Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Tree at Library of Congress

The atmosphere of the Library of Congress is always wonderful. You feel that you are surrounded by science and can read and learn in a peaceful atmosphere. These days it's more lovely. The library staff has put a beautiful Christmas Tree in the main entrance of  Jefferson building which says hello to the visitor.
I wish peace and happiness for the whole world in 2016.

Monday, October 19, 2015

An old buckle of a Persian Belt

Today I visited a unique exhibition at Rotterdam's World Museum: "The Persians, Warriors and Poets". It's a joint project between this Dutch museum and Stibbert Museum in Italy.

The exhibition is mostly focused on the Persian weapons in Safavid era; ca. 16th and 17th century. This era is quite important in the history of Persia (or Iran). Safavid kings reunited the country and Persian art (except for music) also blossomed in this period.

But now many Persians do not show interest in Safavid dynasty. It seems the main reason is the current political situation in Iran. The current government of Iran is Shia and Safavid kings were also Shia and cited Shia Islam as the official religion of Persia when they came to power; different from the rest of Islamic countries which are mostly Sunni. Another important point which should not be forgotten is the Persians were mostly Zoroastrian before the Arabs' attack to their country in 7th AD.

Anyway what attracted my attention at the exhibition is not weapons or religious/national stuff; it's a very cute belt's buckle. Very artistic! I made a photo of that which you can see in the beginning of this page. It has been made around 1800 AD by a Persian artist. I also love the color, a peaceful blue!

Today also BBC Persian TV aired an informative report from the exhibition. You can watch it here.
Rotterdam's World Museum has also published the catalogue of the exhibition as a superb book.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

National Iranian Radio & Television Chamber Orchestra in Persepolis, 1968

A rare photo of Nartonal Iranian Radio & Television Chamber Orchestra (a.k.a "NIRT) in a concert at Shiraz Art Festival, Persepolis, 1968. 

The orchestra in this event was conducted by the Persian-Armenian musician VAHE KHOJAIAN who was a graduate of Tehran Conservatory of Music.
The critics were not so kind to this concert and states NIRT Chamber Orchestra needs more time to perform in the beginning of such an International festival.
The orchestra later became quite successful and performed in various European festivals as well. A gramophone record is also available by NIRT Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the guest Bulgarian conductor Emil Tchakarov. The LP released in 1978 by EMI.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Monster called Dutch Pancake!

I have always enjoyed Dutch pancakes; little sweat, tasty, so nice to have it in the afternon with a little honey. But yesterday something very exceptional happened in the center of Amsterdam.
Look at the photo! It was served in a cafe in Leidseplein. I did not like that. So big + a lot of cream... not tasty either.
I always knew that we should not go to cafes or resturants in very crowded areas such as Central Station district, Dam or Leideseplein but it was an advice by an American friend who was vsiting Amsterdam for few days.
Anyway stick on the small local cafes for a nice Dutch pancake! Just my advice! :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Dog and the Harmonica Player...

The man was playing harmonica and his dog was helping him to collection money.
The dog's inocent face had a great effect on people to pay their own share. Many also were taking photo with the dog and kissed him/her.
Dogs, the best friends...

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Persian Postage Stamps from ca. 1850 (Qajar Era)

Today I found these Persian postage stamps in a market in Berlin. They belong to Qajar dynasty which was in power in Persia (Iran) in 18th and 19th century.
I am not 100% sure but strongly believe the king which has been painted on the stamp is NASER AL-DIN SHAH (or Nassereddin Shah) who was the king of Persia since 1831 to 1896.

On the stamp "POSTES PERSANES" is mentioned which is French for "Persian Post". It shows on that time French was a kind of International language, instead of English.

Perse | | Persa | Perzië Perzische Postzegels | Briefmake aus Persien (Iran)
伊朗 - 波斯 - 邮票 | בול דואר - איראן - ממלכת פרס
Irán - Persa - Sello postal - Iraní
 ایرانی - طابع بريد بلاد فارس/ إيران Pul (posta) - İran - Pers İmparatorluğu
イラン - ペルシア - 切手
تمبرهای ایران از زمان ناصرالدین شاه قاجار

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Photo Gallery: Amsterdam Gay Pride 2015

Dutch People Are Cute and Funny!

Huge crowd by the river Amstel @ Amsterdam Gay Pride 2015:

 This year, Dutch Ministry of Defense also had a boat in the pride :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Netanyahu's Persian Twitter is Full of Mistakes!

Last week in New York Times I read Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a Persian-language twitter. 
It's good and hopefully an effective way to communicate with Iran's people but I am quite surprized why the content of his Persian twitts is full of mistake?!
Two of them have been shown in the above screenshot. The mistakes are both grammaer and spelling. 
Should I believe that there is no Persian-speaker to edit the posts for him?! 

