This subway system is really as good as anything I've seen in Europe. Rick: Yeah. Rick: Oh, they find you? Rick: I'm from the United States… Rick: OK. And I can shake his hand? Rather than the impression I've long held…of a menacing ideologue, here he's considered a sage — and a champion of traditional values. A couple more hours to the southwest is Shiraz — a booming city of over a million people. Later, a second Persian Empire was conquered by Arabs. With the profits, he modernized the country. Struggling to understand the difference, I asked our local guide, Mr. Seyed Rehim Bathaei, to explain. Rick: All of you are chemistry! This isn't just any ice cream sandwich — saffron, rosewater, and pistachios…a Persian specialty. Writing in the 13th century he drew from his extensive travels and interactions with people from all walks of life. But now, in And today in this predominately Muslim society a small Zoroastrian community still survives and worships freely. The entrance shows the geometric motif the Persians were famous for. Rick: But these differences seem small, but still, many people are dying, and I read in the news Sunni fighting Shiite. This creates a visual chant of Koranic verses praising Allah — or God. Spain Rick: And all of you guys together. How does that work? Girls: You too, same here. And Persepolis has been in ruins ever since. Of you’re comparing Iran to isolated, war torn Soviet Block states, then you REALLY should go to Iran as a tourist first and not with a cameraman because you need a LOT of acclimation. Turkey, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | For me, the village highlight was meeting its people. In fact cosmetic surgery — especially nose jobs — is big business here among the middle class. Đã xảy ra lỗi. Esfahan, as a religious center, is an ideal place to try to better understand complexities like these. Him? Just outside of town, we drop by the great mosque containing the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini. I came home with a one-hour public television special (“Rick Steves Iran: Yesterday and Today”) that attempted to understand the Iranian psyche and humanize the Iranian people. Even today — 2500 years after their deaths — they're reminding us of their great power. The earliest Persian kings were Zoroastrian. ["Salaam."] Girls: OK, we may meet a boy, but we are not supposed to find a boy. It was under Xerxes that the Persians defeated the Greeks and burned and pillaged Athens in 480 BC. Thank you. In this recurring scene, a lion kills a bull symbolizing spring killing winter and bringing new life. The Imam mosque — one of holiest in Iran — is both huge and beautiful with the elaborate decoration typical of Persian mosques. Respect in Iran is a two-way street, it starts with you/me. Thank you… America and Iran, we can be friends. Visitors are welcomed into Iranian homes as honored guests. Rick: Ohhh, thank you… oh you guys! Rick: What do you study? Aside from minor changes, the second half of the special's script, below, serves as the script for this episode (starting with the section on Esfahan). Faces are beautifully made up and when so much else is covered, particularly expressive and mysterious. Two wheels are faster than four. Any interaction between men and women seemed very discrete. Girls: Thanks. And those who didn't believe in the system, we call them Sunni's. Every Iranian school kid knows the date: 1953. Woman: It's a law. Continuing south on the main highway, the arid vastness of this Alaska-sized country is clear. Other man: Yeah, nooshe jan. After the war Iran's young shah, or king, Mohammed Reza Shah Palavi became more closely involved with the West. Rick: You think that's — ", ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | The constitution does allow for other religions as long as they don't offend Islam. Compliance raged. As the personification of the Islamic Revolution, he symbolized deliverance from the economic oppression and Western decadence of the Shah. He had angered the West by nationalizing Iranian oil. Rick: Now I cannot shake your hand? A place and time when farming and the domestication of animals helped give rise to the first great civilizations. Rick: But there's so much bloodshed between Sunni's and Shiite's. Today it feels like the hostage crisis is old news and younger Iranians have moved on. I wish you could have visited as I did in 2003, ‘through the back door’, as the husband of an Iranian-American and free to travel on our own. Man: Puff your candles. It has exquisite tile work and was constructed in the early 1600s. Newsreel: Former premier Mossadegh's ruined house is a mute testimony to three days of bloody rioting culminating in a military coup from which the one time