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The beginning

On a warm summer afternoon, David and I walk up the driveway of a highway somewhere near Tbilisi, Georgia. Heavy bags on our backs, sweat, little water, not really one of the better days during our hitchhike vacation from Sofia to Tbilisi. At the same time, another hitchhiker arrives at the bottom of the driveway.

This person is lucky, a car stops at him immediately. “Pff, they always give priority to lifters who arrive earlier,” said David. To our surprise, the car also stopped for us. A friendly face; we get in. This new ride immediately makes us forget our uncomfortable situation. New people, roads and views; a new day full of excitement. Get in and come along. In this blog series, I tell you where Perz comes from and how it came about.

1
Het begin

Het begin van het liftavontuur in Sofia Truckdriver towards istanbul

2
Istanbul

Liftend richting de grote stad Istanboel Turkey

3
Rize

Noord-oosten van Turkije Turkey

4
Ontmoeting

De ontmoeting met Pouria Melon

The friendly face

Pouria, the other hitchhiker, came to Georgia on his own from Iran. It was his first time hitchhiking outside of Iran. We combine our travel plans and soon a friendship is created by hitchhiking and camping together. Pouria wanted to see the “Alaverdi” monastery while we headed for the “Lagodekhi” nature reserve.

During the trip, Pouria has said several times: “This is the best day of my life!” The world outside of Iran, in the company of two Dutchmen, was an unprecedented experience for Pouria. Pouria comes from the, for us, exotic Iran. But in turn, David and I, hitchhiking through Georgia, are just as exotic for Pouria. Thanks to our new friend I know for sure, Iran is my next destination.

Carpets

The journey ended with the “One Caucasus” festival, in southern Georgia. The festival invited local musicians from all surrounding countries to celebrate unity and the love for local music. The interest in local music, the stories of Pouria about Iran and the fascination for carpets brought me to Iran the following year.

Once in Ardabil, I stayed with an Iranian family. The house where the family lives is three storeys high and is full of carpets. During the rest of my journey, I became interested in this art form, but also in the social world around it. Who are those people who trade the carpets?

Perz

Because of our fascination and interest in carpets, David and I have traveled to Iran several times. My interest has grown to such an extent that I am completed an anthropological study at Utrecht University in the social world concerning carpets in Iran and Europe.

Pouria, the “other hitchhiker”, is an important link in Iran. The study, people like Pouria, and of course the passion for carpets are, in our opinion, the perfect combination for the creation of Perz. We hope that we can convey this passion in the Netherlands.

Photos: David de Vries

Liften

Felix van den Belt

Felix van den Belt

Anthropologist & specialized in the social world of Persian carpets.