10 September 2003

Book Review: Iran, by Patricia Baker, *****

Bradt’s Iran has both a cultural and historical focus. It covers world-famous sites such as Persepolis, but it also delves into the lesser-known monuments and little-recognized figures of this vast and ancient land. Additionally, the guide covers clothing conundrums (women – buy a $20 manteau as soon as you arrive; men’s shirts should not be garish) and taboos, including the intricacies of when and how to remove your shoes. It suggests what to eat and where to shop, including more serene alternatives to the country’s boisterous bazaars. And, it advises, should you accidentally run up against the authorities, “Women, forget all feminist scruples and cry.”

Iran is renowned for the rich diversity of its culture. Ancient sites such as Persepolis, the intricate architecture of the country's mosques, and exquisite Iranian crafts create a kaleidoscope of attractions that continue to inspire travelers.

This is an excellent travel companion for cultural and historical information on Iran, as well as for tips on out-of-the-beaten-track experiences for the more adventurous and intellectually curious traveler. The book is nicely bound and will take the beatings of travel, and it is small enough to fit in most pockets. Do NOT expect it to provide the best info on where to sleep and eat. Bradt guides are not meant for that. I would recommend buying the LP guide for that purpose and take both books along on your trip. The two are really conceived for different and complementary purposes.

I used the 1st edition of the book for my trip in 2003, just make sure you buy the latest edition available when you go.

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