Travels in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan

Map of Iran and Iraq with the approximate locations of the pictures on this page highlighted.

These pictures were taken on a three-month journey in the spring of 2016, across parts of Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.

The journey had two distinct parts:

  1. In March and April, I traveled about 8,000 kilometers by vehicle across Iran with my wife Natalie Kallay, joined in the south-east by our friend Daniel Belenyi.

  2. In May, I traveled by myself across the Zagros Mountains, from Hamadan, in Western Iran, to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. On this part of the journey I walked every step of the way, a distance of some 850 kilometers.

The pictures are presented in no particular order.


Women walk past a shop with musicians playing in front of it. πŸ“· Perfume shop | πŸ“ Tehran, Iran | πŸ—“ March 9, 2016


A man in the medium distance inspects one of the trees in a mulberry grove in the evening light. πŸ“· Mulberry trees | πŸ“ Tehran, Iran | πŸ—“ March 9, 2016


A small girl runs past a large sparkler placed on the ground, on a street at night. πŸ“· Chaharshanbe Suri | πŸ“ Tehran, Iran | πŸ—“ March 15, 2016


Closeup of pink flowers on a tree. πŸ“· Cherry blossoms | πŸ“ Near Khulak, Gilan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ March 21, 2016


A woman wearing a headscarf, sitting in the passenger seat of a car, holds up a goldfish in a glass. πŸ“· New year fish | πŸ“ Tehran, Iran | πŸ—“ March 20, 2016


A hand hold a glass of clear liquid whose viscosity suggests it is hard liquor. Behind the glass, people sit around a dinner table. πŸ“· Illegal drinks | πŸ“ Between Lahijan and Rasht, Gilan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ March 23, 2016


A man plays a large, handheld drum, and another a guitar-like instrument at a table on a hillside in the evening light. πŸ“· Legal drinks | πŸ“ Above Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 19, 2016


A woman walks in a walnut forest towards a high waterfall. πŸ“· Laton Waterfall | πŸ“ Astara, Gilan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ March 25, 2016


A high, rocky mountain fills the horizon behind green fields and wildflowers in spectacular, glowing evening light. πŸ“· Zagros sunset | πŸ“ Kermanshah, Iran | πŸ—“ May 5, 2016


A woman in a blue headscarf and a white shirt looks up at the intricately patterned ceiling of a mosque. πŸ“· Hakim Mosque | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 28, 2016


Looking straight up at a dome with a window in its center. πŸ“· Bazaar dome | πŸ“ Yazd, Iran | πŸ—“ April 2, 2016


The main building of an Armenian cathedral in the evening light, with a large, undecorated dome. πŸ“· Vank Cathedral | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 29, 2016


A crow flies past the brown and turquoise dome of one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. πŸ“· Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 31, 2016


In the evening light, dome-shaped structured in the tent which are lit up from the inside πŸ“· Desert camp | πŸ“ Near Shahdad, Kerman Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 18, 2016


At night, people walk around an octogonal pavilion, framed by trees. πŸ“· Tomb of Hafez | πŸ“ Shiraz, Iran | πŸ—“ April 8, 2016


Looking up at the entrance of a large tomb carved into a vertical rock wall. πŸ“· Tomb of Darius the Great | πŸ“ Naqsh-e Rustam, Fars Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 9, 2016


People sit in a park in the evening light in front of a tall building which looks like a concrete rocket. πŸ“· Tomb of Avicenna | πŸ“ Hamadan, Iran | πŸ—“ April 30, 2016


Closeup of lots of colorful flowers. πŸ“· Flower Garden of Isfahan | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 30, 2016


Closeup of even more colorful flowers. πŸ“· Eram Garden | πŸ“ Shiraz, Iran | πŸ—“ April 6, 2016


Closeup of small pink flowers. πŸ“· Wildflowers | πŸ“ Along the Gogasur River, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 19, 2016


Pink flowers in a straw-yellow, hilly landscape. πŸ“· Unmarked minefield | πŸ“ Along the Gogasur River, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 18, 2016


Bright green fields in what looks like strong winds under a dark grey sky. πŸ“· Spring storm | πŸ“ Between Hush and Shanabad, Hamadan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 2, 2016


A lot of people throng the door of a restaurant. πŸ“· Lunch queue | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 30, 2016


Young men dancing under a stone brige at night. πŸ“· Midnight party | πŸ“ Isfahan, Iran | πŸ—“ March 31, 2016


