The former US embassy in Tehran, Iran

Recently, I was taking a stroll around central Tehran, when I found out by accident, that the former US embassy site, which was the focus of the world for 444 days during a hostage crisis, has been turned into a public museum! This is the first time since the embassy was stormed by students 38 years ago in November 1979. I heard rumours before that allegedly the embassy was supposed to be open a single day of the year for visitors. The staff inside the museum told me otherwise, though. They said that the gates have never been open to …

The cemetery “Behesht-e Zahra” in Tehran, Iran

The central cemetery of Iran’s capital Tehran, is not only the biggest cemetery of the country, but also one of the biggest cemetery of the world. It is the final resting place to approximately 1.3 mio. people, and lies in the very south of the city. The following photo gallery is supposed to give you a general idea of the place, and the special buildings it hosts. There are isolated sections for the martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war, sections for Iranians martyred during the Hajj to Mekka,  defenders of Islam, Iraqi-Kurdish victims of the 1988 gas attacks on Halabja, and …

Baalbek, Lebanon

The city of Baalbek (Arabic: “بعلبك“) in Lebanon is situated right in the heart of the Bekaa valley. Baalbek is a predominantly Shia city with roughly 80.000 inhabitants. Most foreign visitors visit Baalbek for its massive Roman ruins. The city is a stronghold of Hezbollah and features one of the country’s most beautiful mosques, called Sayyeda Khawla. Khawla (السيدة خولة بنت الحسي) was a daughter of Imam Hussein and is allegedly buried in this mosque. The mosque is an example of Iranian Islamic architecture, because it was built with Iranian money. The mosque is open for interested non-Muslims as well …