Shahla Haddad, Roham *

Truly Tehran

The only way to get to the truly interesting spots in multi-layered Tehran is to locally meet interesting people that will take you to these inaccessible and unknown places. So mingle in trendy bars and be open to the unexpected encounters. With our help, you will be able to tap into the latest flow of innovation and imagination that is teeming beneath the surface of this mega city.


Roham and Shahla - Your guides - images contributed from Shahla and Roham

My name is Shahla Haddad. I have graduated from Tehran Art University in Crafts. I am also a clinical laboratory technologist. Diamond Grading , Jewellery designing, and making is my favourite. I'm going to be your guide in Tehran for the first leg of your trip.
The first thing I would do, is grab a Persian chelo kebab at Nayeb, a restaurant near your hotel. Since you are in an Islamic country, there is no boozing, so take advantage of the excellent teas and coffees, or one of the many alcohol free beers.

Sculpture in the garden
Go to the Garden-Museum of Iran for a bit of solitude and sculpture. This newly-constructed 10,000 square-meter garden contains the latest and greatest in artworks and sculpture that Tehran has to offer. Weave your way through the gardens and crafted art pieces on your way to meet Kamran Sharif, a young sculptor who has made a name for himself here in Tehran. He also instructs others on sculpting and invites you to take a mini-lesson with him at his studio that afternoon. What form will you create using your new insights?

The heart of art
The artistic cultural building of the Iran Arts' Forum (Khane Honarmandan in farsi) is one of my favourites. Within it's walls are many artistic activities, studios, a bookshop and a coffee bar and veggie restaurant. This organisation was created to enrich and foster artistic activity within Tehran and there are many local artists and art-enthusiasts that frequent this diamond-in-the-rough. This is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, get to know some of the artists and musicians that hang out here and perhaps even find some projects to participate in.

The more the merrier
Onto your next guide! I, Roham Maghsoudlou, are a well-connected architect and will serve as your homing beacon for the rest of your stay in Tehran. You and I will definitely pay a visit to Cafe 78 with my friend and colleague Hani Rouf. After the break at this hang-out for arty people,we'll probably embark on a trip to the Niavaran Cultural Historical Complex. This palace has been converted by a famous Persian architect into an art and cultural center. Roam through the museums inside the palace and get the insider's story from these two architectural experts.

Cinema is probably the most recognized and practiced art form in Iran. So it's obvious to meet Mahmoud Kalari, one of the better known cinematographers in Iran. He has worked on many films that have been shown in film festivals all over the world and is a fixture in the cinematic community of Tehran. You and he connect at the Park Mellat Cinema Complex, an expansive building designed by respected architect Reza Daneshmir and one of the more impressive recent additions to the city. If time allows, have a chat with him over some tea and he will more than likely be happy to point you in the right direction to the film that will be your best bet to take in this evening at the Cinema Complex. Afterwards, spend the evening recounting great cinematic moments with some fellow movie-goers at local hotspot Café Naderi.

Hey ladies
The Dena Group, an independent group of women artists. One of these talented ladies can accompany you to the Tehran Contemporary Art Museum. Wander through the galleries and get to know more about the delicate dance between the Islamic culture and contemporary art practices. After seeing the fresher side of art in Tehran, pay a visit to the Italian restaurant in the city, Fellini. Enjoy the atmosphere littered with Italian paraphernalia and the company of new friends.

A visit to the vegetarian-friendly Khane Honarmandan Restaurant is the perfect end to your trip.

Cafe Raazmic
Alborz restaurant
Azari Teahouse

Bus (but they aren't the most reliable)

Most food - 5€
Taxis - approximately 4€
Per day - 30€

Ramtin Hotel 
GolShahr Apartment Hotel
Enghelab Hotel
Melal Apartment Hotel

Keep in mind this is an Islamic country and there are some rules of thumb to follow:
Out of respect for the culture, all women should cover their head with scarf in public places. Alcoholic beverages are strictly taboo.
Men would be wise to not wear knee-length trousers in public places.