www.bijanomrani.com / -> Books -> Iran: Persia Ancient andModern (with Helen Loveday, Christoph Baumer and Bruce Wannell)

For more thanthree millennia Iran, or Persia as it was formerly known, was amelting pot of civilizations. Under Cyrus the Great, Persia was the center ofthe world's first empire, which stretched from the Mediterranean to modern-dayPakistan. Subsequent invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols and Turks haveimbued the nation with an amazingly rich cultural and historical diversity. TheIslamic Revolution in 1979 and the subsequent Iran-Iraq war reduced tourism toa trickle, but in the last decade the country's global significance within themodern world has resulted in increasing interest from intrepid travellersunafraid by the West's often 'blinkered' appraisal of Iran and its people.

Travellers have begun rediscovering the attractions - both old and new - of adiverse land filled with beauty, and brimming with potential. An essential bookboth for visitors to Iran - whether on business or travelling for pleasure - orfor those simply with a thirst to learn about and understand this fascinatingcountry, it provides a fascinating illumination of both ancient Persia and modernIran. Up-to-date travel facts and tips combine with chapters on each of thecountry's provinces, and sections on Islamic art, architecture and religion.

“...A stunning guide, packed with history, that no visitor to Iran should bewithout....” - Christina Lamb, foreign affairs correspondent, Sunday Times

“...awe-inspiring photography and no-expenses spared production - worth gettingacquainted with for the sensational visual introduction alone...” - Real TravelMagazine

“...This almost 500-page guide brings together some deeply impressive researchand the expertise of four authors to produce a handsome guide to a country mostof us know next to nothing about. Far from the single-minded image of Iran thatis popular in the media, full of religious fundamentalists out to suppress humanrights while taking every opportunity to rail against the West, this book attemptsto encompass the breadth and depth of a country that for thousands of years hasbeen a crossing point for Asian and European cultures and a true melting pot forentire civilisations and cultures...The initial 100-odd pages focus on Iranianhistory, a hefty shift for any guide book, followed by a very useful 'facts forthe traveller' section, where basic questions are answered in confidence. Thereare good entries on Islamic art, music, architecture and geography, before we getinto the meat-and-bones descriptions of specific cities and areas. The chaptersare packed with information and laced with special breakout essays by BruceWannell (the one on religion is particularly illuminating). Listings foraccommodation are at the back of the book, with a particularly good list ofwebsites. This feels like an old school, intelligent guide for a traveller whodoesn't want their hand held - which is no doubt exactly the type of person whowould choose to visit Iran...” - The Irish Times

“...a reader to be studied before planning a trip. The first 170 pages deal withhistory, geography and culture of Iran, in more depth than in most other travelguides. The authors are all experts in their fields, with a great love ofIran, and they have been allowed by the editors to indulge their sometimesidiosyncratic enthusiasms in long articles about religion, poetry, calligraphy,music and even Christian churches... Those who read this book will see thatthere is much more behind the veil, which it will take years to understand. Whatthis book does so well is to arouse the desire to go out there and find outmore. The guide section, refreshingly, canters over the standard touristsites, which are well described in other books, and takes the reader off-pisteto all sorts of interesting corners of the land, where no group tour will evergo... The photographs are stunning, combining the monumental with theintimate, showing new angles on old subjects and bringing them to life by theinclusion of people, and there is a very useful list of books for furtherreading. This book is an excellent introduction to Iran, which scratches deepbelow the surface. It makes an excellent read for the armchair traveller aswell. ...” - Iran Society Journal, November 2010

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