Persian Carpets in Tabriz Bazaar, the World’s Largest Covered Market

Tabriz Bazaar, a UNESCO site and largest covered bazaar in the world.

Last Updated on July 23, 2017 by Audrey Scott

An Iranian carpet, especially one from Tabriz, is worth more than gold.

— Our Iranian guide gives us an economics lesson in the old carpet section of the Tabriz bazaar.

The largest bazaar in the Middle East. The world's largest covered market. A UNESCO World Heritage site. That's the Tabriz bazaar. And deep inside, old men, purveyors of grand old Persian Azerbaijani carpets, drink tea, smoke qalyan, and stay open only four hours a day. Voices are low, relationships are being formed — and deals are being made.

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Traveling to Iran as Americans: All You Need to Know

Last Updated on May 1, 2022 by Audrey Scott

Traveling to Iran as an American citizen may sound complicated and dangerous. It’s not. We’re here to dispel the myths and answer the questions piling up in our inbox about visas, safety, and other concerns based on our visit to Iran.

Our aim in the following Q&A is to answer actual reader queries and to help demystify the process of traveling to Iran, especially for Americans.

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Disco Ball Mosque – Shiraz, Iran

Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran.

Last Updated on July 23, 2017 by Audrey Scott

I'm going to show you something like you've never seen before.

Our guide, just before entering the Shāh Chérāgh Mosque.

The Shāh-é-Chérāgh Mosque. It's a mausoleum, a funerary, one of the many places of worship and pilgrimage in Iran.   But this one looks like a giant disco ball turned inside out. 

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Iran: A Poem to the People

Last Updated on February 20, 2018 by Audrey Scott

This is a story of a woman I met on a train in Iran and a letter she wrote to me — a letter I now read through tears.

My heart sank as I watched the news from Iran this morning, scenes of the British Embassy being charged by an angry mob in Tehran. It saddens me – angers me, really – that narrow groups like this who define the world’s perception of Iran and the Iranian people are in reality such a small percentage of the country's population.

My experience tells me they are the outliers, yet circumstances conspire to convince us on the outside to see them as the norm.

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Persepolis: Ancient Persia, Modern Lessons

Last Updated on November 13, 2017 by

Although Persepolis is one of Iran’s top archeological and tourist sites, I was careful to keep my expectations in check before visiting. After all, what would remain of the 2,500 year-old capital of the Achaemenid Empire? Amidst crumbled columns, I found great detail that blew me away and a surprising connection to the present.

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Western Iran Shapshots and Experiences

Last Updated on February 18, 2018 by Audrey Scott

We apologize for the silence on our blog over the last week. Our travels across Iran, while rich and deeply fulfilling, have teamed up with slow and censored internet, a blistering pace of full days that end late, and an attempt to process it all that feels like a slow drip.

Now that we've dispensed with the excuses, we offer a few snapshots of our journey to not-so-traveled Western Iran — Hamadan, Kermanshan, and Ahvaz — where our path through the country begins.

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Inside Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran

Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran.

Last Updated on August 10, 2017 by Audrey Scott

Persia's Qajar dynasty kings knew how to have a good time. (Some may argue that they did so at the expense of their subjects and their country, but that's another matter entirely.)

For now, a visual. Take a peek inside the lavishly tiled and ornate Khalvat-e-karimkhani room at Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran.

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A Flight to Tehran: The Full Story

Last Updated on February 18, 2018 by Audrey Scott

What does it feel like to travel to Iran, to fly into the country for the first time? Here’s the story of our flight to Tehran including some things you might expect, and some others you might not.

Destination: TEHRAN. I ogle my boarding pass at the departure gate in Istanbul. We bought the tickets months before, all easy enough. So easy in fact that we wondered if the day of our flight would actually ever come; a rejected visa application snatching it all away in a breath.

But our Iranian visas were approved and there we were waiting to board a plane — our plane — to Tehran.

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