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Tehran Times - Iran's Leading International Daily

older | 1 | .... | 62 | 63 | (Page 64) | 65 | 66 | .... | 174 | newer

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    SEOUL -- I arrived at Incheon International Airport on August 15. It was 4:25 p.m. local time. The interpreter, Kwak Saera, was waiting for me at the airport holding a placard with my name written on it in English.

     
    I started talking in English, but Saera told me to speak in Persian. She said she received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Tehran. She was a fluent English speaker but she preferred to speak Persian. She said her name is similar to the Persian name Sara, a name which frequently appears in elementary school textbooks in Iran.
     
    Saera said on that day (August 15), the streets were not busy because it was a public holiday, commemorating the day that Korea was liberated from Japanese colonialism in 1945, which in the Korean language is called Gwangbokjeol, meaning Liberation Day. National flags were flying in the city in celebration.
     
    We travelled from Incheon airport to Seoul in an Opirus car and finally arrived at the Plaza Hotel, opposite City Hall. After I took a short rest at the hotel, Saera took me to Seoul Tower. We boarded an electric-powered bus full of passengers and travelled to the tower, which is located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul.
     
    Before my visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK), I had expressed interest in the development of green technology in the country, and I was thus happy to board an electric-powered bus. As the bus was driving up, we could see people, including some foreign tourists, walking up Namsan Mountain to reach the tower.
     
    When the bus reached its last station, we walked dozens of meters to reach the tower, and Saera stood in a long line to get tickets to the top of the tower. Before taking a full tour of the tower, we had a dinner, tasting Korean food and simultaneously enjoying the scenery by looking at the metropolis of Seoul from atop the tower. Everything there was exciting.
     
    The visitors, mostly Korean youths, were taking pictures of the tower and of the city from the top of the tower. 
     
    Jongmyo: A Confucian shrine 
     
    On the morning of August 16, first we visited Jongmyo Shrine, which was close to our hotel. The guide, a lady quite fluent in English who has degrees in history and political science, gave explanations about the philosophy behind the establishment of the shrine.
     
    The shrine, founded during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), is where the ancestral tablets of deceased kings and queens are enshrined and sacrificial rites are performed for them. 
     
    As we were visiting the shrine, which is surrounded by a forest, the songs of birds reverberated through the air.
     
    Jongmyo was built because according to Confucian philosophy, the spirit separates from the body upon death, and the spirit goes to heaven while the body returns to Earth. For this reason, Koreans built tombs and shrines separately. They kept spirit tablets to house the spirit of the deceased and made offerings to these tablets to worship their ancestors.
     
    The shrine, the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines, is situated on the ridge of Eungbongsan Mountain, near the Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung palaces.   
     
    Jongmyo was built in 1395 after King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon dynasty, selected Hanyang (present-day Seoul) as the capital of his kingdom. About 200 years after the construction of the shrine, it was burned down by Japanese invaders in 1592. The current shrine dates to 1608. With the passage of time, the facilities were enlarged as more kings and queens were enshrined.
     
    The most important buildings at Jongmyo are Jeongjeon and Yeongnyeongjeon. At present, Jeongjeon contains 19 chambers housing 49 spirit tablets of kings and queens, including Taejo. Yeongnyeongjeon contains 16 chambers housing 34 tablets. 
     
    Among all the Confucian states in Asia where similar shrines were constructed, only Korea has preserved its royal shrine and continues to perform royal ancestral rites and ritual music, known as Jongmyo Jerye and Jongmyo Jeryeak. That is the main reason that Jongmyo was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 and Jongmyo Jerye (royal ancestral rites) and Jongmyo Jeryeak (royal ancestral ritual music) were designated by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001. 
     
    The walkways stretching from the main gate to inside the shrine are covered with rough stones. This forced the ritual attendants, including the king, to walk slowly, as is appropriate for a solemn occasion. And none of the structures at Jongmyo are lavishly adorned, highlighting the shrine’s solemnity.
     
    Lunch at a traditional restaurant 
     
    After visiting Jongmyo Shrine, we headed to Insa-dong Street, where shops sell traditional Korean clothes and other items.
     
    Stores on Insa-dong Street specialize in a wide variety of goods, such as hanbok (traditional clothing), hanji (traditional paper), traditional teas, pottery, and handicrafts.
     
