One Day in Tehran

A few European tourists visit Tehran, the capital city of Iran. To their astonishment, they find this huge, bustling metropolis a far cry what they expected.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: “My name is Marion; I’m from Hamburg in Germany; I’m 28 years old. I’m travelling for 4 years now and I started this journey after I completed my studies to be a carpenter. I travel because I’m interested in other cultures, in other people, I want to see how people look in the world, how people work in the world I hope to learn new techniques about carpentry and other works during my travels.…At the moment I spend my time in Iran. I visited different cities in Iran and now I came to Tehran, and I’m curious about this place. It’s one of the biggest towns I’ve ever been to. I hope to meet some local people here.



- Are you foreigner?

- Yes

-Where are you from?

- From hamburger in Germany.

- I like Germany. My name is Javad.

- Nice to meet you.

-Me too.

- Tell about Iran, people.

- Iranian people are very open minded, and try to make fast contacts, many people greet and just say hello mister! How are you? Ad it’s easy to find somebody who helps you foe showing you…

- In Russia, the most people, if you don’t speak Russian, I know a bit Russian but in the first time I didn’t know that much, and if the people recognize you have no common language, they think they cannot communicate. And in Russia I was invited to home of people for tea but not that often and not that easy. But in Iran it happened to me every day that somebody asked me…

-Do you like it to walk?-

- Yes

- So, get up.

- Do you know about this?


- These are about a prophet and his son. One of the prophets that the governor of his era wants to burn him and they made a big mountain of wood and wanted to drop him in the fire and when they wanted to drop him, then the fire turned to trees and flowers and something like this and he never burned in fire. And these are the symbols of that happen.

-I know the story.

- You know the story?

-Yes, it’s in all the world’s religions the same. Jewish, Christian, Muslims they all have this story.

- Nice to meet you.

-You’re welcome.

-And thank you for your explanations.

- Thank you. So… take care.

- Welcome to Germany one day. Khodahafez.

- Take care and I send your photos for you, as a Christmas gift. Nice to meet you.

-Khodahafez. Bye

- Bye.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: “Today was weekend. It was a good day for staying in a Park where people can spend their free time, many of them will work the next days; I got a bit of their free time. I think, it’ll be also interesting to see how people work in this town.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [English], David, Czech Republic Tourist:




-You have extremely great mountains around.

- excuse me. Where are you from?

- I’m from check republic… yes ,yes . It’s in Europe.

-sit down here

- Alright… Alright.

- no no no...There is no money. Take it easy, you are our guest.

- Alright, thank you then, thank you.

- We are very very glad of your meeting!

- And I’m glad of meeting with you!

- My name is David.

- And your last name?

- Last name? Tesinsky!

- She is my daughter.

-OK, Hello Daughter!

- And she is my cousin’s daughter.

- Lovely, lovely kids!

-It’s my first time here, I haven’t been up, but it seems I will go up today.

- I can say some information about Milad, the height is about 440 meters,

-440 meter?

- yes, at first, at the beginning of building it was the fourth tower in the world.

-have you any pollution in our country?

- Yeah but not as big like here. In here it’s crazy

- You live in Czech?

- Yes, in Prague, the capital. We also have pollution but not as big, like you cannot see it in the town. It’s still clear, little bit, sometimes, but most of the times it’s clear.

- In Tehran, There are 17 million people.

- Over than 17.

- that’ why, because in Praha, my city, there is 1.5.

-1 million? That’s Ok.

- can you change your hat?

- Ah, sure! Let change the hats.

- For taking photography. Ok?

- Let’s do it man.

- You hair is like our daughter.

-Yes! We’re like brothers and sisters.

- Alright, Thank you. One more, one more! While those little girls taking picture of me and iPhone! That’s awesome!

- Thank you…. alright. Here is Iran flag and Iran tiger. Alright, Thanks man.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Alexi, Russian Tourist: “I can’t say that sightseeing is the most exciting thing for me but now we are in a place that is really pretty famous among Tehranians.

