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An Alternative Side to Iran

1st April 2015

The Alborz Mountains of Northern Iran are the setting for an intriguing 1000 year-old story of drugs and murder. According to Marco Polo, in the 11th century a charismatic Persian leader named Hassan al-Sabbah had a band of followers, whom he regularly encouraged to smoke marijuana. Whilst in an intoxicated state, he would lead them out to a beautiful garden full of young girls for them to “entertain themselves”. Upon waking up he would tell them they had been to paradise and, if they wanted to return, they needed to support his campaigns of violence and terror against his enemies. His followers subsequently thus became known as the “men of hashish” or Hashashiyyin, which in English over time gave us the word ‘assassin’!

Still very much on the traveller’s radar, we know that Iran is not just about mosques and ancient sites and wanted to provide an alternative way to explore this fascinating country. Our new walking tour does exactly that – offering the chance to discover assassins’ castles, troglodyte villages and meet the locals amongst the beautiful Alborz Mountains. Click here to view the tour.

Marc Leaderman

Narrowly escaping the "lawyer, doctor or accountant" stereotype career that is the fate of many Cambridge graduates, Marc taught English in Romania an…

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