Zarafshan – Tulips for Mothers

In 2018 while studying at Dehkhoda, I learned by word of mouth a story about Zarafshan Street (خیابان زرافشان) in Eivanak (ایونک), west Tehran which was full of thousands of tulips (لاله /lā’leh/). Apparently one had to see these flowers to appreciate them. I took a taxi there to see for myself. Despite the sky […]

Reading Hafez at Dehkhoda

گرچه منزل بس خطرناک است و مقصد بس بعیدهیچ راهی نیست کآن را نیست پایان، غم مخور Though the house be very dangerous and the destination very far,There is no road that has no end, don’t grieve Mohammed Shams olDin Hafez (1315-1390), sometimes called ‘Hafez of Shiraz’ or ‘Hafez Shirazi’ in English or more usually […]

Iranian handicrafts exhibition, and Iranian cloths

I heard through the grapevine (درخت انگور /de’rakht’e an’goor/) about the 32nd National Handcrafts Exhibition at the Tehran International Exhibition Center, not far from me in Velenjak. Iran generally uses the American spelling of the word ‘centre’. (Incidentally there is a ‘Centre Street’ in New York). This exhibition centre is huge. I took a minicab […]

Tochal 2019

In July 2019 in Velenjak, at about 6,000 feet, it was perhaps 35ºC, and the air was a little bit cloudy. But I decided I would go to the peak of Tochal again anyway. The issue with the clouds concerns visibility. I had no doubts that I would be able to reach the summit, but […]

Cafe Godot

I spend a fair amount of time on Enqelab Avenue as it and its side roads have many bookshops. And I’ve come to realise that I am something of a book enthusiast. I often start walking at the junction with Vali Asr Street on the north side and head towards Enqelab Square. This takes me […]

Learning Persian at Dehkhoda

I had learned some Persian in London. I had visited Iran and spoken some Persian with Iranians. I took the plunge: I decided to study Persian full time in Iran at Dehkhoda. The application process took some time, but eventually my visa was issued. I organised a flight, and then one day I arrived in […]

My First Visit to Iran – Tehran

This is series of several posts about my first visit to Iran. On the 2nd of June (12 Khordad) 2011 I arrived at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) flying with now-defunct British Midland Airways, arriving at almost 4am. I stayed at the Laleh Hotel which is roughly in the centre of Tehran. I had emailed […]

Death of an ant

Sadface and the other piglets were living in a semi-bucolic world. To one side, where they mostly stayed, was an orchard behind a wire fence with a hole large enough for all the piglets to scramble through. There was the road, of course, and its human-created dangers in the form of fast moving machines and […]

Sadface and Cyclops

Sadface’s best friend was a black and white cat called Cyclops. They often played together. They were both young skinny kittens of about the same age. Cyclops had his own house, constructed under a heap of branches. He would often repose nonchalantly in his den. Other times he would leap out, run down and greet […]

Tochal 2016

Tochal is a mountain with a ski resort at the very edge of north Tehran. It’s a very popular destination for Tehranis to come to walk and relax, and a place to escape the hubbub of the city. The first level, called the Roof of Tehran, is only 2 miles (about 3.2 km) from the […]

Dehkhoda Institute in brief

The full name for Dehkhoda Institute is Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute and International Center for Persian Studies, named after Ali Akhbar Dehkhoda (1879-1956). Most people use the simpler term ‘Dehkhoda Institute’. It is located on Vali Asr Street near to Tajrish in northern Tehran. Its name implies it has two main functions. The first function is […]

Āshura 2016

Islam has a prominent place in Iranian society. One of the most important festivals in Shia Islam is Āshura (عاشورا‎), which is on the 10th of the Islamic month of Moharram. On the 10th of October 680 AD (corresponding to the 10th of Moharram 61 AH) Hussein Ibn Ali, a grandson of Mohammed, was killed […]