My name is Helia Kleer and I was born in Germany, but my family is from Iran. Currently, I live and work in Bournemouth. I have always loved to travel around; that’s why after my graduation I have decided to come to England.
But there is no place like home. My heart belongs to my home country Germany and my roots in Iran.
Every year in the summer holidays I fly over to Iran to visit my lovely family and spend some time with them.
What is your impression about Iran? From the media you probably hear about a lot of conflicts about this country. But what do you know about the culture and how do the People live? Do you have any idea?
Let me show you my beloved home country from another view despite the political problems and troubles.
Iranians are no Arabs
First things first. Important to know is that Iranians are no Arabs. They are Persian and they speak Farsi. A lot of people get this wrong, but there is no comparison you can make with Iranian and Arabs. Since the Arab invasion of Iran, Farsi has been written in Arabic letters with slight differences. While a lot of Arabic words have made it to the Persian dictionary, it doesn’t mean that an Arab can understand Farsi or the other way around. Some Iranian may get offended about being called an Arabic.
Iran’s History and how it becomes Islamic
Iran is a country with a fascinating history. The Persian Empire was the most powerful country in the world. From 539 BC to 331 BC, Persia (now Iran) was stretched from Egypt to India. It was known for its rich resources of oil and natural gas.
1925 to 1979 Iran was ruled by the Pahlavi dynasty. The last ruling house of Iran. They transformed Iran into a democratic, modernised and westernised country.
1979 the Persian monarchy was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. Iran changes to an absolute Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a leader of the Iranian revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic, who returned from his Exile in France after the king was fallen. Rapidly Iran’s economy was replaced by the Islamic economic and cultural policies. Much industry was nationalised, laws and schools Islamicised, and Western influences banned.
People have suffered from this dramatic change of living till today. But it’s not that strict any more. A lot of people demonstrate and campaign against the political and economic situation in Iran. It seems that there will be a change because a lot of people don’t want to live with Islamisation any more.
How to dress in Iran
Like any other country, Iran has its own rules and regulations. You don’t have to wear full-body coverage where you can only see your eyes. It’s not a country where all women are obliged to drape themselves black sheets. However, women and men must follow the dress code, (not just women!) Men shouldn’t wear shorts, and women need to cover up their hair with a headscarf, which you can wear loosely; women also need to cover their body with a lightweight coat. When you get to your home or the place of your family and friends, you can feel free to take it off. . A lot of young men and women are campaigning against this rule.
Over the years, the dress code became more relaxed. Don’t be surprised when you see a lot of people in restaurants, cars, malls and on the streets not following the dress code.
Me with my coat and without a headscarf on my head in Iran
Iranian hospitality is limitless
Iranians are known for their great hospitality and friendliness. Don’t wonder if suddenly a stranger on the street starts talking to you or even wants to take a selfie with you. Iranian are very interested in foreigners and try to improve their English. And after a short chat, they might invite you to their place for a chai. Don’t worry, this is pretty normal for them to do so, and they will invite you again and again until you find it hard to say no. There is an Iranian word for this, it is called Tarof. Tarof is practised everywhere by taxi drivers, shopkeepers, baristas, waiters and so on. They will tell you, whatever service you’ve just used or product, you are about to buy, is on house and you don’t need to worry about it. The common phrase you will hear is “ghabeleh shoma ra nadareh”, and that means “it’s free”. Sounds very friendly and strange at the same time? Isn’t it? But you need to know that it doesn’t mean that you should not pay for the service or the product. Iranians don’t like to mention money because they don’t want to sound materialistic.
The Grand Bazaar in Tehran
This is a place where all the speciality of Iran are found. Iran is well- known for their rugs and carpets. Most of them are hand-knotted textiles and come with unique design and colours. People from around the world come to the Grand bazaar to buy our Persian rugs.
Amongst all the colourful Persian rugs and our popular Safran, you can also find almost all sorts of other products and restaurants there. The old surviving Arcade is split into several corridors over 10 km length, each specialising in different types of goods, and has several entrances. The walls and passages in the bazaar, go back to 400 years.
Next to the Grand Bazaar, you can find the Shah Mosque (Arabic)/ Masjed (Persian) The Mosque was established 1810 to 1825 and is beautifully decorated with colourful mosaic stones.
I hope you have enjoyed my introduction about Iran. It is a fascinating country definitely worth a visit. Will you put Iran on your bucket list? 😊
Love Scape xxx