Paul Eagen - Azerbaijan and Kurdistan - April 17

"I met Shirin when she was allocated as my instructor at Ellis Brigham's Ice climbing wall in Covent Garden. In that 40 minute session she managed to improve my ice skills, recommend a great guide in Harald Koidl for my Matterhorn ascent and light a fire in me to visit Iran. A year later, my wife and I took the plunge and chose to visit Iran for our honeymoon (eyebrows were raised when we told our parents where we were going!). Naturally, we chose Shirin and Persian Pursuits to take us there. As it was a tour along a new and relatively untouched route, we had the pleasure of travelling with Shirin and her lovely extended family and friends through Western Iran, visiting the ancient lands of Eden, Kurdistan and the valleys and towns of the Iraq border. We weren't disappointed. Perfect organisation and what an amazing country! The history, the mountains, the food, the culture and the nicest people you could ever meet - it had it all. An unforgettable two weeks. Thanks, Shirin!"

Paul Eagen

London, UK

Cultural Tour of NW and W Iran

Simon Gardner - Ski Damavand April 2017

"I first met Shirin on a coach on our way up to Scotland for the start of the three peaks challenge. After speaking with her for several hours and hearing first hand her passionate stories of climbing in Iran I decided that at some point I must visit. So 3 weeks ago now myself and 8 others met up in the airport of Iran's capital Tehran. This was the start of a pretty amazing trip of which we visited many of the old and new buildings of Tehran. On day 2 we headed out towards the mountains where we all stayed at the Polur mountain hut from where we went ski touring on peaks up to 4000m. Day 4 we headed up to the high hut on Damavand 4200m to spend time acclimatizing before our summit attempt. The day we summited Damavand the weather conditions were perfect and we managed to ski up and down and eventually to spend a further night at the Polur hut. Our final day was spent in Tehran sight seeing and a special celebratory meal at a fantastic restaurant in the evening.
From start to finish the whole trip was perfect, Shirin had arranged everything and was contactable at all times if needed. If your looking at something a little different from the normal trekking destinations then I can 100% recommend Persian Pursuits."

Simon Gardner

Preston, UK

Alexander Cowan - Trek Damavand 2016

"It's hard to relay the beauty of Iran to someone who hasn't been before because of preconceived ideas about the country but I can truly say that it is breathtaking. I have travelled all over the world to climb and Iran will forever hold a special place in my memories thanks to Shirin and the team at Persian Pursuits. This trip was about so much more than just scaling Damavand. It was a cultural education and eye opener; an opportunity to be exposed to all aspects of Iranian life from the hustle and bustle of Tehran to the poppy laden slopes of its highest mountain. For anyone with a sense of adventure or who enjoys getting into the hills, I highly recommend reaching out to Shirin and exploring Asia's highest volcano. For those who are slightly apprehensive, I felt safer in Iran than I have in many other parts of the world including my home town London! Amin, our mountain guide, was as warm and welcoming as the strangers we met on the street in addition to being an absolute professional when on the rock. I am itching to go back already..."

Sept. 2016

Patricia Engel - Cultural April 2016

"Iran to me was a place of hospitality, poetry and impressive roots in the past. Due to the fact that Shirin was our guide and her parents and friends of them were with us, we got a glimpse of the country and established personal contacts with its people.

The long trips gave us an idea of its huge size and a great appreciation of nature of the geography, geology and vegetation of Iran. The works of art we have seen at Persepolis and other places were equally impressive.

What made the deepest impression on me, however, was the striking difference between the unfriendly and menacing desert and plains and the overwhelming beauty of the gardens, the walls separating the inner and the outer environment, the contrast of the burning sun and the green shade, the dry dust and the fountains with glass-like sparkling water, stones and architecture, roses, lemon tree smells, soft movements of grain grass in the wind, the red pomegranate blossoms, the age-old olive trees and the wine.Who was able to visualise and create such beauty?"

