I R A N (A young nation at the crossroads of Asia and Europe)

Although I've never been to IRAN I'm able to write about it thanks to my friend Mahmood who was kind enough to share a bit about the country he was born and raised in.

Most tourists must have a visa to enter IRAN!

IRAN is located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. It's a young nation with a very ancient history. Covering an area of 636,296 square miles, it takes about 10 days to drive through the whole country.

IRAN is a land of mountains, volcanos, lakes and plains. The Caspian Sea the largest lake in the world is also the largest producer of caviar (eggs of the sturgeon fish). Ninety percent of  the world's caviar comes from four different types of sturgeon found in the Caspian Sea.
Caviar nicknamed "black pearls" is one of the most expensive and sought after food in the world. "Caviar" is not something Iranians eat on a daily basis.

Iranian dishes consist of rice served with heavy meat and vegetable stews in a combination of sweet and sour flavors. Popular dishes include meat and fried eggplant with sour grapes in tomato sauce and chicken in ground walnut and pomegranate sauce. Soups, kebabs, green herbs and dried fruits are very much enjoyed. Iranians are fond of yogurt and use yogurt in many dishes including refreshing drinks. Pastries such as baklava and rice pudding are a dessert staple. Not to be missed are the pistachio nuts which are some of the best tasting in the world.

Persian carpets are a true work of art and found in first class places like mansions and grand hotels in other parts of the world but in IRAN every household has a beautiful carpet handmade by the woman of the house. These carpets are often the only furniture in an Iranian household and are kept on the floor for sitting, sleeping, and praying. The finest Persian carpets are produced by master weavers in urban workshops.  They're often made of silk and contain thousands of fine knots per square foot.

The official language of Iran is Persian, also known as Farsi. A typical school day for children is Saturday to Wednesday from 8:00 am - 11:30 am and 1:00 pm- 4:00 pm. Thursdays and Fridays are the off days and on this day families and friends gather to worship in Mosques or to do other things such as shopping. Iranian children study a variety of subjects ranging from Chemistry to History to Physics.

Iranians are very sociable people. They like to get together with family and friends. Popular gathering spots are teahouses, cafes, and restaurants.  Iranians also enjoy sports such as skiing, volleyball, and soccer. Soccer is the closest thing to a national sport in IRAN. Every city has a soccer team. 

Ramazan or Ramadan takes places the ninth month of the Arabic Islamic calendar. It is a month of fasting. During this time no adult Muslim should eat, drink, or smoke during daylight hours. At mosques, pray leaders use loudspeakers to announce the sunset prayers , which signify the end of the day's fast. After a month of fasting the end of Ramadan is celebrated at the sight of a new moon, and three days of feasting known as Eid-e-Fetr.

The Bazaars of Iran (bazaar is the Farsi word for market) consist of many small shops and businesses within a sheltered, enclosed area. Many bazaars are located underground, down a flight of stairs. The array of goods to be found is quite astonishing.

                                                   IRAN AT A GLANCE:

The official language is FARSI. 
Currency is called RIAL.
The official religion is ISLAM.
The capital of IRAN is TEHRAN.
Hamadan is one of the oldest cities of not only IRAN but the world.

P E R S E P O L I S  was once a complex of palaces. Today Persepolis serves as a valuable archaeological site to learn of ancient Persians. The Apadana Palace is where the Persian king lived.

A special thanks to Mahmood for telling me about his country; I R A N


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