by Farhang Kassaei
The Iranian Cultural & Information Center:
Like: Up-to-date links to other Iran-related sites, marvelous Persian paintings.
Dislike: Too many things in one big jar, it is not that easy to find what you are looking for.
Final Verdict : A must-have in your personal bookmark.
Seemingly the most popular Iranian site on the Web, the Iranian Cultural & Information Center, commonly known as "Tehran Stanford," is a collection of information on almost all major aspects of Iranian culture and a variety of other materials.
The cultural information areas contain Persian literature, painting and miniatures, history, Persian carpets, and of course the latest edition to the Iranian cultural fleet, Persian movies.
In the literature section, there is a collection of well-known Persian short stories and poems highlighting Iranian culture, values and wisdom to foreigners and Iranians who just do not have enough time to read extensive summaries of, for instance, Shahnameh and Golestan.
Under "Persian Gallery," there is a wonderful set of Iranian artists' paintings that have made me proud a number of times when I saw the look of surprise and admiration on the faces of my non-Iranian friends.
There is also other information ranging from finding a travel agency in the yellow pages section, to addresses and contacts of Iranian schools, to some downloadable Persian editors and calendars and even a nostalgic list of Alborz High school alumni, which makes it clear where the founders or maintainers of this site come from.
Tehran Stanford also provides a slick, clickable map of Iran (well, not so slick for slower home connections via modem) which either takes you to your hometown with all of its sweet memories or leaves you wondering that perhaps your Tehrani friend was right about your hometown even not being on the map. While there, you can also browse a comprehensive list of other Iranian web/gopher sites.
Unfortunately there is a drawback to this great collection. Finding what you are looking for is not that easy, unless you are a frequent visitor. A full text searching facility would greatly improve usability.
Looking at the astonishing access statistics of this site, I also thought that a searchable guest book could be a natural addition. This way maybe many of us can find that lost friend, classmate or, who knows, lover.
Other Related Sites:
- Zan: A Directory/Anthology about Iranian women: