Tirgan Festival in Toronto July 21-24 2011


Below is a message by Tara Farhidwhich was forwarded to kavehfarrokh.com. Please feel free to distribute to support this event which was covered by the Voice of America news service as seen in the video below:

-گزارش صدای آمریکا از تیرگان ۲۰۱۱-Voice of America Report on the Tirgan 2011 festival


Dear Friends,   

Finally Tirgan Festival is here!  See my article (in Persian) on Tirgan: Flying on the Horizons of Cultural Immortality/ in Persian: مقاله  در باره تیرگان

Tirgan is a four-day celebration of Iranian arts & culture held in Toronto Harbourfront Centre, showcasing a selection of over 50 Iranian cultural performances in music, dance, theatre, cinema, literature, and visual arts, Tirgan 2011 is expected to attract over 100,000 visitors to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre between July 21 – 24, 2011.

In addition, the festival showcases Iranian cuisine and exclusive arts & crafts presentations made at vendor kiosks. Altogether, these make for engaging, educating, enriching, and entertaining experiences for a wide range of audiences.   

Event schedules: (click here)

Opening Ceremony (Pardid/ Slalar Aghili, Thursday, 8:30 PM,$25)  Late night Jazz Bar (Rana Farhan, Friday, 10:30 PM, $30)  

Some of the artists performing at the event (چند نمونه از کاراین هنرمندان):

Opening Ceremony Salar Aghili, Hamid Motebassem, sample work   

Rana Farhan sample work

Turquoise Land, Dream of Peace – Les Ballets Persans


  event schedules:

-سیزدهمین اثر از میراث فرهنگی ایران در فهرست جهانی-Iran’s Thirteenth heritage Site now a UNSECO Heritage Site

The report below in Persian (after the English text and pictures) was issued by the Pasargard Foundation (The International Committe to Save Pasargard).

The site of “Bagh e Shahzadeh”باغ شاهزاده [literally: Garden of the Prince] was listed as yet another World Hertiage site in the 35th meeting  by UNESCO. The Bagh e Shahzadeh”باغ شاهزادهhas now become the 13th site in Iran to become a World Heritage site.  Persian Gardens have been renowned since the days of Cyrus the Great.

The Bagh e Shahzadeh [باغ شاهزاده] is located close the city of Mahan (Kerman province) and was built in .1881. Picture by the Pasargard Foundation. For more pictures of this site by Mehr News Service see Payvand News.

The UNESCO committee has also listed the Gardens below as World Heritage sites:

A top view of a reconstruction of the Persian garden at Pasargard [باغ پاسارگاد،]  built circa 2500 years ago, is located in Fars province, also home to  the site of Persepolis of the Achaemenids. Note water channels at rim of garden (see also History Channel program “Engineering an Empire: The Persians“).

The tower of the Persian Garden of Pahlavan-pour at Yazd [برج باغ پهلوانپور مهریز يزد]. The site was built approximately 100 years ago during the late Qajar era. Picture from the Iran Desert website.

The Persian garden at Dowlat Abad [باغ دولت آباد،]  built in 1747, the very last year of the rule of Nader Shah. Note the tower-like structure with vertical slits – this is a Badgir-the world’s first air-conditioning system invented in ancient Iran. Picture by the Iran Hamshahri Website.

The Persian Garden at Feen [باغ فین،]  of Kashan is generally traced back to the Safavid era (1501-1722). This garden is also host to the bath of Feen, where the great Qajar-era statesman, Amir Kabir (1807-1852), was brutally assassinated in 1852. Picture by the Raya website.

The Persian Garden of Chehel Sotoon [باغ چهل ستون،]  (literally: the forty columns) in Isfahan, built by Shah Abbas II (1632-1666). Picture by the JadidOnline website.

The Persian Garden of Akbariyeh [باغ اکبریه،]  built during the Qajar era (1794-1925), is located in Birjand, in southern Khorasan in northeast Iran. Picture by the Mashadtour.blogspot.com website.

The Persian Garden of Abbas-Abad [باغ عباس آباد]  built by Shah Abbas I (1571-1629) is located near  Behshahr (Mazandaran province in northern Iran). This site is scheduled for excavations and research. Picture by the Memaraninfah blog.

In this year thus far (2011), the Heritage committee of UNESCO has added 25 other natural and cultural sites as World Heritage sites – bringing the grand total of such sites to 936.

Despite the fact that a large number of these UNESCO sites are located in Iran, a larger number remain untabulated due to the negligence of certain authorities today within the Iranian establsihment. This explains why Iran – a nation with civilizational roots stretching back thousands of years – currently has only 13 sites recognized by UNESCO.

Destruction at the ancient site of Susa. At left: Brick wall damaged by bulldozers (Source: Tabnak News in Iran) and at right: Hotel construction at the site of Susa (Source: Tabnak News in Iran) (Read more…)

In addition to the Bagh e Shahzadeh [باغ شاهزاده], UNESCO has in this year (2011) recognized locales in Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Estonia  as World Heritage Sites.


“باغ شاهزاده” یکی از زیباترین آثار فرهنگی ایران در سی و پنجمین کمیته یونسکو، در  فهرست جدید میراث جهانی به ثبت رسید. در این کمیته پرونده 9 باغ که شامل باغ پاسارگاد، باغ پهلوان پور، باغ دولت آباد، باغ فین، باغ چهل ستون، باغ اکبریه، باغ عباس آباد، و باغ شاهزاده ماهان معرفی شد و باغ شاهزاده به عنوان  نمونه ی زیبایی از «باغ های ایرانی» که از دوران باستان شهرت جهانی داشته اند در آثار جهانی به ثبت رسید.

باغ شاهزاده در نزدیکی شهر ماهان قرار دارد و در سال 1260 خورشیدی ساخته شده است.

امسال کمیته میراث جهانی سازمان یونسکو 25 مکان فرهنگی و طبیعی دیگر را به فهرست میراث جهانی اضافه کرد و تعداد این آثار را به 936 رساند. که با وجود تعداد زیادی از این آثار در سرزمین مان، متاسفانه به دلیل کم کاری و بی توجهی سازمان میراث فرهنگی،  از ایران تا کنون بیش از 13 اثر به ثبت نرسیده است.

امسال علاوه بر باغ شاهزاده، آثاری از محوطه های طبیعی اسپانیا، آلمان، سوییس و ایتالیا، اسلونی نیز به فهرست جهانی پیوسته اند.


Tehran Times: Book on military technology of ancient Iran translated into Persian

Below is a report which appeared in the Tehran Times on July 4, 2011 announcing the translation of Farrokh’s second book, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War into Persian. The report also appeared in the Defense Technology News website as well as PressTV and The Times of Iran.  The Mehr News Agency of Iran has also announced the impending publication of the text in Persian (also posted in various Iranian sites such as Khabar Farsi and Balatarin):

ناگفته‌هایی از قدرت سپاهیان ایران باستان در «سایه‌های صحرا» بازگو شد

The translation of Farrokh’s second book (Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War) was done by Qoqnoos Publishers with the English to Persian translation having been done by Shahrbanu Saremi.

Farrokh’s most recent book, Iran at War: 1500-1988 (released April 2011) was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Note the following radio interviews scheduled to date with Farrokh on Iran at War: 1500-1988:

  • WFLA-AM, Tampa Florida (June 17, 2011)
  • WHFS-AM Washington DC (July 1, 2011)
  • KCMN-AM, Colorado Springs (july 5, 2011)
  • Money Matters Network – Stu Taylor on Business, National Syndicated (July 7, 2011)
  • WGTD-FM Milwaukee WI (July 12, 2011)
  • WDEV, Burlington VT (date to be announced)


Book on military technology of ancient Iran translated into Persian (July 4, 2011)
Tehran Times Culture Desk

Written by Kaveh Farrokh, a Canadian-based Iranian scholar at the University of British Columbia, the book, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, has been rendered into Persian by Shahrbanu Saremi who told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Sunday:

“Authored in English, this book is a weighty tome that contains discussions on wars and armies of ancient Iran…,Qoqnoos Publishing House will be printed the book in the near future” .