This palace is a cinema museum. And actually the reason why people come here is because they all enjoy the atmosphere that is here and they enjoy the Park, the small park here, they say that it’s really beautiful in the spring, and it’s always different colors, different threes, and different bushes.

So Iranians enjoy… I mean Tehranians enjoy to come here.

- Where are you from?

- I’m from Russia.

- Oh, welcome to cinema museum. Do you enjoy the garden?

- Yes very much. Actually it’s a very beautiful place and it’s a very famous place, a lot of people in Tehran told me that this place is really beautiful. This place was used actually by the king. The shah has constructed here as a hunting space, so it was far from the city. Right now, it’s one of the most famous busiest parts of the city. It’s Tajrish and its fancy neighborhood.2 centuries ago this place was empty. So this guy decided to construct his beautiful palace here, to be able to retreat from crowed of the city.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Alexi, Russian Tourist: This is the stature of Ibn-e-Heissam, Iranian Muslim scientist. He’s known as a optics, mathematician, astronomer, and he has ideas about making a camera, and photography. The cmera, making by himself base on his ideas. Please let’s go to another statue of Sohrevardi.

- The building itself is very beautiful and maybe it’s a unique building for Tehran because it looks very European. So that’s unusual for Tehran and Tehrani architecture. Maybe I should come back in may and enjoy this place even more.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: “My name is Dario, I’m 19 years old and I’m from Germany. Last year I finished my high school and I got a book from a French guy who walked from France to china. It took him three years and he also walked through Iran. In this book he was writing about Iran, the culture, about the hospitality of the people and all this big history of Persia. So after this book I was very curious about Iran, and I wanted to go there, yes I didn’t want to miss this on my way.

- And this is from Qur’an?

- Yes from Qur’an, from Islam.

- This is hand work?

- Yes they’re made by hand.

-And it’s for tea?

- For tea, yes.

- And it works with Gas or fire?

- Carbon.

- ah, Ok….and it’s Iranian traditional bird?

- Ziba (beautiful)…ziba

-In Germany we don’t have these bazaars. We just have big shopping centers and super markets. So it’s very different kind of shopping here. And here it’s so alive, everything. All this small streets, walking through all this small shops. The owners of the shops always talk to you personally. And give you advices. So, it’s really,… yeah… something different from Germany.

- So, what is written here?

- Allah.

- Allah?

- perfume Iranian.

- From Iran?

-These are expensive? Because of the material or…

- Material.

- This shop is from your family? I can see there is a picture.

- 120 year old.

- And always selling like this?

- Yes.

- Thank you.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: “Another one please. Would you like one as well? Eat it… enjoy!

- What’s your opinion about my husband? Is he beautiful…handsome?

- I think he is handsome. He seems to me…

Iran is a great country for travelling. You have high mountains wit snow.

You have deserts, seas and jungles… everything at the same time. And towns, nice towns also many nice people.

People in Europe don’t know or are afraid of coming to here or travelling here. Because they don’t know anything!

- Would you like to marry an Iranian girl?

- If I love her, and if she loves me…

- She loves you… yes!

-Genetically, Iranians like to live with each other, they don’t want to stay alone.

- Can we invite you to our house?

- Yes, maybe later but yeah…

- Me and my husband, will be glad.

Khodahafez (goodbye)”

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: “For tomorrow they invited me, so I guess I’ll visit them tomorrow, because That’s why ‘m in Iran, to meet people, to get in contact with people to see how people live and how they create the life and it’s always a difference, when you see people outside in the park and meet them in public or to meet them at home where they creat their own living space.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: Yeah, in this bazaar, you can really feel that all this things, there was somebody to make all these things and there was someone who made this things by hands, also another nice thing about bazaar is that you can find all different kinds of herbs and you can see they are all packaged by hand and you can buy as much as you want for a little price.

-Hi, what’s your name?

- Dario; what’s your name?

-Dario? I’m Martin.

- Nice, and where do you come from?

-We’re from Sweden,

- Nice.

-Yeah… we’re here, I think we’re twelve.

- Twelve from Sweden, did you come by airplane to Tehran?

-Yes, yesterday.

-Why are you here in Iran?

