Friday, February 9, 2018




Iran is a leader in saffron production, and the Khorasan province to the east of the country is most notable. In fact, Mashhad is arguably the best place to buy it. This photo that I snapped a few years back was probably the first time I had ever seen heaps of saffron that high.



I had heard of saffron harvesting tours in Khorasan province, but I didn’t know that I could also find one much closer to Tehran, in the town of Natanz between Kashan and Esfahan. As it happens, this desert town also offers the ideal conditions to cultivate saffron. And because it only grows for a few weeks in the fall, I jumped on the opportunity to take a harvesting tour myself. 

Upon arrival, our hosts, an elderly husband and wife named Amoo and Zan Amoo, greet us and walk us towards their plot of land. Did you catch their names? [Paternal] Uncle and [paternal] uncle’s wife. That’s it. That’s how they are introduced. How could you not love Iranians? 

Along the way, I’m struck by the fact that Natanz seems so abandoned: crumbling adobe walls, broken windows, crooked wooden doors on the verge of falling apart. We come across a feisty shepherdess (who’s easily 70 years old) and her modest flock of goats. She and Amoo exchange a few not-so-friendly words. Seems she did something she wasn’t supposed to, and Amoo is calling her out on it. Meanwhile, this strange group of tourists spooks the goats by getting too close to them trying to take pictures (I admit I’m probably the most guilty party here), and as if rehearsed, the goats suddenly all turn around and make a mad dash in the opposite direction, feisty shepherdess chasing after them with her stick in hand. 


Natanz | Iran | Shepherd
The feisty shepherdess and her goats


We carry on to the saffron fields, and on the way, we learn that though husband and wife, Amoo and Zan Amoo are technically also cousins, a practice more common in the past than now. As we near their field, I see the violet-colored flowers planted in rows contrasting beautifully against the dry, beige dirt. Amoo and Zan Amoo explain how to pick them correctly and tell us to feel free picking as many as we want because a new flower will grow back the very next day! And then we’re let loose.

I gently pick a few and once I have a bunch in my hand, I bring them up to my nose, wondering if they have a smell. They do- a faint honey scent. Zan Amoo tells us that when we’re done picking our share, we can take the flowers over to her, where she’ll weigh them, and we can pay her per kilo. Of course saffron weighs so little, I wonder how much a kilo would be and if anyone will really pick that much? If we pick the entire field, will it even amount to that much? 


Natanz | Iran | Saffron
Harvesting saffron

Over behind Zan Amoo’s weighing station, our hosts are brewing us saffron-infused tea which is boiling in a kettle over some charcoal- chai zoghâli, as they call it in Persian. The charcoal is supposed to add a special, smokey flavor. As I’m sipping on my tea, I watch the others in my tour go to Zan Amoo and ask her to weigh their flowers. But most people have only picked a couple of handfuls, and it’s not even worth weighing, so Zan Amoo gifts it to them. At least they offered to pay which is more than I can say for the ones who went to her saying, “This is all I took. Râzi bâsh,” basically meaning I don’t plan on paying you, so please don’t get upset with me. When it comes to taarof, it’s either feast or famine. 

Natanz | Iran | Saffron
Saffron


Natanz | Iran | Saffron
Saffron field

Zan Amoo tells us that we need to carefully pick the red stigmas and let them dry completely before storing them, otherwise they will mold. But she already has some dried, ready-packed saffron for sale as well, and I buy a packet from her. After squatting for so long, picking the flowers one by one, then plucking the stigmas, letting them dry, and finally packing and selling them, I realize what a labor intensive job it is. It’s no wonder saffron is the world’s most expensive spice and is nicknamed red gold! 

Once we experience our brief stint as saffron harvesters, we move on. Natanz is such a small town, that the rest of the tour is a visit to the simple yet lovely and serene Sheikh Abdolsamad Mosque and a pottery workshop. I didn’t know that similar to places like Meybod, Natanz is also known for its pottery. 


