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10 reasons for traveling to Iran next year
Tabiat Bridge in Tehran.
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NORMAN, Okla. – Since the embargo in Iran is going to end soon, the country is now seen in a new light. Iran has already welcomed more than five million tourists in 2014. Furthermore, 20 million are expected to come in 2025, according to Massoud Soltanifar, president of the Iran Cultural, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. This article will give 10 reasons to discover the oldest country in the world.

1. Because the embargo is ending soon, several carrier companies have announced their desires to open new airline routes to Iran, such as Air France and Lufthansa. There can be an expected decrease of ticket prices with the increase of offers.

2. With over 5,000 years of history, Iran is one of the best cultural places in the world. Nineteen cultural sites are classified at the UNESCO, such as the Golestan Palace with its unique architecture, and the ancient city of Persepolis built during the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Golestan Palace. (

Another site is the Armenian Monastic Ensembles. The legend says that the church was built by Saint Thaddeus (also known as Jude the Apostle) on AD 68. The church is still a place of pilgrimage for the Christian community in Iran, which is estimated at over 300,000 people.

3. In addition to its rich cultural history, Iran is also a modern nation. The Milad tower in Tehran was opened on 2009 and with its 1,427 ft. height, it is the sixth tallest telecommunication tower in the world.

The Tabiat pedestrian bridge (also in Tehran) won the Architizer A+Awards 2015 (a U.S. architect organization) in the typology category. The bridge connects two parks separated by a highway and hosts a café and restaurant in the lower level and various seating areas for enjoying the view.

4. The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran features the biggest collection of jewelry and gemstones in the world in one place. The "Treasury of the National Jewels," show several items from The Pahlavi Crown used for the last time by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi on Oct. 26, 1967 to the Naderi Throne, covered of 26,733 jewels.

5. At the confluence between different cultures, such as Mediterranean, Indian or Russian, Iranian food is greatly diverse. The use of aromatics such as saffron, curcuma, cinnamon and herbs gives colorful and perfumed flavors to dishes.

For one who can’t wait to be in Iran to discover their dishes, go to Najmiehs Kitchen blog. The website of this passionate woman is a gold mine, she was called “the guru of Persian cuisine” by The Washington Post in 2011.

6. More popular around the world are Persian carpets. Dating back to ancient Persia, handcrafted of unique design and colors, the carpet weaving from Fars and Kashan are inscribed on “the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” of the UNESCO since 2010.

7. The geography and climate of Iran provides a huge variety of landscapes. From Mount Damavand, the highest volcano in Asia at 18,410 ft. with its eternal snow, to the Mesr desert, to the green Gilan province with its rice paddies, outstanding scenic is guaranteed.

Iran has 160 natural sites, such as national parks, protected areas, wildlife refuges and national natural monuments, which represent 7.17 percent of the territory according to Ali Darvishsefat, Associate Professor at the University of Tehran.

8. As the United States and a large area of the globe use the Gregorian calendar, Iran has its own one called “the Solar Hijri Calendar” which shows the year as 1394. Nowruz, Iranian New Year, happens on the first day of spring and it’s the time for celebration around the country and especially in Shiraz and Esfahan.

9. At the opposite view of the mainstream media, Iranian people are very friendly, curious and the majority is like Americans. Just look at blogs on internet talking about “Iranian hospitality,” and one will find dozens of travelers’ testimonies who have been to Iran and enjoyed their hospitality.

10. One U.S. dollar is about 30,000 Iranian rial and one can find very cheap deals concerning restaurants, hotels and transportation. In addition, Iran will get back into the SWIFT Bank system, which permits transferring money to other countries and enables tourists to withdraw from ATMs in Iran instead of traveling with large amounts of cash.

These few examples are not limited and one could go on the Mustseeiran website, created by Ali Araghchi, doctoral assistant at the University of Geneva, for more details.

Although some people will say that Iran is a religious dictatorship where women have obligations to wear headscarves, no countries are perfect. The United States for example has the second highest prison population rate in the world (the first is the Seychelles) with 698 per 100,000 inhabitants, more than two times the rate of Iran, which has 287 per 100,000 inhabitants.

As a conclusion, the UK’s National Geography Traveler has given first place to Iran for the coolest destination to visit for 2016.

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Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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