New York Times piece:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Morgenland Festival | Bimhuis | Amsterdam | July 2015 :: Photo Gallery

This year (2015) the German-based Morgenland Festival presented its programs in Amsterdam as well. The concerts took place at Bimhuis for three nights (16-17-18 July) and specially first and third night's events were warmly received by the audience.
But I missed Middle Eastern music in this festival which is going to be focused on Middle Eastern music! I will explay more later.

KAYHAN KALHOR's performance was the most authenic part of the festival. This legendary maestro of Persian music and kamancheh recently has performed a lot of concerts in the Netherlands; one of the latest ones was the project "BACH IN PERSIA" with Dutch Wind Ensemble (NBE).

Cemil Qoçgiri played tanbur at the festival. I think not enough time was given to him to present his work. He was born in Germany and becauase of his name I think he has Turkish background. I could hear from the sound of his instrument that he is grown up outside the Middle East.

In the second night of the festival, the jazz pianist from Azerbaijan Salman Gambarov and his German colleague Florian Weber performed an entertaining program. The begining was quite long and then at the end they tried to turn their pianistic dialogue to a kind of commedy show which was intresting for the audience.
I was so eager to hear some melodies from the beautiful music of Azerbaijan by Gambarov but did not perform anything related to his homeland. Actually in my opinion at least 80% of the festival content was in the framework of improvised jazz music, not to the music of the Middle East and it was a bit disappointing for me because the title of the festival is Morgenland.
It seems most of the musicians at the festical were just interested to do strange things instead of transfering the real essence of music to the people.

KINAN AZMEH, a briliant musician from Syria. He was really the star of the festival. The skilful clarinestist was playing with lots of emotion. On Youtube I also find a piece that Kinan is performing with Morgenland Chamber Orchestra in Germany. Unfortunately the name of the composer is not mentioned there but anyway it's magical piece and performance. You may watch it HERE.

A huge part of the festival had been given to AYNUR. I really did not like her voice. She was screaming a lot and even once I had to use my hands to cover my ears! Anyway it seems she is the festival organizers' favorite!

IBRAHIM KEIVO was the most energic part of the festival. The Syrian singer had a powerful charecter and also sense of humor. He was singing and dancing with lots of emotions and created a fantastic communication with the audience. I heard from Syrian friends that Ibrahim Keivo is very popular in Syria.
A few minuets of his performance at Bimhuis can be seen in the below video:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Once Again: NIAC advertisement on New York Times

Once again the so-called "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC) has promoted itself in a full-page advertisement on New York Times.

Today they have also sent a newsletter to their list proudly about that.

I am really wondering what is financial source of this organization. NIAC claims it is independent, it supports the rights of Americans with Persian origin and the members donate this organization.

Hopefully they are right! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Our Persian Cat - Before and After Shaving !

Kali is our Persian cat. She is 7 now. We adopted her when we used to live in Romania.
Few days ago Kali was shaved and now looks totally different, like a little lion!
But she is happy because it's summer and she does not like the hot weather!
This photo has been taken just few days after shaving.

And here is one month later :

Below you may see her before shaving:

Kali feels much better now! 
UPDATE ! Kali, 3 months after shaving :

chat persan -قط فارسي - Perserkatten  - Perserkatze  - Gato persa - گربه ایرانی - Persialainen -  gatto persiano - חתול פרסי - ペルシャ (ネコ) - Kot perski - 페르시안 - perserkatt - 波斯貓 İran Fars kedisi 

And 4 Months Later:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reza Daneshvar Passes Away in Exile

Reza Daneshvar, the celebrated Persian writer, passed away in Paris on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 due to cancer. He was 68.

Reza Daneshvar used to live in France after 1979 Islamic revolution in his homeland. He is the author of various famous Persian screen plays and novels such as "Khosro-e Khooban" [King of the Blessed] and "Namaz-e Meyyet" [Funeral Ritual].

The literary critic Behrouz Sheyda, in an interview with BBC Persian Service has described "Khosro-e Khouban" as one of the greatest Persian novels which have been written in exile. The story is based on the deadly Iran-Iraq war which lasted for eight years in 1980s.

Reza Daneshvar was born in 1947 in Mashhad and started his serious literary work in early 1970s.

I met Reza Daneshvar once in 2008 in a Persian art exhibition in Europe. I told him "for those who have visited Iran's museums this exhibition has not much to offer..." and he bitterly responded: "but it's 3 decades that I have not been in Iran...". He was a kind and modest person. His voice was warm for story telling and he used that in a great way for his radio program "Prague, Spring 1968". 

Reza Daneshvar's death added another sad chapter to the life story of Persians in exile.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

VOA stops radio broadcast service in Persian

Today started with a sad news for Persian media followers:
Voice of America switches-off radio broadcast service in Persian. The TV and online sections will remain active. 

Voice of America's Persian Radio started its activities in 1979 and specially in 1980s and 1990s was among the most popular Persian-language news sources.

