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Iran’s heavenly sights on display in Hong Kong

Guests attend the opening of the photo exhibit titled “Unseen Iran, the Heavenly Land”, which features the works of about 80 prominent photographers from Iran and Hong Kong, at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on July 20, 2021. (JAN YUMUL / CHINA DAILY)

From a 17th-century bridge to the resplendence of Iran’s untold rural life and tranquil streams, the striking visuals aim to put a spotlight on the Middle Eastern country’s “countless beauties”.

The photo exhibit is a collaboration between the Iranian consulate general and Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will run from July 20 to Aug 2

They are part of an eye-catching photo exhibit titled “Unseen Iran, the Heavenly Land”, which features the works of about 80 prominent photographers from Iran and Hong Kong, on display at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Previously, the annual event has been held in more private setting. With a public space, the Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Hong Kong and Macao hopes the photos can be accessible to the wider public. 

Consul General Alireza Esmaeil Zadeh said they wanted to make sure they have “the best variety of concepts and subjects” that can encapsulate Iran’s past up to its present.  The photographs’ themes range from jaw-dropping natural attractions to Iran’s religious customs, culture, society and other aspects of its ancient civilization. 

“This is our hope. I cannot guarantee that this will help change perspective of Iran but I hope that they understand that we are a peaceful country and peaceful people,” Zadeh told China Daily. 

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“If people understand that what they have in mind through English literature and the media is different from what is truly on the ground, then I think we have done our job,” he said.

Iranian Consul General Alireza Esmaeil Zadeh poses at the opening of the photo exhibit titled "Unseen Iran, the Heavenly Land", which features the works of about 80 prominent photographers from Iran and Hong Kong, at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on July 20, 2021. (JAN YUMUL / CHINA DAILY)

The consul general also told China Daily that not many people know Iran can be “an affordable place” to visit. 

During his speech at the exhibit’s opening ceremony, the consul general said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Iran’s tourism industry like in other countries. There has been a significant drop in visitors due to curbs on transportation and the movement of people.

The consul general said they are planning to bounce back and attract more tourists “once the pandemic is under control”. 

“In line with our commitment to enhance the tourism sector, we have waived visa requirements for holders of HKSAR passports, Macao and Chinese (mainland) passports,” he said.  

This means that upon entry, Chinese visitors can stay in Iran for 21 days without quarantine after showing a negative PCR test. He also said there is a rapid and simplified procedure for tourists entering from other countries and regions around the world.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the Iranian consulate general and Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It will run from July 20 to August 2.

jan@chinadailyapac.com