    The neighborhood is a fascinating place for tourists, who buy Korean souvenirs there. 
     
    Saera said this area is popular with Chinese and Japanese tourists and some shopkeepers can speak Chinese and Japanese. 
     
    In former times, noble families lived in this area because it is near Kyungbok Palace, she added.
     
    After touring Insa-dong Street, we drank Korean green tea and then left for a lunch at a traditional restaurant.
     
    The restaurant was a traditional house with a few rooms on each side and a yard in the middle. We were led to a small room for lunch. As we were entering the room, a group of Western-looking tourists were guided to another room for lunch.
     
    We were served a number of Korean foods whose names I did not know, except for kimchi. Saera then described the nature of the various dishes to me. 
     
    Visiting the Mapo Resource Recovery Plant
     
    Afterwards, we headed toward the Mapo Resource Recovery Plant, where 650 tons of waste is recycled per day. Kim Dong Sik, the site manager, provided explanations about the process of recycling. 
     
    The plant, built in 2005 on a landfill, provides heating for 20,000 homes in the Mapo area of Seoul and clearly highlights the important steps the country has taken in the development of green technology and the protection of the environment.
     
    Later, we visited the campus of Hongik University, a university in the Mapo-gu district of central Seoul best known for its faculty of fine arts, and the surrounding streets, which are mostly frequented by Korean youths. 
     
    Enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Han River
     
    As we were walking the streets, I told Saera that I would like to see the Han River. We got in the Opirus and travelled to the Han River, which passes through the heart of Seoul. There I saw some people jet skiing and some Western-looking men and women who were windsurfing.
     
    As we walked along the river bank, some people were biking. There is a special lane along the river for bicyclists. Some people were also running along the river bank and others were pedaling duck boats. Ferry boats were sailing on the river, too. 
     
    The Han River offers jet skiing, water skiing and powerboat, motorboat, and duck boat rides. 
     
    The Han River provides golden opportunities for sports enthusiasts and people seeking peace of mind.
     
    Unfortunately, we only had a little time to walk along the river and enjoy the scenery.  
     
    The beautiful scenery along the river, combined with its skillfully designed bridges and the nearby modern residential towers, leave an unforgettable impression in the minds of foreign visitors, especially people from arid or semi-arid regions with few rivers.
     
    Every time our car passed along the river or crossed over it, I took long looks at the river, wishing I had time to walk for hours along its banks and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  
     
    Visit to Palgakjeong on Bugaksan Mountain 
     
    After visiting the Han River, our driver, Hong Kyung-jun, who spoke English fluently, headed toward Palgakjeong, an octagonal pavilion on Bugaksan Mountain in north Seoul with a fantastic view that makes you feel like Seoul is at your feet.
     
    The forested mountain road to Palgakjeong gives visitors a sense of calm and tranquility. Palgakjeong offers tourists lovely views of Seoul and its surrounding mountains. 
     
    Saera said people visit Palgakjeong for entertainment, with many playing music or reciting poetry. 
     
    When one looks at north Seoul from Palgakjeong, one sees high-rise apartments surrounded by forests. The scenery gives one the impression that it is a mountain resort and not north Seoul.
     
    After visiting Palgakjeong, we drove near the Blue House, the presidential palace which is constructed in the form of a traditional Korean hanok. Nearby we saw some police officers on guard. 
     
    The Odusan Unification Observatory 
     
    On the morning of August 17, we went to the Odusan Unification Observatory north of Seoul, where Koreans and foreigners visit to get a glimpse of the area. It is a perfect spot to witness the division of the Korean Peninsula in person. 
     
    It took us about one hour to drive from Seoul to the top of the hill, where the observatory is located. We looked through telescopes to see North Korea on the other side of the Imjin River, which divides North and South Korea. 
     
    The observatory overlooks the confluence of the Imjin and Han rivers. Between the observatory and North Korea there is a two-kilometer stretch of water. 
     
    On the border, the Imjin River is two kilometers from bank to bank at its widest point and less than 500 meters at its narrowest.
     
    There are rooms where a film that provides some information about Odusan itself and North Korea is screened. You can watch either the English or the Korean language version of the film.   
     
    There are many exhibits and pictures explaining the 1950-1953 Korean War and other significant historical events. 
     