Patricia Engel

Austria

Emanuel Wenger - Cultural April 2016

Emanuel and Shirin's Dad

Emanuel and Shirin's Dad

"Between the years 2000 and 2009, I made three trips to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Already my first trip showed me that it is a wonderful and interesting country absolutely different


fromthe general opinion in our mass media and the public view.
Again, I had very big expectations when I went on my fourth visit with
my friend Shirin and her Persian Pursuit company to visit again Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan,
Shiraz, Persepolis , and Yazd. All my expectations were exceeded.

We had a wonderful trip with a very harmonic team consisting of 5 Iranians
and 10 Noniranians, two sympathetic, helpful and informative guides (Farid, Mojtaba) and an amazing
driver who always kept cool and turned out to bea poet.
Iran is a wonderful country still not overcrowded by tourists which could happen in the near future.
 In places like Persepolis and Pasargadae you can feel the glorious Persian history reaching back some thousands years. Among the most amazing experiences are the meetings with the friendly and hospitable locals. Especially young boys and girls look for contacts with the guests in their country.

I am looking forward to my next trip to some other parts in Iran with Shirin."

Emanuel Wenger

Vienna - Austria

The magnificent Pasargadae

The magnificent Pasargadae

Stefan Sienell - Cultural April 2016

Stefan feeling proud of himself having just bought stamps all by himself from the post office. 

Stefan feeling proud of himself having just bought stamps all by himself from the post office. 

"I had been to Iran in 2009 for the first time and missed unfortunately Persopolis and Shiraz on that occasion as that trip had different spots. So there was no doubt to take the opportunity to join Shirin’s group visiting these two amazing places and see the other places as well again like Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan and Yazd to see what has changed within the last seven years.

 We were surprised how easy it is to step into contact with the people down there. Everyone was so nice and welcomed us just by saying “Hello”. The Iranian people are friendly and helpful, which we found out, when we had some time on ourselves to explore Tehran on our own the last day, when we had already been really familiar with the idea of feeling free to visit the Bazar without the “protection” of the group and Shirin and our guide on our side.

Taking it all in at Persopolis 

Taking it all in at Persopolis 

 We made wonderful experiences and can only recommend everyone to go there and collect own experiences. Shirin and our local guide prepared a perfect mixture between sightseeing and some relaxed times in one of the world heritage gardens we have visited – and also a wide bandwidth of places where to eat, like some touristic restaurants on the one hand and some tiny nearly private locations where grandma did the cooking on the other hand. Due to our rather small group of some 12-15 people we had easily the chance to visit these tiny places, too.

Thanks to Shirin who is an adorable person and was the soul of the group.”

Stefan Sienell

                                                                                                    Austria

Inside Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque - Naghsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

Inside Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque - Naghsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

Prof. Wolfgang and Mrs Helga Mecklenbraueker - Cultural April 2016

Mrs. Mecklenbrauker at Persopolis

Mrs. Mecklenbrauker at Persopolis

"More than 10 years ago we met Shirin in Vienna, Austria. Over the years we stayed in contact with her and her growing family in London. So we were pleased to learn she was planning a cultural trip to Iran. We joined and finally we got to know something about the home country of our daughter-in-law.

The trip was a well balanced mixture of Unesco world heritage, oriental flavour not only in the bazars, historical sites of ancient ages, and, of course, sight seeing landmarks. We enjoyed the local food all over the country, in the smallest tavernas it was cooked excellently.

Prof. Macklenbrauker with the driver at the toomb of Hafez after he had recited a poem he had composed for tourists

Prof. Macklenbrauker with the driver at the toomb of Hafez after he had recited a poem he had composed for tourists

Having learned a little bit of Farsi in courses and from our grandchildren we came in contact easily with Iranians. We were astonished about the cordiality and frankness of the people we met. So, we think, we got to know something about today-life and life in ancient times. Our bus driver was an artist in many respects: good humoured, making philosophical observations, reciting an own poem about travelling and Austrians at the tomb of Hafez, and most importantly a master of his profession, such as our tourist guides. It was touching.