A number of unique illustrations depicting the wars and the structure of the Persian armies will be published in the book, which also includes a foreword by Harvard Professor Emeritus Richard Neslon Frye.

Meeting his mentors: Farrokh greets Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye of Harvard University(shaking hands with Farrokh) and world-renowned Iranologist, Dr. Farhang Mehr (at center), winner of the 2010 Merit and Scholarship award (photo from Persian American Society,March 1, 2008).  As noted in page 2, 2010 of the peer-reviewed Iranshenasi Journal, Professor Frye of Harvard University wrote the foreword of Farrokh’s text stating that “…Dr. Kaveh Farrokh has given us the Persian side of the picture as opposed to the Greek and Roman viewpoint …it is refreshing to see the other perspective, and Dr. farrokh sheds light on many Persian institutions in this history…” .

The English version of “Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War” was released by Osprey Publishing in 2007 and its Russian version came out from Eksmo Publishers in 2009.

Shadows in the Desert Ancient Persia at War translated  to Russian -Персы: Армия великих царей-(consult the Russian EXMO Publishers website) . The World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media selected “Shadows in the Desert” as the best history book of 2008 and provided Farrokh with a Persian Golden Lioness Award.

The Iran Review reported on July 11, 2007:

The empires of ancient Persia remain as mysterious today as they were to contemporary Western scholars. Although Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia is legendary, the military successes of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian empires, along with their revolutionary military technology, tactics, and culture have been almost forgotten in the sands of the East. Containing information never before published in English, Shadows in the Desert offers a comprehensive history of Persia’s wars with East and West which spanned over a millennium, and offers an insight into the exchange of ideas and culture that occurred during these clashes between East and West, not only military technology, but influences in the arts, medicine, religion and science.

The CHN (Cultural Heritage News Agency) Service of Iran reported in May 1, 2007:

Containing information never published in English before, Shadows in the Desert provides a comprehensive history of Persian Wars with East and West from the 6th century BC, and offers an insight into the exchange of ideas and culture that occurred during these clashes in military technology, the arts, medicine, religion, and science. This beautifully illustrated book delves into the rich heritage of the Persians, which was spread through war and conquest, and which, after the fall of the Sassanians, continued to impact upon civilization around the world. He also delves into the forgotten cultural heritage of the Persians, spread across the world through war and conquest, which, even after the fall of the Sassanians, continued to impact upon the Western world. In this book Dr. Kaveh Farrokh has also shown the Persian side of the picture as opposed to the Greek and roman viewpoint which has long dominated our understanding of these wars. It is refreshing to see the other perspective. The first charter of human rights which was composed during the glorious Achaemenid Empire by its founder, Cyrus the Great, and the cylinder on which the words are inscribed and is being kept at the British Museum, is another live witness to Persian glory during ancient times.”

Persian Gardens Declared as World Heritage Sites

As reported by the United Nations News CService (June 27, 2011) and the Persian-Language Jam e Jaam website (June 27, 2011), Iran’s Persian Gardens have become known as UNESCO World Heritage sites. As reported by the United Nations News CService (June 27, 2011):

The Persian Garden includes nine gardens in as many provinces of Iran. They exemplify the diversity of Persian garden designs that adapted to different climate conditions while retaining principles that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC.

The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae which has been listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The Pasargardae tomb – a reconstruction by Professor Stronach.

Reconstruction of Pasargadae by the Persepolis-3D website: from left to right –north side, south side, east side and north side of Pasargadae. For more details on the above pictures and the architecture of Pasargadae, see Professors Stronach and Gopnik: Pasargadae.

The initiative was first reported by Iranian news services who noted that since December 2005 UNESCO had been cooperating with experts in Iran to tabulate a list of heritage sites pertaining to Persian Gardens in Iran. Dr. Adel Farhangi (the advisor of the director of the Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization – ICHTO) had reported that a team of experts compied documents on sites (for submission to UNESCO) in the Fin Garden of Kashan, Shazdeh in Mahan, Fat’habad in Kerman, and Dolatabad in Yazd.


On the second part of the above video, Professor Stronach speaks about the Persian Gardens as part of his decades long research into the domain of Iranian Studies, which earned him the WAALM – Persian Golden Lioness Award of 2010.

