Tehran with more than 16 million inhabitants (including suburbs), and heavy and polluted air resulting from the vehicles that clog the main arteries of the city appears to be unattractive to most visitors who only here are the minimum time required on arrival and departure from the country.
In fact the size and dispersion, the city of Tehran is not friendly to wandering, and the main places of interest are far from each other. However the Metro network covers much of the city, proving to be effective and cheap way and easy way to move around.
The stay was in the northern part of Tehran, near Tajrish, where the city begins to climb the slopes of the surrounding hills, enjoying a more ventilated atmosphere and less polluted air, compared to the zone further south, where lies the Grand Bazaar. The north of the city, wealthier and more modern, the black chador is less popular and scarves covering the hair, reveal more than they hide.
In Tajrish Square begins the longest street in the Middle East, Valiasr Street, with over 17 kilometers in length, developing the north-south direction to Rahahan Square, dividing the city in half. Built by Shah Reza Pahlavi, and renamed after the 1979 Islamic revolution, is now one of the main shopping locations in the city, attracting many shops of international brands. Here, not far from Tajrish Square is the Cinema Museum, that presents a selection of more alternative circuit movies, that surrounded by a pleasant garden makes you forget the incessant car movement passing in front of the gates.
The Grand Bazaar of Tehran presented itself, as the name implies “great”, too big in fact, dispersed and difficult to orientation; a succession of modern and uncharacteristic buildings, where most of the area is occupied by clothing shops “Made in China” style, not very attractive and with a certain lack of character.
However, not far is another type of trade in a succession of small shops aligned along the Marvi Street, where you can find a wide variety of imported products, from groceries, clothing, sunglasses, cosmetics, perfumes, etc… showing another facet of local businesses.
Along the street that leads to the main entrance of the bazaar, a 15 Khordad Avenue (Metro Sation: Panzdah-e Khordad), back-filling with movement and excitement that grows throughout the morning, with street vendors hawking their products, leading shippers and bringing goods and hundreds of people shopping, creating a lively atmosphere, where there is always time to take a break to enjoy an ice cream.
But a visit to this capital had the adventure with the unexpected opportunity to get in one of the famous secret parties that make this famous city; in a country where alcohol, nightclubs and many more things are forbidden, these parties organised in apartments are free of all these rules. An paradox to what is lived in public: here the alcohol flows freely, the atmosphere is euphoric party and women, leaving aside the Islamic heavy “dress code”, wear fashion clothing, exhibit hairstyles and heavy make-up.
Tehran, a city full of contrasts between the muslim tradition and modernity of a capital, deserve a more detailed visit, because like any big city, it keeps its hidden charms of who here does not linger.
Coming from Tabriz, the arrival in Tehran is in Terminal-e Qarb (near Azadi Square easy to identify by the giant arc), with connection to Metro network (Meydan-e Azadi – Yellow Line).
For destinations to the south, as Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd … buses leave from Terminal-e Jonub, located in the southern part of the city, also accessible by Metro (Terminal-e Jonoob – Red Line)
But beware, Tehran disposes of 4 terminals of long-haul buses, targeting different regions of the country, so it is necessary to obtain accurate information about what the appropriate terminal:
- Terminal-e Qarb
Address: Qarb passenger terminal, Azadi Sq.
- Terminal-e Jonoob
Address: Jonub passenger terminal, Mohammad Bokharaie St., St. Shoosh
- Terminal-e Shargh
Address: Shargh passenger terminal, Damavand St., Tehranpars
- Beihaghi Terminal
Address: Beyhaghi passenger terminal, Arjantine Sq.
For arrivals by plane or part, the Metro network also has access to Mehrabad Airport but not at Imam Khomeini International Airport, the main airport of the city.
In the cozy home of a friend, savoring the generous hospitality of an Iranian family … couldn’t be better!
Where to eat:
Like any big city, in Tehran is a bit of everything in terms of restaurants, which in addition to traditional kebaks, has much more to offer not missing the international food options.
In the visit to the Grand Bazaar, cannot miss one of the most popular places to eat falafel in Tehran: na Naser Khosvo Street, near the corner with Marvi Street, were around lunchtime customers line up. The site has no tables, only serving falafel in long bread, on take-away system, so the small square in front serves as a location to seat and taste the Iranian version of this typical Arabic snack.
Another option is the traditional Iranian soup, ash, made in the base grain, beans, lentils and some vegetables, and forming a thick aromatic broth. One of the best of these soups is in Valiasr Street at Tajrish zone where fried onion flakes and a taste of sour cream …