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    'I feel freer here' – high times on Iran’s ski slopes - The Guardian

    Iran - 'I feel freer here' – high times on Iran’s ski slopes - The Guardian


    I feel freer here' – high times on Iran’s ski slopes - The Guardian
    The growth of tourism in Iran is bound to see visitors heading to ski resorts such as Dizin, which enjoys plentiful dry snow. Just don’t expect any aprés-ski
    By Arron Merat
    Publish date: Sunday 21 February 2016 07.00 GMT

    For experienced skiers who have ticked off many of the resorts in the Alps, exotic skiing destinations renowned for their powder hold a special allure. Kashmir, Japan, Russia and Chile are among dream destinations but the ultimate edgy ski trip has to be to Iran. Tourism is growing at a stupendous rate, especially since FCO advice was relaxed for the country last summer.

    Overnight snowfalls in excess of 50cm are not uncommon at its two main resorts, in the Alborz mountains north of Tehran. Shemshak is 2,550 metres high, and Dizin 2,650 metres, with slopes up to 3,500 metres, making it the highest resort in the country, with views of Iran’s tallest mountain: 5,610-metre Damavand.

    I picked Dizin for a day trip from Tehran in early December: a taxi takes about 90 minutes. Ali, a guide from new operator Toiran helped sort out equipment hire (just £8 a day) and a lift pass for £6. I yo-yoed up and down the French-built chairlifts and gondolas a few times and covered a good chunk of the ski area’s nine wide, long, rolling runs and powdery bowls, full of fantastic dry snow.

    Men and women are segregated on the lifts but unite at the top and can share food and tiny tumblers of tea in the few cafes and restaurants.

    Up here the Islamic dress code strictly enforced in Tehran is casually relaxed. I saw peroxide-blonde hair pouring from under woolly hats and forearms scandalously uncovered.

    “Sometimes the gaste-ershad [morality police] come up here, but most are bad skiers so we can escape them,” said Soriah, from Tehran. At the foot of the slopes, she and her friends were drinking cans of non-alcoholic beer and smoking stubby Iranian-made Bahman cigarettes.

    “You must have the ghormeh sabzi!” said Soriah, referring to Iran’s national dish of green herb and lamb stew, with sides of radishes, onions, gherkins, limes and mint. “In Tehran, I feel trapped,” she added. “I come to Dizin as much as I can in winter. I feel freer up here.”

    After a couple of rounds of Iranian tea, served with lolly-like dipping sticks of crystalline yellow sugar, we stepped back into our skis.

    Dizin’s pistes may be splendid, but it has no après ski at all – the Islamic Republic is not big on public nightlife anywhere. Most skiers avoid the cluster of sad-looking concrete hotels and head back to the capital after the slopes close.

    On the way back, I stopped on the edge of the mountains an hour from Dizin in Darband. Once a village but now part of the fringes of northern Tehran, it has dozens of Persian-carpeted, open-air cafes, some on wooden platforms over the rivers that flow from the Alborz mountains on to the Tehran plateau below.

    I ate garlic and lentil soup and beautifully cooked koobideh (minced lamb) kebabs, washed down with doogh, a popular salted and minted yogurt drink. A boy was preparing tobacco in an alyān, a variant of the Arabic hookah with a straight wooden pipe and an almost hysterically sorrowful old-time Persian tune played though the cafe’s crackling speakers. OK, I wasn’t doing vodka jelly shots with British seasonaires in Tignes but, for me, Darband’s après ski was a fine thing.

    Abridged From : The Guardian


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    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.


    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.