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Record Rise In Museum Prices


Record rise in museum pricesIn the last few months,Turkish officials have enacted sweeping hikes in the price of admission to museums and ancient sites despite a drop in the number of visitors this year as reported by the Hurriyet Dailey News. This has naturally made some tourism operators worried that the rise will further detract visitors.

The entrance price for Ephesus, Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia have all increased from 30 to 40 Turkish Liras. One of the five most visited cities in world, Antalya, saw a decline in tourist numbers for the first time this year.

For 2016, ticket prices have been increased for most ancient sites and museums operated by the Turkish Travel Agencies’ Union (TÜRSAB). The rise at Olympos has hit 400 percent, with the five-lira price skyrocketing to 20 liras. Many experts believe that the rises are inexplicable at a time when the tourism sector in Turkey needs a boost. The new ticket prices will go into effect on Jan. 4, 2016.

Night of Union Ceremony For Rumi In Konya


Rumi-Thirteenth-century mystic Mevlana Jalaladdin Rumi was celebrated on the 742nd anniversary of his death in the Central Anatolian province of Konya earlier this month (December, 2015).

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, Mawlānā/Mevlânâ, Mevlevî/Mawlawī, and more popularly simply as Rumi, was a 13th-century Persian poet, theologian, and Sufi mystic.

Let’s Celebrate – 2015


yalda.7Happy Yalda, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa. 

The Yalda festival was a Mithraic celebration, which finds its origins among the earliest Iranians. But in 53 BCE, when Roman legions were unable to conquer Parthian Mithraists, they adopted Mithra the “Unconquered Sun” as their own military deity, and Yalda or “Yule” became an official celebration of the Roman Empire.

Many of the original pagan symbols survive in what has come to be known as Christmas such as: holly, ivy, the color red, the mistletoe, Yule logs, the giving of gifts, decorated evergreen trees, Santa Claus, etc..

Christmas Day (December 25th) is a Christian holiday which is celebrated around the world by decorating Christmas trees, attending church, traditional food, and exchanging gifts.

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrated by millions of people in the United States.  It is a week long holiday, observed from December 26th to January 1st every year. 

Hanukkah (also known as Chanukah) is an eight-day festival of lights and a Jewish holiday.  It commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem during the second century BC.  It begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev and usually falls in November or December.  Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days and nights with the lightening of the menorah, food, and gifts. 


Yalda, Persian’s Most Beautiful Song in Praise of Light and Love – 2015


happy-yalda1For thousands of years, Iranians have celebrated the last night of winter.  They have stayed up through the evening, waiting for the dawn, to witness the birth of the Sun; the source of life which has also been named “Mehr”.

Praising the sun, on the night of the birth of Mithra, celebrating around a cedar tree, adorned with colorful fabrics and stones, which was one of the most important rituals of the ancient Persians. At the time, there were still mysteries of the sun and moon and other natural phenomena for human exploration, and the Persians, like many other people had self-made gods who ruled over all the elements of nature. Man therefore, escaping sadness, darkness, cold, and pain (whether physical or emotional) took refuge in the gods.

Discovering the secrets of nature, and the transition from the myths of the gods did not hurt people’s relationship with the natural elements. Because Persian culture, and even religious orders of Zoroaster (the Persian prophet), were based on love and respect for the land, water, trees, rivers, mountains and their preservation was considered good will.

However, most of our habits and traditions could be updated and modified with time as well as people’s desire and wishes. Therefore, praising the sun, light, love, and life has become a part of Iranian psyche and beliefs in spite of all the objections that historically, under the pretext of religion, has considered these Persian celebrations as blasphemy.

Unfortunately, in the past thirty-four years of clerical rule in Iran, they have not accepted these celebrations. They not only do not accept these traditional festivities as part of national celebration, they are not willing to report and request UNESCO for addition to World Heritage list. The government has simply tried to force innocent people to stop holding these celebrations.