Natanz | Iran | Mosque
Sheikh Abdolsamad Mosque

Natanz | Iran | Mosque
Sheikh Abdolsamad Mosque entrance


Natanz | Iran | Mosque
Ceiling of Sheikh Abdolsamad Mosque 


Natanz | Iran | Mosque
Sheikh Abdolsamad Mosque courtyard

Natanz | Iran | Pottery
Pottery workshop

Natanz | Iran | Pottery
Pottery workshop

In between these places, we walk back through the kooche bâgh, alleys in villages. It’s a beautiful fall day, the leaves are all different shades of yellow, orange, and green, and the mountain in the backdrop is capped in snow. Some fields are full of pomegranate trees, the fruit dried and dangling off the branches. Scattered along the dirt paths are also the discarded violet petals of the saffron flower, and though it seems like a waste, I guess there's not much you can do with them. 


Natanz | Iran | Saffron
Kooche bagh of Natanz

Natanz | Iran
The ruins I wanted to see before I took a tumble

We come across some ruins, and I think that instead of walking around it, I could climb to the top of the mound and can get a glimpse of the inside and a better view of the mountains. I run to the top, take my pictures, and turn around wondering how I’ll get back down. It’s not far, but it’s a rocky-sandy blend, and let’s just say that I have a history of tumbling down. I work up the nerve to make a run for it, but in the end lose my footing and proceed to add another notch to my history. I’m covered in dirt with a bloody knee and hand, but luckily my camera and cell phone escape unscathed. For the rest of the day, my tour mates will tell me, “Oh you have some dirt on your pants.” 
“Yah, I took a tumble,” I tell them. 
“What? When? Are you ok?” they ask concerned.
“I’m fine, the tour guide had a first-aid kit and she helped clean the wound.”

To this day, every time I see that scar on my knee, I remember Natanz. 


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A saffron harvesting tour in Natanz, Iran

Friday, January 12, 2018



I love exploring Tehran’s District 12, the heart and soul of the city in my opinion. It’s not hard for me to get lost in my imagination, dreaming up the conversations that went on behind the doors that now stand deep in pavement unable to be opened, and imaging the faces that gazed out of the now shattered windows. When I wrote about Lalezar Street, I mentioned that my fantasy was to have a “Midnight in Paris” moment with a horse and carriage magically appearing and transporting me back to old Tehran. But when I stepped foot in Oudlajan, I realized it wasn’t necessary. Just strolling through this neighborhood, one of Tehran’s oldest, was itself traveling back in time.


Darolfonoon School, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Entrance of Darolfonoon School


I started my journey into the past in the present, on Naser Khosrow Street where I first passed Darolfonoon School, Iran’s first modern school founded by Amir Kabir, the prime minister of Iran, in 1851. As I continued down this pedestrian path, I came across Saraye Roshan, one of the first commercial centers established around 1932. I had seen pictures of it before, and given the architecture, I could hardly believe it was in Tehran. It seemed like the architect couldn’t decide on a theme and so went with the overall theme of gothic, threw in a mishmash of cherubs to make it seem Roman, and finally ended with the Zoroastrian symbol of the Ahura Mazda. Completely senseless yet beautiful. 

Saraye Roshan, Tehran, Iran, Oudlajan
Saraye Roshan
Saraye Roshan, Tehran, Iran, Oudlajan
Close-up of Saraye Roshan

Turn around and you see the backside of Shamsol Emareh, the Edifice of the Sun, one of the complexes of Golestan Palace. You can hardly believe that at one point in time, this used to be the highest tower in Tehran, offering sweeping views of the city. The clock sitting between the windcatchers was presented to Nasser al-Din Shah by Queen Victoria. 


Shamsol Emareh, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
The back of Shamsol Emareh

From here, I turned into the two-tiered Marvi Bazaar whose porticos took me back to my days living in Bologna, Italy. And from here I came out somewhere along the backside of the Grand Bazaar (I always get completely disoriented in that area) but then plowed on towards the old Oudlajan Bazaar. It’s in these arched brick hallways that Timcheh Akbarian, Iran’s first bank, is located. Now a small teahouse, this former bank dates back to the Qajar era in the 18th century.