Two large, carved wooden clubs at the entrance of a woodworking shop. πŸ“· Zurkhaneh clubs | πŸ“ Yazd, Iran | πŸ—“ April 3, 2016


A man in white running clothes jogs past a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini on a very straight country road. πŸ“· Marathon man | πŸ“ Persepolis, Fars Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 9, 2016


A black-haired woman applies makeup to a blond woman whose eyes are closed. πŸ“· Makeup for afternoon shopping, light European version | πŸ“ Shiraz, Iran | πŸ“· April 8, 2016


The black-haired woman is joined by a brown-haired woman in front of a mirror, where they apply makeup together. πŸ“· Makeup for afternoon shopping, proper Iranian version | πŸ“ Shiraz, Iran | πŸ—“ April 8, 2016


A woman in a dark headscarf, only her silhouette visible, hugs a woman whose hair peeks out from under her headscarf, in front of a yellow brick wall. πŸ“· Khatere and Mahsa | πŸ“ Shiraz, Iran | πŸ—“ April 8, 2016


Closeup of fine embroidery on a piece of clothing. πŸ“· Aisha’s trousers | πŸ“ Bandar-e Doulab, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 11, 2016


A symmetrical flower carved in a broken stone which lies in the grass. πŸ“· Achaemenid ruins | πŸ“ Persepolis, Fars Province, Iran | πŸ“· April 9, 2016


Two men with spray paint guns smile into the camera in front of a large mural which depicts peshmerga, Kurdish warriors. πŸ“· Peshmerga mural | πŸ“ Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 25, 2016


A straight and a circular door knocker on a door that looks very old. πŸ“· Sex-segregated door knockers | πŸ“ Yazd, Iran | πŸ—“ April 4, 2016


Two women look into a large pool of crude oil, a 1970s piece of modern art, in which portraits of the two Supreme Leaders of Iran are reflected. πŸ“· Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei | πŸ“ Tehran, Iran | πŸ—“ April 25, 2016


Closeup of a mudskipper in the mud. πŸ“· Mudskipper | πŸ“ Hara forest of Qeshm, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 11, 2016


Closeup of a sand dollar. πŸ“· Fossilized sand dollar | πŸ“ Qeshm, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 14, 2016


A woman jumps across a canyon barely wider than a human being. πŸ“· Chahkooh Valley | πŸ“ Qeshm, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 12, 2016


Panoramic view of the Citadel of Bam. πŸ“· Arg-e Bam | πŸ“ Bam, Kerman Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 15, 2016


A small village in the mountains at dusk. πŸ“· Sunset in the Hawraman | πŸ“ Vara, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 12, 2016


Small pink flowers on dry yellow stalks. πŸ“· Mountain flowers | Meymand, Kerman Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 20, 2016


Children ride in the bed of a white Toyota pickup truck which drives along the dirt floor of long tunnel. πŸ“· Unfinished tunnel | πŸ“ Between Hajij and Bil Spring, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 13, 2016


A younger and two older men stand at the gate of a church at night. πŸ“· Assyrian men | πŸ“ Ankawa, Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 27, 2016


Four boys stand in a line and smile into the camera. πŸ“· Kurdish boys | πŸ“ Penjwen, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 16, 2016


Three girls and two boys of various ages eat ice cream in a shop; one of the girls shows the V-sign into the camera. πŸ“· Kurdish girls | πŸ“ Hajij, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 13, 2016


A young woman in an embroidered pink dress holds a baby in front of a large tree with a red balloon in its branches. πŸ“· Red balloon | πŸ“ Between Nevin and Selin, Kordestan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 13, 2016


A beautiful young girl in a red dress smiles into the camera.

A one-eyed man wearing a turban looks into the camera.