- We are going to attend my friend’s wedding, my childhood friend is getting married to an Iranian girl.

- Ok, So I wish you a nice time here.

-For eating.

-Delicious, Sheep’s milk. It’s for making Ash-e-Reshteh and other cuisines.

- It’s edible. Kabab.

-Hmm…Very sour, yes.

-It’s used for kebab they add it to kebab.

- It’s for Chai?


- Oxtongue, Qovato, a product from Kerman. Gives you energy and strength.

-Ok, Thank you.

- Be my guest, Thanks a lot. Goodbye.

-Good bye.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: “So today I visited a bazaar in Tehran and it’s always nice experience here in middle east to see that bazaars ,like the traditional building over the bazaar, all the small shops with different kinds of things. These fancy gifts to buy.”

SOUNDBITE [English], David, Czech Republic Tourist: “Today I experienced kind of random stuff around this Tower. It’s really high and I met some random people also. In this nice place, around nomads. From Azerbaijan, They are making the bread kind of Indian style, but more Azerbaijan style.

- Like Indian style!

- Not there, not there, sit over there.

- It’s Ok.

- No, its wet over there, you gonna catch cold.

It’s an amazing job why not?

-flying style, I’m not sure is I want to try it.

- she has fifteen years of experience in this job!

- Ok

- She is an experienced woman.

- David, slowly pleases! Why you are in hurry?

- Ok, I’m not in hurry. It’s just my life.

- You should learn from him!

- Yes!

- Mr. David, That’s delicious, yeah?

- Yeah! It’s like Japati, Indian Japati.

-are you gonna be around until night?

-until night, you are here?

- Yeah, for a while, I think I’ll be here. I’ll go up and I see around.

- You want to go there by the elevator?

- Yeah, I think so, I’m too lazy to go there by walk.

Yes there are elevators, in the middle of the tower.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Alexi, Russian Tourist: “Hey

- Hi


-Oh, that was a nice day in this nice coffee shop. We started early in the morning and we had enough time to, I had enough time to experience the atmosphere of just a regular place, regular coffee shope. I would say That it has much in common to what people are used to in other countries.

It’s just a place where people want, not only just to eat or drink or to have their breakfast. It’s a place for I would say, socialization, when they meet their friends, or have the business meeting on.

- Have you ordered?

- Actually yes, but I don’t know what. So I just wanted to, you know, try something new but I don’t know what. I know some Iranian meals.

- Some traditional?

- Yeah,… but I’m always up for something new.

-it’s very good. I hope will like it.

- Yeah me too.

- That’s a nice atmosphere here. And I would say it’s pretty relaxed and sometimes I have feeling that people can stay here half of the day and keep ordering different sweets and drinks… just enjoy spending time together.

- Oh, Thank you. What is this?

- We call it Shiraz, but we usually serve it as a cold drink, but now, just like tea.

- Yes.

- Tea from Shiraz,

- Yes, there is borage inside it and there is honey and hot water.

It’s very fantastic, you should try it. But before you try it, you should mix it…the honey here… you should mix it.

- Ok, well, thanks.

- And just tell me if you like it?

- Ok, yeah, that’s cool.

- Just tell me and explain me how to make that delicious Shiraz drink?

- Yes, sure, show you if I want to show you will have to come back.

- Yes, with pleasure, I would like to join you. Anyway, what is your name? I’m Alexi.

- I’m Hamid, nice to meet you too.

- Hamid, can you tell me some more about these herbs, because actually I’m quite excited about the variety of the tastes.

- For example, this time of the day, is close to noun time , so we have to choose a drink which would be suitable for this time of the day….yeah… usually, people when they eat their lunch they have problems with sleeping, they get very dizzy, sleepy, they don’t have enough energy.

- I understand what are you talking about.

- This one, is called Golsa .

-To bring them back to life.

- A little bit, yeah,

- This is Golsa and it’s very good for noun time.

We use the borage, it’s a very healthy drink, Specially with honey or Oximun.

- Here people are very nice and especially Hamid who helped us with the herbs.

