To those who are coming to this country formerly known as Persia, brace yourselves. It is not that kind of travel destination that you can explore without making any genuine social connections. Unlike some countries where locals are quite accustomed to seeing tourists on a daily basis and cannot be bothered to be friendly, Iranian people “embrace” their visitors.
How different Iranians are can be quite overwhelming for some. You may feel the same way, too, but give them a chance. Spend time with them even for just an hour because travellers who do end up being thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to “collide” with the Iranian people.
But to give you a better understanding of the people who will welcome you with such warmth when you go on an Iranian adventure, listed below are six dominant Iranian traits you should know:
In Iran, art is everywhere – especially in the capital, Tehran. But all over the country, you will see a vast variety of artistic pursuits. Iranian people are simply gifted in this department and they freely use this gift to express their beliefs and beautify their surroundings.
With how artistic Iranian people are, it is no wonder the country possesses some of the most visually impressive man-made structures in the world such as the Ali Qapu Palace in Isfahan, and the Qavam House and Persepolis in Shiraz.
Commercial buildings, monuments, public gardens, and luxury hotels serve as unquestionable pieces of evidence on the outstanding aesthetics of Iranians.
First-time travellers to Iran are always surprised by the fact that locals actually enjoy having tourists around. In the same way that travellers long to learn about Iran, locals are enthusiastic to find out where their country’s guests are from.
Expect a lot of probing questions from the locals you meet. Likewise, prepare to get invited to their homes for lengthy conversations to satisfy your mutual curiosity.
3. Highly Educated
Most Iranians are highly educated. A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals that Iranians are the most highly educated people in the world.
Practically everyone has a PhD. The people place great importance on education, and it is a must for every family that its members have a solid educational background.
You will enjoy your stay in Iran if you are a culture vulture. Most people you will meet are ready to share their knowledge with you – especially in situations they know they can be helpful – and learn from you as well.
As already mentioned earlier, Iranians are friendly and always willing to open their homes to you. It does not matter if you already have a reservation at a 5-star hotel in Iran, they will still insist on having you over to their home for delightful conversations over cups of tea and some homemade pastries.
The hospitality you will receive in an Iranian home can really compete with the hospitality offered by your luxury accommodation. Your hosts will always cook their best for you and ensure your comfort. In fact, it is not uncommon for a neighbourhood party to take place just because a household has a foreign guest.
Literally speaking, that is. Unlike other countries in the Middle East wherein locals are restricted to wearing a specific colour palette, Iranians love colour all around. You can see it in their architecture and interior design.
Not only that, the hijab of the women come in vibrant hues as well.
And although modest clothing is still the standard, women do not restrain themselves from adding loads of colour to their garb. They can already be wearing fashionable African-inspired dresses but they can still add a bunch of other elements such as precious stone jewellery, bags, and shoes in unexpected hues to stylishly stand out.
Women are also lovers of bold makeup. According to Seeker.com, Iranian women spend more money on cosmetics than women in France, Germany, and the UK. Therefore, if you are a female traveller who is interested in flashy makeup, you will get a kick out of becoming friends with an Iranian woman.
They really do love their sweets.
If you wish to get really friendly with the locals, offer them sweets. And being the sweet people they are, they will offer you a selection of traditional Iranian sweets as well. Baked treats and candies are deeply rooted in their food culture and you can actually learn more about the ways of the Iranian folks from the simple gesture of sharing sweets with them.
Meet the people of Iran
As lovely as Iran is as a nation, what would complete and make your visit truly special are the people you’ll meet. They will bring a whole new dimension to your Iran experience.
So, when you come to the country, do not just direct your eyes to the sights. Make a deliberate effort to meet the people.
They will make the beauty you see all around Iran even more meaningful and enriching.