viernes, 17 de marzo de 2017

The North-South divide

Like many countries Iran has its expensive and not so expensive regions. Generally speaking the economy of Iran is dependent on oil and there is plenty of it so it tends not to be as cheap a destination as other central Asian countries. Inflation in Iran is high. Every Nowrooz many commodities rise 20% in price never to come down again. Western Mazandaran (this is where Khoonegeli is) in the north is the most expensive part of Iran outside the capital. Land prices, groceries and other amenities often surpass those in southern Europe. In contrast places like Qom and Yazd despite being large cities are among the cheapest in Iran. For those travelling north beware that these hyper-inflated prices are a direct result of two major factors. One is the proximity of Tehran, the richest, the most populated and by far the most expensive city in Iran and secondly the existance of lush green forests and the sea which most Iranians find extremely attractive as holiday destination. However, this narrow strip of land squeezed between the beautiful Alborz mountain range and the Caspian sea has a limited capacity for holiday homes. In recent years the government has been clamping down on illegal buildings but despite these holiday villas dot may mountain villages with road access. Land in these places can fetch over 100 euros per square meter. There is no shortage of buyers who push other prices like basic commodities up as a result.