News ID: 115669
Published: 0311 GMT April 15, 2015

Foreigners charmed by Iranian sights, hospitality

Foreigners charmed by  Iranian sights, hospitality

Experts and officials believe the increasing number of foreigners travelling to Iran is the outcome of the Iranian government's success in improving diplomatic relations and achieving the nuclear framework with the world powers on April 2.

On April 9, 72 foreign tourists entered Iran via the Golden Eagle Danube Express, which started the journey from Budapest, Hungary.

They visited Khoy, Zanjan, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran aboard the train before flying back to Budapest.

A second group of 56 passengers arrived simultaneously in Tehran on a flight and will travel to those cities on board the luxury train before making their way back to Hungary’s capital through Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. 

Speaking to Iran Daily in exclusive interviews, some of the two groups’ tourists expressed amazement at Iran's exceptional beauty, nature, art, culture, architecture and people, and elaborated on their impressions.


Carl Freitag, Canada: Iran's civilization is outstanding


I’m from Sidney, Canada. I’ve always wanted to see the Middle East countries, particularly Iran. What is outstanding about the country is that it has an old civilization.

Before I travelled to the country, I knew that there will be many nice things to see and I was not going to just see the sands. I have a couple of friends who had visited Iran earlier and another one whose father used to work in the country in the late 80s. They were all pleased with their experiences in Iran.

In Canada, there are quite a few Iranians. Canada consists of people with different nationalities. So far on this trip, I have had no qualms and concerns. I came to enjoy the country and its people. Up to now, my trip has been so great. We came to Iran through Dubai.

Iranian people are very nice. We came to Iran by plane and are leaving on a tour train.

I’ve been to about 80 countries. What I have found so far is that the news never tells you anything about a country. It is all set up to sell the newspapers.

All the people I have met in your country up to now are nice. Iran most probably has more fascinating things to see compared with most of the countries around here.

Before travelling to Iran, I stayed in Turkey for two weeks. That country was also very outstanding. But Iran’s most outstanding feature is its old age civilization.

In this short period we are going to stay in Iran, I would really love to see highlights of ancient Persia. So far, the impression I have received from your country and people has been excellent.

I’m going to tell my countrymen to go and visit Iran. Iran and Turkey are the only two Middle East countries that I have always been, and will be, really interested in visiting. 


Margaret Anderson, USA: Iranian-Islamic art is unique


I am from Berkley, California. I am a history professor at the University of California in Berkley. My specialty is Europe and Germany.

So far, my trip has been exciting and wonderful. The beauty of this country has surprised me because I had expected mostly deserts.

When I visited Turkey I was amazed by the country and their Islamic Art, but Iranian art is so much more refined. I know that the monuments and mosques I saw in Istanbul are nothing compared to those of Isfahan. You should really visit the city to see the gorgeous art displayed in its monuments. I visited the 'Ladies’ Mosque' and 'Friday Mosque' in Isfahan.

We started the tour of other Iranian cities at Yazd, which I found very interesting. And then, we went to Isfahan. We also visited Persepolis in Shiraz, Fars province. We didn’t go to Tabriz though I’d have loved to visit.

After crossing the Iranian border, we first arrived at Khoy in West Azarbaijan province. I actually have read letters of Germans who were in Khoy from 1902-16. They ran a missionary school and a clinic there. I never though I would see the city. It was so beautiful.

The people of Iran, everywhere, including the children, are the most lovely and darling. They always say, “Hello, hello…” and even these children know a little English.

I am in fact very much in favor of the new agreement between Iran and P5+1, which will hopefully result in the removal of the Western sanctions imposed on the country and resumption of relations.

Before arriving in Iran, however, I had expected a very serious country where everybody is serious all the time and instead I found them to be like Italians. They are like fun, loving and happy.

I also love Persian rugs and have some at home.


Francesco Brioschi, Italy: Iranian people are exceptional


(Brioschi is a tourist who was not among the passengers of Golden Eagle Danube Express.)