A remarkable and amazing trip. Very well organized. We recommend it very much - also for aged people as we are."

Prof. Mecklenbrauker and Mrs Mecklenbrauker

Austria

Dakhme - Tower of Silence in Yazd where Zaroastrians left their dead

Dakhme - Tower of Silence in Yazd where Zaroastrians left their dead

summit photo! A nice and steady walk up to the top of 'Dakhme' the Tower of Silence in Yazd  

summit photo! A nice and steady walk up to the top of 'Dakhme' the Tower of Silence in Yazd

 

Ron Kenyon - Cultural April 2016

Ron and Shirin at Nahghsh-e Jahan square - Isfahan

Ron and Shirin at Nahghsh-e Jahan square - Isfahan

"I have been wanting to go to Iran since 1978 when I had planned to visit a friend working there in Tehran - however events there made this not possible.  The country has a vast history and this was highlighted by a book I found called "Crossroads of Civilisation" written in 1979 by Clive Irving - this is well worth finding and reading covering 3000 years of history to 1979.  In 2015 there were moves to reduce sanctions on Iran. Also Shirin advertised a trip to Iran to ski up (and down) Damavand, in 2016, which I had wanted to do for years and I contacted her about this. In the end this was not going to happen - however she told me about the Cultural Tour from Tehran to Kashan, Esfahan, Shiriz and Yazd - including Percepolis and Passgadae -  WOW - got to go !  After communications and flight I was met at the airport by Farid, our guide,  and eventually met the team in the hotel in Tehran.  I was the sole Brit with others from Austria and Germany - my German is limited to "eine bier bitte" but everyone (as usual) spoke perfect English. 

We were transported in a super bus driven by the great driver Siavash- he is also a good reader of poetry as well as a "good laugh".

We had a rough idea of the itiniary but not the detail - and that detail unrolled over the next 10 ten days - this was not a cultural tour but a bombardment !

There were so many places - palaces, mosques, gardens, bridges, tombs and much more-  and there did not seem to be much lost time. There were also the people of Iran - they all seemed so pleased to see us including someone from England.  Many smiles and interest including attractive English Literature students from Tehran University and a seat in a park in Shiriz containing four generations.

We covered about 2500 km - so one has be happy to travel - I am reasonably fit but had a bit of a cold and had to miss some trips due to the cold but my cup of culture was still overflowing.

Shirin and Persian Pursuits have a vast knowledge of the country and plan full itiniaries which can be personalised for the group.

Iran is a country which one has to visit-  and then visit again and again !"

Ron Kenyon - Penrith, UK

The 2500 year old Persopolis near Shiraz

The 2500 year old Persopolis near Shiraz

Rachel Fell - Damavand Trek 2015

"If you are looking for a unique, unforgettable and amazing travel experience, look no further than Persian Pursuits! I'd never have thought I would have tackled my first high altitude mountain trek in Iran.  By travelling with Persian Pursuits you will not only get to enjoy an incredible adventure into high mountain territory, but experience a country that westerners know relatively little about. 

Shirin is an excellent host and expedition organiser, and you will be looked after and guided right from the word go until the very end of your trip. She will make sure you get the most out of your time in Tehran by showing you important attractions and interesting shops. And if you love food, you'll relish the many traditional restaurants you get to eat at!

You are also well looked after by Shirin's mountain guides who expertly ensure you are safely lead up and down the mountain. Acclimatisation is factored into the treks and was key to my being able to cope with being at high altitude. Damavand itself is a spectacular mountain and the sight if it casting its early morning shadow over the surrounding countryside is something I'll never forget. 

So if you're looking for a travel experience that combines both cultural and high altitude adventures, lead by a determined and passionate host, I highly recommend travelling with Shirin and Persian Pursuits."