-This is really very friendly and warmly to explain me everything that I wanted to know.

-I appreciate it. This is a very positive experience for me… communication with people here, cool!

- add honey to it.

- Cool.

- Actually you know, a good way to how to choose the most delicious Ice cream, if there are different types of Ice-cream and you don’t know which to choose, I always choose the one that almost no more has left, because if people know that this is the most delicious , they always take it. So, if I was to choose between these herbs, I think this is the most delicious one, Because there is almost nothing left.

- Yeah, everyone wants to drink it because the taste is great and has a great smell also.

- This is very good for sleeping at nights. It has a great taste.

- And it’s the same that spring orange?

- Yes, spring orange, it’s the same, the same as that.

-That’s the real difference. It’s really different from cafes worldwide, here They serve not only tea and coffee but a lot of herbal drinks.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

-Ok, here is just a little bit of color, but it’s not very obvious, yeah? And now,

- So what? How much do we need? Just one half?

- Yes. Just one half.

-Ok, you have to see if it changes. Do you see the color is changing?

- Yeah!

- A lot of other jars with different dried flowers, and blossoms that they use as herbal tea. And of course they believe that… people believe that it can help for certain diseases. I wish it helps.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: I was at the place where they keep some horses, and children ride horses. And I got in contact with the keeper of the horses and he showed me how to brush them, how to set the saddle. I could give some water to the horses, this was interesting.

This is the central park of Tehran and its name is Aab-o-Atash. The north part of the park is Ibrahim. The middle part is Aab-o-Atash, the south we have three legs, when you look down from an airplane, you can see the Caspian sea.

- I came not by an aircraft!

- And down in the south we have Norouz park.

-Have you been riding here before or not?

- Just very short, a long time ago, in Germany

-It’s comfortable for you.

- How old are you?

- Twenty eight.

- Go Mah-banoo!

- What kind of sports have you done in your life?



- canopollo

- Ah, the sea sports!

- And you are a good sea man?

- Yes I suppose.

But my first ride failed a bit because the horse had pain and also after he tried to clean the feet of the horse, it was not still not really good for the horse as I understood, so I just had a short ride, of course I’m not used to ride. I grew up in a town without horses.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: “Where are you from?

- I’m from Germany.

-Germany, Welcome; welcome to my country.

- I really like this geometry.

- And I’m wondering about these cases.

- Khatam… that art’s name is Khatam.

- How do you produce this?

- You see my friend. The Khatam is made of different woods , the brown ones and this white parts are the camel bones. Bones from camel come together and are cut slice by slice and put in the frame of the wood or the box or different material and make the Khatam.

-They make a picture, Iranian pictures which are cal Miniature or this one, is Tadzhib. You can see it over the mosques.

- Yes, it’s a special geometry.

- And these are handmade?

- Yes one of the Iranian arts, their name is Mina. We have Iranian dresses, you wanna see?

- Yes

- For women and men. Come here.

- You see, it’s one of those, you can try it.

- Yes.

- It’s beautiful, you can test it.

- With this.

- I like the color.

- Yeah, that color is beautiful.

- And from which animal is this?

-It’s wool, the quality….the wool.

- And… it’s a hat. Now you are an original Iranian.”

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: “From which part of Iran is this?

- This is made in Gilan and Mazandaran. .. exact Gilan. And the shirt, from Fars. And the quality is natural and your hat is from Gilan, Fuman

- so the owner of the shop explained me how this things are produced, how long it take to make such things and this is interesting because in Europe, we don’t have this things, they are just imported and we don’t know how these are produced who has produced them so that was nice to see this.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Alexi, Russian Tourist: “I say that in different countries people respect their traditions, people respect their crafts, their traditional arts, and Iran is not an exception but here, people seem to love their traditional art so seriously that I’ve never seen it before anywhere else. People traditional music, people love their musical instruments that are very old and only exists in Iran.

- Hello my friend.

- sallaam! hello. My name is Alexi

- My name is Nima. nice to meet you

- Nice to meet you.

- Where are you from?

-- I’m from Russia.

- Oh you’re from Russia, very good. Which part of Russia?