    The philosophy behind the construction of the observatory is to remind the younger generation about the tragic reality of the divided Korean Peninsula, which I personally like to call the “divided family”. 
     
    It seems that most of the people who visit Odusan, both Koreans and foreigners, pray for the unification of the two Koreas. There is a Unification Wishing Room in the observatory where visitors can write down their wishes for unification on pieces of paper. These notes will be stored in a time capsule until the day when the two Koreas are unified. 
     
    Now that I have returned to Iran, I really regret the fact that I forgot to write a note expressing may heartfelt wishes for a unification of the “divided family”.
     
    I felt sad when Saera told me that her grandmother had been left behind in North Korea when the peninsula was divided and now she does not know whether she is alive or dead.
     
    While we were visiting the observatory, we saw an exhibition displaying the goods produced at the Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea, a facility built by South Korea as a sign of goodwill to bury enmities and take steps toward unification.
     
    The observatory also has a museum showing everyday items from North Korea, such as clothes worn by average citizens. It even has a model of a North Korean elementary school classroom.
     
    The Unification Exhibition Hall also has exhibits on the division of the peninsula, as well as the conflicts, dialogue, and cooperative interactions between the two Koreas.
     
    Outside the observatory, there is a sculpture symbolizing peace, a unification wishing drum, and a worship alter. 
     
    After touring the observatory, we drove down the hill and then ate lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant, where we sat on the floor. After that, we drove back to Seoul for our next stop.
     

    The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History 
     
    The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul depicts the history of Korea in the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres stage by stage, starting from 1876, when the nation opened its ports to the outside world.
     
    The museum informs visitors about both bitter episodes, such as the Japanese colonization of Korea, the division of the Korean Peninsula, and the 1950-1953 Korean War and the amazing economic and industrial progress made by the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in just sixty years.
     
    In other words, the museum demonstrates how the Republic of Korea has transformed itself from one of the poorest nations in the world to one of the most technologically advanced countries. 
      
    In addition, it shows the country’s struggle to establish civil society and democracy.
     
    The museum documents various educational programs established to help South Koreans understand the recent history of their country. In fact, it promotes the national will and vision for the Korean people and future generations.
     
    The museum familiarizes kindergarteners and elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as adults, with contemporary Korean history.
     
    For example, the Discovery Center is meant to help children experience, discover, and understand the country’s modern history.
     
    We also saw groups of schoolchildren touring the museum, with guides and instructors giving them explanations about the exhibits.
     
    The Prelude to the Republic of Korea (1876-1945) section begins with the year 1876, when the Joseon dynasty officially ended the seclusion policy and moves on to the Japanese colonization of Korea and the 1945 national liberation movement.
     
    The Founding of the Republic of Korea (1945-1960) section tells the story of the establishment of the Republic of Korea, the devastating Korean War, the efforts made to achieve the post-war recovery, and the laying of the foundations of national development. The section also has photos depicting the April 19 Revolution of 1960, in which students and other citizens fought to restore democracy in the Republic of Korea.
       
    The Development of the Republic of Korea (1961-1987) section has exhibits displaying the country’s economic development and rapid industrialization as well as the transformation of urban and rural areas and the promotion of civil society. 
     
    What attracted my attention the most was the exhibit showing a 1982 model of the first truly South Korean car, the Hyundai Pony, which hit showrooms in 1975. The docent said models, with steering wheels on the right, were later exported to New Zealand, which was a turning point in the industrialization of South Korea.
     
    And finally, the Modernization and Korea’s Vision of the Future (1988 to the present) section shows South Korea’s embrace of globalization and emergence as a developed nation. It tells the tale of how the country managed to rise from the ashes of the 1950-1953 war and establish an advanced economy in less than half a century, becoming a global player in the sporting, cultural, and economic spheres in the process.     
        
    Jeonju Hanok Village 
     
    On August 18, at 7:40 a.m. local time, we left the Plaza Hotel and drove to the Seoul Express Terminal, where we took a bus to Jeonju, a tourist city that is famous for its traditional hanok houses. On the way to the terminal, we passed through a long tunnel and a small tunnel and then crossed over the Han River to reach the terminal. 
     