In a short press release which has been published by VOA, they have mentioned "taste change" and "age change" of their audience as the main reasons of this decision.

The Persian Service of this US-funded media in the past few years has been full of tensions. They have fired many famous producers and presenters such as Bijan Farhoudi and Siamak Dehghanpour for unclear reasons. It caused a lot of criticism in the social media but no one from the station gave a comment.

But are we really reaching the age of radio death? I just read that Radio Norway is also going to stop its radio broadcast in 2017...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

SAE Institute; a Terrible Education Experience in Rotterdam

While ago I was advised by one of my friends in Rotterdam that if I am interested to attend a short video production course in English, SAE Institute, (a kind of creative media education) is a choice.

I registered online eagerly to attend the weekly classes but the content of the course was quite disappointing...

The teachers used to just show samples and talk about them. They never asked us to film something, show it in the class and talk about the technical issues and problems there!
It was quite surprising to me because SAE is mostly famous for its practical side.

On that time they announced for this short video production course they will offer 50% discount. So it could be seen what is the reason behind this low level course!

I started to talk with college mates. They were quite confused as well and had no idea what is going on in this course!
From the other side, the teachers were regularly rescheduling the classes and did not pay any attention that many students are coming from other cities, far from Rotterdam, and they need to plan for their trips earlier.

The final examination was the last joke of the course. When I complained about the whole story with SAE headquarter in London, they just passed me to each other and finally wrote me they have investigated the issue and there has not been any problem!

My feeling is this so-called short "video production course" was a way for them to receive money from expat community in the Netherlands who wish to study such a course in English.

I just wanted to share my experiences with others who see the advertisements of SAE in the Netherlands and specially their Rotterdam branch.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Queen Farah Diba and the members of a Persian Tribe

A rare photo of Farah Diba (Pahlavi), the last queen of Persia, with young girls of a tribe.
The photo has been originally published in the Persian-language monthly Ferdowsi in Tehran in 1967.
Based on a short text which has been published below the photo, the meeting had been organized by Shiraz Art Festival.
The queen since 1979 revolution in Persia (Iran) lives in exile and spends her time mostly in Paris and Maryland.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Georgi Traykov Girovski, President of Bulgaria in Persepolis, 1967

This morning I received various old Persian-language magazines from Tehran. Among them was a copy of Ferdowsi Monthly which includes a rare photo of the late Bulgarian President Georgi Traykov Girovski during his visit to Persepolis in 1967.
"Persepolis" was the ceremonial capital of ancient Persia (Iran), which has been founded on the 6th century BC.
Georgi Traykov Girovski was the President of Bulgaria since 1964 to 1971. Shortly before his 1967 trip to Persia, Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi, the king of the country, was his guest in Sofia to expand the ties between two countries.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Persian Carpet @ Aga Khan Museum of Toronto

In the main permanent gallery of Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, a huge Persian carpet is on display. 
This beautiful carpet belongs to Safavid era (16th century).
Agha Khan Museum is a newly established museum in Ontario, Canada which is focused on the Islamic art and naturally most of its objects are from Persia (Iran). 
Surprisingly at the museum's information card, even the International term of "Persian Carpet" has not been mentioned for this huge carpet! 
Actually such works should be categorized as "Persian Art in Islamic Era" but I do not know why some Western are historians were/are so interested to call them "Islamic Art".
 Islam banned sculpting, music and many other things related to art so how we can seriously talk about Islamic art?!
Same story can be seen at Louvre Museum's so-called "Islamic Art Section".

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Princes' Gates : Destroying the Background View...

Today I was walking in downtown Toronto, from Union Station, alongside of the lake, to visit the Princes' Gates.
When I reached the gates I got fascinated by the architecture of the gates but at the same time quite upset; a tall ugly building is under contraction behind the Canada's Exhibition Place which has destroyed the background view of the gates a lot.
It's more surprising when we find out "Princes' Gates" is registered under Ontario Heritage Act.

I am not sure if someone inside Canada - or Toronto in particular - has protested the constructions which is destroying the historical sight of the city.
Hopefully someone will do something!

Monday, April 20, 2015

IRAN @ 1972 Munich Olympics Games

A rare photo of Persian delegation at the 1972 Olympics Games in Munich, West Germany.
The photo has been taken by Ali Ghashghayi and has been originally published in the Persian-language weekly TAMASHA. 

I just receive the magazine from Tehran and though it's a wonderful idea to share this great photo with the visitors of this blog.
For 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Iran (Persia) sent a delegation of 50 competitors who participated in 33 events in 7 sports. Two competitors in the football tournament did not take part in any matches.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

American University's Honorary Doctorate for Queen Farah of Persia

A rare photo from the Persian-language weekly KAYHAN HAVAI which shows Queen Farah Diba while receiving American University's honorary doctorate. 
The document was offered to her by Raymond Geraldson, head of American University's board. The photo has been take on 21 June 1975 at Niavaran Palace in Tehran.