- From the capital, Moscow.

- do you like Iranian art?

- Well, Like I said, I don’t know much about Iranian art.

- Iranian art is very big and hug for Iranians… from many many years ago till right now. And we are trying to improve our art, in our place, we have a small place to show the Iranian art, and we have another stuff, another products that new Iranian artists make. It’s like a combination between modern art and traditional art of Iran. See; it reads:

Your love made my solid body like a flying feather/ and mountains started to dance swiftly.

It’s a poem,

Get drunk! When you are going to join the drinkers you should get drunk

It’s also a poem from Molana, do you know him?

- Molavi, or Rumi?

- Yes I’ve heard of him

-I’m glad that it exists. The shop seller told me that they keep buying these and use as souvenirs for foreigners and also the souvenirs that people give each other in different holidays.

- Do you really like it?

- Yes actually it’s very beautiful. And it’s useful.

- You can have it as a gift. My gift to you.

-Ok, let me buy it!

- No, I wanna give it as a gift to you.

- I know about Ta’arof! So please…

- No, there is no ta’arof here, because we are doing business here,

- Alright thank you very much.”

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUNDBITE [English], Marion, German Tourist: “When I was writing, suddenly a family or a man, father of a family which was sitting close to me on the grass, stood up and asked me if I liked to come to them and have a tea with them. And of course I took this opportunity and sat down, took of my shoes, because they had a nice blanket on the grass.

- What is your name?

- Oh, sorry I didn’t introduce myself, Marion.

- Yes, tell him,

- He is my father...

-Glad to meet you

- He is my uncle, my sister, my mother, my aunt.

- It’s my own sandwich!

- Tell him we are a seventy- people family!

- When we go picnicking in Sizdah-be-dar, we speared a long mattress all much fun! Translate it! I want him to know!!

- Zahra, ask him if he likes tea, if they drink tea regularly.

- Do you like drinking tea?

- Yes I like! That’s a good culture to drink tea every day, all day.

- Tell him I think his hair is beautiful, I wish my hair was like his.

- My dad said my hair is very nice.

- Hair… beautiful! Excellent! I like it!

- Thank you!

-I wish I don’t jinx you and make you bald! When I was young my hair was just like you, but now I’m hairless!

- In Germany it’s not so dark like this.

- Would you take off your hat? Your hat!

-once I had long hair like this, but now… bald!

- Ok let’s ask our question one by one, otherwise he’ll become confused!

- What did you write?

-Aha, there?

- I write my diary.

- What time do you like? In football?

- You know Sankt Pauli?

- Zahra, ask him if he knows Ali Dayi?

- Do you know about Ali Dayi?

- Ali Dayi is first ranked striker in the world! He is Iranian. He comes from my city, he is a Turk.

- Iranian football player?

- Yes Iranian foot ball player.

- How about Mahdavi Kia? He used to play in German teams. A few years in Bellefit, right?

- From which city are you coming from?

-Hamburg, the very north of Germany.

- It’s a port, isn’t it? 39:41

- is it common for you to come here on Fridays with the family?

- Yes.

- is it common? You go every week?

- No, but once a month or twice a month.

- But it’s somehow common.

- would you like fruit rolls?

- Here, enjoy!

- Try it. Eat this one.

- I don’t wanna be rude but you gonna be sick after eating all these different things at the same time!

- is it delicious?

- Yes delicious!

- It’s home- made. Here have some orange!

- I’m full, thank you!

- I wish you’ll find a great woman to live happily with! Did he understand what I said? I’m not sure!

-Take some more fruit roll. Put them in your pocket and eat them later! Here, take some!

- Thank you!

- Welcome.

-They live together in a building, as I understood and I the whole family together with the grandmother, which is a common thing in Iran I guess and it’s usual as other people told me to live at your parent house until you leave and have your own family.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Dario, German Tourist: “Today I went to a bazaar, it’s located in north of Tehran, in Tadjrish square, right next to this holy shrine of Imamzade- Saleh.

- And when I went in, it was like… many people had come to this place to pray.