    Saera bought tickets, and after we waited for some time at the terminal, the bus started moving. It took us about three and a half hours to reach Jeonju.
     
    On the road, some passengers slept or amused themselves with their tablets or laptops, but I could not miss a moment of the beautiful views of forested mountains, paddy fields, high-rise buildings, rivers, bridges, and villages.  
      
    During this trip, I realized that it is not just Seoul that is developed, but in reality the whole country is harmoniously developed or is on the road to progress.
       
    After we reached Jeonju, we ate lunch and took a brief rest until a car came and took us to Samnye Art Village. The complex was originally a group of rice warehouses built in 1920, but in 2010 it was converted into an art center. Some of the buildings look modern and some still look like warehouses. 
     
    The art village has seven buildings -- an information center, a book museum, a book art center, an art gallery, a design museum, a wood works center, and a culture cafe. 
     
    The Samnye Art Village is actually an education center. 
     
    Old printing presses are also on exhibit. 
     
    One of the things that really caught my attention was an artistic work which shows that the West Sea (the Yellow Sea) is naturally calm and quiet but has become restless due to the tension between North and South Korea. 
     
    Another very interesting artistic work was a video of a penguin anxiously watching the ice melting in the Antarctic, while the people in cities, especially big cities, are recklessly producing more and more greenhouse gas emissions, apparently with no concern about global warming.   
     
    The art works depicting a restless West Sea and an anxious penguin show that South Koreans want friendly ties with North Korea and are trying to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
     
    In the area of the art village, some South Koreans and some foreigners were creating pottery works. In addition, a Korean woman, dressed in traditional attire, was making traditional juice.  
     
    After touring the Samnye Art Village, we boarded the car and headed toward the Jeonju Hanok Village in the center of the city, where houses are built with wooden frames.
     
    On the stone-paved main streets, where the hanok houses are located, cars are a rare sight, and this allows people, and especially tourists, to observe the artfully constructed hanok houses in a calm and relaxed manner. 
     
    There are over 800 hanoks in Jeonju. While the rest of the city has been industrialized, the hanoks retain their traditional charm.
     
    I saw a hanok under construction on a main street. 
     
    The hanoks are now used as traditional tea shops, souvenir shops, museums, guest houses, and restaurants. I, too, bought souvenirs from a shop there. 
     
    I also spent the night in a hanok. It was the first time I ever slept in a traditional Korean house, and it was an experience that I will never forget in my whole life. The hanok was near a forested hill, and the chirping of crickets filled the air.  
     
    In truth, I felt much more comfortable in the hanok than at the Plaza Hotel in Seoul.
     
    At seven in the morning, when we woke up, a lady, who was also the manager of the hanok, provided various traditional foods for breakfast. We ate while sitting on the floor, and the food was very delicious. A bowl of rice, vegetables, meat, red pepper paste, eggs, and other things were placed on the table. I could not resist tasting all the main and side dishes.
     
    While we were waiting for the car to arrive to take us to the city of Daegu, I saw that this lady was constantly working. She never stopped, even for a moment.
     
    The car arrived and we travelled to Daegu. On the road, we stopped at a restaurant for half an hour. After passing through many tunnels, some of them very long, we arrived in Daegu, the third largest city in the Republic of Korea, in two hours. The visit had been arranged so I could see the Daegu Solar Power Tower and the city’s other solar power project. 
     
    My visit to Daegu, which is really a beautiful and modern city, nicely rounded out my trip to South Korea.
     
    PA/HG

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    TEHRAN -- The Iranian movie “Don’t Worry Sara” will go on screen at the 8th Eurasia International Film Festival, which will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan from September 17 to 22.
     
    Elaheh Hesari, Behrang Alavi, Siavash Jafari, Parvin Maleki, Khosro Shahraz and Danial Moqaddam star in the film directed by Alireza Amini.
     
    The film will compete with entries from Europe and Asia. 
     
    SB/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – Five nominations for the Jalal Sattari Award, a nongovernmental Iranian honor for ritual performance, have been announced with four of them are from foreign countries.
     
    Norwegian folk singer Sondre Bratland, and the head of the Scientific and Art Center of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory Margarita Karatygina from Russia are among the nominees.
     
    A theater professor at the University of Bologna, Marco De Marinis, Austrian composer Klaus Lang, and Iranian scholar Sudabeh Fazaeli have also received nominations for the award.
     
