Iran Yesterday and Today

American traveler's "most fascinating" foreign journey

Rick Steves writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on U.S. public television and public radio. Join Rick as he explores the most surprising and fascinating land he's ever visited: Iran. In a one-hour, ground-breaking travel special on public television, you'll discover the splendid monuments of Iran's rich and glorious past, learn more about the 20th-century story of this perplexing nation, and experience Iranian life today in its historic capital and in a countryside village. Most important, you'll meet the people of this nation whose government so exasperates our own.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6




by Nader asali (not verified) on

I like Assal.
we need to educate ourselves and help each other.
Happy Nowruz all Iranian/persian friends and friends of Iranians/persians.
THX and merci


Let's be fair

by mmsbabak (not verified) on

This is not true buddy. Of course, Rick's done a great job to show the urban life of Iranian people; however, there're plenty of documentaries made by the above mentioned broadcasting companies about Iran showing the city life in major Iranian cities.
In the mean time, we should remember that more than half of the population of our country is living in small towns and villages. Needless to mention that in elections it's hard to believe how conservatives are getting their share of ballots (of course, I don't want to ignore the fact that conservatives do cheat and pour at least 2 million fake ballots in their own account).
Last but not least, is the fact that the ancient image of Iranian culture and society is more exciting for westerners. It's not interesting that The northern part of Tehran is a defective copy of Paris and young people follow the western contemporary fashion. Media always looks for novelty and uniqueness in everything. Do you really think that in Africa everybody is dying from Aids and hunger? This is not the whole story. And the reason behind this phenomenon is not prejudice or hostility. It originates from the nature of western media.


man on the donkey

by bj (not verified) on

rick you done a great job and i thank you.i think you are not american or from this planet because every time an american or american reporter especially from three networks or CNN have a report about iran they start and finnish with A MAN ON THE DONKEY in a remote and miserable place. i wounder they ever show your report. you are a honest man and i think iranian government should give you honorary iranian/persian citizenship.



by capt_ayhab on

Great post, thanks for sharing it.



Thanks tt

by Anonymous... (not verified) on

Serves me right! ...and I (of all people) was just giving an ear full to a vendor about typos! I'm guilty as charged! Thanks tt.

And Mehrnaz what made you feel that anyone objected to Rick Steves report? I think a message that extends beyond the IRI was eloquently put forth by 9999, which I can't see how it contradicts with Rick Steves work.

I personally think his motivation for visiting Iran was to add another country to his portfolio and nothing more. He is starting to run out of interesting places to cover.

I also think that if his work had political motivations in favor of Iran, then he would have left out his subtle digs. Then again, contrary to what people think here in the west, there are limitations put on what journalist can say, so I give him the benefit of the doubt and say he had more than just our subculture that he needed to please and he did it almost as gracefully as one could.


Thanks for the recommendation Toofantheoncesogreat

by Fitzneal (not verified) on

I'd already seen the Rageh Omar BBC documentary and agreed with your opinion so I hunted on You Tube for 'the other one by that Iranian gentlemen exploring Iranian food across the country' that you mention. The programme is called A Taste of Iran and is fantastic. I could only find episode one which looked at the shomal - Rasht and my favourite place Bandar Anzali etc. If anyone can provide a link for the other three episodes, they would be well worth watching.



by tt (not verified) on

It's 'WHOLE HEARTEDLY' - and it's not one word!


Anonymous 9999 ...

by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

You are right in some respects. Some of us do tend to view ourselves and our country through the eyes of the WEST! This is colonised mentality. However, it is the case that many of us who appreciate these photoes, do so because they are taken by an American who is clearly well-intentioned and in the background of massive anti-Iran/Iranian propaganda and demonisation of our country, he is showing a view of Iran which not only gives a glimpse of its beauty and the humanity of its people, but it shows a society that is not totally dark and depressed and impoverished (as Zions would like us to believe) but is vibrant, varied and capable of joy, thought and agency. This documentary challenges the dehumanising portrayal of our country and culture which is exactly what warmongers seek to propagate. Their intention is to attack our sense of pride and confidence in ourselves to make us believe that we are no good or helpless victims in need of rescue by those who KNOW BETTER. They also seeks to portray us as villains, demonise and dehumanise us in the eyes of the world so that when we are attacked and slaughtered there is no questioning and no guilt. So they say, Africa had no culture and Palestine had no people ...! Therefore, it is important to make a distinction between those who pick up any trash thrown at them by our enemies and identify with it, and those of us who know our identity, treasure it and are intent on keeping it alive and kicking ...

