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Mashhad to Mosul

Mashhad to Mosul

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Old Dec 15, 18, 12:07 pm
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Mashhad to Mosul

Actually it was from Tehran to Mosul with a few stops along the way but Mashhad to Mosul sounds better, clickbait you know...

Darvishi Royal Hotel, Mashhad


al-Nuri Mosque, Mosul



Stay tuned!


Check out my previous reports:
First trip report...an early Summer getaway to the Caucasus
Slovakia...more than just Bratislava
Daytripping...exploring Belgian cities
The unknown Balkans
Discovering the capital of Moravia
48 hours in Iraqi Kurdistan
Visiting Syria‘s Northern and Western neighbors


Last edited by MA330; Dec 25, 18 at 9:37 am
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Old Dec 16, 18, 1:15 am
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Contracting pictures 😢 let's rock and roll...
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Old Dec 16, 18, 2:04 pm
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The lobby looks very interesting!
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Old Dec 16, 18, 11:04 pm
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Thank you! Excited to read this :-)
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Old Dec 17, 18, 3:52 am
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This is one of the more different routes taken. Looking forward to the rest of your TR.
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Old Dec 25, 18, 3:20 pm
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This is what my flight routings looked like.


#1 Unfortunately I left the company's christmas party just a few hours before the flight to Istanbul so not many photos but a lot of sleep. Nothing special about this flight except for this A320NEO being pretty new and the flight being super cheap (one-way ticket Hamburg-Tehran 102€).


#2 Welcome to Pegasus-land


#3 There's nothing one could like about Sabiha-Gökcen airport...cramped, dirty, unorganized, and no free wifi anywhere to be found. Even compared to nearby Istanbul-Atatürk this place feels like a third-world airport. Absolutely hate this place.


#4 I do like Pegasus Airlines though...their planes are cramped but paying a little extra you can always have the emergency row - their flights are very cheap, their aircraft mostly brand-new and they also serve delicious DO&CO food. Night-riding on this 4-month old NEO to Tehran.


#5 A recommended travel read - Erich Follath: Jenseits aller Grenzen. A book about the travels of Ibn Battuta.


I got my visa (+the mandatory travel insurance) through 1stquest before arrival so I just had to pay 75€ and that's it. No stamps or any remarks in your passport these days anymore. Iran tries to attract more international tourist this way so people might have less problems visiting the US afterwards... Immigration was super easy without any questions asks.
The hotel wanted to charge me 40USD for a simple pick-up so I decided to find a different way of getting there. A company called Taxilux offers prepaid taxis to anywhere in Tehran (about 40km to my hotel) for just IRR850.000 which equals about 7€. Problem solved.

#6 I stayed at Parsian Azadi Hotel, a five-star hotel located in the North


#7 Considering the night before as well as my arrival at 3:20am local time I had a major sleep-in the first morning. A quick shower and coffee later I was inside a taxi trying to find an exchange to get some Rials as well as buying a local sim


#8 I became a rich man over-night... due to the renewed sanctions a foreigner exchange rate has been implemented - instead of getting 11million Rials (in exchange for 200€) I got some 26million IRR.


Took me some hours to find an exchange with enough cash but didn't manage to get a sim card. The hotels keep your passport while you're checked-in so getting a sim card isn't possible. Fortunately inside the hotel there's a store that sells them without checking documents.

#9 Back in the hotel to relax before heading out again for dinner


#10 Famous Milad Tower in the distance


#11 Northern Tehran & Alborz mountains


#12 A supposedly quick 3km ride took about 40min during late afternoon rush hour. Traffic is a major problem in Tehran. Unfortunately there's no way to walk in this city, you have to take the car (or the metro).


#13 I headed to the luxurious Sam center for dinner


#14 Interesting art inside the lobby


#15 What better way to start the trip than enjoying some Beluga Caviar from the Caspian Sea


#16 First time enjoying Iranian caviar for me


#17 The Sam center as well as the area around it is something you won't believe exists in Tehran - stores like Mont Blanc, brand-new Porsches and super fancy restaurants everywhere.


#18 Steakhouse next door


Another day, another trip. Checking out Tajrish Bazaar and the area around it before heading to Mashhad later that night.

#19 Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque


#20 Beautiful tiles inside the mosque


#21 Shrine of Saleh al-Kadhim, son of Musa al-Kadhim, a Twelver Shia Imam


#22 Imam Khomeini watching


#23


#24


#25


#26 Bazaar shopping


#27


#28


#29


#30 Cooked beetroot - a traditional winter snack in Tehran


#31 Street market


#32


#33 Construction


Walking through an area called Los Angeles of Tehran afterwards. This is where the rich and famous live - lots of big houses and expensive cars.

#34 Time for lunch at Kassab Steakhouse, a Turkish restaurant next door to Sam center


#35 Delicious lamb shish kebab


#36 Saying good-bye to Tehran...


#37 Not going anywhere without a stop at the Azadi Tower


#38


#39 The tower is just a 5-minute drive away from Mehrabad airport


#40


#41 I swear I didn't came to Iran to fly on special airplanes and airlines but when it comes to a rare Boeing 747-300 even I can't resist. Fully booked Mahan Air flight to Mashhad.


#42 Mahan 1037 Tehran Mehrabad - Mashhad; EP-MND, 33yrs old, former Air France


#43 Iranian airlines ALWAYS serve a full meal on EVERY flight...take that Europe! Flight time 1:10h.



