It has been seven years already that I have last visited Iran. And if you believe it or not, it is a most beautiful country with impressive mountain ranges and absolutely gorgeous architecture. And as difficult as the country´s international relations and politics may appear, every time that I had visited I was welcomed by true cordiality and experienced the warmth of Iranian hospitality.
Tehran is the country´s capital and home to approximately 8.8 million inhabitants. It lies in a valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is the second largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. The climate provides hot and dry summers and cold winters with snow. Iran is actually a very popular skiing destinations for many surrounding countries. Even some of the crews took along their ski when traveling in the country was not as restricted as it is today.
I also used to stock up my reserves of nuts and spices (particularly the real saffron) whenever I was in town and I also bought my eight armed chandelier in Tehran which still hangs above our dinner table. One of the many souvenirs that decorate our apartment from all my travels.
Since the fall of the shah in 1979, Iran has been transformed into an ultra conservative Islamic Republic and its previous very Western friendly connections cooled off. Despite any present political tensions, the beauty of the foregoing glamour of the era of the shahs remains though.
Niavaran Palace is one of them. It is one of three major palaces within Tehran and was established during the Qajar dynasty. The latest building addition was completed in 1968 and was the primary residence of Iran´s last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
I still remember walking the premise with my good friend and colleague Shirin who is of Persian heritage and who still has family living down there. Even though the political tensions have loosened up lately, I still would prefer to postpone my next visit until things are stable in the region again.
And then I would definitely return to this beautiful place and capture the marvelous interiors with a more adequate camera. I am so thankful that I was able to shoot these snapshots though and when I lately went through my hard drive, it was more than clear that I had to share them with you.
They are once again somehow a reminder to me that there is beauty everywhere. And that cultural or political differences are only products of the human mind. I hope to be able to come back sometimes soon, Iran, because you hold so many more astonishing artifacts within your borders to discover.