پاینده باد ایران آزاد



by Anonymous.... (not verified) on

Your point is well taken. You are a few steps ahead of me and I wholehardly agree with your vision of Iran's substance and the fabric of it's existance. Thank you for sharing! You are a good leader!


Dear A1

by Anonymous.... (not verified) on

Iran's glass is always have full.

US has 37 Million people officially living in poverty, over 40 Million don't have health care, yet they're paying social security and medicare taxes and bailing out their elite at their and their children's expense.

You seem to forget that Iran has been enduring years of negative publicity and hostility from the west, it's endured over 30 years of sanctions, not to mention a US backed war that just about destroyed the moral and spirit of that society. Yet they still love american people.

Given these circumstances, Iran and the IRI are doing extremely well. Enjoy thoes smiling faces, weather is under the chadoor or chargat, and acknowledge and commend their progress for the sake of that nations greater good.

On the other hand, the beauty of the US is that if you've lived here long enough and strived hard enough to reach prosperity and elitism, you'll know that sooner or later you'll get thrown off the high horse. If you haven't gotten there already, either you're not trying hard enough or you turn has yet to come, so don't go too crazy on the IRI just yet.



by Majid on

 منظور «اصلی» هست! شما به دل نگیرین!

جای جمال زاده خالی.........«فارسی شکر است» ولی فارسی بعضی از اهالی نیاوران شکرک «کپک» زده است!


موضوع عسلی


what was it about honey issues????

this is sad!



موضوع عسلی


موضوع عسلی

ایران بعد از رژیم پهلوی زنده است

زنده باد ایران

زنده باد آمریکا

مرگ بر شاه

پهلوی ها کثافت هستند

مرگ بر مجاهدین خلق




To Anonymous.....

by Anonymous9999 (not verified) on

هممیهن گرامی جای شادمانی است که حداقل یک ایرانی دیگر هم (شما) به این موضوع پی برد بقیه که کیف می کنند که یک خارجی رفته ایران و داره براشون از سفرش تعریف می کند. من هم با نظر شما در مورد برانگیختن حس افتخار به ایرانی بودن و اعتماد بنفس در جوانهای ایرانی کاملا موافق هستم چون تنها راه مبارزه با این بیماری بیگانه پرستی میباشد. اینطور که به نظر میرسد خیلی از ایرانی ها از تاریخ قبل از اسلام خود بیخبر هستند و چیزی در مورد ان شکوه و عظمت که کوروش بزرگ و داریوش بزرگ برایمان به ارمغان اوردند نمیدانند. افسوس و هزارها افسوس!


Used by IRI

by A1 (not verified) on

An ordinary look into this documentary inidcates Iran as a peaceful and hospitable country with very complex traditions and culture; which in fact it is. However, if you "read in between the lines" Mr. Steves speaks for the IRI, perhaps that was the deal to allow him to film in Iran.

No where does he mention how these young people are usually harassed by the moral police, or show the ones hooked on drugs, sever econimical crisis, high unemployement, and so many more issues that Iranians face every day.



by Iran Sarbaz (not verified) on

have to kick deistic islamic ones for good and is coming.


Iran Post Pahlavi dictatorship

by Jamshid_Niavarani_IV on

This clip is pure proof that people are living it up since that garbage family who went by the last name, "Pahlavi" was thrown out of Iran.  The Pahlavi dynasty tried to force a dictatorship on Iran.  Mirza Koocheek khan, Mossadegh and Khomayni are 3 people who stood up and said, "Hell NO!".

In 1979, the sc*m bag Pahlavi family fled Iran.  30 million Iranians were in the street dancing at the demise of the fall of human garbage.

