Fans of Aladdin may have always dreamed of taking a magic carpet ride with the pauper turned prince. Unfortunately, Iran’s famous Persian carpets won’t be able to take you for a spin, but they are known all over the world for the magic of their exquisite designs and beautiful workmanship. The Iranians are expert rug makers, with over 2,500 years of experience under their belts. No wonder rugs are the country’s second-largest export commodity only surpassed by oil.
Each Persian rug is a carefully weaved and designed work of art, but don’t be surprised if you take one home and notice that it contains a small flaw. This is actually done by the carpet weavers on purpose due to their belief that only God can reach perfection. Therefore, they make sure to sew one mistake into their rug on purpose to display their human limitations.
The Damavand Volcano
Just 43 miles (70 km) from Tehran lies Mount Damavand, an enormous and potentially active volcano. Admittedly, it has been over 7,000 years since its last eruption but there are fumaroles and hot springs at the summit crater which suggests it is not dormant.
The mountain is the highest peak in Iran and the tallest volcano in all of Asia. It is an important symbol in Persian mythology and folklore and symbolizes the country’s fight against tyranny and foreign oppression. Some ancient texts even claimed that a three-headed dragon was chained inside the mountain and would remain there until the end of the world.
Milk of Persia
The Iranian yogurt is famous for its special properties and is traditionally known around the country as “Persian Milk”. The Iranian people believe it is good for anything and everything, therefore it has many uses that do not just include putting it in your mouth.
Persian yogurt is considered by many to be a magic type of medicine which can get rid of coughs, help fight fatigue, treat ulcers, ease sunburns and even make you live longer. The Iranian beauty industry even uses this miracle cure as the ingredients in a face mask.
Parkour, a military-style obstacle course exercise regimen, has become all the rage in Iran. The discipline, which is based on acrobatic movement, began in France and become immensely popular around the world at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s. The urban sport soon reached Iran and has been a local favorite ever since.
Many Iranian teenagers spend their time in dedicated Parkour parks and clubs, flipping, jumping, climbing and generally having a great time. The sport is ideal for urban areas, doesn’t cost anything, needs no special equipment and can be performed in almost any type of clothing.
You’ve Got Mail
Ancient Persia lays claim to the very first postal service. They credit the invention to the Persian King Cyrus the Great who ruled between 550 and 529 BC. He instructed that every province in his kingdom would offer both delivery and reception of post for every citizen and even got neighboring countries to agree to do the same. He also had roads built from Post in the west to Hakha in the east.
The system included different stations where the message carrier could swap his tired horse for a fresh one, to increase delivery speed. According to Greek historian Herodotus, “...neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed", does that sound familiar?