Visiting Iran is always special, but many people who do so become fixated on the amazing history that fills the country, the 21 UNESCO sites that catalogue the history of civilization, the beauty of the scenery and architecture and the majesty of the ancient ruins. With so many things to see and do, it is easy to forget what is perhaps the most important part of Iran, and that is the people and their culture.
Whatever your reason to travel to Iran, whatever sights you want to visit, or whatever job you happen to be doing, it is the people of Iran and the Iranian culture that will capture your heart. In fact, The Iranian Culture is Persian Culture, and it can be argued is the oldest culture still alive today. While other cultures and civilisations have risen and fallen, the Persian culture has lasted intact for two and a half thousand years, and while today’s Iranian culture has evolved to take in the modern world, it is still at its core, the culture that has lasted through recorded history.
Iranians speak Farsi, the Persian language that was the major literary instrument for poems and religious works that have had significance all over the world, with a rich history that has roots going back to Old Persian, the language used by the First Persian Empire 2,500 years ago. Poetry has long been a tradition of Persian Culture, with many celebrated poets over the years, but artistry does not end there.
The famous Persian rugs are found all over the country, with their intricate, handcrafted patterns have been a celebrated for centuries. Each knot is tied by hand, and with over a million knots in a single carpet, the artisans who create these can take over a year to finish such a masterpiece. However, while the language and art are integral to the culture of Iran, it is the people that are its heart.
The thing that really strikes you as a foreigner wherever you travel in Iran is that everyone is so friendly, but not just friendly, they are interested in you and your story. Everyone has a story to tell in Iran, and swapping stories is a great way to get to know people. Finding welcoming people who want to spend the time to find out about you is one of the joys of travelling, and in Iran, wherever you go, someone wants to talk to you.
It is that inviting attitude, of people who want to know more about you, to find out about your story that makes Iran so magical. It is those memories, of the amazing people you meet during your visit, that will be the memories that flood back to you and put a smile on your face, and it is those people, friendly, warm and welcoming, that make Iran such a different place to the one many western media would have us all think it is.
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