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Swiss Iranologist:

The Architecture of Imam Reza Shrine Is Amazing/European Publishers Did not Accept to Publish any Book about Iran/Iran among Countries Targeted for Tourism

Iran Culture House in Paris hosted a Swiss Iranologist, Patrick Ringgenberg, the researcher and writer of several books on Iran touring and the Iranian authentic and traditional architecture.  

According to the Public Relations of Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, in this cultural meeting, Patrick Ringgenberg began his speech with a brief introduction of himself and said he was born in 1970 in Switzerland and began his higher studies first in cinema and then Theology in M.A in Higher Studies College and finally got his PhD in history from the University of Geneva. He said that it is about 16 years that he is commuting to Iran and now spends half a year in Iran with an Iranian family.

In another part of his speech he explained: "When I was 20, I became familiar with the Iranian philosophy and Henry Corbin (14 April 1903 - 7 October 1978, a philosopher, theologian, Iranologist and professor of Islamic Studies). Until then, what I knew about Iran was only the image that the media had made about Iran. That Iran is a closed country filled with ambiguity and potentially dangerous. After that I traveled to Iran with a tour group for a conference and there I found out the real face of Iran. What was shocking was the difference between the real Iran and the image of Iran that the media offered. Thats why I began my research on Iran since 2001".

He added: "My main goal was to provide a small encyclopedia introducing Iran from all angles. At that time the tourism industry was very poor in Iran because of the September 11 incident and the presence of America in Afghanistan and Iraq. To publish my book I made a contract with an Iranian Publisher in 2006 as at that time no European Publisher accepted to publish a book about Iran. Before the presidency of Mr. Rouhani the book was not welcomed that it was very strange; but after he became president the atmosphere changed, especially after the nuclear deal Iran was suddenly targeted as one of the countries in the tourism industry and my book was again in the spotlight, so that today it has reached the fifth edition".

He continued: "There are diverse research fields, especially in the field of art history in Iran; for example, the amazing architecture of Imam Reza shrine is very remarkable and also the fact that it receives 20 million pilgrims annually. In this regard, since 2011 in Paris I began my research on this place of pilgrimage. A large area has been dedicated to Imam Reza shrine especially that its area has been expanded further after the revolution and it has a good infrastructure and because of the existence of such an important place in Mashhad, the city is the second-largest and important city in Iran".

In another part of his speech, Patrick Ringgenberg emphasized: "Iran should engage in providing brochure and handbook on the introduction of its rich historical monuments; while, for example, there is nothing to introduce ancient monuments in the National Museum of Iran that represents the Iranian identity as well as in other museums and historic buildings".

This Swiss Iranologist believes now that the tourism industry has been resumed in Iran, the Iranian officials should take this good opportunity to introduce better the country and make the other know Iran is a secure and peaceful place for foreign tourists.

In another part of this meeting which was held with the presence of a large number of Iranian and French people, and the lovers of culture and art history, Ringgenberg stated: "Relations between Iran and the West goes even back to Median time and the relations continued even at the time of the Safavid dynasty. In the nineteenth century, Iran was very influenced by the West. Iranian society is very complex and a combination of different tastes".

According to this report, the presence of professors and prominent and well-known figures such as Pierre Laurie, the professor of Eastern Philosophy at the Paris University, was another feature of this meeting.

A book entitled "Iran Tourism Guide" written by Patrick Ringgenberg for introducing Iran to French-speaking people across the world is a significant source of information to present an image of Iran to those who are interested in the Iranian culture and art. This book can depict the rich and yet sophisticated Iranian culture for the reader. Ringgenberg considers himself an Iranian in his heart and when he is in Iran he considers it as his country.   

The researchers such as Patrick Ringgenberg has had a large role to make known Iran in the world, so that he can be placed on the list with figures such as Henry Herbert Goddard, Henry Messe, Henry Corbin, Gilbert Lazar, and Charles-Henri de Fouchécour, who have done great things in introducing Iran in various fields of science and research.

The books written by Patrick Ringgenberg are like an encyclopedia rich of information about Iran. This Swiss researcher has also endeavored on the symbols of Islamic Art. He has recently written a book entitled "Persian Cupolas: the Art of Skies and the Earth" in which he investigates the structures in terms of aesthetic and conceptual aspects.

The last book of this Swiss academic researcher is dedicated to Imam Reza shrine. According to Patrick Ringgenberg, Imam Reza shrine is one of the most important heritages of Islamic Iranian architecture. This shrine which was built in the ninth century has a remarkable architecture.    


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