dictator of Iran fled for his life. Do any of the shops, say rug shops, take credit cards? I'm interested to see which side of the two faces of Iran are edited out of his travel show. Is this good? And the main industry seems to be selling dried fruits. Woman: It's not common to each other. I've been wondering to what extent the USA/Iran tensions might be explained by caring people on both sides motivated by love and fear. Join Rick Steves as he explores the most surprising and fascinating land he's ever visited: Iran. Its university is the oldest, biggest and most prestigious in the land. Granted, there are no easy solutions to the problems confronting our two nations. Video: Watch "Egypt's Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor," an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. [Woman reading poem in Farsi (translation below)], The links of the beloved's hair form a chain of suffering Do you like to take a picture together? We met two families, who each lost a son in the war, sharing a meal. Iranians come here to both connect with their heritage and to celebrate it. Now fasten your seatbelts." With tender dancers, flowing hair, and dashing moustaches, the sumptuous richness of this culture comes across in these fine paintings. Everyone singing: Happy Birthday to you… But wandering through campus, we learned that free tuition comes with strict guidelines as dictated by the theocracy. Most important, we'll meet and talk with the people whose government so exasperates America. Rick: So you are a modern young woman? In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people. This is the chicken. Woman: Man. Then came invasions by Turks and Mongols. Its towering façade is as striking as the grandest cathedrals of Europe. On our way out of town we visit a symbol of this vibrant city, its Freedom Monument. I'm looking for a 15 to 20 day tour to Iran for a solo 67 year old male. Tehran is a vibrant metropolis — Iran's social, artistic and educational center. Scenes in its grand hall show how, around four centuries ago, the king or shah maintained, defended, and expanded his empire. The Iran show ran in 2014 and is popular on YouTube. Whether on a plane, or simply walking the streets of any city here, it's clear that Iran is ruled by a theocracy. Religious offering boxes are on every street corner. Imagine its immense roofs spanned by precious Lebanese cedar carried all the way from the Mediterranean. Rick: Well educated? This disturbing mix of politics and religion apparently results from a deep seated resentment of Western culture imposed on their world. In his latest travelogue, Rick Steves journeys to Iran in the hopes of getting to know this ancient country — a leader in its corner of the world for 2,500 years — and … In Esfahan, everything seems to radiate from the grand Imam Square — it's one of the largest in the world. Chicago. Rick: So we are learning very much when we come to Iran. Portugal With a little translation help, I get a demonstration in the local fashions for men…along with baggie pants the town is proud of its unique gender specific door knockers. The work is funded by small donations mostly from the poor as they were the people Khomeini inspired the most. By Rick Steves. It's a smoggy, mile high metropolis. But that's handy for a conservative Muslim woman. Good for him. I'm glad we're here in May. Every ruler of each country should first visit al those ancient and vabrant nations before letting evil people around him influence him against the mutual interests of the people. At the time Persia was so mighty, no fortifications were needed. Rick: Salaam. I'd rather leave a little paint on passing buses than a piece of scalp. I'm guessing Rick Steves's purpose in his Iran special and continued discussion of his experience there is more focused on his audience's awareness and understanding than it is him suggesting that they all pick up and plan a trip to Iran. Like most Americans, I know almost nothing about Iran. They are based on a predetermined design and usually have floral patterns. Seeing the shafts of light swirling with ancient dust, it's easy to imagine the smell of cook fires so many centuries ago and the cacophony of sounds as travelers took shelter within these walls. Germany & Austria Many colors…, Man: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, red pepper, coriander and this is muscat. In 333 BC Persepolis was sacked and burned by Alexander the Great — the Macedonian Greek who turned the tide against the Persian Empire. Rick: That's what people say: If you want to eat well in Iran, make some friends. Some are Sunni, some are Shiite, what's the difference? But his materialistic decadence and pro-Western policies offended