Marvi Bazaar, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Entrance of Marvi Bazaar
Marvi Bazaar, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Marvi Bazaar

Timcheh Akbarian, First bank of Iran, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Inside Timcheh Akbarian

Now that I was officially within the borders, I came across some amazing sites I never knew existed in Tehran. Snaking my way through the narrow paths of Oudlajan, a once predominantly Jewish quarter, I noticed that down one of the narrowest alleys was a door with the Star of David on it. I had stumbled upon Ezra Yaghoub Synagogue, now seemingly forgotten in the back streets.


Ezra Yagoub, Synagogue, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Entrance of Ezra Yaghoub Synagogue

Ezra Yagoub, Synagogue, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Ezra Yaghoub Interior
Ezra Yagoub, Synagogue, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Ezra Yaghoub Interior
Ezra Yaghoub Synagogue in Oudlajan Tehran Iran
Books inside Ezra Yagoub Synagogue

Fakhr ol Maluk Mansion, once owned by a Qajar minister, has been converted into Noon o Namak Restaurant. Despite their out-of-the-way location, they are apparently always booked. 

Fakhr ol Maluk Mansion, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Fakhr ol Maluk Mansion

Navab Bathhouse is the site of a scene in the pre-revolution film Qeysar, starring beloved acting legend Behrouz Vossoughi. The space pod-like rooftop is a familiar sight in cities like Yazd or Kashan, but was not one I expected to see in Tehran. It’s now hidden among the higher rooftops of this concrete jungle. The bathhouse itself is nothing to write home about. At the time of my visit, it held little more than a few pieces of local handicrafts for sale. 

Navab Bathhouse, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Navab Bathhouse

Navab Bathhouse Rooftop, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Rooftop of Navab Bathhouse

The cone-shaped Imamzadeh Yahya Mosque reminded me of Daniel Nabi’s Mosque in Susa. An ‘Imamzadeh’ is the tomb of a person who descended from the Prophet Mohammad, and these small shrines dot Iran. The shrine grounds here protect a 900-year-old plane tree.

Plane tree in Imamzadeh Yayha, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
This 900-year old plane tree is housed in the Imamzadeh Yahya courtyard

Across the way are the windcatchers of the Qajar era Kazemi House, which currently hosts a museum. The simple yet elegant brick building is surrounded by a beautiful garden and offers a glimpse into the life of the wealthy Tehranis of that time. The badgir extending from the roof is yet another feature more commonly seen across Yazd or Bandar Laft in Qeshm but unexpected for Tehran.


Kazemi House, Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Kazemi House

As I wandered through the streets around Oudlajan, what struck me most was the fact that it seemed trapped in time. Men were working behind hidden doors or pushing trolleys that barely fit through the alleys. Women in black chadors were going about their daily business. Wooden doors stuck in the pavement made me wonder when the last time was that anyone had opened them and when they fell from use. Then there were the Saqqakhaneh, an encased water fountain-like structure built as a sort of charity. People can have a sip and say a prayer for the person who built it. Even public bathhouses were still in use here. It all seemed so far removed from the rest of Tehran, I felt as though I had not just visited a completely new town, but rather crossed into another era. 

Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Woman in Oudlajan

Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Man shopping in Oudlajan
Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
Man working in  Oudlajan
Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran
A street in Oudlajan

I thought of today’s elite of Tehran, perched in their comfortable, cushy high rises in the north, most likely unaware of (or rather uninterested in) the fascinating history that exists just a few kilometers south. But it’s not just limited to the elite. I know my relatives are confused as to why such places interest me. Just as they asked, “Why are you going to Lalezar?” They asked, “Oudlajan? Why would you want to go there? It’s so old and dirty.” (Some had never even heard of it.) But then again, it's not entirely unusual when talking about our hometowns. I thought of myself when Arlington Cemetery would become flooded with tourists in the summer. “Why on earth would anyone want to visit there?” I would ask myself. Sometimes I think it takes seeing these places through the eyes of a person just passing through to truly appreciate their beauty and value. 


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Oudlajan, Tehran, Iran

Wednesday, October 4, 2017



I need to preface this post with two things (in no particular order):

1. I get giddy as a school girl when I see flocks of sheep. Maybe the reason is simple, like, I just love animals. Maybe it’s because when I was a child and we’d go from Mashhad to Neyshabur, my favorite thing was to spot flocks of sheep along the way. Maybe it’s because there’s no sound I love more than the sound of their bells as they graze. In fact, when I’m in my dad’s hometown of Taleghan and hear the bells, I drop everything and close my eyes to take it all in. If I’m being honest, ‘flocks of sheep’ was almost my letter ‘F’ in this series. Seriously. But I thought you, reader aziz, might get bored of my many, many, (many) pictures of flocks of sheep. And so, as you may know, I made it ‘F is for Farsi’ instead.

