A month in Iran: reportage 11 - Northern Tehran: The Last Shah's Residence and Tajrish

Image may contain: sky, car, tree and outdoorWHAT A TRAFFIC! "I coud never live here" I think while my friend Sara drives her car like a true Tehran badass "I love living in a big city" she says getting off the highway to a beautiful tree-lined boulevard. 
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, shoes and bootsThe last time I have been here it was winter and there was the snow. Now the green foliage makes it merry and bright. Beautiful new houses for the new riches have been built in the last years in the northern part of the city, and I wonder about the result of the Islamic Revolution as far as social equality.
In Iran people live very well, you don't see extreme poverty and the wellfare system is effective. Many key sectors of the economy are pubblic or under a close public control so that it can be fairly described as a 'mixed economy'. But class differences are acutely perceived. The Revolution has been a turn point for the large mass of poor workers but it failed to elimiate the Iranian upper class privileges. 
Image may contain: indoorThe Revolution itself was complex and polysemic, I don't even try here to give account of it, but it's important to say that Shi'a Islam has always been a revolutionary ideology with clerics supporting the popular claims against the political power, so it was normal to see a merge between islamist and communist militants in the uprising culminated in the last Shah  overthrow. 
No automatic alt text available.We are walking in what is now a splendid public park. The last Shah's private palace is a museum and Sara is right to say: "I have seen more lavish houses in Tehran...". The big Shah's brocken statue outside the palace is one of the symbol of the Revolution and I take a picture there as I did 15 years ago. 
Image may contain: 1 personThere are many museum in the park, the most interesting in my opinion is the Museum of the Water, displaying tools and method of mesuring and management of the water in the Iranian cities since the past until the present.
Tajrish shrine and bazar are the next destination. I love this place. The Bazar is smaller and less busy than the Grand Bazar in the southern part of the city, the shrine is cosy, beautiful and warm. 
The Prophet's family or Ahl al-Bayt has got a main role in Shi'a Islam so the tombs of its members are considered holy places and often visited for worshipping. But it's always worshipping of the one god.
Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and foodHowever a shirine is more than that, it's a small world where people feel at home. Here you can pray or read the Quran, but also chattering with your friend, study, write on your laptop and even sleep, especially in a hot summer afternoon. 
Men and women have dedicated sides of the shrine, separated by the golden grid guarding the holy grave. Touching the grid is part of the ritual as well as weeping and beating the chest, because according to the tradition the most of the  Ahl al-Bayt members died as martyrs, victimes of an oppressive and illegittimate power. 
The women side is noisy, crowded and chaotic. Children are playing, womens are parying loud or talking on the phone... My son says the men side is quieter...
Enough for today: tonight we go out! 
The next day we'll take the subway and we'll go exploring the southern part of the city: Golestan palace, the Gran Bazar and the ex USA embassy.


Image may contain: foodTO BE CONTINUED
Have also a look to Part 1Part 2,  Part 3Part 4 Part 5Part 6 , Part 7 , Part 8 Part 9 and Part 10

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