Iran's conservatives and alienated religious and political groups. Iran served as a thoroughfare for the legendary Silk Road. Still 10,000 guards served at the pleasure of the emperor. Like a vast department store, the bazaar has different sections. What are my hopes? The palace of Xerxes is called the Columned Palace because it once had 72 columns. Shiraz is famous as the home of beloved Persian poets. Way back in the 5th century, the eternal flame of what many consider the first monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, burned from this mountain top temple. no pity at all; I love the beloved more than my life…. From a prayer service in a mosque and nonconformist teen fashions at the mall, to anti-American murals and the hospitality of a family dinner, Rick helps us understand this perplexing nation and the 70 million people who call Iran home. Through the '60s there was a return to stability and the shah was a key American ally in the Middle East. It believes the Western media has given Iran an unfair image. Rick: Thank you, your heart is kind, too. Rick: You'll be happy. ". Browsing in its malls and classy shops, you could be in London or Paris. European Cruising 101 What message would you give to my friends? In this travel lecture, Rick Steves describes his experience traveling through Iran and filming his one-hour TV special, "Rick Steves' Iran." His job: keep us safe, manage the complicated permissions, and keep an eye on what we're shooting. Girls: Yeah, it's great. So for Americans we are a very religious people but we make the government and the church apart you know? Others say it was a pre-emptive strike to stop the USA from orchestrating a military coup designed to overthrow their theocracy and put the shah back in power. The shah ruled in royal opulence from grand palaces. Rick: Hey, look at this! Shoppers who have the money can find nearly anything they like. Scotland Rick: So, there are more than a billion Muslims on this planet. The figure on the eagle's wing, that symbol of the Zoroastrian faith, is a reminder that the king's power came from Ahuramazda — the Zoroastrian god. In fact women outnumber Iranian men in both universities and in many respected professions. The local ethnicity reflects the turmoil of this country's long history. Woman: Yes, they are like friends to each other. If you need to get somewhere in a hurry — or if your motorcycle taxi is under some big bus — thank goodness for the subway. As for myself, strike me by the sword in her full view I've overcome my fear by getting to know the Iranian people. They generally spoke some English. And should I give up life in pursuit of her favor Rick, there are lots of videos and photos of Iran posted on Youtube and Flikr. see our FAQ. Another local treasure is so typical of this land that the words just fit together: Persian carpets. We're here in Iran with the permission of the Iranian government. That's when the CIA engineered a coup that over threw the democratically elected prime minister Mossadegh. Those people who believed in Ali, as a successor of prophet Muhammad, and also his descendants, were Shiite, became Shiite. That Revolution and the Ayatollah established the Islamic Republic which rules to this day. And using technology from the days of David and Goliath, a farmer slings a rock to frighten the birds off his barley. Esfahan's sprawling covered Bazaar still serves the community — as it has for 1300 years. Along with being romantic, Esfahan is also just plain enjoyable. After visiting Jerusalem, we harvest olives near Ramallah, follow pilgrims to the site of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, approach Abraham's tomb — as both Jews and Muslims do — in Hebron, join friends for dinner, and bob in the Dead Sea. Actually, we found that the easiest way to get a smile was to tell people where we're from. Many of these bits of its ancient past go back 2000 years — to the age when silk and other treasures from the Orient began arriving in Europe. Man 1: Oh, you're from the United States…OK. My interests are Persian architecture and 20th century history. As a matter of fact…sometimes the direction of traffic is ignored as well. City-woven carpets can be made of wool and/or silk. Sayed: Nationalism, economic expansion, some help from superpowers. Note on the script: This episode of Rick Steves' Europe was created with footage from the one-hour television special, "Rick Steves' Iran: Yesterday and Today." Tehran, a youthful, noisy capital city, is the modern heart of this country. Girls: Where? This scene may be chic, but I heard that the real partying goes on in the privacy of people's homes. Terms of Service | Privacy. 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