    The winner will be announced during the closing ceremony of the 16th International Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival on September 21.
     
    The award was established in 2011 to honor scholars of different nationalities for their efforts in promotion of ritual and folk artistic performances. It was named after the Iranian scholar and mythologist Jalal Sattari 
     
    Sattari, 82, is an Iranian scholar, mythologist, who has written over 90 books on mythology, dramatic literature and cultural criticism.
     
    Eighteen scholars from Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Armenia and several other countries will deliver speeches on interdisciplinary studies and rituals during the festival.
     
    The 16th International Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival will be held simultaneously in Tehran, Kashan, Hamedan, Khorramabad and Fasa from September 15 to 21.
     
    SB/YAW
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    TEHRAN – “Acrid”, an Iranian family drama by writer and director Kiarash Asadizadeh, will be competing in the 2nd Duhok International Film Festival, which takes place in Duhok, a city in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, from October 9 to 16.
     
    “Acrid” depicts the inner feelings of different couples suffering marital difficulties ranging from disharmonies to disloyalties. 
     
    Starring Pantea Panahiha, Saber Abar, Ehsan Amani, Shabnam Moqaddami, Sadaf Ahmadi and Siamak Safari, the film is scheduled to go on screen in the world cinema section of the festival. 
     
    Moreover, “Acrid” is scheduled to be screened in the newly-established cinematheque of the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) in Tehran on September 16.
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN -- The Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) will reopen today during a ceremony after about a two-year forced shutdown, Iran Cinema Organization Managing Director, Hojjatollah Ayyubi, who is also the deputy culture minister for cinematic affairs, announced in press release on Tuesday.
     
    The reopening of the IHC has been organized for September 12, which is Iran’s National Cinema Day. 
     
    Groups of cineastes have been invited to the ceremony will be held at the hall of the IHC at 11:30 a.m.
     
    Ayyubi is also scheduled to attend a press conference to elaborate on holding an emergency session of IHC’s General Assembly and election.
     
    The IHC, which is the guild of Iranian cineastes, was disbanded by the former minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammad Hosseini in early January 2012.
     
    Hosseini had accused the IHC officials of establishing the guild without legal formalities and “other illegal acts”.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Iranian Islamic scholar Abdolmohammad Ayati, mostly known for his translations of the Holy Quran and Imam Ali’s Nahj-ul-Balagha, died at Tehran’s Imam Hussein Hospital at the age of 87.

     
    Born in Borujerd, Loresan Province, Ayati was already interested in Islamic issues when he was studying at a high school in his hometown.
     
    Thus, he took a course at the Nurbakhsh Seminary in Borujerd. A few years later in 1946, he began studying philosophy at the University of Tehran.
     
    He also began a teaching career, which continued for over 30 years and became a member of the Iranian Academy of Persian Language and Literature 1991.
     
    He wrote many books and articles on Persian literature and philosophy.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – The Iranian ensemble Homayun directed by conductor Mehran Mehrnia will be leaving Iran on September 25 to give concerts in Vietnam.

     
    Vocalist Amir Asna-Ashari will accompany the band in their performances due to be held for four nights in several cities including the capital Hanoi, the Persian service of ISNA reported on Wednesday.
     
    The band will be performing a collection of traditional Iranian songs composed by Mehrnia, however several old songs have also been selected for the performances.
     
    This is the first time an Iranian ensemble will perform in Vietnam, Asna-Ashari said, adding that a series of programs have been arranged in conjunction with the concerts at several academic centers to introduce rich Iranian culture and music.
     
    He expressed hope that the journey of Iranian musicians will help broaden cultural relations between the two countries and would carry a message of peace.
     
    The ensemble features Shahram Saremi on kamancheh, Mir-Farsad Malek-Nia on daf, and Sepehr Bahraii on santur.
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- A book containing a large number of the U.S.-based Iranian painter Nasser Ovissi’s works was published in Tehran and released on Thursday.
     
    “Paintings of Ovissi: Selective Works of Nasser Ovissi” was released by the Gooya House of Culture and Art, a major Iranian publisher of art books.
     
    This is the first time Ovissi’s work have been published in Iran after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Masud Ovissi, the owner of the Ovissi Gallery in Tehran, said in a press release.
     
