Tehran stairways take me back to my childhood. With so much change in Tehran, I can hardly recognize the alleys, streets, and stores of my younger years. Yet the stairway walks remain a constant for me. These stairways are the holder of some of my finest memories! Their sight gives me a feeling of assurance. Assurance that I know this place. I’ve taken these stairs thousands of times. They always trigger excitement of something new while recapturing the good feeling of refreshing the faded memories of the forgotten times.
As I step down the first set of stairs, I step back into a Friday afternoon, the weekend in Iran. My brother is racing me and my sister down the stairs. My mom is admiring the tall cypress trees and my father is telling us about the history of the park as his face lit up with pride. As I take the last step down, I’m in Park Saee.
Park Saee was also known as Jangal Saee ( Saee Forest). It was founded by Dr. Saee a very visionary engineer in 1950. Nestled on Valiasr Street ( the longest street in Tehran) along with wide stone bedded stream ( joob) with the romantic sound of the water. To me this park has always been the most beautiful park in Tehran with its terrace garden along the stairway, which descends into wide sidewalks along with benches lined with cypress trees. The park still remains one of the most beautiful parks in Tehran: an oasis of peace and serenity in north of Tehran in the midst of a very busy commercial area.
Parks play an important role in Iranian culture as they are associated with the concept of “garden” (bagh). They provide appropriate spaces for children’s play area, fitness equipment for all ages, and walking space away from hustle of the city. In addition, Park Saee offers a small zoo for various types of exotic birds.
I’m in Park Saee on Chaharshanbeh Souri, the last Tuesday of the year and a few days before the arrival of spring & the Persian New Year, Nowruz. There is no one here in the park and I have this beautiful place all to myself. I pass by the birds exhibition and keep walking. I see the beautiful spring flowers, the yellow forsythias, which you can find all over the parks and street boulevards in Tehran and other cities in Iran at this time of the year.
As I am getting out of the park and heading back to the stairway, I am very much in the present. I’m imbued with this indescribable feeling of being connected to all the colors and sounds around me. Of experiencing spring like never before!
Perhaps the stairway walks have always captured my sense of imagination and anticipation as to what it leads to. Tehran stairway walks of my childhood have resonated the great love for stairway walks everywhere for me.
Stairway walks are very popular around the world and are frequently visited by many people, which shows the fascination with stairways in the middle of a city & crossing through different neighborhoods.