When crossing the border from Turkmenistan to Iran there was an instant transformation of how people behaved and how they dressed. By law all women in Iran have to cover their hair and body and men have to wear long trousers. There were more pictures of political and religious leaders than there were comercial advertisement on the streets and people were much more friendly than any of the places we had visited so far. When buying dried fruit on the market a seller insisted on not accepting any money and everywhere we go there are people coming up to us to ask where we are from and welcome us to Iran. Alcohol is illegal here, but shisha (waterpipe) bars were plentiful.
Mashad is the second holiest city for Shia muslims after Mecca and a place where millions of people come visit as part of their pilgrimages. The reason for the holiness being that the Imam Ali al-Reza was buried on a place where it has been built the worlds biggest shrine for praying together with a mosque which has the biggest dome in the world. Bringing in cameras was not allowed, but it was nice to just walk around and learn about the religion which makes Iran the country that is today.
Everyone wants to talk to you in Iran, just like these school girls