Portrait of a city

Portrait of a city Yes, even in Tehran, even in this crazy, congested, polluted city, beauty abounds

Sara Valafar June 9, 2005 iranian.com

Today, July 10, 2004, I walked around Tehran with my ankles showing, blissfully unaware of the danger posed by the green-and-white security cars, and uncomfortable only for feeling myself, as an American tourist, on the fringe of society. Tehran is a city of contrasts; modern sits side by side with tradition and even destruction. On the way to Shahrvand (think upscale Wal-Mart), we passed by several gleaming apartment complexes, sturdy square boxes lacquered in granite and marble; but for each one of those exists a gutted, sagging edifice, limned in scaffolding, staring through hollowed eyes.

The lot at the end of my in-laws' street housed a half-finished building for years and then, bang, this year we arrive and a brand new research facility plus several small apartment complexes are standing proudly, as modern in design as you would see in the most advanced cities, of the most advanced nations. Yet the detritus remains, rusted pipes stacked like fuzzy caterpillars, weary wheelbarrows, a mélange of broken tiles and bricks, masses of wires, and heaps of rocks and dirt that seem to have nowhere else to go.

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