    His works have previously been published in 15 books.
     
    Over 170 works of the expressionist painter have been published in the book, which begins with an article Iranian poet Nader Naderpur (1929-2000) wrote about Ovissi’s work in 1993.
     
    The book also carries articles by Contemporary Museum of Madrid Director Carlos Arean, American author and art critic Frank Getlein, French critic Claude Sauvage, and Iranian critic Javad Mojabi.
     
    Born in 1934, Ovissi studied law and political science at the University of Tehran and then moved to Rome where he got degree in art.
     
    Works by Ovissi have so far been displayed in over 50 exhibitions in his homeland and other countries.
     
    Ovissi and celebrated Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali held a joint exhibition in Madrid in 1977.
     
    A number of Ovissi’s works are on display at museums in Iran and Italy, France, England, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Turkey, India, Sweden, Canada, Spain and the United States.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Works by twelve Iranian artists will go on display at the 7th Malaysia Art Expo, which will be held from September 19 to 22.
     
    Paintings by Mina Hedayat, Fatemeh Mofarrahi, Atusa Zolqadr, Asghar Yaqubi, Hamid Purbahrami and Bahador Moayyer will be exhibited during the expo, which is the longest running uninterrupted art fair in South-east Asia. 
     
    Illumination works by Neda Zoqi, batik works by Pegah Jahangiri, pottery works by Mohammad Kavand on ceramic, calligraphic paintings by Hojjatollah Ranjbar and calligraphy works by Gholamreza Rahpeyma and Hossein Sediqi will be showcased at the event.
     
    The event will be held at the Matrade Exhibition and Conviction Center in Kuala Lumpur.
     
    SB/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Iranian director Homayun Ghanizadeh will stage “Antigone” with an Estonian cast at the Dialog Festival, which will be held from October 11 to 18 in Wroclaw, Poland.

     
    Anderson Ago, Raimo Pass, Ülle Lichtfeldt and Külli Reinumägi are the main members of the troupe, which is sponsored by Estonia’s R.A.A.A.M Theater Company.
     
    In Greek mythology, Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Oedipus’ mother. The name has been suggested to mean “opposed to motherhood”, or “in place of a mother”.
     
    The name may also mean “against men” since men were dominant in the Ancient Greek family structure, and Antigone clearly defied masculine authority. 
     
    The play went on stage at Tehran’s Iranshahr Theater Complex in early August 2012.
     
    The troupe performed the play during the 29th Fajr International Theater Festival in February 2011. Elina Reinold won the best actress award for playing the role of Antigone.
     
    A performance of the play at the festival drew an audience of 800 theatergoers. The troupe also performed the play in several theaters across Estonia. 
     
    SB/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – Iranian artists Majid Abbasi Farahani and Shadi Noyani will be displaying their works at an art exhibition, which will open today at the Contemporary Art Platform in Kuwait.

     
    Entitled “In the Name Of Peace”, the exhibit has been arranged to raise awareness for peace throughout the world, and part of the proceedings will be donated to charity, organizers have announced on the exhibit website.
     
    Each artist is allowed to participate in the event with an artwork, which is selected by artists Amira Behbahani and Shurooq Amin.
     
    Abbasi Farahani is active in the field of paintings and new media. 
     
    His works have previously been showcased in single and group exhibitions in Italy, London, United States, Cuba and several other countries.
     
    Noyani has also held several exhibits in Iran and other countries such as Belgium, Greece and Hungary.
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – An exhibition of cartoons on women in the harem of the Qajar king Nasser ad-Din Shah (1831-1896) will open at Tehran’s Silk Road Gallery on September 20.

     
    A collection of 14 cartoons by Bozorgmehr Hosseinpur, inspired by photos from the Qajar era, will be on display at the exhibit until September 30.
     
    “You certainly know that Nasser ad-Din Shah was a strict person and nobody was allowed to enter his harem but himself. Of course, sometimes he permitted photographers to take photos of the women in his harem, but he never let any cartoonist go in there and draw his women in inharmonious forms,” the gallery wrote in its card.
     
    “Now imagine that a cartoonist enters the harem, what happens? And it has happened! Bozorgmehr Hosseinpur has gone into the harem without the shah knowing it, and now he intends to exhibit what he has drawn in the harem,” the message continues. 
     
