Zargar Village

Zargar in a village located not so far from Tehran which its residents have the looks of both Aryans and the Vikings. These villagers are Shiite Muslims who either work on farms or breed livestock.

What distinguishes them from other Iranians is that their mother tongue is Romani, also known as Zargari by locals.

The elderly people remember an old man living in their village in the past who kept a record of his accounts in Russian.

But after he passed away, Russian slipped into oblivion, and now villagers speak Romani and write in Latin. The origin of their language is more like a myth.

These villagers themselves do not know to which part of the world they originally belong, what has brought them to Iran or how they have ended up being Shiite farmers speaking a different language in the heart of Farsi-speaking Iran.

One narrative says that Roma people moved to Iran centuries ago from the north.

Another suggests that they were originally Iranian and were recruited as soldiers for Shah Abbas’ Qizilbash army because of their bravery.

Still another says some 200 Roma were captured during a war between Iran and the Roman Empire and were pardoned by the Persian king.

Later they took up residence in an area in the vicinity of what is Qazvin today.

Zargar Village

Zargar Village

The people of Zargar are renowned for their faithfulness; they do not divorce or betray.

The woman whose husband dies will never remarry, and the man who has a wife will never look for another woman.

And if anyone does wrong, s/he will be rejected from the village; meaning that although the person is physically living in the village, no one will pay attention to him or her.

This is the tradition of Zargari people as they are intolerant of those who slip.

Although legends attribute them to distant lands and relate them to parts of Europe, the people nonetheless love Iran and call themselves Iranians. Their culture somehow looks like Europeans.

Zargar people believe that having external walls around their yard is impolite for others and there are no specific boundaries constructed around.

Zargar Village

Zargar Village

Soltaniyeh Dome

The Dome of Soltaniyeh is the biggest brick dome in the world and the Mausoleum of Ilkhan Oljaytu.

The structure is a very exquisite mosque which is well-known in the world from the viewpoint of architecture, interior design and space.

The mausoleum of Oljaytu was constructed in 1302–12. Situated in the province of Zanjan, Soltaniyeh is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture.

It is an octagonal building, each side of which is almost 80 meters. The Soltaniyeh Dome is built in the Arg city or old fortification of Soltaniyeh, the capital of Oljaytu, an Ilkhan ruler.

The very large 50-m-high dome is the earliest extant example of its type, and became an important reference for the later development of the Islamic dome.

Similarly, the extremely rich interior of the mausoleum, which includes glazed tiles, brickwork, marquetry or designs in inlaid materials, stucco, and frescoes, illustrates an important movement towards more elaborate materials and themes.

The Dome of Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh Dome

The Mausoleum of Oljaytu thus speaks eloquently to the Ilkhanid period, which was characterized by innovations in structural engineering, spatial proportions, architectural forms, and decorative patterns and techniques.

The structure is the oldest double-shell dome in Iran. The dome is blue and is covered in turquoise blue faience. The inside roofs of the rooms are decorated with colored bricks and plasterwork.

There is a tall dome on each sides of the building which are about 120 meters each. On the upper part of the building, pavilions and rooms have been constructed.

On the sides of the ceiling, Quranic verses and names of God have been written in beautiful manifest handwriting, which is both a symbol of Iranian art and also a sign of the submission of Iranians to the last divine religion.

The dome, which is the largest in the world after Santa Maria and Hagia Sophia, has three sections of the main entrance, mausoleum and crypt.

The decoration and structure of the mausoleum is in fact a turning point in the architecture of that era, creating a new style in architecture distinct from that of the Seljuk era.

Some historians have recorded that Sultan Mohammad Khodabandeh built the great structure and dome to transfer the remains of the household of the Prophet, that is Imam Ali and Imam Hussein from their mausoleums to that place. However, he gave up the idea after a dream he had.

The Dome of Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh Dome

Rumi

Molana Jalal al-Din Balkhi, known in the West as Rumi, was born in early thirteenth century. in Balkh Province, Afghanistan, on the eastern edge of the Persian Empire.

Rumi descended from a long line of Islamic jurists, theologians, and mystics, including his father, who was known by followers of Rumi as “Sultan of the Scholars.”

