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Iran amidst hot travel destinations for 2017: Cox & Kings

TEHRAN – Major India-headquartered tour operator Cox & Kings Ltd. has announced its forecast for next year, with Iran amongst the hot destinations in 2017.

The operator, known for its annual predictions about travel trends for centuries, said demand from clients to travel back to Iran has been “remarkable but not surprising”, TTG Media reported on November 21.

Iran, used to be one of the most popular tours offered by Cox & Kings, was reintroduced to its Middle East collection in October 2015 for the first time since 2011.

Cox & Kings added the country has been even more accessible since the British Airways relaunched its direct flights in September.

Jordan, Russia, Chile and India are amongst other countries that Cox & Kings has put on the list.

In September, Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index released its annual report, placing Tehran at ninth place among the top-ten fastest growing destination cities.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization has said over 16 million foreign tourists visited Iran during the past three and a half years, fetching $24 billion of revenues.

PHOTO: Tourists visit the magnificent ruins of Persepolis in an undated photo.

AFM/MG

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Places To visit In Iran

Discover Iran Top Destinations on SURFIRAN as an exciting and surprising attractions in the Middle East.

Top Places to visit in Iran

Iran has one of the largest resource bases for cultural, natural and historical sites of any country in the world and this places Iran among the leading countries in the world in terms of its potential for attracting different types of tourists. Added to this, Iran tourism destinations like natural beauties, Iran geographical phenomena, sea and coastline, climatic conditions, Iran mountains, mineral hot springs, winter resorts, historical and artistic monuments, Iran museums, antiques and all its other natural and man-made endowments have created an outstanding and unique situation for Iran. Furthermore, the tendency among Muslims of the world to travel to Iran as pilgrims, paying a visit to the holy shrines and also enjoying its natural gifts which suit their Islamic customs also provide a suitable basis for attracting and inviting Iran co-religionists to visit Iran. On an intangible level, Iranian people are famous for their hospitality and all those who visit Iran recognize it. Is a well-known characteristic of Iran’s people of which the accounts of great world travellers provide ample evidence.

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Is it safe to travel to Iran

It is safe to visit Iran? Is it safe to travel to Iran? Is it safe for women to travel to Iran? Is it safe for backpackers to travel to Iran?  these are some of the major worries that people have when thinking about travelling to Iran.

The recent rise of groups such as ISIS have heightened those fears. However, Iran represents one of the safest places in the Middle East to travel to.

Is it safe to travel to Iran, Is it safe to travel in iran?

Is it safe to travel to Iran?

There has been no terrorist attacks in Iran in the last eight years, nor has there been any significant political unrest that has posed any threat to foreigners.

This has been reflected in governments such as the Australian government reducing their travel warnings to Iran.

So is it safe to travel to Iran?

Some areas of the country, particularly close to border areas with Afghanistan and Iraq, the Baluchistan province are seen as areas of higher risk by Western government and are generally not recommended as a travelling destination.

Those who travel to Iran tend to report that they feel most unsafe as a pedestrian, as particular norms that are followed in many western countries such as cars stopping automatically at pedestrian crossings are not generally adhered too in Iran.

It is safe to visit Iran for US citizens?

Yes. Us citizens can travel to Iran as a tourist with no problem. US citizens will have to have their itinerary and tour guide approved beforehand.

Sticking to the itinerary is part of the conditions of visa approval, so sticking to the itinerary and the instructions of the tour guide will ensure that there are no problems.

The Iranian government is highly sensitive for historical and political reasons of any foreign involvement in the political process, in particular this applies to the United States.

Avoiding political demonstrations and making any public political statements is another way to avoid any trouble.

Otherwise, Iranians will be keen to demonstrate their hospitality to US citizens and will offer to host them for lunch or dinner.

Hostility towards particular actions of the US government, doesn’t stop the people of Iran having nothing but the warmest feelings for Americans themselves

Read more: Is it safe for women to visit Iran?

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Is it safe to travel to Iran

It is safe to visit Iran? Is it safe to travel to Iran? Is it safe for women to travel to Iran? Is it safe for backpackers to travel to Iran?  these are some of the major worries that people have when thinking about travelling to Iran.

The recent rise of groups such as ISIS have heightened those fears. However, Iran represents one of the safest places in the Middle East to travel to.