    The gallery is located at 103 Lavasani St. in the Farmanieh neighborhood. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- A group of South Korean artists will be arriving in Tehran today to implement a program entitled “Friendship with the People of Tehran”.
     
    The ten-day program has been organized based on a memorandum of understanding, which was signed between the Iranian Academy of Arts and the Arts Council Korea (ARKO) last year, the Iranian Academy of Arts announced in a press release on Sunday.
     
    The program will start at the academy on the first day with the construction of a temporary house, at which members of the group will create and offer their own works.
     
    Among the highlights of the program are the creating of artwork with recyclable materials, staging musical and dramatic performances, and the reading of poetry. 
     
    They also will meet four prominent Iranian artists at their workshops and ateliers to be familiarized with Iranian traditional glassmaking, sculpture, tile making and calligraphic painting.  
     
    The group is also scheduled to visit a number of major museums, monuments and cultural centers in the capital.
     
    On the last day of their program, they will attend a meeting at the Iranian Academy of Arts to discuss the outcomes of their program.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and Iran’s Avasa Choir Group have recorded a song for Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University.
     
    The song, which was performed in August, will be introduced during a ceremony at the Abu Reyhan Hall of the Shahid Beheshti University on Tuesday, the Iranian conductor of the orchestra, Loris Hovian, told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday.
     
    Avasa and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra will perform the song during the ceremony. 
     
    The lyrics have been composed by Abdoljabbar Kakaii. 
     
    SB/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- The traditional Iranian music ensemble Tariqat will be giving a concert at the 12th Asia Festival, which will be held in Barcelona from September 20 to 24.
     
    The ensemble, led by Hossein Sarvi, will perform at the Ateneu Barcelonès Hall on September 22. 
     
    The ensemble features Ali Tariqat on tar, Amir-Hossein Tariqat on tonbak, Kaveh Seddiqi on kamancheh, Mohammad Tariqat on daf and Hossein Sarvi on santur. 
     
    Vocalist Ali Yaripur will accompany the ensemble during their performance.
     
    The festival also will feature Chinese acrobatics, a Pakistani tabla concert, a Japanese dancing performance and a folk music performance from Mongolia.
     
    Organized by the Casa Asia, the festival will be held with support from the Barcelona County Council, Japan Foundation, Korean Cultural Center, Embassy of Iran, Confucius Institute and Melià Hotels International.
     
    SB/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – A joint exhibition of photos by photojournalists Mojtaba Heidari from Iran’s Mehr News Agency and Puspa Perwitasari from Indonesia’s Antara News Agency was inaugurated in Jakarta on Saturday. 

     
    Entitled “Tales of 2 Cities”, 80 photos featuring daily lives in Tehran and Jakarta with the central theme of women and families, was opened during a ceremony attended by the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization (IIDO) Director Seyyed Mehdi Khamushi, Managing Director of Mehr News Agency Reza Moqaddasi, Managing Director of Antara News Agency Saiful Hadi, and several ambassadors of different countries in Jakarta.
     
    Speaking at the opening ceremony, Saiful Hadi said that bilateral cooperation will lead to better understanding of the two nations, the Persian service of MNA reported on Sunday.
     
    Moqaddasi called the exhibit the best means to develop bilateral collaborations and said, “We should strive to make the best use of culture to develop additional ties.”
     
    He praised efforts by photographers of the two agencies and said that the exhibit displays examples of mutual commonalities between the two countries.
     
    “Tales of 2 Cities” is expected to be held in Tehran in November.
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati met Chairman of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations of Azerbaijan Elshad Iskandarov in Tehran on Saturday.

     
    They held talks on bilateral cooperation and expansion of cultural and religious relations, the Persian service of IRNA reported on Sunday.
     
    Jannati stated that both countries must respect the religious beliefs of its people, and expressed hope that the meeting would provide the basis for further cooperation.
     
    Jannati also said that Iran can provide Azerbaijan with series of its productions and films on the oppressed people of Palestine, to be aired on Azerbaijan’s national TV channels. 
     
    Iran’s media can also implement closer relations with those in Azerbaijan to strengthen bilateral relations, he added.
     
