The Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world, and way too wide for my camera. Except diagonally. Just.

Where else but Dubai!

And so it happened that my last day in this beautiful country landed on the Islamic Revolution’s Victory Day - a national holiday in remembrance of the uprising against the non-Islamist government of 1979.

These are the kinds of days which shape the West’s stereotypes of the Muslim world, eliciting images of mobs of hating demonstrators. A stereotype that I had so far experienced to be nothing further from reality. And that day was no different.

There was certainly a buzz about Isfahan as I wandered through the main square. Not so much the kind of buzz from a mob overexcited by inflammatory rhetoric. No, this was a crowd happy to be out and about with their families and friends. And enthusiastic to interact with a foreigner :)

It’s just disappointing that some might form just as warped a view on the world outside Iran based on what the tightly controlled state media deems worthy. At the very least, this little girl seemed to enjoy seeing an alternative use for the excess of party posters.

Here’s hoping that the newly elected President Rouhani will be a little more composed and coherent than past leaders.

Time will tell…

Since leaving Iran, I stumbled upon a photo essay from freelance photographer Amos Chapple, encapsulating the everyday of Iran quite nicely on The Atlantic.

Walking around Shiraz and Isfahan.

The Jameh Mosque in Isfahan is one of the oldest mosques in Iran. Its imposing stature through the ages makes it one of the grandest one might ever come across.

Persepolis.

Razed to the ground by Alexander the Great but nonetheless impressive in it’s partially restored state. Xerxes, Artaxerxes, Darius, and Cyrus were here.

Passing through - on the roads around Kashan and Yazd. Back in the 13th century, Marco Polo traveled through these parts too. The presence of anti-aircraft hardware near Natanz apparently wasn’t worth mentioning in his journals back then…

The historical houses of Kashan show off beautifully restored details whichever way you look upon them. It was nice to feel as if I had some of these places all to myself - not that I’ve got anything wrong with sharing ^^

Not too far south of Tehran is the city of Qom, a noticeably conservative holy city of Shia Islam. It was here I was introduced to a cavity causing delight called sohan, a supersaturated-sugar biscuit sprinkled with pistachios.

More Tehran.

Feels a little strange to be updating photos from 5 months ago (I let myself drift that far behind on catchups?!) but I would feel stranger if I left the updates to slip entirely into the ether.

After Europe, I landed in Tehran, Iran - the start of an all-too-brief 2 week trip among oft-misrepresented but wholly kind people.