Is it safe to travel to Iran, Is it safe to travel in iran?

Is it safe to travel to Iran?

There has been no terrorist attacks in Iran in the last eight years, nor has there been any significant political unrest that has posed any threat to foreigners.

This has been reflected in governments such as the Australian government reducing their travel warnings to Iran.

So is it safe to travel to Iran?

Some areas of the country, particularly close to border areas with Afghanistan and Iraq, the Baluchistan province are seen as areas of higher risk by Western government and are generally not recommended as a travelling destination.

Those who travel to Iran tend to report that they feel most unsafe as a pedestrian, as particular norms that are followed in many western countries such as cars stopping automatically at pedestrian crossings are not generally adhered too in Iran.

It is safe to visit Iran for US citizens?

Yes. Us citizens can travel to Iran as a tourist with no problem. US citizens will have to have their itinerary and tour guide approved beforehand.

Sticking to the itinerary is part of the conditions of visa approval, so sticking to the itinerary and the instructions of the tour guide will ensure that there are no problems.

The Iranian government is highly sensitive for historical and political reasons of any foreign involvement in the political process, in particular this applies to the United States.

Avoiding political demonstrations and making any public political statements is another way to avoid any trouble.

Otherwise, Iranians will be keen to demonstrate their hospitality to US citizens and will offer to host them for lunch or dinner.

Hostility towards particular actions of the US government, doesn’t stop the people of Iran having nothing but the warmest feelings for Americans themselves

Read more: Is it safe for women to visit Iran?

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Austrian Bands to Perform in Tehran

BartolomeyBittmann composed of cellist Matthias Bartolomey and violin virtuoso Klemens Bittman will give a performance on September 15.

According to Tehran Times, Square Waltz featuring Maria Salamon on violin, Hannes Laszakovits on bass, and Marc Bruckner on clarinet and percussion is scheduled to perform on September 20. 

BartolomeyBittmann did a gig at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on August 15.

The duet’s fusion of rock and pop jazz was warmly received by concertgoers in Tehran during the 31st Fajr International Music Festival earlier in February.

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Amir Naderi Honored at Venice Film Festival

According to Tehran Times, the award ceremony took place in the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema), before the Out of Competition screening of his new film “Monte” in its world premiere showing in Venice, organizers have announced on the website.

“Naderi gave a fundamental impetus to the birth of New Iranian Cinema during the 1970s and 80s with a number of masterpieces destined to leave their mark on the history of cinema,” said Alberto Barbera, Director of the Venice Film Festival.

“Every film he has made clearly displays the nucleus of an identical obsession that transcends the principle of reality in order to force individuals beyond their own limits,” Barbera added.

Naderi’s new film “Monte” tells a dramatic story of a man who makes every attempt to bring the sunlight into his village, where his family is barely able to survive because of the prevailing darkness.

In 2014, “Monte” was one of the projects selected for the Venice Gap-Financing Market, a sideline program of the festival that offers filmmakers funding opportunities for the final production stage of their projects.

“Harmonica” (1970), “Waiting” (1974), “The Runner” (1985), “Water, Wind, Soil” (1989), “Sound Barrier” (2005) and “Cut” (2011) are among Naderi’s noteworthy credits.

The “Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker” award was established ten years ago to honor personalities who have made a significant contribution to contemporary cinema. Previous winners include Kitano Takeshi from Japan and Al Pacino from the United States.

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Iranian Movies in Intl. Film Festivals: September

“A Moment,” produced by Ardebil office of Iranian Young Cinema Society (IYCS), and ‘Survival,’ a product of Tehran’s office of IYCS will compete with short movies from Peru, France, India, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, Portugal, Czech Republic, Australia, and the US in competitive section of the festival, which focuses on movies less than 30 minutes long.

Planos, international fiction short-film festival of Tomar – aims to spread and promote new short-films in the city of Tomar, through competition as well as guest films. The festival is organized by Tripé productions with the support of Tomar’s county, taking place September 16-17, 2016, MNA reported.

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Iran on a Plate: Iran Food and Travel Guide

“Love passes through the stomach,” the French say. This is no less true for Iranians, for whom food, apart from satisfying physical hunger and helping keep the body healthy, is also invested with spiritual meaning.