When Rumi was still a young man, his father led their family more than 2,000 miles west to avoid the invasion of Genghis Khan’s armies.

They settled in present-day Turkey, where Rumi lived and wrote most of his life. His father was a preacher and religious scholar, and he introduced Rumi to Sufism.

Rumi continued his theological education in Syria, where he studied the more traditional legal codes of Sunni Islam, and later returned to Konya as a seminary teacher.

It was there that he met an elder traveler, Shams Tabriz, who became his mentor.

The nature of the intimate friendship between the two is much debated, but Shams, everyone agrees, had a lasting influence on Rumi’s religious practice and his poetry.

Molana Jalal al-Din Balkhi

Rumi

Rumi’s mourning for the loss of his friend led to the outpouring of more than 40,000 lyric verses, including odes, eulogies, quatrains, and other styles of Eastern-Islamic poetry.

The resulting collection, Divan Shams Tabrizi or The Works of Shams Tabriz, is considered one of Rumi’s masterpieces and one of the greatest works of Persian literature.

In his introduction to his translation of Rumi’s The Shams, Coleman Barks has written: “Rumi is one of the great souls, and one of the great spiritual teachers.

He shows us our glory. He wants us to be more alive, to wake up… He wants us to see our beauty, in the mirror and in each other.”

For the last twelve years of his life, beginning in 1262, Rumi dictated a single, six-volume poem to his scribe, Husam Chelebi.

The resulting masterwork, the Masnavi Manavi, consists of sixty-four thousand lines, and is considered Rumi’s most personal work of spiritual teaching.

Rumi described the Masnavi as “the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Islamic) Religion,” and the text has come to be regarded by some Sufis as the Persian-language Qoran.

Great Wall of Gorgan

The ‘Red Snake’ in northern Iran, which owes its name to the red colour of its bricks, is at least 195km long.

A canal, 5m deep or more, conducted water along most of the Wall.

Its continuous gradient, designed to ensure regular water flow, bears witness to the skills of the land-surveyors responsible for marking out the Wall’s route.

Over 30 forts are lined up along this massive structure.

It is also known as the Great Wall of Gorgan, the Gorgan Defence Wall, Anushirvân Barrier, Firuz Barrier and Qazal Al’an, and sometimes Sadd-i-Iskandar, (Persian for dam or barrier of Alexander).

The wall is second only to the Great Wall of China as the longest defensive wall in existence, but it is perhaps even more solidly built than the early forms of the Great Wall.

Larger than Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonin Wall taken together, it has been called the greatest monument of its kind between Europe and China.

Red Snake

Great Wall of Gorgan

The system is remarkable not only in terms of its physical scale, but even more so in terms of its technical sophistication.

In order to enable construction works, canals had to be dug along the course of the defensive barrier, to provide the water needed for brick production.

These canals received their water from supplier canals, which bridged the Gorgan River via qanats.

The forts were filled with barracks of standardized design, suggesting that the Sassanian army was well organized.

Further evidence for a high level of organization of the Sassanian armed forces is provided by hinterland campaign bases, each of ca. 40 ha size.

In one of them, rectangular enclosures in neat double rows have been found, the remnants of a tent city, probably of a mobile field army.

The Gorgan Wall and its associated ancient military monuments provide a unique testimony to the engineering skills and military organization of the Sassanian Empire.

They help to explain its geographic extent, from Mesopotamia to the west of the Indian Subcontinent, and how effective border defence contributed to the Empire’s prosperity in the interior and to its longevity.

These monuments are, in terms of their scale, historical importance and sophistication, of global significance.

Red Snake

Great Wall of Gorgan

Hafez Shirazi

Khaje Shams al- din Muhammad Hafez Shirazi is the 14th-century poet of Iran born, lived and died in Shiraz during the time Iran was ruled by the Ilkhanid.

He is one of the most beloved poets among Persians. Since he had memorized Quran at an early age, people addressed him as Hafez meaning memorizer and later, “Hafez” got his pen name.

He is one of the literary wonders of the world whose poems have been translated into different languages and whose art of poetry has been appreciated by many knowledgeable figures.