The initiative to register the Persian Gardens was first made in a conference in Iran in 2004 which witnessed talks and presentations on the subject. It was also agreed that the submission of a registry for UNESCO would entail the study and classification of the architectural and civil engineering styles utilized in the construction of each of the gardens, as these would vary according to era (i.e. Achaemenid, Partho-Sassanian, Safavid, etc.).

The Persian Gardens have indeed withstood the test of time.

Origin of Persian Gardens at Pasargadae

Pasargadae was the imperial capital of Cyrus the Great and it was here where the “Persian Gardens” were formed. These were in essence an Achaemenid project which further developed, refined and expanded the Babylonian-Assyrian concept of the garden. The end-result of this was Pari-Daeza (Old Iranian: Park, Walled Garden) or the “Persian Garden”. The term Pari-Daeza is of Iranian origin and originally refers to the enclosed hunting grounds of the Median kings.

The Persian Gardens at Pasargadae were built in accordance with mathematically based geometric designs. There were 900 meters of channels constructed of carved limestone; these transported water throughout the garden. This was essentially a sophisticated irrigation system featuring stone water-channels and open ditches that were designed to channel water into small basins at every 15 meters in the garden.


An overall top view of Pasargadae at Cyrus’ time. Note the canal, water channels; the two rectangles are gardens.

The garden itself was planted with a variety of fruit and Cyprus trees, flowers such as roses, lilies, Jasmines and exotic grasses. Arrian has described the gardens as

a grove of all kinds of trees…with steams…” and encompassed by a large area of “…green grass” (Arrian, Expedition of Alexander, VI, 29).


A top view of a reconstruction of the Persian Garden at Pasargadae. Note water channels at rim of garden (see also History Channel program “Engineering an Empire: The Persians“).

The Pasargadae complex was indeed a unique symbiosis of Iranian (Medo-Persian), Anatolian (i.e. Ionian) and Mesopotamian civil engineering techniques. These would be the harbinger of Persopolis city-palace and other Achaemenid sites such as the recently discovered palace at Tang e Bolaghi.

Persian Gardens of the Post-Islamic Era

The Persian Garden has certainly survived into the post-Islamic era. The basis of such a design was built into the pavilion of Shah Abbas the Great (r. 1588 – 1629 AD) of the Safavid dynasty (1502-1736 AD).


The Maydan e Shah in Isfahan dated to the Safavid era.

Many small towns and villages in modern Iran today continue to have gardens that derive their inspiration from the Achaemenids of old.


A Persian garden in Tehran in 1971. 

For more photos of post-Islamic Persian Gardens kindly click on the photo below:

Legacy of the Persian Gardens on Civilization

Cyrus’ gardens have exerted a profound legacy outside the borders of Iran, and especially in Europe. The Greeks adopted the Persian garden after Alexander’s conquests of Persia and most likely during the ensuing Seleucid era. The Persian term Pardis entered the Roman lexicon which facilitated its transmission to other European languages. The Greeks, Romans and succeeding European civilizations were to build parks and gardens on the Persian model. The breathtaking gardens of Versailles France, the baroque gardens of Belvedere Palace of Austria or the Butchard Gardens of Victoria Canada may never have existed today had it not been for Cyrus’ gardens at Pasargardae.  Even the Bible commemorates the word “Paradise” in its lexicon.  


The gardens at Versailles Place in France.

The influence of the Persian Gardens has also spread to the Orient, notably China and then Japan, probably mainly due to the arrival of Sassanian refugees to China after the collapse of the Sassanian Empire in the 650s AD, although earlier influences cannot be ruled out.


A Chinese Garden.

The most notable example of the influence of Persian Gardens in the Indian subcontinenet can be found in India’s Taj Mahal place built by the Moghuls (1526-1707).