As Persian/Iranian celebrations and festivities have risen from nature and the land, with kindness and love, engraved with anti-discrimination, and interest of/for all people, irrespective of their religion, belief and opinion.

“Yalda” is one such festivity which continues to be even now more than ever, at the center of interest of Iranian people because history has shown that during dark times people have shown interest with the hope and belief that victory can be sealed and reach the world community to end all wars, suffering, discrimination and denial.

This year like many previous years, Pasargad Heritage Foundation, has asked the Iranian public to celebrate the tradition of Yalda by decorating and adorning an evergreen cedar tree and celebrate this glorious Persian feast more and more beautifully and grandly and  welcome the everlasting sun of our land in order to conqueror all perpetual darkness.

Let us not forget that the festive night of Winter Solstice, “Yalda,” is one of the few festivals compatible with the tenants of human rights, with this message that “only expressions of joy and love are symbols of light in human life”.

Happy Yalda

Shokooh Mirzadegi

Pasargad Heritage Foundation


1150th Anniversary Of The Birth of Famous Persian Scholar


razi-picThe 1150th birth anniversary of Persian scholar, Mohammad ibn Zakariya Razi, has been registered on the list of UNESCO’s birth events to be observed in the 2016-2017 festivals.

Iran and Tajikistan had jointly recommended to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to register Razi’s anniversary which was approved on the sidelines of its 38th General Conference in Paris

Razi (866-925 AD), was a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher and an important figure in the history of medicine. A comprehensive thinker, he made fundamental and enduring contributions to various fields of science, which he recorded in over 200 manuscripts, and is particularly remembered for numerous advances in medicine through his observations and discoveries.

Newest Photos from Lake Urmia


Farzad Arian-Lake Urmia3 Farzad Arian-Lake Urmia-4Lake Urmia, once ranked as the sixth largest saltwater lake in the world, and the largest in the Middle East in 2003, is now almost 88% dried up. Due to poor water management, aggressive agricultural policies, and careless construction of dams and bridges and the total negligence of the Environment Organization of Iran.

Destruction of Sasanid Remains


A large collection of historical heritage of Iran is on the verge of annihilation by a newly-built dam. Iranian news agencies have reported that the flooding of the “Langir Dam” in Ilam, a Kurdish city of Iran, has began. The resulting lake would drown many invaluable Sasanid remains such as a summer palace, some tribal structures, three large sites, tile-making kilns, etc.
The authorities in Cultural Heritage Organization say that the flooding has begun without their permission but some cultural activists do not believe that such a major work by the contractors could be implemented without government authorities’ consent.Ilam

Archaeologist Wins $1 Million TED Prize


sarah-parcak2Sarah Parcak, an archaeologist and a National Geographic Fellow, whois potrayed as a modern world “Indiana Jones”, won a $1 million TED Prize for 2016.

Sarah has spent the last several years using satellites, initially designed for use by the military, to identify potential sub-surface remains.

Sarah is also a 2012 TED Fellow. She is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and was a featured lecturer (2009-12) of the Archaeological Institute of America. She received the UAB Exceptional Innovation Award in 2011, as well as the UAB Honorary Alumni Award in 2012.

Vandalized Stone relief


sangne1According to a cultural activist in Hamedan, Iran, certain parts of a bas-relief belonging to the period of the Parthian Dynasty in ancient Iran (247 BC – 224 AD) has been chipped and fragmented by unknown people.

The scene on the bas-relief depicts a man, leaning on a cushion, holding a goblet. He is wearing Mithraism hat, belt and outfit.

It seems that unknown people have unsuccessfully tried to clear around the bas-relief with explosive material.

This ancient work was registered as a national heritage in 2014. No relevant authority has shown any reaction to this unfortunate incident.

The notable fact is that the villagers living around this site had seen this bas-relief for centuries without attempting to destroy or disfigure it, but only one year after its registration as a national artifact those who are either known as “unauthorized excavator,” or the smuggler of antiques, appear on the site with explosives and no one seems to care!