πŸ“· Derun and her father, Hassan | πŸ“ Along the Gogasur River, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 19, 2016


A bearded man smiles into the camera under an arched ceiling. πŸ“· Said | πŸ“ Upper Ali Korzan, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 4, 2016


The lights of a small village in the mountains. πŸ“· Dusk above Selin (population: 910) | πŸ“ Selin, Kordestan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 13, 2016


The lights of an enormous city stretch to the horizon. πŸ“· Dusk above Tehran (population: 16,000,000) | πŸ” Mount Tochal, Iran | πŸ—“ March 13, 2016


Men drag a fishing net from a sea with a tractor, aided by lights in the complete darkness. πŸ“· Night fishing | πŸ“ The Caspian Sea at Chapar Pord-e Zaman, Gilan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ March 26, 2016


Two Arabian-looking boats under construction on the shore, with a completed one floating by in the sunset. πŸ“· Shipyard | Guran, Hormozgan Province, Iran | April 11, 2016


A man in a pink striped polo shirt with a scarf wrapped around his head drives a powerboat under a cloudy sky. πŸ“· Boatman | πŸ“ Near Hengam Island, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 13, 2016


Closeup of a person holding a large handful of salt crystals in their hands. πŸ“· Salt | πŸ“ Qeshm salt dome, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 12, 2016


On a pier in a dramatically pink lake, boys stand around colorful boats. πŸ“· Love boats and boys | πŸ“ Maharloo Lake, Fars Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 21, 2016


On a pier on a normal-looking lake, three women gear up to kayak, with white swan boats anchored near them. πŸ“· Love boats and girls | πŸ“ Zarivar Lake, Kordestan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 16, 2016


A mule walks down a deserted asphalt road in a hilly countryside. πŸ“· Mule | πŸ“ Along the Gogasur River, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 18, 2016


Two goats stand by a wall in an Arabic-looking village. πŸ“· Two goats | πŸ“ Bandar-e Doulab, Hormozgan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ April 10, 2016


A number of cows and two grey goats graze on a hillside burned yellow by the sun. πŸ“· Two more goats | πŸ“ Between Dokan and Koya, Erbil Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 23, 2016


A dead goat lies on green artificial grass next to what looks like a dead sheep. πŸ“· Halabja Memorial Monument | πŸ“ Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 20, 2016


Seven men, all dressed in wide-legged Kurdish trousers, stand in a line by a fence. πŸ“· Construction workers | πŸ“ Near Ahmadawa, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 19, 2016


A line of men stand in a mosque during prayer, all but one facing away from the camera. πŸ“· Night prayer | πŸ“ Penjwen, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 16, 2016


Seen from ground level, a small boy sits on a tall chair and plays with a laser pointer in a shrine whose ceilings are decorated entirely with mirrored tiles. πŸ“· Morteza and his son Saam at the imamzadeh | πŸ“ Bisotun, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 4, 2016


Three young man lie and sit around on a carpeted floor, with a woman stepping lightly on the back of one of them. πŸ“· Shahab gets a back massage | πŸ“ Kuzaran, Kermanshah Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 8, 2016


Two men in traditional Kurdish dress pose in front of a general store. πŸ“· Two shopkeepers | πŸ“ Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 20, 2016


Three bottles of Coke, a little left in one of them, a large straw hat, and a pair of sunglasses on a table. πŸ“· 40 Β°C in the shade | πŸ“ Between Dokan and Koya, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 23, 2016


Fields glow with strange golden light in front of a line of low hills. πŸŒ• Moonlit fields | πŸ“ Between Koya and Erbil, Erbil Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 25, 2016


Closeup of a very colorful carpet. πŸ“· Kurdish felt carpet | πŸ“ Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 26, 2016


A man in traditional Kurdish dress rides a motorcycle at night without holding on to its handlebars, as seen from another motorcycle. πŸ“· Motorbike ride | πŸ“ Along the Gogasur River, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 18, 2016


Looking down from a bridge at people washing their cars and having picnics by a river. πŸ“· Sunset on the Little Zab | πŸ“ Dokan, Sulaymaniyah Governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 22, 2016


An old white sedan parked on a road with a view of rolling green hills. πŸ“· Sunset in the Hawraman | πŸ“ Between Uraman Takht and Daraki, Kordestan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 14, 2016


A yellow Lamborghini Gallardo parked across the road from what looks like an enormous trash fire which lights up the night sky. πŸ“· Dream City | πŸ“ Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 27, 2016


A young boy in an FC Barcelona shirt holds a paper cup of tea, sitting on a chair by the side of a road. πŸ“· Tea house | πŸ“ Ankawa, Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan | πŸ—“ May 27, 2016


Closeup of a hand with Persian numbers and an email address, my previous one, scrawled on its palm in blue biro. πŸ“· Contact received | πŸ“ Between Uraman Takht and Daraki, Kordestan Province, Iran | πŸ—“ May 14, 2016


Contact

I’m happy to answer any and all questions you may have. You can reach me, in English and Hungarian, not at the address above but at