Iran, the land of Multiculturalism
Iran is the land where various tribes belonging to a diverse geography and ecosystem lived for more than 10000 years. Any border you choose to enter to Iran you meet a unique culture. In the north, East, West, south and centre of this country different pastoralist nomad tribes have lived together with friendship and kindness.
Iranian people hospitality is well known throughout the world. This is a characteristic of nomadic lifestyle where people need to communicate and trade with one another on their semiannual migration route.
In the northwest of Iran, tribes and nomads of Kurdish and Azeri have lived their pastoralist way of life for thousands of years. Semiannual migration called Kooch is a way of life with unique characteristics that effected Iranian culture for centuries. Pastoralist nomads in search of pasture follow their herds in beautiful mountains. They live in their self-made black tents. They celebrate their weddings up to seven night and days, like in the legends. They serve their guests in the big beautiful white tent. You can see the liveliest and happiest colors beside the cultural patterns inside tents, on every day living tools or on women dresses.
Armenian and Assyrians.
Traveling to salt-water lake of Urumiah in Azerbaijan, you enter the home of Zorast the profit of Zorast religion, which is the first monogod religion in the history of the world. In this area many Armenian migrated from north and Assyrian migrated from west of Mesopotamia have lived for centuries and maintained their tradition too. You may attend Wardavar an Armenian celebration spraying water at each other or grape festival of Assyrians or many other beautiful ceremonies and celebrations. Armenian and Assyrians are the happiest people in this part of the land.
If you are a keen on ecotourism, you can visit Damavand mountain the tallest summit in Alborz mountain range. There is the nest of legendary bird called Symourq, which is an important character in the Iranian legends. After that, you can continue your trip from Alborz mountain range towards north on the coast of Caspian sea. About 900 km of coast line where Alborz is covered with foggy forests. There is Gillan province where Gilakki's lived their old history having a unique language, culture and old stories to tell. Gillakis are hard working people while they are very kind and patient. Women in this society usually have a higher status than men in many various skills of life. This is probably for the role they have in cultivating rise and therefore the economy of the family. You can visit many ceremonies and customs such as bull fighting, Gilaki's wresling, and farming celebrations with their happy sound and music.
The other province on the Caspian sea coast is Mazandaran. People celebrate their 1580 th of their Deilami or Tabarri calendar. They start their new year celebration with fire blazing, music and dances. This province is famous for its beautiful seasonal celebrations such as Teerma-Sabze (mid summer) and chelle-h night (longest night of the year). Traveling to Mazandaran, you can stay in a fishermen house on the water and enjoy verity of seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Next to Mazandaran locates Turkmen Sahara. This is where Kazaks lived for thousand of years. It is famous that in Gorgan flat in the month of Ordibehesht (April-May) when yellow flowers appear Turkmens fall in love. They have their unique language which is a dialect of Turkish and very unique culture. Nomads in this land have a more sophisticated tent structure with heavy-duty frame and round in shape. They have colorful carpets, tent furniture, brave girls and purebred horses.
If you direct your trip southward from Azerbaijan, you can follow Zagros mountain range. This is the oldest part of the country with oldest tribes. Azeri, Kurd, lur, lack, Bakhtiary, and Bouyerahmadi tribe are all from the same root. They also have a profound history and have always protected the Persian western borders.
From pasture to ""manaske ab""
You probably saw the film called "pasture" by C.Clark. A documentary film about nomadic life. Although life is not as hard as those days but still nomads travel with horse, donkey, and on foot over the semi annual migration route. You can pass some time or even stay the night with the kind tribal people in their tent on their route while you enjoy the breath taking scenery.
If you travel farther south, you reach the biggest Iranian river, Karun on the west side of Khuzestan province. This is the land of mandai tribe. They are followers of Ibrahim the profit. Speaking with their unique language, they are mostly involved in gold design and handcraft art. Their culture is connected with the Karun currents. There you see olive trees, diverse delicious seafood dishes and they dress in white. These elements are all affecting the Mandais culture.
Farther south on the Persian gulf coast you reach Hormozgan province. This is where warm-blooded khuzestani people with a diverse ethnicity live. Their lifestyle and trading with neighboring countries and Iran's provinces made them a multicultural society. African, Indian or even European have traveled and lived in this part of the country for centuries and they wouldn’t feel stranger here. You can attend the Zar festival a ceremony full of dance and music to cure all diseases, have seafood and enjoy a boat ride on the blue Persian Gulf.
Continue your trip eastward on the Persian gulf coast, you reach Systan and Baluchestan province. This remote part of the country borders with Pakistan. Cultural elements can be found from south to north. Baluchis have a music for each stage of their life. Their beautiful handicraft is covered with mysterious patterns. In Baluchi culture guests are very respectable. Among Baluchis is famous that even enemy when come to front of the tent or the door they would be served as a guest. It is interesting to know that in Baluchi culture when a fight for any reason starts among men a respectful woman can stop it by throwing her scarf or head cover in between the fight and men to respect her would stop the fight. At last you can end your tour around Iran at Khurasan, the Macao of shied-e Muslim. This old province is the home of many philosophers and scientists such as Hakim Omar Khayyam, Ferdosi, and Attar-E Neyshapouri. Mashhad City, the centre of the province, is where you can find great architect.
Of course provinces such as Yazd in the centre of the country with spectacular handcraft and architect and Esfahan the capital of culture and art and Kerman province where mountain and desert meet shouldn’t be forgotten.
At last we wish you a wonderful trip in wonderland and see you among Iranian tribes and nomads soon.