2. Have you heard of yârâneh? In a nutshell, it’s a subsidy of around 450,000 Rials (45,000 Tomans) granted by the government to every Iranian citizen. Many claim theirs. Nobody I know does. This last presidential election in May saw two main contenders (there were others, but it basically boiled down to these two): the incumbent Hasan Rouhani and cleric Ebrahim Raisi. One of Raisi’s campaign promises was to raise yârâneh to 2,000,000 Rials (or 200,000 Tomans). President Rouhani is now serving his second term. 

(Ok, maybe I need to add a third):

3. While I was in grad school for TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages- yes, that’s a degree), I didn’t have any actual teaching experience, so to remedy that, I started out as a volunteer teacher… for Persian. It wasn’t so much the language that counted as it was actually standing in front of a group of people, trying to put into practice all that theory I was learning. Not to digress too far, one day, I heard that there would be a free screening of the documentary The Bakhtiari Alphabet at one of the universities, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for my Persian class to learn about some Iranian culture (not that there was a lack of opportunity otherwise in the DC area, but still, this one was unique). After watching the trailer on YouTube, I was personally super excited to see it and told my class the date and time all too enthusiastically.

None of them showed up.

But that wasn’t about to put a damper on my time. To say that I enjoyed the film is putting it lightly. It was an extremely well made, inspiring, and fascinating account of the life and seasonal migration of the Bakhtiari nomadic tribe, from the landscapes to the hardships to their education. I bought a copy of the DVD for future reference and went on my way thinking my class totally missed out. 

(Aaaaaaand now we can finally get to the story.)

It was some 17 years ago that I visited the Qashqai tribe near Shiraz, and that was an unforgettable experience. But I remember that they were there specifically for tourists to learn about their lifestyle, have dinner with them, see their clay oven where they artfully popped in one round piece of dough after another.

In my opinion, the Bakhtiari seem less accessible, maybe because fewer tourists visit that region than somewhere like Shiraz. So when a holiday was coming up in Iran, I decided to head to the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province in southwest Iran and join a tour to visit the Bakhtiari nomads, a subgroup of the Lurs. After leaving our base in Shahr-e Kord, the bus wound its way through Zardkuh mountains in the Zagros Range. It was truly one of the most spectacular and breathtaking landscapes I’ve seen in Iran to this day: vast open plains, rolling green hills, snow-capped mountains, and a cool breeze, relieving me from Tehran’s scorching sun. Stone lions symbolizing the bravery of these people dotted the hillside. And to top it all off, there were all the flocks of sheep I could have possibly asked for. And I knew the Bakhtiari had more a-waitin’! 

Stone lion | Bakhtiari | nomad | Chaharmahal | Iran
Stone lions of the Bakhtiari 


We were on a mission to find them post-kooch (migration). Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari has harsh winters, so during this time, they kooch to the Khuzestan province where temperatures are milder. These winter quarters are known as their gheshlâgh. During the summer when Khuzestan becomes entirely too hot, they kooch to Chaharmahal o Bakhtiari, their yeylâgh, or summer quarters.

Soon enough, tents and people also entered into view. Only, the women were in all black. This was contrary to their usual bright scarves and colorful sweeping skirts I had seen in the film and in pictures. Maybe it was just the women from that tent, I thought to myself. But tent after tent after tent, I noticed the same thing. We finally stopped at one and unloaded off the bus, to what I imagined was the horror of the older gentleman who was tending to his (OMG!) flock of sheep. He came towards us, as curious about us as we were about him.  


Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Bakhtiari man and his sheep


Khaste nabâshid,” the tour guide said.

Salâmat bâshid, befarmâeed,” he replied. He was wearing a blue button down shirt (how very un-Bakhtiari-like), but he did have the round skull cap made of wool (now we’re talkin’).  

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Bakhtiari home

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Bakhtiari sheep


No sooner were we uninvited city-dwellers off the bus than we were welcomed into this Bakhtiari nomad’s tent for some (what else?) tea. The tent was not so much a tent as it was stone walls covered with a thin tarp to let some light shine through. The living room area was covered in different rugs, and poshti (thick pillows used to lean back on when you are sitting on the floor) were spread against the walls. Colorful tassels hanging off of blue beads handwoven onto a ribbon were strung around the walls like streamers. A small kitchen area was curtained off to the side.

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Tassels inside the tent

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Yeylagh of the Bakhtiari

Once people started making their way inside, I escaped back out to take pictures of the sheep and goats. While I was busy with the animals and stalking one adorable black and white goat in particular, I heard the answer to my question. 

“Why are you all wearing black?” a tour mate asked one of the women.

“One of our elders passed away recently,” she replied as she watched her son run over to a baby goat. “We’re still in mourning.”

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
The women were in mourning, so they wore black

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
The goat I was stalking

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
A close-up of said goat


To the side, some of the men were talking to the older gentleman who welcomed us. He was explaining their migration, when one of them suddenly asked, “Do you get your yârâneh?” I was shocked by question so much that I forgot about the sheep…but then again, Iranians are curiously very open when speaking about financial matters (something the American in me still has a hard time grasping). 

Baleh (yes),” he answered.

“Who did you vote for?” the same man asked.

“Rouhani.”

“How ya like that, huh!” exclaimed one of the women with a big smile on her face.

We eventually all gathered in the tent and shared some piping hot black tea and simple, good company. It was around this time when I heard a motorcycle park outside and a younger Bakhtiari gentleman walk in to the surprise of these unexpected guests. He was donning the traditional clothes: a wool cap, wide-leg baggy pants, and a long, cream-colored wool vest with black stripes at the top, almost resembling piano keys. This vest, as I learned, is actually rather pricey, starting at upwards of 10 million Rials (roughly $250-$300, but in Rials it’s quite a hefty price). What really got me, though, was that out of his left shirt pocket, his giant Samsung (Galaxy? Note? It was big enough to be a Note) was sticking out…in a case and all. I guess despite their traditional lifestyle, even the Bakhtiari have kept up with (or maybe can’t escape from) technology in the 21st century. I don’t remember any cell phones in The Bakhtiari Alphabet. 

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Bakhtiari man

Bakhtiari nomads | Iran
Bakhtiari man in traditional clothes inside the tent


This yeylâgh area was incredibly peaceful, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. I wandered away from the group deeper into the plains to be in the presence of the sheep and goats and surround myself with nothing but the sound of their bells and bahs. How amazing that there are still people like this in the world who live on the move. As a westerner and someone who has pretty much always been in an urban area, it’s easy for me to become absorbed in that lifestyle (which I wonder what they think about). In many ways, I think they are the lucky ones. 

If you can get your hands on a copy of The Bakhtiari Alphabet or just see it somewhere, definitely do. In the meantime, check out the trailer. 




 Pontia


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Bakhtiari Nomads | Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari | Iran

Wednesday, September 20, 2017



I’m waiting for my friend outside Hasan Abad metro station in southern Tehran just taking in my surroundings. People are rushing downstairs to catch the train, and every few minutes a large crowd comes hurrying up to exit. A man sitting at the top of the stairs is selling various goodies: HiBye chocolate-filled cookies, Naderi layered snack cakes, strawberry wafers. It’s a scorching hot day in July and I can’t help but wish he had ice cold water instead. I have a 500 toman note in my wallet which is convenient because vendors always ask for change. Then I remember the price of water has been raised to 700 tomans. Where’s Florian?

A new wave of people comes out of the metro, and it’s easy to spot his blonde hair. We immediately attract attention because we’re exchanging hellos in English and I’m carrying a large camera case. But mostly, it’s his blonde hair, the telltale sign of a khâreji (foreigner). They stare at him and then eye me for a couple of seconds before looking down at my camera and eventually walking by. We head out and walk a few blocks down Imam Khomeini Street, dodging motorcycles creeping up behind us on the sidewalk and speaking a few notches louder than normal to be able to hear each other over the traffic. 