To Iranians, the preparation and cooking of food is a prime expression of a woman’s loving care, which transforms even the simplest of meals into nourishment for body and soul.

Persian Food, Kebab or Kababو Persian kebab

Persian kebab

Domestic and food-related work requires a substantial investment of time, effort, and love, and it is therefore ascribed high status in Iranian culture.

Women’s considerable power and authority derives from such work. Traditionally, when parents’ sons and their wives and children shared a large house, the mother-in-law, as the oldest female, had the overall responsibility for meals, controlling supplies and mealtimes.

While large families no longer live together, the pattern continues by relatives eating meals together, a practice central to Iranian culture.

Eating on one’s own is considered undesirable, even quite sad, and TV dinners inconceivable. Even if the television plays in the background, these shared meals reaffirm and strengthen family ties.

As far as everyone’s commitments allow, families have meals together on a daily basis, and if not for lunch, at least for dinner.

April 1997, Iran --- An Iranian family eats a meal in typical fashion. A carpet is spread onto the floor, the mother and father sit in the middle and the women serve the food. Shiraj, Iran | Location: Shiraj, Iran. --- Image by © Earl & Nazima Kowall/CORBIS

An Iranian family eats a meal in typical fashion. A carpet is spread onto the floor, the mother and father sit in the middle and the women serve the food. Image by Earl & Nazima Kowall/CORBIS

RICE, RICE AND RICE

When the new rice crop is harvested in early autumn, many Iranians buy their yearly provision of rice. In the past rice was only eaten on special occasions, but in recent years consumption of rice has risen together with the population and living standards.

This rice, an essential part of Iranian cuisine, is served with kebabs and a variety of Iranian stew-like dishes (khoresh)

This rice, an essential part of Iranian cuisine, is served with kebabs and a variety of Iranian stew-like dishes (khoresh)

Some Iranians feel that they have not eaten at all unless they have had rice for dinner. And they are quite justified: anyone who has ever tasted Iranian-style rice admires the aroma, flavor, and fluffiness of a satisfying yet unbelievably light and versatile dish that can be combined with kebabs, Iranian stews, and even Indian curries.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Many Iranians believe illnesses are caused by an imbalance in the body, and since every food is classified chemically as either “hot” or ”cold,” illnesses can be treated by consuming foods that counter the imbalance.

Every Iranian dish is put together as a balanced whole. Lamb, mutton, and chicken are “hot,” so they are balanced with barberries (as in chicken with barberries—zereshk polo), tomato paste, and dried limes, and served with rice, all of which are “cold.”

DAILY BREAD (NÂN)

Even though rice is now consumed at least once a day, usually for dinner, bread remains Iranians’ staple food. The first thing one notices about Iranian bread is that it is flat, quite unlike American and European loaves, and that it is usually baked while you wait.

There are four main types of Iranian bread, with variations, each type appropriate to different dishes, and each bakery (nân-vâ’i) bakes only one kind.

In the past bread dough was rolled out by hand and baked individually, but now, at least in big cities, machines do this to meet the increased demand.

Handmade bread is still preferred and much sought after by urban dwellers whenever they visit the provinces, where handmade bread is more commonly found.

Bread seller in the bazaar Image by Michel Setboun/Corbis

Bread seller in the bazaar Image by Michel Setboun/Corbis

TYPES OF IRANIAN BREAD

Barbari bread

The ultimate breakfast bread. Thick and long, ideal for breakfast with feta cheese or eggs.

Barbari bread

Tâftoon bread

Round with rows of holes that are made in the dough with a wooden implement resembling a very wide-toothed comb. This is a versatile, filling bread good for breakfast, kebabs, and meals eaten without rice.

Taftun-Bread

Baker Boy – Photo by Kamyar Adl/Flickr

Lavâsh bread

The thinnest of all breads. Oblong and wide, and flexible enough to make wraps of fresh herbs and white cheese or any other filling. This bread is also used for making samosas.

Nan Lavash

Nan Lavash

Sangak bread

The only wholegrain bread. Lightly salted, thinner than barbari, and baked on a bed of hot pebbles, it is especially compatible with the traditional dish of âb-gusht. Mind your teeth, though; sometimes little pebbles may be embedded in the bread.

