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A Hidden Treasure of History & Architecture: Why Iran Will Excite Adventurous M’sians!

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Wob Tka Iran Feat 1
Source: Provided to WOB

When it comes to travel, Malaysians commonly consider destinations like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Europe, or others, often overlooking Iran. However, Iran’s strategic position at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia, and the Arab states of the Middle East, coupled with its access to the Persian Gulf in the south, has historically made it a significant country.

Iran’s diverse landscape, strategic geopolitical location, and history dating back thousands of years create a captivating tapestry of culture that enthrals those who wish to explore its wonders.

The Knights Award, under the leadership of President Dr. Zyro Wong, invites you to embark on a journey to explore this thousand-year-old land, hosted by the Iran Cultural Center.

 

Tehran – The Beating Heart of Iran

Photo 3 2Milad Tower

Tehran, with a history spanning over 200 years, stands as Iran’s largest and most populous city. Its significance extends beyond its mere size, as it serves as the beating heart of the nation, influencing various aspects of Iran’s development.

Economically, Tehran is a powerhouse, hosting approximately 50% of the country’s industrial activities. Culturally, Tehran is a treasure trove of experiences. As the former capital city of the Qajar Dynasty, it boasts a rich heritage reflected in its architecture, museums, and historical sites.

In fact, the Milad Tower shown in the picture stands at an impressive height of 435 meters, making it 14 meters taller than our very own KL Tower! Here are a few of the gems you should check out in Tehran:

 

  • Tabiat Bridge & Book Garden

Photo 5 1Tabiat Bridge

These landmarks are pivotal components of a hundred-acre development project, propelling Tehran‘s economic and tourism initiatives to new heights. Here’s what you should know about these landmarks:

    • Tabiat Bridge: A 300m marvel above Moderras Expressway, offering a scenic walk with panoramic views of Tehran.
    • Book Garden: One of the world‘s largest bookstores, satisfying science-related passions with its massive collection.

Photo 6Book Garden

 

  • National Museum of Iran & Iran Mall

Iran 1National Museum of Iran

To gain a deeper understanding of Iran’s history and geography, make sure to visit the National Museum of Iran. When it’s time to shop, forget shopping malls, Iran Mall is the must-visit destination in Tehran.

As one of the world’s largest malls, it transcends the ordinary by featuring the enchanting Timcheh – a small market that mirrors some of Iran’s most charming tourist attractions, showcasing their magnificent culture and arts.

Iran 2Iran Mall

From carpet art to antiques, and mirror halls to magnificent Iranian architectural designs, Iran Mall is a cultural haven that offers an unparalleled shopping experience. You can also pay a visit to their night bazaar to indulge in delightful cuisine and captivating performances. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by Iranians’ display of remarkable warmth and friendliness towards tourists. They would often greet tourists with waves and engage in friendly conversations, creating an atmosphere of genuine hospitality and also fostering meaningful connections between our two nations.

 

  • Tochal Snow Mountain

Photo 12Tochal Mountain

Contrary to stereotypes, Iran experiences all four seasons rather than being consistently hot. Within the capital city of Tehran, visitors can enjoy snow activities and skiing at altitudes exceeding 3,680 meters at Tochal Snow Mountain. You’ll get to enjoy panoramic views of Tehran unfolding before your eyes.

As the ascent progresses, the surroundings transition into a pristine white landscape, culminating in a breathtaking experience at the seventh station. For those seeking an immersive stay, the Tochal Hotel offers accommodations, allowing visitors to fully embrace the snowy mountain environment and make the most of their adventure.

Iran 3Tochal Mountain

Photo 15Tochal Hotel

 

  • Golestan Palace

Iran 4Golestan Palace

Ever wondered how lavish a palace could be? Selected as the royal residence and seat of power by the Qajar ruling family, the opulence and beauty of Golestan Palace are beyond imagination.

When the Qajar dynasty chose Tehran as its capital in 1794, the rulers began to construct a new residence on the site of a 16th-century Safavid citadel. Within its halls are architectural and artistic marvels, from stunning mirror work to a marble throne and towers that overlook the city. Used by four Iranian dynasties, the heritage on the site paints a vivid picture of power and beauty in the heart of Tehran.

