Travel to Iran is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. The country will blow you away with its natural beauty, millenary historical heritage, and especially the friendliness of its locals. The Persian people will lavish you with smiles and warm welcomes from the moment you step off the plane in Tehran.
An ancient Persian tale tells of a beautiful princess who falls out of favor with the mythic King Jamshid. Heartbroken, the young woman tries to poison herself by drinking a jar filled with the juice of spoiled grapes. Instead of death, however, she experiences a rather pleasant, euphoric feeling before falling asleep. Upon waking, she rushes to tell the king of her discovery.
Gourmands who liberally grab for the pepper or nutmeg might take pause to think, that at one time in history, those seasonings were worth more than their weight in gold. Spices were such a precious commodity that many a war were fought over them; they helped to build—and topple—vast empires, and led to the great Age of Discovery and founding of new worlds.
That question has been on the minds of many intrepid travelers, whose desire to visit this friendly and fascinating country is tempered by concerns over personal safety. Over the past few years in particular, the region surrounding Iran has been a hotbed of political and revolutionary turmoil; graphic images on television and elsewhere do little to quell the concern.
Zegrahm Field Leader Gary Wintz is what you might call a cultural conduit between East and West. For most of the past 35 years, Gary has been traveling outside the United States researching, writing, photographing, and lecturing about distant lands and cultures.
We detect a pattern here—for centuries, Persian carpets have been prized around the world for their masterly weaving and meticulously detailed designs. Every color, shape, and form is part of a central motif in one-of-a-kind kilims, or tribal rugs, considered works of art that can sell for millions of dollars.
In 1931 while on commission for the University of Chicago, professor Ernst Herzfeld led an archaeological expedition about 525 miles south of Iran’s present-day capital, Teheran. There he would uncover a glorious palace complex lying at the foot of Kouh-e Rahmat, the “Mountain of Mercy.”