Darband was the pretty square where I spent my grumpy Tehran evenings. Hot from all covered in burning summer heat, itchy from keeping my head covered constantly and ego bruised by moral police, Darband and it’s festive air had given me a lot of solace . It’s a bit far from the central business district and supposedly the home of the rich and powerful of Tehran. It is also a traffic nightmare, has rows of interesting restaurants and shops and loads of fashionable crowd checking each other out.Vendors selling kebabs, preserves, honey, and even puppies throng the lively place and it is a photographers’ delight.
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120 Kms from Darband
Ashgabat is the largest and the capital city of Turkmenistan and was recently noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most white marble-clad buildings in the world. It is a showcase of the development and accomplishments of Turkmen. It has a strange dystopian feel to it with more military men then public visible in common areas. It can be best described as a mix of Las Vegas and Pyongyang, with grand buildings and majestic public squares. Studded with gilded domes and statues, Ashgabat is accessorised with street lamps, bus stops, telephone booths and traffic signals that are unashamedly ostentatious. However, the note-worthy architecture and good restaurants serving both local and international cuisines makes this city a good place to start your Turkmen adventure.Must see: White-marbled buildings spread throughout the city, the National Museum depicting the history of the country from ancient times, Turkmen Carpet Museum housing antique carpets from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as intricate creations of the current times, Tolkuchka Bazaar, one of the most vibrant and colourful bazars in Central Asia.