After 30 years the majority of Iranians everywhere spit on the floor everytime they hear the Pahlavi name.

Pahlavis anywhere are a piece of garbage everywhere.

God bless Freedom.  God bless America.

F**K any type of Monarchy anwhere in the world.




by Anonymous.... (not verified) on

Now that you mention, I can't help but add that Steves also hedged when the gal made her "we love american people" remark. He stopped and rephrased himself by replying that we are courious or intriqued about Iranian people.

Regardless, you have a good point that makes me wonder if we are too easy to buy into the advertising and PR, or whether our culture needs to instill (with consideration and humility) more confidense and pride (specailly amoung it's youth) in the persian culture and accomplishments.


Great Report!

by Anonymous... (not verified) on

Nice catch about the thumb over the ice cream, though I wouldn't call it a reflection on either western or an eastern character. I recall a friend telling me about seeing a cook (in a very hip resturant located in one of, if not the most affluent neighborhood in the west) take a bite out of a chunk of cheese before throwing it back in the bin where cooks used it as topping for their brick oven baked pizzas. I'm sure people with fast food expertise can share more drastic stories, specially coming out of their processing plants.

On a different note, I found Rick Steves conclusion / persistence about Sadam's attack being a Sunni Shia(sp) rooted coflict inacurate and somewhat profound! I wonder how he classified Sadam's aggression toward Kuwait?

Finally, An Elitest friend called me as they were watching the show, and a few days and 3 inquires later, I heard a lot of vague him and ha's and still couldn't gather how they really felt about Iran. Therefore I find the jabs worthy for Iran to note and resolve. Until then, though limited and self serving, there is enough for the racist adversaries to remain on course for the time being.


Who is our real friend?

by Anonymous9999 (not verified) on

بیگانه پرستی در بین ما ایرانیها از کجا و از چه زمانی رواج پیدا کرده است؟ چرا مردم ایران نمی توانند همدیگر را دوست داشته باشند و حاظر هستند پشت یک خارجی را پاک کنند ولی دست هموطن نیازمند خود را نگیرند. از قدیم گفته اند: بمیر برای کسی که برایت تب می کند. هیچ چیز نفرت انگیزتر از این نیست که هموطنهای ایرانی میگویند: ما امریکایها را خیلی دوست داریم انهم بدون اینکه بدانند امریکایها چه احساسی در مورد انها دارند و یا چه به روز انها اورده اند. بیگانه پرستی ایرانیها ارتباط مستقیم با دین اسلام که به زور شمشیر و قتل عام میلیونها ایرانی به انها قبولانده شد دارد که خود عرب پرستی یا همان بیگانه پرستی میباشد و به همین دلیل مردم گیج و سر کلاف گم کرده ای هستیم. تا زمانی که این مشکل را حل نکنیم روزگارمان همین خواهد بود و همیشه نوکر و توسری خور دیگران خواهیم بود.


yek emricaii in the Islamic Republic of Iran

by Luciferous (not verified) on

Please whoever knowes that subject tell him: MAJEEZ KHANI TOU RA BE JAYI NEMIRESSANAD, Go Home and do better something for Guantanamo prisoners. Or does he find it - such as some "IRANIAN"s - allright that hundreds men are kept there without any accusation? for so many years, just because it is war time and trrorism-danger?


Accept the reality and deal with it......

by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

Mission impossible. The westerns have their own reality. it is impossible for them to even understand the reality. So they can not accept any real reality. The stability and power of the Islamic Republic of Iran has brought them during the last 30 years only a negligible amaunt of acceptance for the real reality. But not enough to help them stopping barking and grunting arround against the honorable Iranian Nation who backs with blood and life its Government and also ist Country if some day in futur it should be again neccessary. May be it will take many hundred years untill the human being is so far that every individual any every nation accepts that she/he must earn life by own work and not stil from others. In late 1979, as the Islamic Revolution was stabilized i heard from a staf of a western embassy in Tehran: how should it function? we ( the westerns ) should not have even one papassy any more? Allright, he continude, not 100% as before but 80%, 50%, THIRTY Percent, but nothing at all? THAT IS NOT REALISTIC. I could only reply: Dear sir, the reality has changed, better we go with the actual real reality. I think specially this one individual dreams stil today of the old good reality of western`s kind and from those days as Iran was a Sell out Shop for strangers, a "buy today pay never" shop and just a takeaway shop. Thanks God those satanic times are over and may God they will never never come back. And individuals who find it all right when hundreds of innocents are in guantanamo as prisoners without any court and any lawyers and argument: well it is wartime and defendance against terrirism... also these individauals have and praise and dream from same irreal western`s reality. Greeting