Chris Lowe - Damavand Ski 2015

"Considering the many hurdles involved for Brits to be granted access to Iran, Shirin and Persian Pursuits made this as easy as going to the post office for a stamp which was most appreciated. We successfully climbed an acclimatisation peak as well as summiting Damavand via a mix of ski touring and winter mountaineering. It was my first peak over 5000m and credit goes to the guide who was excellent at ensuring we acclimatise and adjust without risk. The ski descent was both challenging at altitude and invigorating at more alpine levels. Visiting Iran was one of the most enlightening adventures I have done. Firstly amazing to experience a different style of mountain to anything I've come across in the major ranges (think desert heat at 2000m and arctic conditions above 4000m). Secondly to visit a country that is essentially closed to the rest of the world and being able to experience such genuine hospitality and rich culture is something I will not forget. I suspect Iran will change soon, don't delay, go now whilst it remains a genuine unpolished gem."

Chris Low - Damavand Ski 2015

Matthew Traver - Damavand Ski 2015

"My first experience of Iran was coming to shoot a film about a British team's winter ski ascent of Mt. Damavand, which was organised and led by Shirin. I was consistently impressed by Shirin's organisational skills, her passion for Iran and her fine attention to detail. Furthermore her innate skills as a producer and local fixer in Iran will ensure great success for any film productions"

 

Matthew Traver - Film Maker

Damavand Ski expedition - April 2015

Jonathan White - Damavand Ski 2015

IMG_8285.JPG

"I can't thank Shirin enough for making this trip happen - it ran perfectly, and we all had really enjoyable and eye-opening times. She negotiated the itinerary, made the necessary arrangements with the in-country operators, led us through the challenges of Brits getting visas (including phone calls to Tehran), and guided us on the laws and customs that we needed to be aware of. The logistics all went to plan (a major achievement for any trip), including perfect late winter weather! At every stage the Persian people were extremely welcoming - even more so once we'd climbed their iconic Damavand. Our guide and our drivers were especially helpful, and we learnt a lot about this modern country and its ancient and historic roots. As a winter trip, we avoided the numbers that climb the mountain in summer. In fact, we were the only people climbing on our summit day - does any other 'highest mountain' two hours from a capital city give that potential? To anyone who is interested, I'd strongly encourage them to visit Iran and its stunning mountains before everyone else decides to."

Jonathan White - Damavand Ski 2015

Alpine Club Committee & Chartered Civil Engineer

George Cave - Damavand Ski 2015

"Shirin is great fun and a lovely person to travel on expedition with. Crucially she is also very organised, diligent with her planning and will go out of her way to help ensure the trip is a success. She made the challenging bureaucratic process of applying for an Iranian visa on a British passport seem simple and I had a brilliant time in the country. I would recommend that anyone seeking to travel and climb in Iran seeks the help of Persian Pursuits, Shirin has all of the contacts and local knowledge needed to make any trip a success."

George Cave - Adventurer, Climber

 

Simone Cuozzo - Damavand Trek Aug 2014

"I wasn't sure what to expect when I flew into Tehran airport, big desert? Mud huts? Petra style ruins?  I did not expect a city supporting 14 million people with roads with LED lights along the sides of them. It was amazing. After spending a day of looking around the city and trying to get used to the heat and humidity, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, we drove off to the base of Damavand.The next day we drove up to the base camp, 3000m, and walked up to the high camp, 4200m, spent the night there. After a day of acclimatisation and another night in a tent we summited the next day. The next 2 days were spent travelling back to Tehran, eating amazing food and looking around the city again then flying home. It was an amazing and eye opening trip, I highly recommend it."

