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600,000 tourists visit Iran early Noruz - official

Semnan, March 22, IRNA - Some 600,000 foreign tourists arrived in Iran over the past few days for Noruz holiday making.

Director General of the Foreign Tourism Promotion Department at the provincial branch of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Mohammad-Ali Pakdasht told IRNA on Friday that about 300,000 out of the total are Iraqis who have travelled Iran to visit holy shrine of Hazrat Ali Ibn Moussa al-Reza (AS), the 8th Imam of Shiites, in Mashhad in northeastern Razavi Khorassan Province.

Pakdasht said number of foreign tourists visiting Iran during first few days of Noruz has shown remarkable growth this year compared to the previous years.

He said to encourage tourist arrivals in the country, `Haftseen Tablecloths' have been stretched at Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Kish airports.

The Haftseen Tablecloth (Seven `S's Tablecloth) is set on an Iranian tradition in Noruz and usually contains seven articles whose names begin with /S/ sound: vinegar (Serkeh), apple (Seeb), garlic (Seer), wild olive (Senjed), sumac (Somaq), juice of germinating wheat or malt mixed with flour and brought to a consistency (Samanu), and a dish of specially raised wheat or other seeds (Sabzeh).

He added that during Noruz this year, more than 50,000 have visited or crossed Semnan Province.

... Payvand News - 03/22/08 ... --

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