Ancient And Modern Iran Is Number 12 On Our List Of Places To Venture To In 2016
by Heather Cassell
On July 14, 2015, US Secretary of State John Kerry closed the deal with Iran regarding the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear program in Vienna, Austria. The deal signaled a cautious beginning of a new era and the easing of tensions between the West and Iran.
Naturally, one of the first thoughts is travel. After all it’s the bed of the Persian Empire, the pathway of the Silk Road, and much more, but Americans and many other Western travelers don’t know what is behind the veil of Iran.
The state department urges caution to adventurous and intrepid American travelers who want to explore Iran. The US cautions that tensions remain causing some trouble for some Iranian-Americans and Americans. Some US citizens who have traveled to Iran for academic or business reasons have been known to be held by the Iranian government for undetermined amounts of time when they’ve attempted to leave the country. The US doesn’t have an embassy or any diplomatic or consular relations in Iran.
However, some western travel companies are already guiding tours to Iran. For now American’s need to travel in carefully structured tours or heed the state department’s warnings that it’s still unsafe and not to travel to Iran at all if it’s not necessary. Iranian friends have told Girls That Roam that they doubt travel will be open soon for American’s in their beautiful country.
Travel to Iran is an adventure, but it’s complicated to say the least. Travelers outside of Iran can’t book their own hotels or ground transportation. All booking has to happen through coordinated tours or by contacting the Iran Traveling Center. A tourist visa is required for Americans traveling to Iran. The money you bring in is what you have to spend for the duration of your visit, so you have to budget wisely. There’s no access to ATMs, banks, and credit cards. Pack wisely. Girlfriends get some fashionable hijabs and if you’re traveling with your guy or guy pals, they have a dress code to abide by too. Also, mind your manners and get acquainted with Iranian cultural customs before going.
The good news, American dollars are widely accepted for exchange and English is spoken somewhat widely in Iran along with the national language Persian, also known as Farsi or Parsi.
So, if it’s that much trouble to travel to Iran, why go? For architecture and history buffs Iran offers a dream come true in the “Only in Iran” way. There are 17 historic sites, some dating back to the pre-historic age and wondrous edifices that have stood through the ages, which are pristinely preserved in a country that is only 4% smaller than Alaska. Iran is uniquely situated on a high plateau between the Caspian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf in southwestern Asia. Its location provides extreme climates ranging from chilled mountainous region to the arid desert and finally down to a pleasant Mediterranean climate.
Some of the things Iran has to offer travelers include: The holiest shrine of Zoroastrianism and the former Sassanid Empire, “The Throne of Solomon” (Takht-e Soleyman) located in the northwest of Iran in Takab. Remains dating back to pre-historic times through the Persian Empire are located in the west of Iran at Bisotun in Kermanshah. The remnants of what once was, provides a glimpse of the Persian Empire’s unique influences on art and writing in the region. Guests can wander through the nine gardens throughout Iran that make up “The Persian Garden,” gardens designed in a variety of climates and through different epochs or shop where traders bartered their wares on the Silk Road at the Historic Bazaar Complex in Tabriz. The bazaar is the largest covered bazaar in the world and one of the oldest bazaars in the Middle East.
Then there are the cities, Tehran, the bustling capital of Iran, Ahvaz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Tabriz that offer cuisine to a vibrant nightlife.
Now you know why Iran has captured our attention?
Who to Travel With: G Adventures hosts an immersive 14-day tour of Iran. Contact Girls That Roam Travel at Travel Advisors of Los Gatos at 408-354-6531 or 415-517-7239 or to book your journey into Iran.
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