Iran: Why Travel There Now?
Fill in the blank:
“Seriously – you’re going to XYZ?? How could you – it’s so dangerous!”
“You know they hate Americans in XYZ. Why on earth pay to go some place just to be insulted?”
“Don’t go to XYZ now. Wait another 5 or 10 years when things have settled down.”
You may recall that at one time “XYZ” (fill in the blank) was the Soviet Union. Or East Germany. China. Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cuba.
And now Iran.
The times, they are a-changin’ in Iran – even back in this 2000 photo
Photo credit: Tom Lucas
Not uncommon in 2013: Iranian women in fashionable hijab, accessorized with a hookah waterpipe
Photo credit: Joanna Millick
Time to TravelWith a new peacefully elected president, the government of Iran appears to be offering improved international relations. That translates to renewed emphasis on tourism – not only to boost Iran’s economy but also to show the world its rich heritage of history, hospitality, and ancient treasures.
While Iran may be quite new on the travel radar for many, it’s a familiar place for MIR: for more than 14 years MIR has been leading travelers through this crossroads country of archaeology, architecture and ancient civilizations – not to mention carpets, bazaars, and legendary hospitality.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Persepolis is a must-see stop in Iran
Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels
Looking Back: MIR in IranIn 1999, MIR President Douglas Grimes traveled to Iran with the idea of adding it to MIR’s Central Asia tours. He believed it was a critical piece of understanding for travelers hoping to know more about this controversial part of the world. It was also a bit of déjà vu, since Douglas had done the same thing in the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Back then, many feared traveling to the USSR. That sparked the beginnings of MIR Corporation’s travel to the Soviet Union and beyond. Since then, Doug has heard similar fears about Iran today that he heard back in those Soviet Cold War days. Some things never change.
Photo-sharing builds bridges across language barriers in Iran
Photo credit: Lindsay Fincher
Open Doors, Open Hearts“Iran seemed a lot like the old Soviet Union,” Douglas says about that initial 1999 trip. “It reminded me of the early Soviet Union citizen diplomacy times, with political leaders getting in the way of people trying to open up the world.“
“I admit I was a bit scared flying into Tehran that time, but those fears faded fast when I was met by wonderfully warm and open people who just wanted to share their stories with me,” Doug recalls. “‘‘Welcome to Iran!’ was a greeting I heard often, not just from our new MIR partners and guides but from people on the streets and in those fantastic bazaars.”
A chance encounter with a young Iranian led to an invitation to meet the family over tea at home. Three generations – children, parents, and grandparents – plus a few curious neighbors crowded into the room.
“When it was time to leave,” Doug says, “they all thanked me for visiting and asked me to bring more visitors to Iran. So I did. And still do.”
MIR’s Joanna Millick (kneeling) leads tours to Iran, and especially loves its people and warm hospitality
Photo credit: Joanna Millick
The end of this rainbow is near Soltaniyeh, Iran
Photo credit: James Carnehan
Travel to Iran with MIRYou can experience first-hand the hospitality of Iranians and the wonders of their country on MIR’s scheduled tours to Iran, including:
You can also book a custom private journey to Iran with travel dates and itineraries that work best for you.
(Top photo credit: Lindsay Fincher – giggly schoolgirls in Iran)
PUBLISHED: September 9, 2014