Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Masouleh in Gilan Province, Iran

An incredible choice! MASOULEH is one the most visited places in Iran by Iranian and Foreigners. It is about history, Eco-tourism, sports, relaxation and  Culture. I will expand these issues about Masouleh in this post in abstract. but first, where it is and how to get there?

the panoramic view of the beautiful Masouleh, Iran

Where is Masouleh?
Masouleh is a small city (I prefer to say a village) in Fouman (Fuman) county in Gilan Province of Iran. less than 1000 people are living in Masouleh. the city has at least 2000 years of history.
60 km south west of Rasht city

The local old Bazar of Masouleh. Handicrafts and local food
The altitude, the elevation:
The city's altitude is 1000 meter, in the mounts of Alborz. but the significant thing is the city enjoys a 100 meter elevation in itself! this gives Masouleh spectacular view and sight.

The river and the waterfall
Masouheh River is the river passing through the village, with a waterfall located in the north of the village. It's cut-off by snow during the winter months. Fog is the predominant weather feature of Masuleh and creates even more beautiful views.

How to get there?
first travel to Tehran Imam Khomeini airport, near Tehran. from Tehran you can get to Rasht city by Autobus (around 10 USD per person) or by airplane (around 45 USD per person) or by car (5 hours driving from Tehran)

from Rasht there are buses or cars which takes people to Masouleh. (1 hour)

also from almost all the cities in Iran, you can find Tours to Masouleh.

There are some hotels and motels near the city, but I strongly recommend you to take local houses for accommodation. the city is very safe, don't worry about robbery or other crimes, but it is still wise not to take so much money with yourself. the cost o
f a room with air condition in the upper areas of the city is around 40 USD per night (2 persons)
Trust me this spices up your trip more than a hotel! Local houses of Masouleh

The Attractions of Masouleh:
My roof is your yard!
Masouleh is a historical village, which still has all the aspects of its old life. it seems the time has stopped in this city in many aspects. also there is Ghaleh Roudkhan tower one hour driving from the city which worth a visit.
There are many Eco Tourism attractions close to the city. Famous forests of Gilan, Alborz mountain, the water fall and the river.
Sport activities related to mounts and the river are also very popular.
The Architecture and the local Bazar are the cultural attractions of Masouleh.
The spectacular architecture of Masouleh is popularly known as "The yard of the building above is the roof of the building below"

Monday, October 05, 2015

time to visit Iran?

Iran is a great country in many aspects:

it is one of the largest countries in the world (17th in the world)
it has one the largest varieties of tribes
many Sport attractions in mountains, deserts, rivers etc
you can have sea, mountains, deserts, forests and rivers in one country
one of the most ancient civilizations with historical sights
distinguished location in world business and economic map

33 Arcs (sio-se pol), Isfahan, Iran
there are even more:
Iran has a great attraction for cosmetics surgery and medical tourism
Iran has a vast agriculture attraction for investors
Iran is a logistic hub for transportation and freight network

and what's new about this country?
the propaganda for this country is over! Iran is now safer than before for European and western traveler.

if you wish to visit Iran and you just wonder which cities can be better options, take a look at our blog history.

Monday, June 15, 2015

off road tour and camping in Iran, Taar and Havir lakes

30 kilometers away from Damavand city, if you drive in to the heart of the Alborz mountains, there would be Taar and Havir lakes, like two sisters close to each other! sleeping beauty in peace.
The road to Taar and Havir lakes is completely a dirt road, going through rivers and mountains, so it can be a supper attractive destination for off road camping as well.
Taar Lake, Damavand, Iran
the surface of the lake in the winter may cover by a thin layer of ice. but it hasn't been tested for sport activities like ice skating. the vegetation of Tar and Havir lakes are just like other southern parts of Alborz mountains, the two lakes are guarded and surrounded by higher altitudes, and two notable Dobaraar and Zarrin Kouh mounts.

The Alborz mountains, guarding Taar and Havir lakes
 on the way to Taar and Havir lakes, you will enjoy the scenes and views of Alborz mountains.