Simone Cuozzo - Sales Manager at Ellis Brigham, UK

Heather Gray - Damavand Trek Aug 2014

"Only three words are needed to summarise my trip to Iran with Persian Pursuits. عاشقشم (asheghesham) or 'I loved it', one of the Farsi phrases taught to us by our lovely guide, Mehdi, who seemed to enjoy his job so much that our tour days would typically run well into the evening. I loved so many aspects of Iran: ranging from the people, the history, the culture, the mountains to the food. Words cannot properly express the feeling of wandering around a stunning 900 year old mosque more or less completely alone. And eating melt-in-your-mouth-tender lamb chops, which arrived on the table on enormous sword-like skewers. And Damavand. Damavand is just how you expect a big, challenging mountain to look -- enormous, almost perfectly conical and with an ominous sulphur cloud belching from the summit. This was my first experience in climbing a mountain above 5000 m and while it was certainly not easy, the team that Shirin had put together meant that I always felt confident and safe. I don't think that I can recommend Shirin and Persian Pursuits more highly. The trip ran smoothly, was always enjoyable, well-organised despite the challenge of bringing Westerners to Iran. Shirin is a great host -- she helped with all details of the trip from finding tickets, explaining what clothes we needed to wear, to figuring out how to bring money into Iran. Probably, no definitely, an experience of a life time. Thank you Shirin and Persian Pursuit."

 

Heather Gray - Research Staff Scientist at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland Mountain and Travel Lover

Switzerland

Heather Geluk - Damavand Trek Aug 2014

"Whilst the summit reflected the ‘crux’ of our climb, I realised that it actually was so much more than that. It was a symbol of the multifarious melting-pot that is defining modern Iran –a country that is endlessly welcoming and a country that is desperate to been seen for what it is, rather than what it is depicted to be."

Heather Geluk - International Mountain Adventure Diva and Management Consultant in London

Canada 

Caroline Bernadi Luft - Damavand Trek Aug 2014

P1010272.jpg

"Thanks to Persian Pursuits I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I went to Iran for the first time, and also for the first time I went to the summit of Damavand, which was amazing. As a Brazilian living in the UK, I had never been in that high altitude in my life, and I have never thought I could make it to the summit. During the climb, I felt safe and in good health, Shirin and the guides were extremely professional and made sure I was safe and well acclimatized before attempting to summit it. My trip to Iran would have been hard to make without Persian Pursuits, even from early stages such as getting the visa. The fact that Shirin is an Iranian living in the UK helped us all getting to know the culture, going to amazing places and making our trip much smoother and enjoyable over there. Iran is an amazing country with the most hospitable people I have ever met, so I'm definitely looking forward to going back"

Caroline Bernadi Luft - Lecturer in London

From Brazil

Ignacio Garcia Zea - Damavand Trek Aug 2014

"When I first arrived in Iran I felt a bit intimidated, even though I knew it was a perfectly safe country. Being in an Islamic country ruled by a Supreme Leader with a religious driven government and society, it made it a bit intimidating for me. But this feeling disappeared straight away as soon as I met and talked with the first Iranians, what a nice people, so welcoming, you'll be surprised! The levels of hospitality are way higher in Iran than in most of the "developed" European countries, people are always very helpful and kind. There's a lot of reasons why you should visit Iran, for me one of them was the food, absolutely delicious!! You'll eat and drink things you've never eaten before, and it's all so tasty! If you go there, try the water melons, they are outrageously sweet and delicious!! The only thing I didn't like is that the portions were huge, I don't like wasting food, but the plates where so big it was impossible to eat everything. Another reason is their massive cultural and historical heritage from the old Persian Empire, you'll visit overwhelmingly beautiful palaces and gorgeous mosques and shrines. This is something I'd like to dedicate more time on my next trip to Iran. But the best part was the climb to Damavand, even though I got altitude sickness when we were at the second camp, to get there with such a great team and stay on the mountain for a few days was an amazing experience I will never forget. So I want to say thanks Shirin for making such a great trip possible, for being such a good a team leader and for being so supportive and nice all the time."

Ignacio Garcia Zea - Outdoor Enthusiast, Climber from Spain

Damavand Trek Aug.2014