Dive into the chaos of the Grand Bazaar
You just can’t come to Iran and skip the bazaar experience. We absolutely loved the chaos, the carriages coming from everywhere, the smell of fresh tea and spices. Not to mention the architecture which is just stunning. We also went into some antique shops to take a closer look at their ceilings and staircases. Some were absolutely breathtaking. The bazaar is huge so make sure you take your time to get lost and explore it. Remember it’s closed during lunch time.
Enjoy the colors and glamour of the Golestan Palace
Golestan Palace was once a royal residence and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The splendor of the place is just immense. There are ceilings made of small glass mirrors, stunning gardens, fountains and walls with colorful tiles. There is plenty to see but get prepared because it’s actually not that easy. First you have to decide what you want to see. You buy a ticket to each part of the complex. If you want to buy them all it’s 940 000 rials (around 24 euro). If not the admission is 150 000 rials (around 4 euro) which allows you to wonder around the garden. Then there are 8 parts for 80 000 each (around 2 euros) and one, the most spectacular is 150 000 rials (so around 4 euro) and it includes the Hall of Ivory, Hall of Mirror and other incredible halls. Unfortunately, in most of the places you can’t take pictures.
See how the last Shah lived at Niavaran Palace
Niavaran was the last residence of the Shah before he was forced to leave the country. Also here you have to decide what you want to see. There is the main house which is the most important part. Next to it there are few museums and a library. In the main house you get an impression of the luxury of the 70s. There is a convertible roof that lets the fresh air and light in, private rooms of the kids and more than one collection of clothes of the Shah and his wife. We paid 150 000 rials admission and 150 000 rials the entrance to the main house (together around 8 euros).
Calm shopping at the Tajrish bazaar
There is no chaos here, you don’t have to jump out of the way to avoid crazy men with their carriages. Here it’s where you can just enjoy the world of spices, food, carpets and whatever you want undisturbed. We were especially amazed by mountains of saffron that are available in so many shops here. In Europe one gram is very expensive, here we are talking about mountains of practically gold. Saffron next to rose seems to be the most important ingredient in local cuisine. When you’re done with saffron there is still tea waiting as well as many, many jewelry shops.
Enjoy winter wonderland going up the Darband mountain
We were in Tehran during winter so we absolutely loved seeing all the snow, barbecues on the side of the road and numerous shops and restaurants. It all seemed so Christmas-like, even though Christmas is not really celebrated here. Not to mention the experience of absolute, beautiful, white winter in a country that we mostly pictured as omnipresent desert.
Watch the sunset next to the Azadi Tower
Azadi Tower is one of the most prominent symbols of Tehran and it was built in 1971 for the commemoration of 2500 years of the Persian Empire. First it was called Shahyad in honor of the Shah but obviously after the revolution it had to be changed and now it’s Freedom Tower. The tower is surrounded by fountains and underneath it has a museum. When we were there, there was maintenance work going on so we could only appreciate the tower itself. We couldn’t complain as first we saw it in full splendor during day light and as the sun went down we saw it illuminated.
Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Milad Tower
Milad Tower is a kind of thing you would expect in Dubai, glamourous, modern, full of stylish detail with a local touch. There are shops there, restaurants and a stunning terrace to enjoy the views of the city. Honestly we have seen many viewpoints but never have we seen anything like it. In the evening this great metropolis is like a painting of lights. Colorful, vibrant and very lively. The only drawback is that you enjoy the views through a metal fence which makes taking pictures nearly impossible. We almost forgot to mention that it’s the 6th tallest tower in the world. Entrance to the terrace was only 120 000 rials (around 3 euro) and the views were priceless.
Enjoy the power of technology on Tabiat bridge
This brand new bridge maybe doesn’t make it on many “must see” lists but for us it was one of the biggest surprises in Tehran. It’s the most extraordinary pedestrian bridges we have ever seen. Imagine two floors, with little gardens everywhere, views of the city, benches to sit on and also a few restaurants and a really nice café where you can read some books (not only in Farsi). Not to mention that as soon as the sun goes down the bridge lights up with intense green color.
Former American embassy
That’s probably the sight everybody imagines. Murals with anti-american art, passing by ladies in chador, posters of Obama looking like an Islam teacher. It was overtaken in 1979 because of the religious revolution. Later on 52 American citizens were held hostage for 444 days which makes it the longest hostage crisis ever. Although it’s incredible to see where it all started, make sure it’s not the only thing you see.