The Taj Mahal, completed by 1648, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The master architect of Taj Mahal was an Iranian named ‘Ostad Isaa Afandi’ from Shiraz. The builders were also Persian stone masons, imported from Iran by Mogul Shah Jahan, as per the request of the aforementioned Chief Master Architect Afandi. The white marble for the Taj Mahal was  imported from Isfahan. The calligraphy was created by the Persian calligrapher Abd ul-Haq, who came to India from Shiraz, Iran, in 1609. Shah Jahan conferred the title of “Amanat Khan” upon him as a reward for his “dazzling virtuosity”. Another striking Iranian influence can be seen in the design of the gardens and waterworks of the locale. Much of the fauna of Taj Mahal’s Persian gardens were directly imported from Iran. The term “Taj Mahal” is Persian for “The Royal Gounds” or more literally “The Crown Locale”. 

Video recreation of the arts and architecture of the Safavid era (1501-1722). Note the  emphasis on the Safavid Persian Gardens featured in the video. 

Wall Street Journal Reviews Kaveh Farrokh’s 2011 Textbook

The Wall Street Journal recently published a review of Kaveh Farrokh’s third and most recent book entitled:

Iran at War: 1500-1988. Osprey Hardcover 480 pages, released May 24, 2011 • ISBN: 978-1-84603-491-6. Contact: John Tintera, Marketing Director @ 718/433-4402, john.tintera@ospreypublishing.com

To order consult Chapters-Indigo or Amazon.

The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Arts has also announced this book on Twitter.

The review has also appeared on Reuters News ServiceThe New York Herald, ABC News (ABC 13ABC 18ABC 40), NBC News (NBC 6NBC 10NBC 12NBC 38), CBS News (CBS  9), Fox News (Fox 19Fox 26Fox 28Fox 42Fox 54) and The Nashvile News. See also Payvand News of Iran report.

Below are portions of the review on the Wall Street Journal – kindly note that the pictures inserted in the text below have not appeared in the Wall Street journal:

Kaveh Farrokh is an expert on Persian languages and Iranian history whose new book, Iran at War: 1500-1988, provides a full examination of modern Iranian military history… His previous title Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War (Osprey, 2007) was named “Best History Book” by the World Academy of Arts Literature and Media in 2008. Dr. Patrick Hunt at Stanford University, said this about it,  ”… a book for all who have ever been curious about the ‘other’ view on Persia, not from the Western standpoint rooted in Greece, but from the traditions of the Persians themselves… Meticulously researched and documented…..”

A European copper engraving of Shah Abbas made by Dominicus Custos citing him as“Schach Abas Persarum Rex” or “Shah Abbas the Great monarch of Persia”. Shah Abbas’ victories over the Ottomans weakened them against the Europeans to the West, and especially in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Note how Custos makes a particular emphasis on linking Shah Abbas to the “Mnemona Cyrus” (the Memory of Cyrus the Great of Persia).

Iran at War begins where Shadows in the Desert ended, with the Arab conquest of Persia and the rise of Islam in the mid-7th century. Farrokh then describes the pivotal 16th century which saw the rise of a powerful family, the Safavids, which ruled Iran for 200 years. During the Safavid period, a strong, secular-minded central government fielded an army that was able to stare down threats from the Turks, Arabs, and Russians in the west and the Uzbeks and Afghans in the east. According to Farrokh, the push south, east, and west from Iran’s hostile neighbors during this era foreshadowed security threats it has faced down to the current day and does much to explain why modern Iran is so eager to its project power.

Note the following radio interviews scheduled to date with Farrokh on Iran at War: 1500-1988:

  • WFLA-AM, Tampa Florida (June 17, 2011)
  • WHFS-AM Washington DC (July 1, 2011)
  • KCMN-AM, Colorado Springs (july 5, 2011)
  • Money Matters Network – Stu Taylor on Business, National Syndicated (July 7, 2011)
  • WGTD-FM Milwaukee WI (July 12, 2011)
  • WDEV, Burlington VT (date to be announced)

Tayyara! Tayyara! (Arabic: Airplane! Airplane!). Iraqi crew of a BMP invading Iran in 1980 (at left) abandon their vehicle in haste at the sound of the roaring engines of two US-made Iranian F-4E Phantoms. Iranian Phantoms (at right) were also reported to be flying just meters above ground level to fire their 20mm cannon at Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles (Picture Source at left: www.Acig.org; Picture Source at right: Farrokh, 2011).