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    A trip to Tehran-Deutsche Welle

    Iran - A trip to Tehran-Deutsche Welle

    Overview:

    A trip to Tehran

    Now that an agreement has been reached on Iran’s nuclear program, economic sanctions against the country should be lifted soon. This could give tourism a new boost. DW's Dan Hischfeld shares his experience in Tehran.

    Tehran, Iran, Copyright: DW/D. Hirschfeld

     

    "What, you’re going to Iran? Are you crazy?" That’s how my friends reacted to my plan to go to Tehran for a week. For 13 years, the country and its 75 million inhabitants have been internationally isolated. There is a lot of ignorance and a lot of prejudice as well.

    If you have the abbreviation "IKA" on your flight ticket, you will be landing at the relatively new Imam Khomeini Airport in the 15-million metropolis of Tehran. The taxi ride to the center takes about an hour. The first thing you notice is that something is missing. Even the rush-hour traffic lacks the chaos that we know from Arab countries and from mega-cities such as Bangkok or Mumbai. No weaving cars or pedestrians risking their lives to get to the other side of the street. Everything seems somehow European.

    Friendly and helpful
     

    Tehran, Iran, Copyright: DW/D. Hirschfeld

    Tehran street scene

    On the way to the hotel, I noticed how many young people there were here. Most of the population is under 30. They are not afraid of contact with strangers and welcomed me, the visitor from the West, with an openness and friendliness that would surprise even a well-traveled globetrotter.

    Strangers on the street invited me for tea. Someone offered me his mobile phone - me, a foreigner who had obviously got lost - so I could call my hotel. He even rang an acquaintance that spoke a smattering of English and might have been able to help me.

    Tehran is a modern metropolis where I quickly felt at home. There is a well-developed public transport system. Buses run to all corners of the city and a subway was built a few years ago.

    But I soon noticed I was in an Islamic country too. The subway carriages are divided by glass doors into male and female compartments - and of course I got in the wrong side! No problem, I just switched to the men's section. But another passenger told me that hardly anyone paid attention to the segregation of the sexes in the metro anyway and that nobody got upset when someone sat in the "wrong" place. In fact, it’s a sort of protest.

    Tradition and progress
     

    Tehran, Iran, Copyright: DW/D. Hirschfeld

    Women do not always completely cover their hair - as a form of protest

    There’s also a measure of public protest as far as Islamic dress code is concerned. In public, women in Iran have to wear the "hijab," a kind of headscarf, or the black "chador," which covers the entire body - only the face is left exposed. But I saw only a few women all dressed in black. And even the headscarf, which is supposed to cover the entire hair, tends to be worn in the capital as a scarf. If the religious police show up, then they say the wind has just blown it down.

    Young women in particular love to wear pink jeans and modern-cut clothing. Tehran is undoubtedly a modern metropolis. And, although it seems quite normal to me as a European to see women sitting behind the wheel of their cars, compared to other Islamic countries, it’s quite progressive. In Saudi Arabia, a woman driving without special permission can be punished by caning.

    Propaganda and censorship
     

    Tehran, Iran, Copyright: DW/D. Hirschfeld

    Golestan Palace: World Heritage in Tehran

    Strolling through the city, I was enchanted by the beautiful ornate houses and palaces from the time of ancient Persia. Here I got an idea of how magnificent this country once was. But the people impressed me most. They have a huge interest in world events. Although anti-American propaganda is on walls and billboards everywhere, most people in Tehran think differently and talk openly in the restaurant in the evenings. Thanks to satellite TV (which is actually prohibited, but somehow everyone has it anyway) and the Internet (whose government firewall censorship can be circumvented in just a few clicks), many Iranians now have their own opinions on world events, corruption and politics.

    After a day in the city, I usually got back to the hotel completely exhausted. Speaking of which, there’s plenty of accommodation, at least in Tehran. From backpacker hostels to five-star hotels - and friends with experience in Iran had warned me about the main snag: paying. Because of the sanctions, Iran was cut off from the international financial system, and foreign credit cards don’t work yet. You need enough cash..

    Tourism as an opportunity

    But everyone I spoke to hoped this would soon become a thing of the past after the agreement with the West. People have high hopes for the end of sanctions. They told me they want to open their own businesses when the economy improves. All share the desire for a better life. Unemployment is still high and many well-educated young people cannot find a job.
     

    Tehran, Iran, Copyright: Afsoon Mohammadpour, UGC

    Sunset in the highlands - Tehran is over 1,000 meters above sea level

    After all, the number of tourists visiting Iran has doubled within a year. And this country, where I encountered forests, deserts, beaches and high mountains, is just waiting to be discovered.

    In Tehran, for example, I took a cable car to more than 4,000 meters above sea level and experienced what climbers call "altitude sickness." In any case, a week was far too short. For this country, you have to take your time. Or maybe just come back.

    http://www.dw.com/en/a-trip-to-tehran/a-18604419


    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.