Iran - A tale of tea, sand and kebab

Traveling around the country, visiting Tehran, Esfahan, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Persepolis, Bagh-e Shahzde, Mashhad, Rayen, Meymand, Ardashir-Kwarrah, Dasht-e Lut, Pasargadae, Meybod and more.

  • Badger badger badger

    The roofscape of ancient town Yazd is covered by badgirs. These are ingenious constructions acting as medieval air conditioning systems.


  • Desert rose

    The 1800-year old palace was built by Ardashir Babakan, the founder of the Sasanian empire. But even among the deserted ruins, life finds a way. However it's not really a rose but a papaver (opium poppy).

    Ruins of Ardashir-Kwarrah

  • Black on green

    There are worse things to do in the afternoon than having a picnic in the grass while waiting for the sunset.

    Naqsh-e Jahan in Esfahan

  • Life between the rocks

    Somewhere in Meymand

  • More tea

    Invited for tea in village somewhere in Meymand

  • Chickens

    Trying to catch breakfast at nomad camp

  • Open air kitchen

    Having breakfast in nomad camp

  • A wicked hive

    I bet Obi-Wan would feel at home here.

    Alley in Yazd

  • Below the minarets

    We sat down in the mosque at sunset and watched as the hordes of people arrived for the evening prayer, ushered by the endless pre-recorded chants from the loud minaret speakers.

    Imam Mosque in Esfahan

  • Looking for Baal

    Naqsh-e Jahan is the second-largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, or so they say. The kebab animals are quick and hard to spot from a distance, so pay attention.

    Reine at Naqsh-e Jahan in Esfahan

  • Bridge over river Zayandeh

    There used to be lovely tea houses located on the many bridges across the Zayandeh river. For various reasons they have been forced to shut down, one by one. The only one remaining is located on the north side of this 298 meters long bridge.

    Si-o-Seh bridge in Esfahan

  • The sound of silence

    Instead of a traditional burial, the Zoroastrians placed their dead on top of a Tower of Silence. The bodies were then picked clean by vultures and their bones later stored in the wall.

    A Tower of Silence south of Yazd

  • Not really a final rest

    Cyrus the Great was perhaps the greatest leader of ancient Persia, praised in the Bible for his humanitarian rule. The large tomb is located in his capital city of Pasargadae. Unfortunately it had already been plundered when Alexander the Great visited the site 200 years after Cyrus' death.

    The tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae

  • Sins of the father

    Since Xerxes sacked Athens in 480 BC, it was probably inevitable that Alexander the Great had to burn Persepolis to the ground in retaliation 150 years later.

    Palace of Xerxes at Persepolis

  • On this rock

    Notice the person for scale comparison.

    The tomb of Xerxes at Naqsh-e Rustam

  • Cave man

    Reine having tea in a cave in Meymand

  • Roadblock

    The path was blocked by an unexpected obstacle, so we tried some social engineering.

    Somewhere in Meymand

  • Lay a brick

    The 1800 year old town of Meybod consists of mud-brick buildings. This man is creating bricks by mixing clay with straws.

    Worker in Meybod

  • Welcome to Mos Eisley

    The 1800 year old town of Meybod consists of mud-brick buildings with gardens featuring pomegranade trees.


  • Raiding the citadel

    The town of Rayen is located at the foot of Mount Hezar, the 4th highest mountain in Iran.

    Citadel ramparts in Rayen

  • Ascend

    Just one more hill. Just one.

    Climbing kaluts in Dasht-e Lut

  • King of the hill

    It's great fun climbing the kaluts (sand castles) in the Lut desert towards Afghanistan.

    Reine in Dasht-e Lut

  • Leave in silence

    The kaluts remind me of the Monument Valley in North America.

    Sunset in Dasht-e Lut

  • I dream in color

    This amazing mosque was completed in 1888.

    Nasir al-Mulk, Shiraz

  • House of strength

    Attending a Zurkhaneh training/workout. This is the most fascinating thing I've seen in a long time.

    Zurkhaneh at Saheb A Zaman in Yazd

  • Bazaar boys

    Hanging outside the Bazar-e Vakil in Shiraz

  • Mirror mirror

    This is the tomb of Emir Ali. The walls are covered with mirrors and the tomb itself is located in the center.

    Imamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze in Shiraz

  • The lost boys

    The really cool guys are hanging around beneath the bridges.

    Under the Khaju Bridge in Esfahan

  • Raiders of the lost ark

    Bazar-e Vakil, Shiraz

  • The keymaster

    The Chak Chak temple is the most important pilgrimage site of the Zoroastrians. The brass door is embossed with Zarathustra and the keymaster was a man who had lived here alone for ten years, with his entire family left in Tehran.

    The guardian of Chak Chak temple

  • Inside the fire temple

    Admiring the view from Ateshkadeh-ye in Esfahan

  • Watching the world pass us by

    Amir Chaghmagh Square in Yazd

  • One more for the road

    This guy dropped tons of tea on our table until we had to ran away.

    Azari teahouse in Tehran

  • Tea time

    Somewhere in the middle of the bazaar we found a great tea house with live music and the local speciality: Kolompeh cookies. These sweets contains dates, walnuts and spices.

    Bazar-e Vakil in Kerman

  • Of love and nightingales

    The 12th century poet Hafez remains an idol 700 years after his death. The marble tombstone is visited by happy faces and the area more resembles a picnic spot than a burial site.

    Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz

  • Salty feet

    Reine at Daryache ye Namak

  • Headhunter

    The proud chef with a sheep head.


  • Braaaaaains

    After eating eyes and tongue, it's time for the brain dessert.

    Reine eating sheep brain in Tehran

  • Braaaaaains

    This is where zombies goes for a late night snack. The mind is a terrible thing to taste.

    Having sheep brain in Tehran

  • Behind the wheel

    Lotfali Khan Street in Shiraz

  • Follow the light

    This town really needs better signs.

    The anonymous entrance of our hotel in Yazd

  • Crossroads

    The shrine of Imam Reza is so large that two freeways cross beneath it.

    Imam Reza Street in Mashhad

  • Light at the end of the tunnel

    Bazar-e Vakil in Shiraz