This post is also available in: Português Oh, Iran…! I think we could list at least 100 reasons to go there. But here it is, short and simple: why Iran should be on your bucket list! 1- Incredible landscape Ali Sadre Cave, the biggest water cave in the world, in the city of Hamedan Iran has everything: mountains, forests, caves, sea and desert. At winter time it is possible to go skiing at the surrounds of its capital city, Tehran. Also, it is possible to go trekking at the mountains, camping near waterfalls or go swimming at the beaches at the south of the country, in the Persian Golf seaside, throughout the year. At Kish Island, for instance, there is no government restrictions and the application for visa is not necessary. It is a free zone. 2 – It is very safe Shah Mosque, in Isfahan That is right! Exactly as you read it. Unlike many people think, Iran is one of the safest places we have ever been to, even safer than many European countries. Pickpocketing and similar crimes are rare and families take their time to enjoy at parks until late night. Do not believe in everything you read on media and learn how to differentiate Middle East countries. 3 – They had the biggest empire the world has ever seen Carvings in the wall of Persepolis The Persian Empire was founded in around 550 bC by Cyrus, the Great. In its great moments, the territories went up to some parts of Europe, Africa and Asia and up today there are influences left in the whole world from this time. Cyrus for example is considered to have been the precursor of the human rights when stated on the famous Cyrus Cylinder that all man should be free, abolishing slavery for the first time in history. Monuments and ruins from the Persian Empire can be found in many parts of Iran, and a visit to Pasargadae and Persepolis (former capitals of the Empire and both Unesco World Heritage Sites), is a must! 4 – There is a Brazilian city in Iran We with the team of Abadan (For Brazilian lovers!) Abadan is a city in the south of the country at the border with Iraq and its inhabitants believe it belongs to Brazil! It all began in the 70’s before the Islamic Revolution. The city’s football team’s coach liked so much Brazil’s performance at the 1970 Football World Cup that he decided to adopt Brazil’s uniform and game strategies. The people incorporated this idea fully and now they say they belong to Brazil. They will even provide you with geological reasons why Abadan is Brazilian. According to them, “during the Pangea, Abadan was in Brazil but when the continents began separating, Abadan ended up in Iran”. Today, it is normal to find kebab shops named “Rivaldo” or “Ronaldo” for instance. Furthermore, some places put two clocks above their shops, one showing Iranian time and the other showing Brazilian time. Abadan Berzilete! (Abadan is just like Brazil!) 5 – The Iranian hospitality Evening picnic in a park of Tehran with a family we had just met You will never see anything similar to the Persian hospitality! The invites to stay over people’s house, have lunch with them, travel, picnicking or anything else will come from every corner, all the time. Iranians will barely let you pay for anything, your bus ticket, taxi ride, your food or for a touristic attraction. And do not bother arguing otherwise, it is part of their culture. Visitors in Iran are sacred. 6 – The gastronomy The Iranian gastronomy, everything home-made Like Brazilians, Iranians love eating! Mainly, you will find (delicious) kebab shops in the streets, though it will be inside families houses where you will truly enjoy the original Iranian gastronomy and the feeling of eating until you are exhausted of it. After eating, a nap. Wake up and eat a little more! Fresh ingredients, nuts, fruits are indispensable, giving many different flavour to the food experience! 7 – Fascinating architecture The beautiful Pink Mosque em Shiraz The architecture as the Persian art and literature was already renowned since before Christ. After the Arab invasion, around 630AD, they incorporated aspects of the invader’s culture. In fact, was only after the invasion that they adopted Islam as their religion. The fusion of the both cultures resulted in incredible constructions, such as mosques, monuments, palaces and parks. 8 – The visa is simpler than you think Iranian flags in Yazd There are obviously some requirements and they vary according to the passport you hold. Some countries, more than you would imagine, can take their visa upon arrival. In addition, renewing it as even easier. You will find more information about it on our post The Visa to Iran.