Iran Now: Old Muslim in New Face
1 – 9 July 2017
Once labelled as an evil country alongside North Korea and Iraq, Iran has seen breakthroughs in past years, from breaking ice with the United States to stabilizing the Middle East in face of the threats from the Islamic State. What is less commonly known, however, is Iran’s leading modernity in the Muslim world shown from the big metropolis of Tehran to the fashionable outfits on Iranian young people. This has not dismissed the charms of ancient Iran where the historical sites from ancient Persia (波斯) still persist.
Iran Now: Old Muslim in New Face will bring you to see an old Iran in its new phrase, and explore its ancient Persian culture and modern development in parallel. Iran has been normalising relations with other countries, and taken a role in stabilizing the Middle East. We will bring you to revisit the Muslim root and Shia (什葉派) tradition in Iran, long Persian history and rich culture, and the profound Islamic Revolution (伊斯蘭革命). Further, we will find out the latest situations of Press Freedom, Refugees and Poverty in the once mysterious country.
Day 1: 1 July 2017 – Arrival
Start of Programme
- Arrive at See You In Iran Hostel, Tehran (德黑蘭) within the day
- Free time and welcome dinner
- Overnight at Tehran
Day 2: 2 July 2017 – Islamic Revolution and Legacy (伊斯蘭革命)
Tehran > Shiraz
- Meeting at University of Tehran (德黑蘭大學) to understand more about the 1979 Revolution, which began with a series of demonstration for democracy and ended with the establishment of the world’s first Islamic state. The aim of the meeting is to discuss with our participants the background, causes and consequences of the revolution.
- Exchange with students from Faculty of Social Science, the liberal castle in Iran, The focus will be on young Iranian’s interest in religion and religious governments – whether the shape and form of the connection to religion have changed political views and social life.
- Former US Embassy (前美國大使館), the focal point of the 1979 Revolution, when it was stormed by students who held diplomats hostage for over a year. Participants will learn about the pro-American Iranian government before 1979, and critically examine the relationship between the US and Iran since 1979, especially after the implementation of Donald Trump’s executive order and additional sanctions against Iran in 2017.
- Azadi Tower (阿扎迪塔), a complex structure that combines modern architecture with traditional Iranian influences, which was also the focal point of the 1979 Revolution and some other recent demonstrations.
- Overnight train to Shiraz (設拉子)
Day 3: 3 July 2017 – The Old Persia (古老波斯)
- Arg of Karim Khan (卡里姆汗堡), an immense brick fortress that was the residence Karim Khan who ruled Iran between 1750 and 1779. Participants will learn about Iran in 18th century and how it looked like before it entered the modern period.
- Vakil Mosque (瓦基爾清真寺), built by order of Karim Khan and recently went under a full renovation work
- Vakil Bazaar (瓦基爾市集), also commissioned by Karim Khan and was part of his plan to make Shiraz into a great trading centre. During the tour, we will have chance to visit several Bazaar in different major cities, the Vakil Bazaar will be the one we cannot miss.
- Eram Garden (天堂花園), the garden exhibits a wide range of Garden styles, from traditional Persian to European, even Japanese, something you would not want to miss for a traditional Persian Garden.
- Shah-e-Cheragh Shrine (燈王之墓), the Mosque is most well known in Shiraz and bears important meaning to the city and Iranian Islamic history.
- Overnight at Shiraz
Day 4: 4 July 2017 – Through the Windows (設拉子色彩)
Shiraz > Isfahan
- Nasir ol Molk Mosque/Pink Mosque (莫克清真寺), People said “Stepping in Pink Mosque is Like Stepping Into A Dream” – the Nasir ol Molk Mosque has become the icon for Iran, and a mecca for tourism. Although it seems to be like a fairly traditional house of worship, the hidden gem is in the internal architecture. We will get up REALLY EARLY to captivate the best view.
- Travel to Isfahan (伊斯法罕市), often referred as the cultural capital of the Islamic World, known by its inheritance of a lot of mosques and stunning Persian-Islamic architectures during the Safavid Dynasty (薩法維王朝).
- Khaju Bridge (郝久古橋), constructed not only to connect people but also to provide a recreational place under the arches
- Overnight at Isfahan
Day 5: 5 July 2017 – Persia and Half of the World (波斯半個世界)
- Chehel Sotoun Palace (四十柱宮), a pavilion and reception hall with exquisite mirror works at the ceilings and well preserved frescos
- Naqsh-e Jahan Square (伊瑪目廣場), being one of the largest squares in the world, and connected to long bazaar tunnels that form the 5th largest shopping areas in the world, the Square is the center of a cultural center. It signifies the importance of Isfahan as a capital of a powerful empire.
- Lunch at Haj Mahmood Beryani, a restaurant that is over a century old, famous for its unique beryani and fun bazaar experience
- Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque (希克斯羅圖福拉清真寺), a mosque that was never intended for public use but rather served as the worship place for the women of the shah’s harem
- Ali Qapu Palace (阿里卡普宮), located at the western side of the Square, this grand palace is the residence for the shah and built to dominate the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
- Shah Mosque (伊瑪目清真寺), located at the south side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, it is unique for its continuous expansion and modification in conjunction with the growth and needs of the community
- Armenian District of Isfahan (亞美尼亞社區), there is still around 100,000 to 200,000 Armenians living in Iran side by side with the mainstream Persians with harmony by and large. We will visit the Armenian Quarter of Isfanhan, called New Julfa, a rather well-off community in the city.
- Vank Cathedral and Museum (凡克主教座堂和博物館), was the symbol of how Catholicism was kept in the quarter. We will also look at the Armenian Genocide Memorial and study the history of this tragic event, as well as to understand how oversea Armenian commemorates the tragedy.