Safety issues:
the lakes' coasts are guarded by police all the time, so it will be safe for camping. but the roads, especially in winter time, can have no other passengers, so mind your vehicle's safety, mostly breaks, wheels and spare wheel and the steering system.
the total area has been reported secure and safe, but it is recommended not to go through the roads in the night. so plan your tip to pass the 30 km road trip in the sun light.

the road is unpaved and only one vehicle width
A spring comes out of the mountain's heart
how to get there?
Taar lake geographical dimensions: N354344 E521340
Havir lake geographical dimensions: N354357 E521440

to go there, you can go from Damavand city, Arab Chenaar village, Ma'dan road (mine road), go the dirt road to the end


from Tehran to Firouzkouh road, 98kilometer from Tehran, after Delichay village, pass the Li Posht, Moomaj, Dehnar and Havir villages to reach the lake.

What to bring?
camping facilities, like tents, tools, sleeping bags and canned food.
you can light fire to cook. the temperature can be low even in spring and fall. the sun light is very strong though and need sun protection creams, sunglasses and caps.
the night can be very cold even in summer time.
You will find no stores and groceries there (except the villages you pass through with small shops) so buy whatever you may need from Tehran or Damavand.
in the villages you can buy organic eggs, fresh milk or meet.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Full Moon watching, spiritual and fun

For a very long time, watching the full moon was a tradition, a time to celebrate and gathering for people of different nations. among the civilizations, Japanese and Indian are mostly known for cherishing the full moon. Japanese people have a tradition called Tsukimi or Otsokimi. Tsukimi refers to Japanese festivals honoring the autumn moon, a version of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese solar calendar; the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month. These days normally fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.

Full Moon in Tehran, a partly cloudy night in Shemiran
The tradition dates to the Heian era, and is now so popular in Japan that some people repeat the activities for several evenings following the appearance of the full moon during the eighth lunisolar month.

Tsukimi traditions include displaying decorations made from Japanese pampas grass (susuki) and eating rice dumplings called Tsukimi dango in order to celebrate the beauty of the moon. Seasonal produce are also displayed as offerings to the moon. Sweet potatoes are offered to the full moon, while beans or chestnuts are offered to the waxing moon the following month. The alternate names of the celebrations, Imomeigetsu (literally "potato harvest moon") and Mamemeigetsu ("bean harvest moon") or Kurimeigetsu ("chestnut harvest moon") are derived from these offerings.

In Iran there is a mixing culture from the ancient Persia with Hindu traditions and even western beliefs on Full Moon event.
I Cherish the moon every night, I believe finding the beauty in every moment of your life is the only way you can claim you had enjoyed your life! but the full moon is indeed inspiring in a very different way. specially if you have the chance to view it in a partly cloudy night, every time the moon shows off, you get surprised how beautiful she is.

Next Full Moon in Tehran: Wednesday * 4th February 2015
for a full moon calendar go to this address: 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kashanak and Darband Mountains, North of Tehran - IRAN

Tehran is a city at 1400 meter altitude as an average. I live in a part of Tehran which has an altitude of 1750m above free sea levels. and I believe the most beautiful thing about Tehran (along with many ugly facts in my home-town!) is the presence of Alborz mountains which are covered by snow almost 8-9 months a year. this reminds many one thing: Skiing in Tehran would be great! I wrote before on Ski resorts in Tehran like Shemshak, Tochal and Dizin.

Tochal mount is about 4000 m altitude and it features a Hotel at 5th stop (I have heard it's the highest altitude for a hotel in the world but I am not sure) which I resided one night and it was a great experience. Tochal Ski resort may not be the most recommended ski resort (because of its small field) but is very popular among Tehrani young skiers with just minutes from their homes!

in the north of Tehran, you have old villages which are attached to modern Tehran as a part of city and not as suburbs. Darakeh, Darband, Niyavaran, Kashanak and Daar-abad are among them.

This is Tehran's view from Kashanak mountains, 2400m altitude
 going to mountains for people of Tehran is considered as sport, hobby, picnic and even dining! with many beautiful restaurants in Darband and Darakeh districts, you will enjoy a lunch or dinner (even breakfast) in high altitudes with mountain views.

a Panoramic view of Darband vally
Another beautiful fact about all these incredible mounts above Tehran, is you can climb up one and come down from another! for this you have to leave your car at ones footage ofcourse and also you may need to spend a full day climbing and walking (8-12 hours)

here are some possible routes:
climbing up Kolak Chaal and coming down from Darband
climbing up Kolak Chaal and coming down from Tochal
climbing up Kashanak and coming down from Tochal

how to get there:
Darband: from Tajrish square with one taxi route
Kolak Chaal: from Niavaran sreet, Feizieh (Jamshidieh) avenue
Kashanak and Dar Abad: from Niavaran square (Niavaran Palace) with one bus or Taxi route
Darakeh: from Parkway (Chamran) crossing with Vali Asr strees with Taxi