I am from Milano, Italy. So far on this trip, I have visited Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd. It is as if everything in Iran is beautiful and nice, particularly the Iranian people who are exceptional. They are very friendly and intelligent. I like them a lot.

I am not in Iran only for tourism, but also for business.

On April 14, 2015, I met Mehdi Firouzan, the managing director of the Iran’s Book City, to discuss a joint venture we are currently planning.

Back in Milano, I have a publishing house for children. I also used to teach math. Yesterday, I visited Professor Mehdi Behzad, a prominent mathematician of Iranian origin specializing in graph theory at the Iranian Academy of Sciences.

This is the second time I am visiting Iran. The first time was in November 2014. Before I personally saw your country, I did not appreciate Iran and its people the way I do now.

Among the Iranian cities and monuments I have been to and visited so far, Isfahan and Persepolis (Fars province) have been the most beautiful and impressive ones, respectively.

Tehran, though, is a little bit messy because too many cars ply the streets. The air is also a bit polluted. Of course, today is a beautiful day and the weather is really nice.


Willem van Hoorn, the Netherlands: Iran has rich culture


I’m from the Netherlands. So far, I’ve had a good time in Iran and look forward to some sightseeing in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad though I have visited them before and have really good memories of them.

This is the second time I’m in the country. The first time was 30 years ago. When you walk around in Tehran's streets, people are always willing to talk with you in English.

Iran has a very rich culture and an ancient history, which make the country more appealing to visit.

I entered Iran on April 12, 2015.


Joe Chandler, USA: Iran a nice country


I am 77 years old and from North Carolina in the US. At present, I have retired but I used to be a medical doctor.

I have had a good time in Iran so far. Iran is a very nice country.

Before I came to Iran, I read a great deal about the country in books. I knew that Iranian people are very nice, which turned out to be true. They are really friendly.

I also have a friend who has been here before. She also said the same thing about the country. We are going to visit Mashhad, Shiraz and Tabriz by train.


Gary Tudor, England: Iran nothing like the Western media reports


I am from England and I am a family doctor. I have enjoyed my trip a lot so far.

Iran is one of the countries I have always wanted to visit. It has been a great experience so far. The people are really friendly. It is a country rich in history.

I have several Iranian friends back in England. When I talked to them about Iran, I really became interested in the country and decided to visit it personally to experience the things I had heard from my friends.

In addition to its rich history, Iran has a large number of places which are architecturally important and many beautiful heritage sites.

 I think it is a country that has not been understood well. Only after visiting the country, you can understand it more.

It is the first time I’m in the country. Iran is nothing like what some Western media show.

Before I fly to Iran, several people said, "Man, you are brave to go and visit the country.” However, it is quite different.

Iran is a safe and friendly country and the people seem great. They are very interested in the country’s political issues, particularly the nuclear talks.

I have come on the tour as a doctor in case anybody needed medical care. I do a lot of traveling, so I sometimes do travel jobs out of interest.

The tourism industry is about to become a lot more popular. People are looking for somewhere different to go, by which I mean new countries. I think at present, Iran is coming on the tourist map. Therefore, more people would like to come and visit.


Fiammetta Carrena, Italy: Iranians the country's most wonderful feature


I’m from Rome, Italy. I am a playwright. My favorite genre is comedy.

This trip has so far been really wonderful, though I have only been to Kashan which I liked a lot. In Kashan, the old houses and gardens were very stunning. Iran is a wonderful country.

I arrived in Tehran on April 13 so I have not seen much in this city. But the people are very friendly, generous and nice. The architecture is wonderful.

I emphasize again that the Iranian people are the most interesting and wonderful feature of the country, though the houses, buildings and mosques are unique and fabulous, too.

I have visited lots of countries but Iranian monuments and tourist sites are absolutely unique. Before I traveled to Iran, I was sure that the country will be a beautiful place to visit. But now that I am visiting it personally, I think it is much more beautiful and interesting than what I had in mind.

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