Hafez mingles his poems especially ghazal-sonnets with the essence of love and joy, teaches how to live a better life, and disgraces religious hypocrisy.

To commemorate Hafez, October 12 is annually celebrated as Hafez Day in Iran. Hafez has influenced many writers and philosophers.

His work translated into English by William Jones in 1771 influenced Western writers and philosophers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Goethe.

Emerson described Hafez as a brave and thoughtful person who feared nothing. He had wished to see Hafez or to be more like him.

To appreciate Hafez, Emerson declared “Hafez is the poet for poets”. Goethe had also admired Hafez and believed that Hafez had no peer.

Hafez Shirazi is the 14th-century poet of Iran

Hafez Shirazi

Hafez poems target different concepts of human life; however, love is the concept one would find ever in his poems and maybe that is why his verses are still popular among people.

Hafez lived during the Ilkhanid period and it was a tough time for people to express themselves or criticize the situation. As a result, He took advantage of an elaborate figurative language to express himself.

In a situation that nobody dared to violate the ruling system, Hafez tactfully put his words in the language of poetry to criticize the religious hypocrisy and ruling system of the time through his ironic tone called “Rendy” in Persian.

Hafez is known as the master of Persian ghazals. Divan-e-Hafez-the collection of his works- as a great example of Persian literature is found in homes of Persian speaking people around the world.

Iranians believe that Quran and Divan-e-Hafez are two books that should be found in every Iranian home.  People still learn some of his poems by heart and use them as sayings in everyday life.

Performing fal-e-Hafez (Hafez reading) is also an ancient tradition among Persian speakers. It is an entertaining part of different ceremonies such as Yalda or Iranian New Year, Nowrouz.

Iranian Saffron

Iranian Saffron is a magical ingredient in Persian culture, from aromatic foods and colorful desserts, to the physical and spiritual medicine known as the “red gold”.

The expensive spice has long been a high-demand commodity and even triggered a war in 1374 in central Europe.

Saffron transforms smell, color and taste. Saffron is valuable as much as it is difficult to obtain.

About 110/000 to 170/000 crocus flowers are required in order to obtain one kilogram of dried saffron! Apart from the fact that curing process, soil type and harvest time and the importance of speed increase the value of this magical spice.

 Saffron has become one of the most expensive spices in the world due to high demand and limited production. Saffron and its magical power comes in many traditions and rituals.

Iranians believe that saffron eradicates sadness and depression. It is associated with happiness, so they use it in many sweets and food they make for the Persian New Year.

Ancient kings used to scatter gold coins and saffron among people in events of ceremonies or victories. In their palaces, saffron was used as perfume, medicine or as incense along with ambergris. Saffron was also used to color paper to be used for important letters or prayers, and to dye silk and other textile for the cloths of the royal family.

Iranian Saffron

Iranian Saffron

Iran can be considered as the cradle of the world’s saffron. Almost 90 percent of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran.

Even many of saffron that are distributed with label of other countries are from Iran. Saffron in Iran goes back 3000 years and still has its own power.

Saffron is known as the red gold of desert because its origin is Iran’s deserts. Even Unlike the fact that many believe the word saffron originates from Arabic name, Iran is the origin of its name and most of the Arabic sources have reference to Iranian sources.

There are different types and degrees of saffron quality and their price is accordingly determined. In general, saffron can be divided into three groups based on parts of saffron flower.

Straw saffron which is in form of string with a little yellow or white color at the end of the string. Flower head saffron is all red and the fine and its strings are broken since it is the sorted type of Straw saffron. Jeweled saffron is all red and bold, and approximately all of its strings are normal with minimal breakage.

Shiraz County

Shiraz County is located in the southwest of Iran on the seasonal, Khoshk River.

Shiraz is the fifth most populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province.

In addition to its fame for being a major hub of “Electronic Industries” as well as “Medicine” in Iran, Shiraz is known as the “Cultural Capital” of Iran, which is inhabited by different ethnic groups.

Shiraz is regarded as the “Paradise of the Tourists”. Its geographical features provide for a range of activities including skiing in the winter resorts just some kilometers away, mountain climbing, and hiking in the woods.