 

Kashan – Iran’s Enchanting Oasis City

Photo 26Timcheh, Kashan

Kashan is the first of the large oases along the Qom-Kerman road which runs along the edge of the central deserts of Iran. It not only boasts a cluster of architectural wonders, an atmospheric covered bazaar and a Unesco-recognised garden, but it also offers some of central Iran’s best traditional hotels. Make sure to swing by these wondrous locations when you’re in Kashan:

 

  • Tabatabaei House & One Thousand and One Nights International Restaurant

Photo 27Tabatabaei House

Built in the 19th century, Tabatabaei Historical House offers a captivating glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of Kashan’s affluent families. This architectural gem showcases the quintessence of Persian design, boasting over 200 doors and ingenious wind tunnels for natural ventilation—a centuries-old form of free air-conditioning.

Photo 29 Find this artist on Instagram here: @art_fatemeshadmanizade

While in the area, you can drop by One Thousand and One Nights International Restaurant – the only Chinese restaurant in Kashan. Despite the good food served in Iran, this restaurant provides a sense of comfort at home as they dine familiar dishes after days away from Malaysia.

Photo 30The Only Chinese Restaurant In Kashan

 

  • The Persian Garden, Timcheh & Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse

Photo 32The Persian Garden

Under the snowy weather, the most enjoyable experience is soaking yourself in a hot spring under cold weather. At Persian Garden, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, the hot spring flowing from a nearby mountain presents a perfect landscape for photography in this chill weather.

Photo 33The Persian Garden

The Aminoddole Caravanserai in Kashan showcases astonishing artisanal skills and the power of geometry besides offering a shopping experience at the bazaar.

Photo 34Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse

 

Esfahan – The Beauty of ‘Half the World’

From Kashan, tourists can take a 2-hour trip to Esfahan, a major city in central Iran which was the splendid capital of the Seljuq and Safavid dynasties. The city’s legacies established Iran (formerly Persia) as the cultural heart of the Eastern Islamic world in terms of language (Persian), art, and architecture.

The Safavid period (1502 – 1736) was particularly decisive for shaping the city, whose beauty was so great that world travellers purportedly dubbed it “Half the World”. Get to know what Esfahan has to offer through these locations:

 

  • Imam Square

Photo 36

Hemmed on four sides by architectural gems and embracing the formal fountains and gardens at its centre, this wondrous space is a spectacle in its own right. It was laid out in 1602 under the reign of the Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas the Great, to signal the importance of Esfahan as the capital of a powerful empire.

At 512m long and 163m wide, Naqsh-e Jahan is one of the largest squares in the world, earning a listing as a Unesco World Heritage site. The name means ‘pattern of the world’ and it was designed to showcase the finest jewels of the Safavid empire – the incomparable Masjed-e Shah, the elegant Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah.

Photo 38

Then, be sure to stroll through the grand bazaar, where you can meet the 4th generation of artists who draw on camel bone with cat hair. The emphasis on details in their drawings is so impeccable that you will need a magnifying glass to appreciate all those details.

Photo 394th generation of Fotowat Miniaturist

 

  • Vank Cathedral & Bridge of 33 Arches

Iran 5Vank Cathedral

Iran is a country where Christians and Muslims live harmoniously together. This is evident in the Vank Cathedral, built over 400 years ago, showcasing a gorgeous fusion of Armenian and Islamic architecture. As you take a walk inside, you’ll be led to a vividly decorated space of Armenian and Christian iconography alongside typical Islamic geometrical designs.

Photo 43Bridge of 33 Arches

 

  • Chehel Sotoun & Mehr-o-Mah Tourist Complex

Photo 45Chehel Sotoun

Chehel Sotoun, or the 40 Column Palace, is a relic of the Safavid Empire rule in Iran that showcases the intricate beauty of original 17th-century architecture. Many tourists would pay a visit to this pavilion to marvel at the mural paintings and the majestic Throne Hall.

While you’re in the area, don’t miss this chance to make a stop at the Mehr-o-Mah Tourist Complex in Qom Province. Here, you can witness the production of freshly made pistachio cookies and purchase them as souvenirs. It’s worth noting that Iran is one of the largest producers of high-quality pistachios!

Photo 48Pistachio Cookies Production

 

Has Iran earned a spot on your travel list?

Photo 51

Contrary to stereotypes, Iran is a safe and beautiful country with friendly citizens and thousands of years of history. Under the blanket of snow in the winter season, you can expect to have a once-in-a-lifetime holiday that you’ll remember for years to come. Being a four-season country, Iran will offer different experiences throughout the year depending on when you visit it. In every ‘Salam’ from the friendly Iranians, you feel the warmth of a nation embracing you.

For more photos and videos, you may visit the Instagram of Dr. Zyro Wong and The Knights Award.

 

Would you visit Iran if you had the chance? What are you looking forward to seeing the most there? Share your thoughts with us below!

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