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January 4, 2015

24 Rare and Wonderful Color Photographs That Capture Everyday Life in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s

New York City resident Norma Lee Mahdavi lived in Iran from 1960 to 1967 and served as marketing director for the Iranian National Tourist Organization's New York office in the 1970s. Mahdavi recently let Asia Society sort through several boxes of official tourism slides taken in Iran during the 1960s and 1970s.

Some of the photos were taken by Mahdavi, and others were taken by professional photographers hired as part of the Iranian government's tourism and cultural outreach initiatives.

A performance at a Zurkhaneh, or House of Strength, where exercises passed down from training to be warriors are performed to the music of bells, drums and the songs of prayer.

A man in the midst of his prayers.

Two guys shooting the breeze, wearing their lamb's wool caps.

At the fruit market — note the Jaffa oranges.

The Shahanshah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi at a court reception surrounded by the Shah's ministers of state.

A fishing boat on the Caspian Sea.

At the fruit market with pomegranates and oranges, probably imported from Israel and Valencia.

A bride with her wedding party of friends.

Caviar fishermen on the shores of the Caspian Sea mending their nets.

Nomads on the move with their entire household and their animals on a spring route.

A cross-country tour bus makes a pit stop.

A caravan of camels delivering goods straight from the village craftspeople or farmers to the shops in Tehran.

Persian carpets drying on the mountainside after being hand-washed in the special spring waters in the town of Rey.

A flock of Persian sheep. Their bulbous tails store fat, making Persian lamb rich in taste and low in fat.

A nomad lady hand-spinning wool.

A street vendor sells cigarettes, gum, candy and lottery tickets. Found on many city streets.

A tea-house in Tehran.

A tourist souvenir shop with a specialty in hookahs.

A typical movie house in Tehran, showing both foreign and Iranian movies.

A ski resort outside of Tehran.

A young Persian girl in her chador.

The last Tuesday night of the Iranian year is known as Chahar Shanbeh Suri, the eve of which is marked by special customs and rituals, most notably jumping over fire.

Trout fishing is a popular sport on the many streams throughout the country.

The doorman at the Hilton Hotel who found Mahdavi's gold bracelet and refused a tip saying, "An honest man's reward is his honesty."



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