Shiraz is famous for its wonderful Gardens; however, it can be visited for a diversity of purposes.

In the 13th century Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters due to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists.

Shiraz was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1800.

Two famous poets of Iran Hafez and Sa’di are from Shiraz whose tombs are on the north side of the current city boundaries.

Shiraz

Shiraz County, Iran

The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design silver-ware pile carpet-weaving and weaving of Gilim and Jajim in the villages and among the tribes.

 In Shiraz industries such as cement production sugar fertilizers textile products wood products metalwork and rugs dominate.

Shiraz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries: 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz.

Shiraz is home to Iran first solar power plant.

Shiraz

Shiraz, Persepolis

Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran.

In contemporary Persian, the site is known as Takht-e Jamshid. The earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 515 BCE.

To the ancient Persians, the city was known as Parseh, which means “The City of Persians”.

Among religious sights is Shahcheragh Shrine, housing the tomb of Ahmad ibn-e Musa, the brother of the eighth Imam Ali ibn-e Musa al-Reza, Vakil Mosque, Nasir al-Molk mosque, and Jame Atiq Mosque.

Another sight attributed to Achaemenid era is Pasargadae, which lies 43 Kilometers to the north of Persepolis.

Pasargadae was the first capital of the Achaemenid dynasty built in the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Saadi, and Hafez are two most popular poets of Shiraz and Iran.

Today, many people from all over the world come to visit their tombs.

Nizami Ganjavi

Nizami Ganjavi, was born around 1141 in Ganja, the capital of Arran in Transcaucasian Azerbaijan, where he remained until his death in about 1209.

His father, who had migrated to Ganja from Qom in north central Iran, may have been a civil servant.

his mother was a daughter of a Kurdish chieftain; having lost both parents early in his life, Nizami was brought up by an uncle.

Nizami was married three times, and in his poems laments the death of each of his wives, as well as proferring advice to his son Muhammad.

Nizami Ganjavi lived in an age of both political instability and intense intellectual activity, which his poems reflect.

but little is known about his life, his relations with his patrons, or the precise dates of his works, as the accounts of later biographers are colored by the many legends built up around the poet.

Although Nizami Ganjavi left a small corpus of lyric poetry, he is best known for his five long narrative poems, of which the Haft Paykar, completed in 1197, is his acknowledged masterpiece.

The region of Azerbaijan, where Nizami lived and wrote, had in his time only recently become the scene of significant literary activity in Persian.

Poetry in Persian first appeared in the east, where in the tenth and eleventh centuries it flourished at the courts of the Samanids in Bukhara and their successors the Ghazvanids, centered in eastern Iran and Afghanistan.

When the Ghazvanids were defeated in 1040 by the Seljuk Turks and the latter extended their power westwards into Iraq, which was predominantly Arabophone, Persian literary activity similarly spread westwards to the Seljuk courts.

Nizami Ganjavi

Nizami Ganjavi

Nizami brought about a comparable expansion of the language of poetry, as well.

Nizami Ganjavi was among the first poets in Iran to wed the lyric style of court poetry, with its rhetorical intricacy and metaphoric density, to narrative form, and his language is as much a presence on the narrative stage as are the characters and events it depicts.

For him, discourse or eloquent speech (sokhan), or more particularly, the precise, beautiful, and signifying language of the poet, is his dominant concern.

For Nizami, poets have a status nearly divine.

The five long poems, known collectively as the Khamsa (Quintet) or Panj Ganj (Five Treasures), composed by Nizami in the late twelfth century, set new standards in their own time for elegance of expression, richness of characterization, and narrative sophistication.

They were widely imitated for centuries by poets writing in Persian, as well as in languages deeply influenced by Persian, like Urdu and Ottoman Turkish.

Sa’di Shirazi

Sa’di, Abu Mohammad Mosarref al-Din Mosleh, Persian poet and prose writer, widely recognized as one of the greatest masters of the classical literary tradition.

The thirteenth-century poet Sa’di is regarded as one of the greatest figures in Persian literature.