Sangak flatbread

Sangak flatbread

PERSIAN TEA

On every social or business visit, the absolute minimum a visitor is offered is tea, traditionally served in small, hourglass-shaped golden rimmed tea glasses standing on deep saucers.

Clear glasses are preferred to china cups so the drinker can appreciate the color as well as the flavor of the tea.

Many households are now replacing tea glasses with china cups, at least when entertaining guests. Iranians view the teacups as more formal and genteel, but in the privacy of one’s own home.

Iranian Tea

A bowl of irregularly shaped cubes of sugar are served with the tea, but without tongs or a teaspoon. You are meant to put the sugar lump, called ghand, in your mouth between your teeth and tongue and let the tea wash over it until it dissolves.

As you can imagine, the first mouthful is much sweeter than the later ones. The reason behind this practice is that the sweetness of the ghand distorts the tea flavor, so one can only appreciate it by the gradual decrease in the sweet taste.

Speaking is a little difficult while the sugar lump is in one’s mouth, but experienced tea drinkers have a way of trapping the sugar lump between teeth and cheek, or between tongue and palate while they speak.

DESSERTS

Iranian candy stores are filled with irresistible temptations: French-style cream cakes, Danish pastries, cream éclairs, mille-feuilles, and teacakes are next to traditional Iranian sweets like pistachio nougat (gaz), saffron brittle (sohan), baklava, little parcels of shortbread pastry enclosing crushed almonds (ghotâb), and all sorts of salted nuts and dry fruit mixes.

Apart from store-bought delicacies, some candies and desserts are made at home on special occasions.

These include a rice and saffron dessert (shollezard) either during Ramadan or as a pledge for a wish fulfilled to be distributed in the neighborhood, as well as halva, a candy known all over the Middle East in various guises.

Rosewater, saffron, and sometimes cardamom give traditional Iranian candies and desserts a distinct flavor.

Iranian Halva

Iranian Halva

In business meetings candies or pastries may be offered, but in social visits fresh fruit is considered obligatory. The size, shape, and quality are paramount, with bigger equaling better, at least as far as oranges are concerned.

– Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran’s Culture and Customs by Sofia Koutlaki

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Darugheh House in Mashhad Wins UNESCO Conservation Award

A total of 13 winning projects from six countries – Australia, China, India, Iran, Japan and Pakistan – have been recognized in this year’s Heritage Awards. A panel of international conservation experts met in Bangkok to review the 40 Heritage Awards entries, including 34 in the Conservation category and six for New Design.

According to UNESCO, the conservation of Darugheh House has reinstated a significant component of the historical townscape of Mashhad. Based on in-depth historical research, verified through archaeological excavation, the project preserved the original building’s scale and footprint with a focus on the retention of original materials and reuse of materials from demolished adjacent buildings. Local artisans specializing in traditional architectural decoration carried out the work, and new features were carefully identified in keeping with established conservation practice. Amidst the rapid pace of development now transforming Mashhad, the restored Darugheh House provides validation for the continuing relevance of traditional spaces in contemporary urban life.

Meanwhile, the restoration of the Sanro-Den Hall at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City, Japan, Ehime Prefecture has received the Award of Excellence in this year’s UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Duong Bich Hanh, Chair of the Jury and Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit, said she was pleased to see the Heritage Awards encourage good conservation practices in the region. “Jury members were delighted with the quality of this year’s entries to the Heritage Awards,” Ms. Hanh said. “This showed increased knowledge and higher standards in conservation work across Asia-Pacific.”.

This year’s Award of Excellence winner, the Sanro-Den Hall, a prayer hall at Sukunahikona Shrine in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, is an exceptional example of community stewardship enlisted in the conservation of a heritage site of unique architectural and cultural value. The project epitomizes the efficacy of grass-roots advocacy, coupled with traditional building practices, in extending the life of distinctive 20th-century Kakezukuri structure, successfully returning it to a central place in the cultural life of the local community.

Jury members also agreed to revise the regulations regarding how old a site must be to be eligible for the awards, reflecting a growing awareness in the conservation field of the importance of recognizing cultural heritage that is less than 50 years old, which is in growing danger. The revised regulations will be available via the UNESCO Bangkok website at the end of this year, and will be applied to entries submitted for next year’s awards.

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