- Dinner with former director of National Iranian Oil Company (與前伊朗國家石油公司總裁晚餐), we will dine at the family of Mr Reza, a former director of the National Iranian Oil Company, and greet his lovely family.
- Overnight at Isfahan
Day 6: 6 July 2017 – Oldest and the Dusty (九千年前)
Isfahan > Kashan > Qom
- Travel to Kashan (卡尚), a historical town that dates back 9,000 years ago, Kashan witnessed the rise and fall of Persia.
- Kashan Old Town (卡尚古城), a laid-back city on the edge of a desert
- Agha Bozorg Mosque (奧高勃佐爾格清真寺), one of the finest mosques in Iran and known for its precise, symmetric architecture
- Tabātabāei House (塔巴塔巴依宅邸), home of the affluent Tabatabaei family – one of the families from the descendants of second imam (leader of prayers) of Shias. It displays elegant wall painting with other classic features of tradition Persian residential architecture.
- Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse (波斯浴場), to explore the important role bathhouses used to play in the social lives of Iranians. One tradition here was that mothers of Iranian men would come to the Bathhouse to select good partners as they could “skim through” the nude bodies of young ladies, thus could make a judgment on whether the girls should be recommended.
- Travel to and overnight at Qom (庫姆)
Day 7: 7 July 2017 – The Muslim Holy City (什葉派聖城)
Qom > Tehran
- Qom, referred as the Holy City in Iran. As a religious city with a conservative mindset, over 90% of the women in Qom wear Chador, a relatively stricter covering as women’s outfits, in contrast to Tehran’s rather loose and sometimes fashionable coverings.
- Seminar at the Al-Mustafa International University (伊朗穆斯塔法國際大學) on ‘Islam and Its Evolution’, one of the major world religions, to understand and overcome common misconceptions
- Lunch with students from Al-Mustafa International University
- Meet with the Iran Project and journalists to explore the dynamic of the government-media relation in Iran and how criticisms “should be made” when media is dissenting with the government. We will also see how digital media in Iran would also ride on the West-based social media tools from Twitter to Telegram to spread their news.
- Imam Khomeini’s Historic House (高美尼古居), the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran stayed in Qom to study and research on Islamic classics, which laid the foundation for his mind to build the first ever Islamic Republic – mixing rules from Qu’ran with modern government.
- Jamkaran Mosque, a popular pilgrimage site for Shi’ite Muslims. Being the holy mosque in the holy city, every year tens of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims will come to worship. Photo shooting is strictly regulated here, but Eastern Vision team will try to get the best sights for you to remember the moment.
- Travel to and overnight at Tehran
Day 8: 8 July 2017 – Freedom in Islamic Way (伊朗式自由)
- Visit to Mehr News Agency (梅赫爾通訊社), the most multilingual news agency in Iran and sharing by International Relations Director, Mr Hamid Reza Gholamzdeh, and discuss the press freedom in Iran, and how Iran also faces the issue of fake news.
- Golestan Palace (古列斯坦宮), a palace representing the Qajar era (愷加王朝), it consists of gardens, royal buildings, and collections of Iranian crafts and European presents from the 18th and 19th centuries.
- Grand Bazaar (德黑蘭市集) to experience the traditional Iranian way of selling things before the big malls came in. From this point, we would have visited the bazars from Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran. We can see the similarities and differences between all the bazaars.
- Imamzadeh Saleh (伊瑪目扎德薩利赫清真寺), the resting place of Saleh, son of the seventh Shia Imam
- Milad Tower (默德塔), a telecommunication tower and tallest building in Iran, offering a spectacular view of Tehran
- Overnight at Tehran
Day 9: 9 July 2017 – Refugees, Poverty and last bits of Persia (難民、貧窮；與波斯文)
- Visit Children Center of Imam Ali Poverty Relief Society in Tehran, and Representative of UN Refugees Agency, the former is one of the most active NGOs in Iran focused on supporting street children, juvenile offenders, women, and refugees from neighboring war torn countries including Afghanistan and Syria. The occasion will also feature a representative from the UN Refuges Agency whom will shed light on his duties of handling refugees’ applications, and what is Iran’s role in the Middle East to mitigate refugees flows.
- Workshop on Persian Calligraphy (波斯書法), we will join a workshop to be conducted by a Persian Calligrapher and try to learn how to write Persian characters, which is the most eye-catching and fascinating manifestations of Persian culture.
- Free Time – Explore Tehran in final moments!
- Departure at midnight
End of Programme
*The above itinerary is for reference only and is subject to change. Registrants will receive a full itinerary with programme details via email.
*Note: Walk In Hong Kong (License No.: 353919) is the responsible tour operator of this programme.
13,500 HKD (1,730 USD)
Our Tour Fee includes
- Iran visa application
- Transportation in Iran
- Shared twin-room accommodation in Iran (9 nights)
- Meals in Iran as indicated on the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration)
- Local tour guide and one driver per group
- One Eastern Vision tour mentor per group
- All entry fees to museums
- Academic materials
Our Tour Fee excludes
- Extra meals or activities and souvenirs in Iran
- Tips to local tour guide and driver
- Travel Insurance*
- Transportation between Hong Kong (or your place of origin) and Tehran, Iran**
*An appropriate and adequate travel insurance is a condition of travelling to Iran with us.
**Our programme starts and ends at Tehran. You are free to arrange your own flights/trains to Iran upon confirmation of the tour. However, we also facilitate a separate, non-bundled Group Flight Option via our responsible tour operator if you depart from Hong Kong.
Further details will be provided in the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration).