Main Iran Highlights

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Main highlights of Iran

• the big number of bank branches (there is always a bank branch within 200m in all directions)
• the smell of gas very present in the streets (almost all homes are connected to natural gas, with micro-leaks in pipes, and more and more cars nowpowered by gas (because growing price of gasoline)
• the old hammams turned into tearooms or restaurants
• pigeons towers, ice domes and adobe water tanks, antic underground supply(qanats)
• wind towers (badgirs) to refresh palaces, hammams, water tanks
• mosques and palaces iwans (large porticos overlooking a courtyard)
• flower gardens with fountains, ponds and canals
• no alcohol at all, but fruit beer (peach, pineapple, cherry, melon, mango ...)
• sumaq (daily used spice made from ground red seeds)
• a lot of fruits, lemon, yogurt and herbs (parsley, chives, mint) in Iranian cuisine
• to drink tea with a sugar cube between teeth
• every iranian people knows old poems from Ferdosi, Khayyam, Saadi and Hafez<br>
• chelo kebab (skewer-rice): national dish
• concept of hot / cold in iranian cooking
• downtown deep gullies (old irrigation channels) where cars use to fall
• fine mosaic tiles in mosques and palaces, made with ground turquoise and lapis lazuli
• nose job among young people (if no enough money, get a sticking-plaster on nose)
• absolutely mandatory scarf, but "it slides backwards 1cm a year"
• The shuttle taxis and Savaris (taxis), "nah dar baste" (to say if you want to share it)
• the existence of two Irans: Iran of public space where there is religious coercion and social hypocrisy, and private Iran, in homes, where everything is different (parties, alcohol, free clothing)
• astonishingly, people criticizing the government and the theocracy even in public places, and not just in Tehran
• traditional persian poets as Ferdosi, Saadi and Hafez still read and revered by Iranians despite centuries

Positive aspects of Iran
• kindness, hospitality and xenophilia of its people
• quiet and no noisy people
• wealth of cultural and historical heritage
• fine crafts (painted crockery, marquetry, miniatures on ivory or camel bone, carpets)
• quality and low cost of transportation
• honesty of shopkeepers
• cleanliness of the cities

Negative aspects of Iran
• frantic and chaotic (but no noisy) traffic
• dramatic pollution of the cities
• the lack of restaurants, tearooms and café terraces, qalyans (hookah) disappearing
• the perennial chelo kebab, the profusion of American-style fast food (hamburgers, cola ...)
• the tragic lack of alcohol drinking places
• staff not very hard-working in post & turism offices)
• too many crazy drivers on roads
• the total disregard for pedestrians in the streets (and sidewalks)
• picnic areas and shaded roadsides covered with plastic garbage
• and of course the poor status of women,  ghost chadors and mandatory scarves...