Capturing Iran: A Photo Journey Through This Misunderstood Nation

The Middle Eastern country of Iran is misunderstood by many. Western media portrays this nation as a place filled with nuclear weapons, a sinister ruler and women dressed from head to toe in black. As with every country, Iran isn’t without its faults. However, any misconceptions we may have had were completely shattered the minute we crossed the border from Turkmenistan, into Iran.

We made the decision to travel to Iran to learn about the fascinating history and culture, meet the local people and feast on a cuisine made with intriguing spices and ingredients….a decision we’ll never regret!

The People

The people of Iran are extremely kind. On numerous occasions we were invited to sit and talk about life, shown into the homes of complete strangers and were frequently given help and directions. Everyone we met was friendly and at times, overwhelmingly hospitable!

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Men taking a break in the afternoon sun – Tabriz


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Three people we now call friends – Shiraz


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The owner of our desert homestay played the pots! Incredible sound – Garmeh


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We were invited in for tea by these guys in Yazd


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Singing poetry in the park, incredible sound! – Esfahan


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We were invited to stay for 6 nights with these awesome people! – Esfahan


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Everywhere we went, people wanted photos with us – Persepolis


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Hanging out enjoying tea and good company – Tabriz


Two fabulous friends – Esfahan


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The Troglodyte (cave dweller) Village of Maymand has been continuously inhabited for 3,000 years!

The Landscapes

From crystal clear seas to sandy deserts and rocky mountains, Iran has a very diverse landscape. Much of the country is a dry desert and we spent some delightful days enjoying the peacefulness that only this parched landscape can provide.

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Amazing formations and cave homes at the Kandovan Troglodyte Village – near Tabriz


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The Kaluts are towering sand formations in the desert outside of Kerman


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The desert village of Garmeh is a lovely oasis


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Salt Flats in the desert – Garmeh


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The mud village of Karnaq


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Hiking up mountains and multi-coloured rocks to get to a spectacular viewpoint – Garmeh


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Enjoying the views from the rolling dunes at sunset – near Garmeh Village

The Food

Iranian cuisine isn’t very popular in the west, which is a shame! The different flavours and spices combine to make unique, must-try meals. Stews and grilled meats are common for main dishes, while both fresh & dried fruits, nuts and pastries are often eaten as snacks. Street-food is common as well, with some delicious bites on offer.

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Beets on the street! A great street food option – Tehran


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This traditional dish, Tah Chin is a savory saffron rice dish with chicken


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date-filled delights, the best cookies ever – Kerman


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A nice lunch in the desert, camel patties! – Garmeh


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Roast chicken dish with saffron rice and barberries – Mashad
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Ghormeh Sabzi (stewed greens) with beans and camel meat, so good – Garmeh

The Architecture

The buildings in Iran are gorgeous. The intricate details on ancient mosques, palaces and bazaars are outstanding. From glittering tiles to vaulted ceilings and crumbling forts, the structures in Iran are very impressive.

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The Tomb of Hafez, the greatest master of Persian lyric poetry – Shiraz


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The Shah Cheragh Mosque & Funerary Monument – Shiraz


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The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis was built around 515BC! The ruins here are incredible


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The Van Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter – Esfahan


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Totalling 598,657 m2 (6,443,890 sq ft) the Imam Reza Shrine and mosque complex is the largest in the world


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The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque (Pink Mosque) has beautiful tiles and stained glass inside – Shiraz

The Markets

Markets and bazaars play a huge part in Iran’s day-to-day life. Vendors sell everything from carpets, water pipes and food, to clothing, fabrics and kitchen ware. The markets here are usually covered with high vaulted ceilings. Even if you’re not interested in buying anything, the architecture and atmosphere here is a must-see. The covered bazaar in Tabriz is one of the oldest in Iran, the largest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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A Vendor weighs out some nuts in Kerman


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Vaulted ceiling at the market


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Nap time at the carpet market – Shiraz


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Waterpipes for sale in the sun – Kerman


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Colourful spices on display – Kerman market


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Courtyard at the market in Kerman


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Colourful fabric for sale – Esfahan


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A beautiful, intricate, expensive Persian carpet – Tehran

Iran may be a country that you never thought you’d visit. Having backpacked here for over a month, we can honestly say that it’s a traveller’s dream destination, one we highly recommend! Many people are afraid to come to this distant land due to political reasons, or, they can’t be bothered with the (sometimes) lengthy visa process, meaning you’ll have the country virtually to yourself.

Note: As of February 2014, Canadian and British passport holders have joined the ranks of Americans and now have to be accompanied by a guide for the entire duration of their stay in Iran. Sorry guys! Sad news…

With luxurious transportation & accommodation, historical sites, natural wonders, incredible people and delicious cuisines…why wouldn’t you go?

What do you think about travelling to Iran? Do you think it’s a safe place to go? Share with us!

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Capturing Iran- A Photo Journey Through This Misunderstood Nation

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Written by

Dariece Swift

Dariece is a co-founder of Goats On The Road, and an expert in saving money, finance management, building an online business and of course... travel. She loves meeting new people, trying new cuisines, and learning about the unique cultures of our world. She has over 10 years of experience helping others to realize their travel dreams and has worked in numerous jobs all over the world to help pay for travel. Her advice about long-term travel, remote work, and location independence has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider and Forbes. Learn more about Dariece Swift on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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