Robert Schrader in Garmeh, Iran

30 Pictures That Will Make You Want to Visit Iran

A year ago today, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. It was the worst day of my adult life, emotionally, and it would affect me—and the world—more tangibly than I knew at the time.

Had President Trump lost the election, for example, I’d have visited Iran in April of this year instead of October. I wouldn’t have kicked off my coverage of the trip with a plea against prejudice and pre-emptive war, but with an illustration of why the actions President Clinton took to build bridges between Washington and Tehran were so vital and mutually beneficial.

But that is not how the chips fell—for America, for Iran or for Julia.

I met Julia and her mother Elizabeth at a lodge in Farazadh, on the edge of Iran’s Mesr desert where rocky mountains give way to dunes. It’s not un-reminiscent of the Western Desert, which is why it’s named as such: “Mesr” is the Farsi word for “Egypt.”

Elizabeth explained how the unique circumstances of her life resulted in her daughter traveling more in seven years than most people do in a lifetime. As her Mom spoke, Julia made me a toothbrush holder, emblazoned with flags of the countries she’s lived in (India and Switzerland) and visited (too many to name) during her short life.

“What are you going to make for me?” she asked as she handed it to me. I got my toothbrush out of my backpack and inserted it between the colorful, glued-together pieces of paper. And I paused, because Julia’s question was more loaded than she realized.

When I was Julia’s age, the biggest tragedy in my sphere of awareness occurred one May morning, when a late snow fell and killed my mother’s crocuses. We were living in northern Ohio, where the purple blossoms are little more than decoration, far from the violet fields of Iran’s Khorasan province, where much of the country’s—and the world’s—saffron is grown.

As I thought about how to answer Julia, and how to climb out of the rabbit hole that had led me into my own past, I wondered whether she was as blissfully ignorant to the existential crises of today as I’d been back in the early 90s, crying over frozen flowers.

I picked up three colored pencils and started to draw a map of Iran, using the red and green ones. The white one, too, although she rightfully pointed out that it wouldn’t show up on white paper.

“Just because you can’t see something,” I reminded her, “doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”

The borders of the Islamic Republican sketched—roughly—and filled in (minus the white), I moved on to the complicated symbol in the center of the flag. I couldn’t remember exactly how it looked, so I opened my phone to find an image of the Iranian flag to copy.

“Why did you stop drawing?” Julia asked.

I pointed at the screen. “I want it to look like this.”

“But this is your picture,” she said, noting that she’d taken some liberties with the Indian and Swiss flags on my toothbrush holder. “You can draw it however you want.”

She was right, when it came to drawing and to life, at least for people like us.

But as I started moving my red pencil again, I wondered if the same could be said for the young girl I’d seen inside the window of a school in Kashan, covered in a full chador in spite of being roughly the same age as Julia. Will she, too, be able to to draw her picture however she wants?

As I look back on the day I met Julia, on the night I saw the schoolgirl in the window and on November 8, 2016, I also look forward into the future. When Julia and the girl in Kashan are 32 like I am now, looking back on these days, reminiscing about their own frozen flowers—a war between the United States and Iran hopefully not among them.

Need help planning your trip to Iran? Hire me as your Travel Coach!


Iran travel pictures Azadi Tower
Iran travel pictures peacock feather in Kashan
Iran travel pictures mosque minarets in Kashan
Iran travel pictures young Iranian girl wearing chador
Iran travel pictures Imam Mosque in Isfahan
Iran travel pictures Robert Schrader in Isfahan
Iran travel pictures Isfahan Bazaar
Iran travel pictures saffron ice cream
Iran travel pictures Jameh Mosque Isfahan
Iran travel pictures female painter in Iran
Iran travel pictures interior of Isfahan Mosque
Iran travel pictures camels in Iran
Iran travel pictures carrot jam in Iran
Iran travel pictures Mesr Desert
Iran travel pictures Tower of Silence
Iran travel pictures Zarathustra
Iran travel pictures Jameh Mosque Yazd
Iran travel pictures Saffron rock candy
Iran travel pictures saffron crocuses
Iran travel pictures Persepolis
Iran travel pictures carpet maker
Iran travel pictures Sa'adi Tomb
Iran travel pictures Narejestan Garden
Iran travel pictures Iranian home cooking
Iran travel pictures Persimmons in Iran
Iran travel pictures Blue Mosque Iran
Iran travel pictures Kandovan Iran
Iran travel pictures Tabriz Iran
Iran travel pictures Turkish crafts in Iran
Iran travel pictures Tehran by Night

About The Author

is the author of 1088 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!


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Svetlana November 8, 2017 at 10:26 am

Dear Robert,

Your Iran post brought tears to my eyes. I am following your blog and was waiting for you to feature this incredibly beautiful and controversial country. I am in love with Iran and have visited it at least a dozen times alone. There have been very few places that I have felt safer than in Iran and this holds true even for the Oramanat Mountains in the Kurdish region near the Iraq border.From Kermanshah to Yazd to Mashad, there is no part of Iran that I do not love except maybe the gender segregation and the sight of little girls wrapped up in chadors. There is so much more to this ME nation, so much beauty which defies the evil image, deserving the country to be “nuked”. Thank you for sharing your love for Iran and bringing forth this lovely country with some of the loveliest people in the world, to all your readers.

Best wishes and a big hug coming your way from India

Robert Schrader November 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm


Thanks for such a wonderful and heartfelt comment, it really made my day! I hope you continue reading my blog and seeing what I have to say about other countries. Where in India are you located?

P.S. I just clicked over to your blog. Kashmir has been on my list for a long time—and your post is making it harder to stay away!

Svetlana November 9, 2017 at 3:50 am

Thank you for your response Robert. I am from Kolkata in India, but presently living in Cairo, Egypt. Saw my hometown being on your upcoming travel plan and eagerly waiting for your posts. P.S I can totally understand, if you love/hate Kolkata. It is a very difficult to love at first sight city. And yes, I am sure you will find Kashmir to be absolutely incredible and your photos will do justice to its beauty.

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