Canadians Rave About Iran

Canadians Rave About IranCanadians Rave About Iran

A Canadian website called Traveling Canucks specializing in family-friendly travel experiences, has featured a young Canadian couple’s very positive trip to Iran.    

  On Travel to Iran

When planning their trip through Central Asia and Iran, the couple received mixed reviews from their Canadian friends and family. One family member felt very worried for them and said: “You can’t go to Iran, it’s too dangerous, I don’t want you to go.” Whereas their son said “Dad, I hate to break it to you, but where we were in Africa last year was far more dangerous.”

Trying to make sense of the different opinions, the couple decided to travel to Iran to see for themselves. They wanted to find out what people were like, were Iranians Islamic fanatics, did all women dress in black, and whether it a safe country to travel.

After 32 days of traveling and enjoying what they described as “this friendly and fascinating country,” they shared with their friends and compatriots their experiences and that “Iran’s portrayal in Western media is highly inaccurate.”

  The People

They described Iranians as “the most hospitable people in the world,” adding they couldn’t walk down the street without being invited over to share food and tea. On more than one occasion they were asked to stay in the homes of complete strangers. They stayed with a young couple for six nights in Esfahan and had a wonderful experience.

Iranians, they found, are very interested in foreigners and bombarded them with questions about their job, income, family and religion. The main things Iranians they encountered wanted to know was how the couple felt about Iran and what people back home felt about them.  They wanted to know why the couple had decided to come to Iran, and whether they had had a good impression of the country.

“Iranians want the world to understand they are not what the western media portrays them to be,” the couple said.

  Things to See

Among the many wonderful places to visit, the Canadians highlighted the following:

Persepolis: Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It has been home to settlements since 4000BC. The ancient city of Persepolis was built in 520 BC, the remains of which are still standing. It is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Garmeh: A very small village in the desert with a higher population of goats than people. The beautiful oasis of Garmeh is surrounded by towering mountains, date palms and sand dunes. “Don’t miss this off-the-beaten path desert town,” they wrote.

Mashhad: Imam Reza (AS) Shrine in the city of Mashhad is the largest mosque in the world by dimension and the second largest by capacity! Within the complex, there are mosques, libraries, tombs, shrines a museum and more.

Esfahan: The city of Esfahan (Isfahan) is filled with mosques, squares and markets. Must-sees include Naqsh-e Jahan Square, its covered market, the Armenian quarter, Vank Cathedral and the Khaju Bridge. “This is a city where you’ll want to stay a while.”

Shiraz: Known for being the poetic, creative, artsy city in Iran, Shiraz is dubbed “the city of poets, literature, and flowers”. The famous poets Hafiz and Saadi are from Shiraz and you can find their tombs here. Shiraz has large Christian and Jewish communities. This is a city filled with gardens, covered markets, mosques and old fortresses. In the couple’s opinion, Shiraz is “the most liberal feeling city in Iran.”

Yazd: This mud-brick town with a labyrinth of alleyways and scenic rooftops “is a definite highlight of any trip to Iran.”  Recommendations included: wandering the narrow back streets, hiking up nearby mountains for views of the city and sitting on the roofs of any of the tall buildings for beautiful sunsets. “Make sure to see the Masjid-e Jame Mosque, badgir, and the many markets,” they suggested. “A day trip from Yazd to see the villages of Karnaq and Meybod is a must,” they added.

Tabriz: Located far in the northern reaches of Iran, near the border with Azerbaijan, Tabriz is a contrasting city in comparison to its desert counterparts. With snow-capped mountains just a quick drive away and the largest covered bazaar in the world, Tabriz is quite an interesting place. “Make sure to see the Blue Mosque and go on a day trip to the nearby troglodyte village of Kandovan.”

Kerman: “Not many people have Kerman on their Iran itinerary, but they should.” This city has many beautiful mosques (Malek Mosque and Friday Mosque), Zoroastrian temples, squares and bazaars. Just outside of Kerman, in the desert, are the famous Kaluts, which are towering sandcastle-like formations. Seeing this sight at sunset is highly recommended. Also make sure to visit the nearby town of Mahan.

Tehran: The bustling, chaotic, polluted capital city of Tehran is very interesting. Even though most tours overlook Tehran and rush through to the more historic cities, the couple recommended a visit to the massive covered market, and exploring “any and all neighborhoods.” “Great ski hills are nearby, the shopping is fantastic and the underground metro system is quite modern,” they added.

  Safe To Travel?

“Yes! It is safe to travel to Iran,” the couple proclaimed, and added they had met so many other foreigners during their travels in neighboring countries who said, “You must go to Iran”. They raved about the hospitable people and told stories about vast deserts, historical cities and stunning architecture. Visiting Iran was an incredible experience. Not once did they feel threatened or worried about their safety. “We are so glad we didn’t listen to the media,” they said.

To travel is to embrace new cultures and new ways of life. It’s about meeting new people and discovering the story behind each city and country. “Yes, Iran is filled with historical sites and attractions that will blow your mind, but what makes this country so special are the friendly people who will welcome you with open arms.” Iran is a safe country to travel to. “Go, see for yourself.”