Sa’di Shirazi is best-known for his major works Bustan, or The Orchard and Golestan, or The Rose Garden.

Both of these works are filled with semi-autobiographical stories, philosophical meditations, pieces of practical wisdom, and humorous anecdotes and observations.

The books are valued not only for their elegant language and entertaining style, but also for their role as a rich source of information about the culture in which Sa’di lived and worked.

Abu Mohammad Mosarref al-Din Mosleh is considered as having an influence on the culture and language of Iran that equals in significance the role of playwright and poet William Shakespeare in the history of English language and literature.

What is known about the life of Sa’di is primarily drawn from folk legend and his own semi-autobiographical stories, which were likely embellished to suit his literary needs.

Therefore, the information that exists is somewhat suspect.

It is generally believed, however, that the writer was born around the year 1200 in the town of Shiraz, Persia.

Shiraz was located in the region of Fars Province, which was known in antiquity as Persis, a name the Greeks used for the entire country, bringing about the name Persia.

Sa'di Shirazi

Saadi, Persian poet and prose writer

The pseudonym was drawn from the names of the leaders who ruled Fars Province during his lifetime: Sa’d ibn Zangi, his son Abu Bakr ibn Sa’d, and grandson Sa’d ibn Abu Bakr.

Sa’d ibn Zangi played an important role in Sa’di’s life, taking the boy into his care and providing him with an education after the death of Sa’di’s father, a court official for the ruler.

After completing his studies in Shiraz, Sa’di was sent to Baghdad to attend Nizamiya College, possibly the finest institution of learning in the world at that time.

But the young man was not much interested in academics; in his later writings he recalled his duties as a teaching assistant to be a tiring chore.

Sa’di Shirazi much preferred to spend his time in a more celebratory fashion and devoted a great deal of energy to socializing and enjoying himself.

Sheykh Bahaei

Shaykh Baha ad-Din, Shaykh Bahaei was a scholar, philosopher, architect, mathematician, astronomer and poet in 16th-century Iran.

He was born in Baalbek, Lebanon but immigrated in his childhood to Safavid Iran with his father. He wrote over 88 books in different topics mostly in Persian but also in Arabic.

He is buried in Imam Reza’s shrine in Mashhad in Iran. He is considered one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy.

In later years he became one of the teachers of Sadr al-Din Shirazi, also known as Mulla Sadra. His works include Naqshe Jahan Square in Isfahan, as well as designing the construction of the Monar Jonban, also known as the two shaking minarets, situated on either side of the mausoleum of Abdollah Garladani in the west of Isfahan.

Shaykh Baha al-Din contributed numerous works in philosophy, logic, astronomy and mathematics. His works include 88 articles, epistles and books. Shaykh Baha al-Din also composed poems in Persian.

His outstanding works in the Iranian language are Jameh Abbasi and two masnavis (rhymed couplets) by the names of “Milk and Sugar” and “Bread and Halva”. His other work Kashkool includes stories, news, scientific topics, persian and Arabic proverbs. He wrote Khulasat Al-Hisab and Tashrih Al-Aflak in Arabic.

Shaykh Bahaei

Shaykh Baha al-Din’s fame was due to his excellent command of mathematics, architecture and geometry. He was the architect of Isfahan’s Imam Square, Imam Mosque and Hessar Najaf.

He also made a sun clock to the west of the Imam Mosque. There is also no doubt about his mastery of topography. The best instance of this is the directing of the water of the Zayandeh River to different areas of Isfahan.

He designed a canal called Zarrin Kamar in Isfahan which is one of Iran’s greatest canals. He also determined the direction of Qiblah (prayer direction) from the Imam mosque.

He also designed and constructed a furnace for a public bathroom, which still exists in Isfahan, known as Sheikh Bahaei’s bathroom. The furnace was warmed by a single candle, which was placed in an enclosure.

The candle burned for a long time, warming the bath’s water. According to his own instructions, the candle’s fire would be put out if the enclosure was ever opened.

This happened during the restoration and repair of the building and no one has been able to make the system work again. He also designed the Monar Jonban (shaking minaret), which still exists in Isfahan.