“Why did you bring a jacket?” I ask Florian. “Aren’t you hot?”

“I needed something to put my belongings in. I’ve been looking for a small bag of sorts, but I haven’t found the right one yet.” 

We haven’t been walking 5 minutes and I’m already sweating up a storm. I shouldn’t have worn this manteau today. I totally underestimated how hot it was. I bought it at the Jom’e Bazaar from Atefe Naderi whose designs and handprinted textile stamps are always adorable. The one I’m wearing has a tipped-over jug on one side and a fish swimming out on the other. “When you wear it, it looks like the vessel is trying to collect the fish again,” she told me when I was trying it on. Note to self: this manteau is entirely too heavy for this time of year.

I try to focus on the house numbers and not look at Florian’s jacket, which just encourages more beads of sweat on my forehead. “We should be close,” I tell him as we continue down the street. “It’s number 249.”

“I hope they’re open,” he says. “You know I’ve gone to the Holy Defense Museum three times, and each time they’ve been closed!”

“That happened to me too. I went on a Friday during Ramadan, which was the worst possible time. They don’t update their hours. But I called this place, and they said they’re open until 1 today.”

We finally arrive at #249, and I look up at the blue tiles above it: Muze Moghadam (Moghadam Museum), it says in Persian calligraphy.


Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
The museum's peaceful garden

We buy tickets and walk in, and I suddenly feel as though everything’s gone quiet and I’ve stepped through a portal into a peaceful zen garden. The sound of trickling water, a small pond with lily pads, stone steps going across it. To the left is a castle-like building with an entrance that looks strangely as if it’s inhabited by a hobbit. To the right, a courtyard and staircase leading to another building. Am I still in Tehran?

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Courtyard

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Courtyard

Mohsen Moghadam was the son of a mayor during Naser al-Din Shah Qajar’s time, and this was his house. After studying painting in Switzerland, he returned to Iran to study history and archaeology before setting off to travel again. Along with his French wife, they turned their home into a museum with objects and textiles that they collected.


Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
The stone bases of the arches are similar to Chehel Sotun in Esfahan

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
The bathhouse

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
A window faces the garden and pool area

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
This side looks like something you'd find in Morocco

We make our way around, starting in the courtyard, the hamâm (bathhouse), museum, garden, pool, “hobbit castle”, and shell room. I love the arches which seem more suited for Morocco than Iran. I especially appreciate the details around the light switches. What a great idea! 


Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Details of the light switches

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
I like the idea of framing light switches

But the greatest part is the tiles. Moghadam Museum is brimming with tiles and mosaics, each one more beautiful than the next, with a different face or pattern bulging out. I find it so inspiring that I’m determined to one day decorate my own home the same way (I don’t know where I’ll get the tiles from, but I have time to figure that out).

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Tiles of the bathhouse

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Bench in the courtyard

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
I love the fact that an attempt was made to draw in the rest of this tile

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Tiles depicting a Qajar family

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Tiles embedded in the walls

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Khorshid Khanum (Miss Sunshine) detail on the fireplace

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
To drink or not to drink?

Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Shell room

Florian and I take a seat on the staircase in the shade to catch up with each other about work and our latest adventures, all the while trying to prolong our tranquil little escape into this hidden gem and delay our reentry into the hubbub of the lovable beast that is Tehran.

I’m enjoying the atmosphere (and company) so much that I forget how hot it is or that I desperately need a drink of water. I'm simply basking in contentment and wondering how it is that more people don't visit or know about this museum. Much like Qeshm being overshadowed by Shiraz and Esfahan, Moghadam Museum is dwarfed by the likes of Golestan Palace and Sa'ad Abad Complex. But I figure that's what makes this tucked-away treasure all the more special-the fact that it's somewhat secluded from the masses.


Moghadam Musem | Tehran | Iran
Thanks to Florian for capturing a photo of me that I like :) 

It’s too bad the cafe is closed because it would be the perfect spot for a cool drink, I think to myself. But I’ll be back. Spring would be a nice time…when the trees are full of blossoms and temperatures are milder and more pleasant. 

Yes. I’ll come back in the spring. 

 Pontia

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A hidden gem in Tehran | Moghadam Museum | Tehran | Iran

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