Discovering the art of Persia

Inspired by BBC Four’s new series, we take a tour of Iran’s most spectacular cultural sites.

Lockdown in Iran: Meanwhile in Shiraz

Not unlike many others, I have always been fascinated by the Orient.

Lockdown in Iran: Meanwhile in Esfahan

In 2016 I came to Iran for first time, travelling all around the country only by hitchhiking and walking.

Lockdown in Iran: Meanwhile in Yazd

Seeing a foreigner speaking Farsi can be extremely exciting for locals.

Lockdown in Iran: Meanwhile in Tehran

In the time of corona, Iran is one of the most heavily affected countries in the world.

Lockdown in Iran: Meanwhile in Kerman

The first thing that made me think of travelling to Iran was hearing traditional Persian music on the Swiss radio.


Marvel at the splendid design and architecture of old Kashani merchant houses Kashan will always be associated in Islamic art for its high-quality ceramics (kashi) production, which dates from the 12th century, even enduring the Mongol campaigns. It is also renowned for its manufacture of costly silks and carpets for the Safavid court. The 17th-century…


Let all of your senses be tempted by spring blossom in Shiraz’s fine gardens. Shiraz, with its long and rich history, friendliness and the laid-back attitude of its inhabitants, is one of the nicest and most welcoming cities in Iran. As the Iranian saying goes, ‘Esfahan for the head, but Shiraz for the heart’. Despite…


Once an insignificant village, Tehran has burgeoned into a vast city with a vibrant culture and pleasant parks scattered around. Looking at the sprawl of modern Tehran spreading up into the Alborz foothills, it is difficult to believe that before 1795, when it became the Qajar capital, it was an insignificant village ‘possess[ing] nothing, not…

Fortresses of the Ismaili Assassins

Explore the impregnable fortresses of the notorious Ismaili Assassins in the dramatic and visually stunning Alamut region. As the Fatimid regime of Egypt and Syria began to crack and fragment in the 1060s, the Ismaili community in Iran began to dig in, securing strongholds to defend their villages and land. This valley of the river…