John - wetting the appetite!

by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

John, "Personally speaking, I can't wait until I have the opportunity to visit Iran myself and experience this fabulous culture firsthand. Videos such as these just wet my appetite". What wets your healthy appetite for Zions is a big lump in their throats. It is called hateful envy. I hope you will visit Iran. Seeing firsthand cuts across the black and white image of Iran propagated by warmongers.



by Mehrnaz (not verified) on

"but I rather think Iranian (Palestinian) people are like everyone else, want freedom and prosperity for themselves and their children, and are currently under the brutal rule of an ideological minority (which has occupied their land) that imposes (an apartheid regime, genocide, checkpoints, walls, starvation and daily humiliation on them) all of this on them, (to eliminate them by killing, desperation and driving out of their land). This is just what I think makes more sense. Why does that make you all so angry?"

Good day, Zion, you are the best lesson and reminder of the true face of Zionism and Israel's intents towards Iran.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

LOL x 100 = Saman

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

That was fantastic. "Iranian buns". Haha.

Ali P.


by Ali P. on

Another testimony to the greatness and friendliness of Iranian people!

What beautiful smiles!

LOL...I liked Rick Steve's non-reaction when the icecream guy touched his icecream with his thumb, before handing it to him( Part 2, 9:02 ; I know I know,...I have become a westernized soosool!)

I also loved properly named "Ziba-banoo" (Part3 , 6:29). Bless her heart :-)


To Tsion

by Benyamin on

It doesn`t make me angry, you are right about all of those. Iranians do crave freedom and they have faught and died for it more than anybody else!

Except our freedom was highjacked by the help of wait a minute it is at the tip of my tongue what is it? what is the name of that country? oh yes:the great US of A I am sure you have heard about it. By the way when ALL you hear from the media in the west specially USA are negative propeganda against your country to hear someone other than Iranians talking about her glorious, brave and smart people is music to most IRANIANS. I assume you are not an Iranian therefore, it is hard for you to understand!

the media has portrayed Iran worse than what it is and in most cases not JUST the government of Iran but the people of Iran have been effected by their actions. have you ever seen "not without my daughter"? That movie alone was not about the government of Iran, infact it was about Iranian culture and the way they mocked it. I am still defending myself everytime I date a non persian girl. so the ramifications of those kind of attckes were not just for the government of Iran but mostly for those ordinary smily people that said "we love Americans" and you being one of them!

To go through so many years of negative campaign against Iranian CULTURE and then see something like this is like going through a vast desert and suddenly encountring an oasis.

I truly don`t expect you to understand.  It is simply beyond you. sometimes it is best  NOT comment about things when it is not your place.



Bloged by me on Feb. 5, 2009 already

by Khar777 (not verified) on


Unclear on the concept

by John on

Rick Steves is a travel reporter and documentarist, therefore he will show us the people, culture, monuments and landscape.  He is not a political commentator, so he leaves that nonsense to people with nothing better to do than to not enjoy life.  These video clips are extremely entertaining and interesting, and don't forget that he did preface the whole thing by saying that the government was imposing certain restrictions on him and his film crew.   So what?  He's a visitor to a sovereign nation.

Personally speaking, I can't wait until I have the opportunity to visit Iran myself and experience this fabulous culture firsthand.  Videos such as these just whet my appetite.


Move on to better songs ...

by Saman on

He's a horrible, aging pop-rock musician (trying to get Iranian bunns) ... Iranians sweat him only cuz, no one else goes there.


Zion: No one reads what you write...your comments are like watching football and drinking crap load of beer on a Sunday afternoon. Total waste of time and childish.