolly time with the parading locals; we'd had a slap-up lunch in a swanky restaurant and we'd even played chicken on the six-lane highway surrounding the Azadi Tower. There must surely be sometime REALLY futile that we could try to round off the day. And sure enough there was. One of our tour group was an obsessive football fan on a personal mission to see as many international football stadiums as possible. He carried with him a...Read More
Ready to Worship Photo, Tehran, Iran
Quote:
Throughout our tour of Iran we'd been in and out of mosques and shrines, sometimes several times per day. We'd learned to recognise the architectural styles and the functions of different parts of a mosque. We'd seen old, new and everything in between but we had almost always had the places to ourselves and we rarely came across 'real' locals going about their normal worship in these mosques. There were often school parties of earnest and eager young girls in matching uniforms. They flocked around the ladies in our group to indulge their curiosity about such exotic foreigners by asking hundred of questions; where did we come from, were we married, did we have children, and (with giggles and lowered ey...Read More

Playing Chicken on the Azadi Roundabout

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The Azadi Monument Photo, Tehran, Iran
Quote:
Most big cities have one or more iconic buildings that serve as an instantly recognisable symbol of that city. These are the buildings that the foreign correspondents stand in front of when making their reports on the television news. If it's Sydney they'll have the Opera House over their shoulders, if it's Moscow they'll be standing by the cathedral on Red Square and if it's Tehran, you can pretty much bet the Azadi Monument will be in the frame. It's big, it's white, it's a very distinctive funky shape like a giant piece of marble origami - what more could you ask for in a symbolic building?The Azadi Monument was built in 1971 as part of the old Shah's commemorations of the 2500th annive...Read More