Monday, June 29, 2009

Travelogue: Iran : Tehran Part 1

02/06/09 : Tehran

After arriving in Tehran at 3pm from Esfahan, we stopped by the Iran Air office to get our Skygift card, then off to the hotel, with a detour to the Azadi (freedom) monument, previously known as the Shahyād Āryāmehr nearby Mehrabad airport.

Built in 1971 in commemoration of the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, this "Gateway into Iran" was named the Shahyad Tower, meaning "Remembrance of the Shahs (Kings)", but was dubbed Azadi (Freedom) after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Originally intended to remind coming generations of the achievements of modern Iran under the Pahlavi dynasty, it has become a symbol of the country's revival. It is 50 metres (148 ft) tall and completely clad in cut marble. Read more here

Azadi tower
That evening we went to the Leather Street (Moncherie) for a bit of shopping for leather goods (Mashad leather). We were supposed to go to Darban for dinner that night with our van, but it went kaput. So we took the taxi instead. A very modern taxi, complete with GPS!

very modern!
Darband was formerly a village close to Tajrish, Shemiran, and is now a neighbourhood inside Tehran's city limits. It is the beginning of a very popular hiking trail into the Alborz mountain Tochal, which towers over Tehran. A chair lift is also available for those not interested in hiking.
The Persian word Darband means "closed gates".
Darband is such a relaxing place to have dinner. There’s also a river flowing beneath the restaurant, we were enjoying our dinner with the sounds of the stream flowing. We enjoyed the setting and the dinner was delicious too! I especially liked the dezee (tomato stew), and the way it was prepared prior to eating. We recorded the dezee preparation ;-)
the restaurant ambience, we sit cross legged, enjoying our dinner ^_^
dezee.. yummy!

ready to be BBQ-ed
berries sold at stalls around Darband (very sour though...I couldn't take it)
Otw back, we saw people campaigning for the upcoming Presidential election (which unfortunately, turned out to be controversial). It was quite a scene – the youngsters were honking their cars, shouting, pitching for their candidates, it seemed like a celebration.
We reached back our hotel at midnite, with full stomach and ready to zzzzzzzzz...



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