- People here in Iran, are different, like, everyone is wearing Hijab, for sure and also the Chador was very new to me. I didn’t see it in turkey more than few times.”

SOUNDBITE [English], David, Czech Republic Tourist: “I feel so high now!


- Hello, how are you? Are you fine?

- I’m fine, How are you?

- Would you like me to paint your picture?

- Alright, that can work,

- What is your name?

- David.

-David, in Persian or Arabic is Davood.

- Yes, I already met Davood and there is this.

- It’s especial work for you.

-oh, ok, I only photograph.

- Ah, you’re a photographer?

- Yes, I’m looking for specialties.

- Here?

- Yes because I think we can find special people in every country.

- Making cartoons and painting was my fantasy when I was a child. .

- In your life, how long you…

- Since I was 7 or 8. Colors are my love. I love colors,; my world is full of colors. My dreams are full of colors.

- This is good.

- Sorry, what’s your eye’s color?

- It’s brown.

- Could you look up in the air? Thank you.

- You can see a lot of details if you can paint.

- You are traveling.

TIME CODE: 40:00_46:00

- This is Milad tower, far away.

- Where we are? In the middle?

- We are in here,

- Ah.. In this one!

- Actually it reminds of somebody.

- What?

- He reminds of somebody. I think he looks like somebody that I know.

-Seriously man!

- I will definitely, remember this. Just a caricature version of me. Craziness! Thank you man!

- You’re welcome.

-Seriously I know him man!

- My name is Hamoon. That’s finished.

- Thank you very much man! It’s really crazy!

- Nice to meet you.

- Nice to meet you too! Bye man!”

SOUNDBITE [English], Alexi, Russian Tourist: “Well, now we are, in kind of a movie theater. Every movie theater has a place here the magic happens. And this is this place, one of the movie theaters that one of the movie theaters in Tehran.

This device is called Aparat. Aparat system is used for the movies which have been taped on the 35mm negatives. It’s made in Germany, and the brand is called Kyoton.

But why do you still have it? If you don’t use it why do you still have it?

In case we want to show old movies. After all, it’s a part of history of cinema now.

And here saw the old style and the new style, the digital one. It feels weird when you see how modern time, modern era places the previous time. The change of the generations I would say, the change of movie production.

The negative are ready like this, a big ring. Now we have to stick this part.

- Should I do it manually?

- This helps us to get the first head of the negative , the beginning of movie.

- I don’t understand!

- It returns the first.

- But am I supposed to do it only by hands?

- So, Samad Deljou, kindly shows me to work with that machine and had my first skills of using this obsolete machine. That was a pretty nice experience.

- It’s name is Bubin.

- hmmm. That’s funny.

This is called Baraban and this one is rolling you need to insert the negative in here.

- It’s so funny that all the terms that I used here, are just the same in Russian language so I don’t need any translation, Certainly the same things, like Baraban, Bubin and Apart, it’s so funny that these words are the same in Russian.

-When you stay in a small room you can watch the movie from a tiny window, from Apart-Khuneh. Tha’s unusual, That’s unusual!

-Everyone is used to sit in a salon and to watch it from the big screen, but now I know something, about the people in the salon, and I won’t be the same again after that!

- Oh, That’s probably the city of Tehran. It feels good to be here at Milad tower and see all those lights. It’s a huge feeling, in a huge town, really huge town. I saw smaller towns than Tehran… like any small village is much smaller than Tehran!

One of the thing that has become very clear to me during my travel, Is the importance of the present moment. Because such a big time we spend worrying about things which have happened in the past or could happen in the future or we want to happen in the future. But the present moment, is basically the only point where we can actually live. We cannot live in the past; we cannot live in the future. So, the most I can, I try to give full importance to the challenges that I have in the present moment.

I was now one day in Tehran. I met many people, but I saw just a small part of the city and the meetings were quite short. So I guess I have to spend much more time in this town to get a good impression about the whole sights, to get more ideas hoe people live here. I hope other travelers will have good experience as I had today. Specially Iranians, I hope they will do good experiences in other countries and my countries As I did to today.”

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