The Republic of Kurdistan

The Republic of Kurdistan. Sadly, does not exist. But it persists in the dreams of 20 million Kurds in the world. Seven million live in Iran, the rest live in Iraq, Turkey and Syria. They are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Kurds, in the past, suffer brutally in Turkey and…

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A Deafening Silence

‘A great silence overcomes me, and I would wonder why I ever thought to use language’ This is a well used line by Persian poet Rumi. He may have never been to the desert towns of north eastern Esfahan but his line could have been written specifically for them. Dasht-e Kavir is one of two…

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Sisters in Hoods

I wear a hejab in Iran. The country requires this of me. And I do, as requires. As I have done before, and as I will do again, in my life. Turns out, I dislike and like it. I dislike it; because it’s an order! The little bit of teenager that still resides in me,…

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The Cherry on Top … at Shushtar

We hear two antiquities call …. from 1000 kilometres away! We answer. And it’s up and over the Zagros Mountains we go. It’s a knotty spine of a mountain that halves Iran into a west and an east. Both these antiquities hang around a village called Shushtar. One is a set of ancient watermills from…

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Yazd – a simply beautiful Puzzle

Yazd is a Puzzle. She sits dead centre in Iran. A city of a half a million people, inhabited for 7000 years. But in a desert, with not a river in sight! Why! Why? Why, here in the glaring white of a desert? Why not, faraway there, along the green and blue hues of a…

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Fault Lines

Our trip to Tehran left us with many questions which we are unable to answer. What we are acutely aware of is that is not our place to pass judgement but rather to observe without prejudice. And remind ourselves that so often perceptions weigh at least as heavily as facts. And herein lies the conundrum….

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High on a Hill

On the slopes of the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran  a remarkable village dating back to 1006 ,  Masuleh , still bustles with life today. The unique ochre-brown structures of Masuleh resolutely follow the steep 60-degree slope of the mountain that the village nestles on—or rather, grows from—giving the village its most unusual quality…

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BIG little ARMENIA

Armenia may be a little country. But it is really BIG on grit! It stretches like a tadpole from north to south. Not a friend, or an ocean, in sight. Neighbours double down to douse, snuff out, smother and choke it. It’s a marvel Armenia is still on the world map. Just take at look!…

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Time Warp

I often listen to music while riding and a song called Time Warp ( Rocky Horror Picture Show) rings true as we pass through Armenia and Northern Iran. “It’s astounding; Time is fleeting; Madness takes its toll” With its gray identikit buildings, cars from another era and a pace of life long forgotten one could…

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Armenia – “The Ground beneath their Feet”

Footprints criss-cross a country. “We bear witness to history”! Large and small, old and new, they are. This way and that, over and under each other, they go. Some stroll, some march, some stagger, some stomp. It always bewilders. But in Armenia, two sets of bold footprints claim us! One set belongs to Christianity and…

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