Iran Through the Eyes of a Traveler

Iran’s unpopular quest for nuclear energy has dominated news headlines for decades. This has left little room for reporting on less-discussed topics about the country. One of these is tourism.

At a time of a pandemic, Iran continues to face grueling international sanctions and domestic divisions. But it is an uncontested fact that the country has a long revered civilization, and getting to know the nation with all its intricacies and complexities is a challenging task. Universities around the world offer Iranian studies courses so students can learn about Iran and its history. In recent years, growing demand to explore Iran has led to more travelers visiting the country, which is not a popular tourist destination.

Kamila Napora is a Polish travel writer and traveler whose adventurism has taken her to more than 70 countries worldwide. She is passionate about getting to know other cultures, meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about new places. In 2015, Napora traveled to Iran alone. She documented her experiences of traveling in the country in detail on her blog and provided recommendations for those who are tinkering with the idea of visiting Iran.

Fair Observer spoke to Kamila about her experience in Iran. Below are excerpts from the interview and photos from her trip. Click here to read the full interview.

“I remember reading about Iran and seeing pictures from there as a kid, and those images were so beautiful that they stayed with me this whole time and eventually made me want to visit Iran really badly.”

“I’ve been traveling to less-known places for a while, so people around me weren’t really surprised I chose Iran as my next destination.”
“The majority of people I met in Iran were warm, hospitable, welcoming and curious, and there was not a single moment when I felt they are not fine with tourists visiting their country. Quite the opposite, actually.”
“I was very happy to talk to local people as that’s what makes traveling so special too. Since there are still not too many independent travelers visiting Iran, those who venture there are somehow an attraction.”
“I had a similar experience in other countries too, like New Zealand or Georgia, but Iran is among the top places I’ve met the most hospitable people. … I was invited to people’s houses for dinner, I was invited to join them in restaurants, and locals bought me Iranian dishes so I could try them out. It was one of the experiences I will never forget.”
“Even if I experienced similar hospitality in other places, I think the incredible hospitality of Iranian people is one of the best things about the country and it can make every traveler feel special. I felt all these friendly encounters were genuine. Also, Persian culture and history are very interesting to learn about and should be more promoted.”

“There is a lack of proper promotion of tourism in Iran, and all we learn is from other travelers who have visited the country. Opening up for travelers and making traveling to Iran easier should be a priority. A lot has changed for the better in the years since my visit, but there are still many things that can be done to attract tourists.”

This article was initially posted at fairobserver

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