Hope you enjoyed part 1 for now. More to follow soon.
Merry christmas & good night!

Last edited by MA330; Dec 26, 18 at 5:18 am
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Old Dec 26, 18, 4:29 am
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I visited Iran almost 20 years ago and it remains one of my favourite places.

Thanks for posting. Looking forward to the rest.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 2:03 pm
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Heading to Mashhad, Iran's second city located in the Northeast of the country. Home to some 3 million people and relatively far off the beaten tourist tracks. Mashhad itself isn't a beautiful or colorful city but it's home to the Imam Reza Shrine and known as the country's cultural capital.

My hotel was just a 10min drive away from the airport so I checked-in in no time after arrival.

#44 For sure the most breathtaking lobby I've seen so far. Darvishi Royal Hotel


#45


#46 My room


I had a bit of a sleep-in the next morning so off the shrine as fast as possible. The Imam Reza Shrine is quite popular with pilgrims from Iraq/Tajikistan/Afghanistan and also from Iran of course. There're quite a few international flights to cities in neighboring countries such as Herat/Mazar-i-Sharif, Dushanbe, Kuwait, Muscat, Doha as well as Baghdad/Najaf.

#47 The complex is huge...an entire ringroad was built around it. Expect to walk quite a bit. Quite unsurprisingly security was tight with airport-like checks at every entrance.


#48 Dome of the Rock copy


#49 Carpets


#50 Entering the actual shrine. Mirrors everywhere - quite common for Shia mosques all around the Middle East. Due to numerous security guards next to the shrine photos where impossible to take there.


#51


#52 I was looking for a restaurant in another 5-star hotel just a few blocks away from Royal Darvishi. Iranians sure know how to make lobbys look good.


#53 Mashhad is also famous for its saffron


#54 Not as expensive as in Europe but still well protected


#55 Even though there was no Islamic celebration such as Ashura this place was still packed


#56


#57 Time to enjoy my last sunset in Mashhad before heading to Shiraz the next day


#58


#59 Back to the airport for a quick morning flight to Shiraz


#60


#61 Caspian Airlines MD-80 EP-CAS


#62 Iranian airlines ALWAYS serve a full meal on EVERY flight...take that Europe!


#63 Breathtaking scenery along the way


#64


#65 Short finals


#66


#67 EP-CAS at Shiraz airport


#68



Stay tuned for another part!
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Last edited by MA330; Jan 5, 19 at 9:13 am
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Old Dec 28, 18, 5:21 am
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Very interesting report Would have never expected a place like Sam Center in Tehran.
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Old Jan 2, 19, 4:40 am
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Fabulous report so far! Looking forward to more.

When we drove across Iran a few years ago, Mashhad was by far the strangest place we visited. We also weren't allowed to see much of the mosque complex there, so interesting to see your pics.
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Old Jan 2, 19, 6:43 am
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We visited Imam Reza in 2009. We weren't allowed in the inner parts of the sanctuary, but there was still enough to see in the surrounding courtyards.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 6:06 pm
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Really looking forward to the rest of this. The Iran stuff was great and I really am eager to return someday.

I heard today that Nofal Al-Jakob, Governor of Mosul, has been leading a charge to arrest anyone taking photos in the Old City of Mosul on the west of the Tigris River. A crew of journalists from Al Mawsleya was arrested today for doing such. Awful to see. I was there in September and would hate to think how this would have panned out had I been spotted taking photos.

In small steps of progress the Government has laid a cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Al Nuri Mosque recently. Also, controversially the old National Insurance Company Building (used by ISIS to throw is victims from -specifically homosexuals) was just demolished due to being too structurally unsound to repair. Some claimed it should have been made a memorial/museum.

Keep the posts coming!
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Old Jan 23, 19, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by rivlinm View Post
Really looking forward to the rest of this. The Iran stuff was great and I really am eager to return someday.

I heard today that Nofal Al-Jakob, Governor of Mosul, has been leading a charge to arrest anyone taking photos in the Old City of Mosul on the west of the Tigris River. A crew of journalists from Al Mawsleya was arrested today for doing such. Awful to see. I was there in September and would hate to think how this would have panned out had I been spotted taking photos.

In small steps of progress the Government has laid a cornerstone for the rebuilding of the Al Nuri Mosque recently. Also, controversially the old National Insurance Company Building (used by ISIS to throw is victims from -specifically homosexuals) was just demolished due to being too structurally unsound to repair. Some claimed it should have been made a memorial/museum.

Keep the posts coming!
If true, a real pity. Will try to find out more on this.

I've got some pictures of the National Insurance Company Building.

I'm currently working 14-16 hours a day so there's no free time at all during recent weeks. Hopefully I'll have a few hours to finish this report during the weekend or early next week.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by MA330 View Post
If true, a real pity. Will try to find out more on this.

I've got some pictures of the National Insurance Company Building.

I'm currently working 14-16 hours a day so there's no free time at all during recent weeks. Hopefully I'll have a few hours to finish this report during the weekend or early next week.

Mosul Eye on twitter shares all sorts of news (positive and negative) re: Mosul. Thankfully those arrested have been released, but it still doesn't bode well for journalists and citizens alike. It seems you were there in late December? I'm curious to see how your experience differed three months later. Overall, everyone was VERY welcoming to me, but I kept my photography pretty low key.
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