I visited Iran in 2011 for the first time, on the way through Asia and it impressed me greatly with it’s history, culture and hospitality of the Iranians. It also fascinated me because of its ambiguity and difficult political situation. It has been one of the most hospitable places I’ve ever been and I promised myself to return there one day. This idea of this expedition came up unexpected 3 years later.
In autumn 2014 I left Poland and travelled to Iran. My goal was to walk along the Zagros – mountain range which streched itself along western border of this country. It’s the biggest (by the surface) range between Alps and Himalayas, yet mostly unknown for foreigners. Starting from the city of Tabriz, on the north-west of Iran, I’ve walked approximately 2300 kilometers across the mountains, deserts and semi-deserts, to the coast of Indian Ocean. This 76-day thru-hike of Zagros has been probably the first in the history.
My goal was not only to thru-hike Zagros, but also to meet different nations of this region. Zagros is still the place, where nomadic lifestyle is cultivated by people of mountains: Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtiari and Qashqai, although mostly settled, still keep their traditions and maintain their own languages, different from the rest of the Iranians.
Walking along many mountain ranges of Zagros has meant weeks among wastelands and deserts, in temperatures over 30°C, with lack of water and paths. But also the unexpected attack of winter, negotiating snowy mountain passes and frosty nights. Being arrested twice was also a part of the game. And, above all, this trip allowed me to meet people of Zagros, who teached me their way of life and their point of view on present Iran.
The traverse of Zagros was one of my toughest expeditions. It forced me to reach to my deepest, unconscious reserves of strength and courage.
The result of this journey has been described in the book “Pieszo do irańskich nomadów” (“Walking to Iranian nomads”) by “Muza” publishing house.