iran is a huge country with infinite places to discover. usually most travelers stay within the central provinces and visit the historic cities of Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd, and Shiraz.
Currently, an increasing number of travelers are looking for something different such as spending a day in tranquil countryside, picking fresh fruits, watching rice grow, fishing by the seaside, eating traditional dishes, or even staying with locals. Going off the beaten track allows the visitor to embrace the cultural diversity of Iran, through people, food, and music, while discovering natural wonders and antic genius. So, if you’re looking for an expected experience in Iran, here are the best authentic experiences.
Persian Gulf area
The township of Minab lies in the north of Hormoz Strait, and It has a mountainous terrain towards the north and east, whilst the plains are located in its central and western sectors. Minab experiences a warm and humid climate and its agricultural lands are irrigated by the Minab River. Its historical past mingles with that of the ancient city of Hormoz, which historians believe to be related to Ardeshir Babakan Sassanid. In the year 1000 AD. , one of the Sheikhs of Oman by the name of Mohammad took advantage of the discontentment of the inhabitants in respect to the ruler of the times, occupied Bandar-e-Hormoz. In 1300 AD. the Mongols invaded this city, thus forcing the Amir (governor) of Hormoz and its inhabitants to flee to the current Island of Hormoz. During the years 1793-1804, the Soltan of Oman, Soltan Ebne Ahmad came to power with the help of the Britain in ‘Gouatre’, and tried to refrain from disputes towards the Iranian rule, but at the same time tried to gain control over Bandar Abbas and Minab. Due to internal involvement, Aqa Mohammad Khan was unable to fortify his power in the south during this period. Thence the ruler of Oman took the seat in the areas of Qeshm and Hormoz. But in the year 1852 AD. a treaty was drawn up to the effect that the coastal lands, Islands of Iran along with Minab city be returned back to Iran. undefined The Hazareh (Bibi Minoo) castle is the most important historical vestige of this township. A local market is held in Minab every week on Thursday at which locals especially women gather to sell fresh vegetables, seafood and handicrafts like handmade burqas, wicker baskets, embroidery textiles, potteries and etc. According to historians, the antiquity of this local market goes back to 500 years ago, when the residents of each village in this area were required to provide only one good at the market. With colorful vegetables and products, and crowd of Minab locals busy with trading, Minab Thursday Market has a very vibrant atmosphere and is one of the most intresting bazaars of south of Iran.
Kong is a port city in the central district of Bandar Lengeh County in Hormozgan Province, southern Iran. Kong port is an integral combination of a port town with a unique architecture, a smart system of water collecting and irrigation beside its rich and remarkable intangible heritage which has surrounded by beautiful natural and manmade landscape. Kong is one the best interactions between the marine, architecture, land use and culture. The historic port of Kong is the most important place in manufacturing the cargo and sailing boats and ships, with a unique geostrategic location of the port and thanks to the grate advantages given to this city by nature, it became a long lasting port for trade, fishing and traditional timber boats and ships builder. Kong use to be the most important place to find the best sailors and sea folks and still is the best place for maintenance and order the traditional ships called “Lenj” which are still using for intercontinental marine trips and long fishing journeys. The integrated historical urban texture of Kong port and as well as its ancient settlements and related archeological sites around are the strong evidence of continuity of living background in this place which is reminding the traditional Iranian coastal urban planning and land use in The Persian Gulf. Kong having within itself a considerable part of the Persian Gulf history and myths is an outstanding living historic city amongst regional and international coastal cities. In addition to the cultural values of the general structure, the town comprises hundreds of historical houses with large numbers of intact wind catchers (Bādgirs), in its skyline. This is one of the most important signs of the authenticity and integrity of this historical port town in semi tropical coastal area of Iran.
The other impressive features of this port is the sailing base and its shipbuilding base which has been inscribed in the UNESCO intangible list.The cuisins, costumes, music, handicrafts, sailing knowledge and language are the main characteristics of this cultural landscape.
South Khorasan Province, An Ideal Region For Desert Enthusiasts
This region, due to its hard geographical location, had little attention from foreign nations and therefore was immune from invasion and its language and race is less mixed. Most people of this province are Fars and their main language is ancient and rural Persian which is spoken in different parts of the province, with different dialects. This dialect has still some Persian words and you don’t find many Arabic words in it. In southern parts of the province people talk Balochi as well.
Wood Dance and Dowtar are other characteristics of this province. Maqam music of south Khorasan and Dowtar is known worldwide and has prestigious masters; a melodious and plaintive chant, pouring from wounded and rough fingers of Khorasan people, like a deer strutting in desert fields. And a dance so glorious, telling tales of people’s bravery with twigs thump. Men are dancing with white turban, flying to the sky with such beautiful spectacle and returning to the land all over again.
Even here is not safe from infestation of faceless urban clothing. Traditional clothes can only be found in between elderly men and women. Traditional shoes (known as Cheppet) were still popular few years back, but they are losing their role in people’s life.
Another important thing paly an important role in the culture of this region is handicraft. And the most important one is Carpet Weaving . Carpets and rugs with beautiful and unique designs. Other artifacts include Palus Weaving , Page not found, Towel Weaving , Table Cloth for Flour (Sofreh Ardi) and … .
Agriculture also plays an important role in this area. Important products such as barberry and saffron and some other such as jujube and prune.
The 5000-year-old civilization of Jiroft is one of the most unknown and mysterious human civilizations, which represents the civilization of several thousand years of Iran. The city of Jiroft in the south of Kerman province is famous for its fertile lands, abundant water and diverse climate. Agricultural production is booming in this city. But in the last decade, there has been a drought in the city and it has become difficult for the villagers to make a living. The story of discovering Jiroft started when a farmer found a part of a bowl while he was plowing the land and thought he had encountered a treasure. From then on, the villagers dug up land and found historical objects and sold them to cultural heritage smugglers for a small price.
It was not until after a year and a half when Cultural and Heritage Organization of Iran found about this and invited Dr. Majidzadeh from France to excavate the historical area. In addition to excavating the area, he was able to recover many items that were still in the villagers’ homes.
Dr. Majidzadeh published photographs of Jiroft civilization and information about it for the first time in 2003. According to the archaeological findings on this site, the oldest antiquities in this area date back to more than 5000 years ago.
Jiroft Archaeological Museum
If you are fond of history and ancient civilizations, you should not miss the archaeological museum of Jiroft. There are 5,000-year-old works, each of which has something to say about this civilization. In Jiroft Archaeological Museum, works of bronze, soapstone, marble, azure and simple and painted pottery from the third millennium BC are preserved. In this museum, you can see the amazing art of Jiroft civilization in variety of designs and shapes of dishes, sardines, statues and sculptures.
Palangan is a little-known rural Iranian village with an estimated population exceeding 1000 inhabitants. Tucked away in the valley with the Tangi Var River flowing through it, houses are etched out on the sloping valley sides in a terraced manner with roofs of houses doubling as verandas or yards for the houses above them. Locals embrace their cultural heritage through folk dance and song, and commonly enjoy country life by picnicking on the river’s banks, taking shade under nearby trees and playing simple games together.
Read more about 10 iran villages that are off the beaten path here