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    Female travel in Iran, my personal experience

    Iran - Female travel in Iran, my personal experience

    Overview:

    Brief, but due, introduction. Recently I’ve come across a rather misleading article published on Hostel Bookers website, where the writer, clearly one who has never traveled to Iran, speaks of it in these terms:

    “One shock most women will find is that in countries like Iran, women don’t go anywhere alone, and are never seen alone in public, only out with their families or in groups of other women.”

    While this is not the only inaccurate, if not downright false, information, it’s what most captured my attention in the article.

    Not only are most women I know pretty independent, but solo female travel in Iran is a rather common reality.

     

    Travel in Iran as a woman: is it a good idea?

    Madi taking our picture and myself thinking it will never come up good. And it did!

     

    During my two-week trip to Iran, in every city I saw women alone, in groups of women only or with other men, either family or friends, students or professionals, relaxing in parks, shopping, going to work or school, and busy pretty much in all routine activities you can think of.

    In the span of two weeks we have visited many cities, and most trips involved buses and trains, both day and night ones. Obviously we were not the only women traveling alone, in fact, we met and chatted with many women traveling solo on night trains and buses because not only this is a very common practice in Iran, but it’s also very safe. This trend of giving a bad image to Iran without any kind of knowledge is becoming truly boring and tiresome, as well as old and too much of a cliché.

     

    women's travel in iran

    Myself at Hafez mausoleum in Shiraz

     

    Moving onto something more interesting and useful, my recent trip to Iran saw two travel writers/bloggers/photographers (my friend Madi and myself) exploring some of the main cities and attractions, such as Isfahan, Shiraz, Persepolis and Yazd, and some more offbeat destinations, such as Lahijan and Talysh in northern Gilan province, from all of which I will be duly posting both words and images.

    Needless to say, my personal experience of female travel in Iran was richer than traveling solo as being with an Iranian woman, all our steps were filled with those insights only a local can come up with. Each of those extra pieces of information made me realize how close and similar Iranians are to Italians, both in the good aspects such as warmth and genuine sense of hospitality, in the bad ones, such as confusion and delays, and in the odd ones, like the overall carefree attitude and very personal interpretation of rules and laws. It was probably these constant and repeated comparisons that made of laughing and giggling the main features of our journey.

    My southern Italian/Sardinian look made everybody mistake me for an Iranian, asking me for directions or just striking a conversation with me, obviously until they understood that, apart for some three words, I don’t speak Persian. English is seldom spoken, this is why I would recommend booking a tour guide. All places we’ve been to are rather laid-back, with Shiraz being probably the most relaxed, maybe due to the fact that it’s considered the capital of poetry and romance in the country rather than its business hub, so it needs to live up to the expectations.

     

    women's travel in iran

    In front of some of the imposing sculptures of wonderful Persepolis, a must for anyone traveling to Iran.

     

    I started yearning for this trip long before departure. When I was planning my Iran trip, I was hoping to enjoy some much needed relax, a break from work and Rome, and couldn’t wait to start this carefree and laid-back journey.

    Who was I kidding?

    My preparation process revealed already some pretty serious resolutions, involving laptop, notepad, camera and four lenses (I know, heavy as hell, my back is still not talking to me).

    Even though wishing for a relaxing Iran trip, deep down in my mind I knew it was just this, wishful thinking. Instead, overall, my Iran trip felt like a roller coaster, involving hectic jumping on and off buses, trains, taxis and even one Iranair flight, visiting as much as we could, barely stopping for lunch and dinner, tucking into sweets and nuts, drinking fruit juices, detoxing with local Khakeshir, hardly sleeping an average of four hours per night for two weeks, and laughing out loud all the way from day one, as Madi recalled in her post Chasing The Dream: Two Women Traveling in Iran.

    This trip was exhausting and soothing at the same time, but most of all, it was inspiring, giving a new spark my own passion for history, culture and, not least, travel blogging. The tour was definitely one of a kind, and I’ll do my best to reproduce the same atmosphere and make you sense the same vibe we felt all along the way.

     

    source: chasingtheunexpected


    About Us

    The word Persia gives the image of a magical and mysterious land of far away and long ago, of ancient monuments and beautiful works of art – carpets, tiles, fine ceramics and miniatures. It also reminds us of legendary and tragic love stories and epic poems about great wars. And Persia is indeed a world ancient and contemporary, a bridge between heaven and earth. We want to show you around. Discover things to do on your next trip to Iran and plan a trip of your lifetime. Yes, it is that easy! This website gives you the tools to plan your trip to Iran: detailed information on destinations; inspiring ideas on what to see and do in each city; where to stay; where to eat; travel guides and let’s say everything you need so you can dream up a trip to Iran.

    Patrimonito

    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.