what to wear: in Spring and Fall the weather can be warm, chilling and raining. in Summer it can go extremely hot (40 degrees!) and in winter it can go below zero easily (minus 10 or -20)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ghalaat (Qalaat) village, ancient beauty in Iran

one of the most pleasant trips you can make in Iran, is heading to lovely city of Shiraz. understanding why Shirazi people are so calm and warm-hearted, lies in the way they live! Shirazi culture is seriously mixed with the philosophy "life is short, enjoy the moment"
Qalaat village - I call this picture: windows to blue sky

for living the moment, Shirazi citizens often go to suburbs and near villages or areas, calling Baagh (garden). and Qalaat (Ghalaat) is one of the most famous and top destination, especially for those who live in North - North West of Shiraz.
The Village is almost 20 miles from Shiraz, toward North-West. Qalaat has a history for over 2600 years, still enjoying beautiful ancient memorials, like a church called Glory of Christ, survived from Ghajar period, surrounding with nice gardens. the village has less than 300 residents in roughly 70 families, mostly serving the tourist come to the village from Shiraz and Jahrom city.

for living the moment, Shirazi citizens often go to suburbs and near villages or areas, calling Baagh (garden). and Qalaat (Ghalaat) is one of the most famous and top destination, especially for those who live in North - North West of Shiraz.
The Village is almost 20 miles from Shiraz, toward North-West. Qalaat has a history for over 2600 years, still enjoying beautiful ancient memorials, like a church called Glory of Christ, survived from Ghajar period, surrounding with nice gardens. the village has less than 300 residents in roughly 70 families, mostly serving the tourist come to the village from Shiraz and Jahrom city.

In Ghalaat you can find some handicrafts and souvenirs from Persia and Fars province. like Kilims, knitted and woven bags and shoes, wood crafted artworks etc. there are two rivers passing the village called Shab Shotori and Cheshmeh Anjiri with many beautiful springs heading toward them and three amazing waterfalls. best time to see all these is in May and June.

Qalaat Village
I took these pictures in March. so don't worry about the weather, it will be hot in the summer.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Tehran Property prices are EXPENSIVE or not?!

Is Tehran an expensive city to live in? in this post, I check some indexes and share some facts, with a focus on Property prices and costs, since it's swallowing the majority of Iranian household income.

Why house prices rise globally? what was the case in Tehran?
land resources are obviously scarce!
is this the only reason prices rise? The most important reason for this crisis is that we have been drastically restricting the amount of land available in Tehran, for housing since it was chosen as Iran's capital. Furthermore, after the revolution back in 1979, new policies and strategies led to dramatic immigration of people from farms, countries and villages or small towns in to the bigger and larger cities for more opportunities on employment and seeking a better quality of Life.
These are problems of market failure and land markets fail more than most, so they need regulation, which is what planning should do. But regulation needs to be informed by an understanding of how markets work. The problem is that our planning system seems to proceed as if it can entirely suspend the laws of supply and demand.

cost of living in Tehran...?
a couple living in mid-level style in Tehran needs:
350 USD per month rent (it can go as high as 2000+ USD per month for a two bedroom apartment)
200 USD per month for markets
100 USD per month to dine out once in a week (4 times a month)
100 USD per month transportation
50 USD per month utilities

I quit trips, vacations, sports, entertainments, parties, clothing extras etc

so they both need to have roughly 800 USD per month.
now more statistics and facts to know:

minimum wage in Iran is 200 USD per month
a 5 years experienced engineer or BS holder works for 350 USD per month
a 15 year experienced engineer or BS holder works for 500 USD per month

so they have to work hard both to live in a very simple mid-level life style with no extras!

luxury properties in Tehran
the price of an apartment in Tehran can vary from 1000 USD per sqm to 12,000 USD per sqm!

North of Tehran - apartments: 5000 - 7000 USD per sqm
Villas from 5 - 25 Million USD

Kamraniyeh - apartments: 7000 - 10,000 USD per sqm

France, Royan - a 4 bedroom Villa for 400 USD per sqm
400,000 USD for 1000 sqm plot and 240sqm villa
what's next?! where the prices are going to?
Iran and specifically Tehran's real estate market shows up with a boom every 5 or 6 years. this has been always like that in last half decade.
it seems that the market will have a smooth rise fitting the inflation rate only in 2015, till 2016 summer. then the prices have the potential again to racket up again.