    Jannati stressed on holding cultural weeks in both countries and said that the exchange of academic and university students can also help in deepening relations.
     
    Iran has extensive experience in compiling religious books for school children and university students, Jannati said.
     
    Elshad Iskandarov said that his country is willing to expand cultural relations with Iran. 
     
    He said that Azeri officials also would like to increase their relations at higher levels. He also invited Jannati to visit his country in the near future.
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN -- Mahnaz Abdollahkhan Gorji, an expert on manuscript books, has been appointed to the National Museum of Iran (NMI).
     
    The appointment was announced by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) in a press release on Monday.
     
    The CHTHO gave no details about Abdollahkhan Gorji’s record, but some Persian articles on the internet refer to her as an expert on rare manuscript books.
     
    Four people presided over the NMI during the two terms of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration.
     
    The first one was Mohammadreza Mehrandish, a film expert who was a close friend of CHTHO former director Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii, who then became Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff.
     
    In February 2010, he was replaced by Azadeh Ardakani, a microbiologist who, it was claimed, was the English tutor for Rahim-Mashaii and his successor Hamidreza Baqaii.
     
    However, she was dismissed after judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei confirmed the arrests of some CHTHO officials in connection with the conservatives’ struggle against the “deviant current”, a term used to refer Rahim-Mashaii and his entourage when to Rahim-Mashaii was Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff.
     
    The “deviant current” is allegedly trying to undermine the role of Iran’s influential clerics.
     
    Afterwards, Dariush Akbarzadeh was appointed as acting director of the museum and shortly after, Asadollah Mohammadpur took the helm at the NMI.
     
    MMS/YAW
    END

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    TEHRAN – Three winners of the Jalal Sattari Awards, a nongovernmental Iranian honor for ritual performance, were announced during the opening ceremony of the 16th International Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival in Tehran on Sunday.
     
    Theater professor at the University of Bologna Marco De Marinis, head of the Scientific and Art Center of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory Margarita Karatygina from Russia, and scholar Sudabeh Fazaeli from Iran were selected as winners of the award, Persian news agencies reported on Monday.
     
    The award-presentation ceremony took place at Tehran’s City Theater Complex, and was attended by General Office for Dramatic Arts Director Qader Ashena and secretary of the festival Davud Fat’hali Beigi. 
     
    The award was established in 2011 to honor scholars of different nationalities for their efforts in the promotion of ritual and folk artistic performances. It was named after the Iranian scholar and mythologist Jalal Sattari 
     
    Sattari, 82, is an Iranian scholar, mythologist, who has written over 90 books on mythology, dramatic literature and cultural criticism.
     
    Moreover, Norwegian folk singer Sondre Bratland, Austrian composer Klaus Lang, and Japanese graphic designer Kohei Sugiura were presented with honorable mention.
     
    Speaking at the ceremony, Ashena said that the gap between traditional arts and today’s contemporary arts needs to be shortened. 
     
    There should be more support for these types of arts since they can bring back joy to the society, he added.
     
    The festival which opened on September 15 will be held simultaneously in Tehran, Kashan, Hamedan, Khorramabad and Fasa until September 21. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END
     

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    TEHRAN – The Iranian Sufi music ensemble Shams conducted by Keikhosro Purnazeri will be giving concerts here at Tehran’s Milad Tower for several nights running from October 31 to November 2.
     
    Organized by Qoqnus Music Institute, a group of dervishes from Konya are also invited to perform sama, the Sufi ecstatic dance, during the concerts, the Persian service of ISNA reported on Monday.
     
    In addition, composer and tambura virtuoso Tahmures Purnazeri, and vocalist and kamancheh virtuoso Sohrab Purnazeri will accompany the band. 
     
    Among the band members are Kaveh Gerayeli, Hossein Rezaii-Nia, Khorshid Dadbeh, Dariush Azar, Alireza Javadi and Najmeh Tajadod.
     
    Shams always selects poems by Persian mystic and poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) for its performances, however, this time poems by contemporary poets Mohammad Hassan Moayyeri known as Rahi Moayyeri (1909-1968) and Mohammad (Hooman) Zakaii have also been added.
     
    The ensemble gave a performance with dervishes from Konya in August 2008 in Tehran’s Sadabad Palace Museum. 
     
    RM/YAW
    END

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