Tour Modern Iran
Former Economist Tehran Correspondent and author, Christoper De Bellaigue, tracks the changes that have taken place since the Iranian Revolution and looks at where Iran is headed today.
Dates: Sat 15 –Sun 23 April, 2017
Single Supplement: £450.00
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The tour starts in Isfahan and heads into the mountains to Shahrekord, Iran’s highest city, before returning to Isfahan and to Qom and Tehran. We delve into the huge and varied contrasts of Iran today, from the fashionable young people of Tehran to the conservative seminaries of Qom. We visit key historical sites as well as areas rarely
seen by outsiders.
From the fall of the Shah, to the Iran-Iraq war and the more recent emergence of a reformist government, we explore all aspects of Iranian politics and society.
The tour is led by Christopher De Bellaigue, the author of the widely praised book Rose Garden of the Martyrs, a personal account of his time as a correspondent in Iran.
Like all our tours the itinerary is focused on current affairs. Events on the ground may change and the final schedule may be adjusted accordingly.
Day One: Arrival – Isfahan
Late night arrival in one of Iran’s most well known and beautiful cities. Overnight Isfahan.
Day Two: Isfahan – Shahrekord
An introduction to the tour ahead and mid-morning briefing with Christopher De Bellaigue on Iran today. We then depart for Shahrekord, the capital of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province and also known as the roof of Iran. At 2070 metres above sea level this is the highest city in Iran. Picturesque but also home to some major industries. Business leaders here are looking for investment and new markets as Iran seeks to open new ties with the West.
Day Three: Shahrekord – Isfahan
We continue our visit to Shahrekord with meetings with local leaders, before heading back down to Isfahan, we visit a local village and farming community. An opportunity to learn about the lives of ordinary Iranians away from the cities. Overnight Isfahan.
Day Four: Isfahan
Isfahah is one of Iran’s most beautiful and conservative cities. A visit to the the martyrs cemetery; victims of the Shah’s government are buried here as well as soldiers who fought in the Iran-Iraq war. Many here see themselves as a bulwark against creeping westernisation. Visit to the highlights of Islamic art in Iran including Naqsh-e Jahan square, a UNESCO world heritage site. Time off to visit the main mosques and the bazaar. An opportunity to Dinner with an Iranian family. Overnight Isfahan
Day Five: Qom & Tehran
North again to Qom, home of Iran’s leading theological schools. We get an overview of the different religious groupings in the state. Visit a private university and meet with the leadership of Qom’s main mosque. After Qom we head to Tehran via Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum, the father of modern Iran. Overnight near the Grand Bazaar, Tehran.
Day Six: Tehran
For our last three days of the tour we spend time looking at Iran’s system of government, its media, economy and relations with its neighbours. We visit Ettela’at one of Iran’s conservative newspapers and visit the newsroom. Meeting with a leading Iranian politician and former advisor to Ayatollah Khomeini. Followed by a visit to the former US embassy, where students held US diplomats hostage, a pivotal moment in the revolution. Overnight Tehran.
Day Seven: Tehran
As Iran re-establishes ties with the western countries, a wave of businesses and industries are hoping to expand. We meet with leaders in banking, finance and technology. A visit to the Shahs’ former palace and one of Iran’s many art museums.
Day Eight: Tehran
Meet with locals young and old for a diverse overview of life in the city. Visit the Grand Bazaar and time off to explore the city. Farewell dinner on Day Ten to discuss and review the tour. Overnight Tehran.
Day Nine: Return Home
Departures for the airport and flights home.
As on all our expert-led tours the groups are deliberately small and will not exceed 14 people. Main meals and accommodation are included in the price. Transport in Iran will be in a luxury coach with video facilities. We will not be taking any internal flights in Iran. Flights to Iran are not included in the price and need to be arranged by customers themselves or with an agent.
Michael Axworthy Revolutionary Iran
Christopher De Bellaigue Rose Garden of the Martyrs
David Buchan's Days of God. “Best history of the revolution.”
Kapuscinski's Shah of Shahs. “Superbly evocative of the early days of the revolution.”
Hooman Majd's The Ayatollah Begs to Differ. “Great insights into the way Iran works.”
For French readers, Yann Richard's L'Iran is an excellent modern history.
You can also read articles by Christopher De Bellaigue at christopherdebellaigue.com where there are lots of articles about Iran.