History of Gilgamesh Magazine
We initially had the idea to publish a magazine specialized in cultural heritage and tourism in 2013. With the enthusiastic efforts of the licensors at ‘Iranian Horizon of Tourism’ and collaboration with ‘New Holydays Weekly’, we were able to publish Gilgamesh’s Special Edition in March 2013 under the leadership of Executive Director Arash Nooraghaee and Editor-in-Chief Jaleh Ebrahimi.
This special edition magazine was dedicated to the theme of the 40th Anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which focused on various types of world heritage. It featured content on the interpretation of heritage: spiritual, intangible, endangered, underwater cultural, living, green, originality, and revival. Other sections of this issue included travel articles and information on tour accommodations.
After several months of enthusiastic effort by our friends and colleagues, the support and supervision of the Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Associations, and the leadership of Arash Nooraghaee, the first electronic issue of this magazine was published as ‘Gilgamesh’ in September 2015. On November 9, 2015, the quarterly publication of Gilgamesh was licensed under CEO Mahsa Motahar. Three years later, on November 5, 2018, Arash Nooraghaee became the CEO and Executive Director of Gilgamesh Magazine.
Following the release of the Persian-language quarterly publication, the head of the Policy Council expressed a need for the production of an international version in English. Finally, we obtained the licence for publishing an English quarterly magazine – whose content was completely independent of the Persian-language version – on July 16, 2018, under the supervision and leadership of Mahsa Motahar. On December 17 of the same year, Arash Nooraghaee became the CEO and Executive Director of the English-language version of Gilgamesh Magazine.
Philosophy of the Naming of Gilgamesh Magazine
In order to explain this section, we must first introduce the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving epic, dating back to approximately 4000 years ago. Gilgamesh was the first traveller in history and king of Uruk, one of the ancient cities of Mesopotamia. This character, after whom our publication is named, is distinguished from other literary and historical legends because of the transformation he had to undergo during his lifetime. The epic is a story of human evolution, consciousness, and the eventual fate of the human soul. The story and Gilgamesh Magazine share many similarities – just as the content of our magazine includes themes on heritage (such as cultural, natural, and intangible heritage), so does the Epic of Gilgamesh. This epic includes motifs relating to homeland and civilisation (cultural heritage), introduces the character of Enkidu (a symbol of natural heritage), and remains ones of the oldest examples of storytelling (intangible heritage).
The Epic of Gilgamesh sends our hero on a quest for a plant that would make him immortal. This twelve-step journey represents his path to enlightenment.
In the first half of the story, Gilgamesh must face Enkidu, a primitive man with whom he wrestles in a contest of strength. Gilgamesh is victorious and Enkidu acknowledges his superiority. If we regard Gilgamesh as the symbol of civilisation and Enkidu as the symbol of nature, their battle represents the dominance of culture over the natural realm within the context of ancient heritage. Alternatively, the basis for contemporary sustainable development thinking considers the long run and argues that civilisation and nature are inextricably linked and must therefore coexist as equals.
In fact, Gilgamesh’s myth describes a dynamic interaction between civilisation and nature. Our magazine draws from these ideals and applies them within our publications to encourage thoughts and actions that ultimately lead to sustainable development.
Gilgamesh Magazine Basic Principles
The primary objective of this publication is to promote sustainable development. We view sustainable development as a process in which the people of a country can meet their needs without wasting the resources that belong to future generations. Development is considered sustainable when it is not destructive and allows for the preservation of resources such as water, soil, genetic resources, plants, and animals. The main principle of sustainable development is to maintain and protect basic natural resources such that future generations are able to produce from and consume these resources at least as much as the present generation. Respecting these principles can lead to a society’s sustainability in more ways than one, while disregarding these ideals could lead to destruction of the environment and subsequently, civilisation.
Sustainable development must respond to the five basic needs of society: reconciliation of conservation and development, provision of basic human biological needs, social justice, cultural integrity, and ecological unity. Sustainable development is a development strategy in which all natural, human, financial, and physical assets and resources are properly utilized for a society’s long-term prosperity, its reduction of poverty, and its establishment of social well-being.
Today, the tourism industry is third only to oil and automotive industries in providing countries with continued development at low cost. Furthermore, development of the tourism industry requires a basic knowledge of the economic, social, and cultural factors affecting a specific region. Achieving these goals therefore requires local governments to invest in the safety of tourists and tourist destinations, as well as working to minimize the negative consequences of environmental degradation. Gilgamesh Magazine offers practical solutions to demonstrate that today’s tourism industry can act as an important agent in the cultural, social, and economic progress of a country. In addition, we hope that our contributions can facilitate positive social interactions through promoting cultural exchange among diverse peoples.
Gilgamesh Magazine Goals
Gilgamesh Magazine began with the goal of introducing its readers to tourist destinations both in Iran and across the world. Our magazine also aimed to explore cultural structures, historical texts, diverse nations and ethnicities, different customs and religious rituals, and handicrafts and artwork.
Another important long-term objective of ours has been to offer innovative solutions for the tourism industry with regards to sustainable development. We also hope to promote cultural diversity and heritage within the context of environmental protection, and to encourage the public to work towards this vital goal. Producing effective and creative content in the cultural and nature-related aspects of tourism is among Gilgamesh Magazine’s primary aims.
Gilgamesh Magazine Mission
Through examining the goals and objectives of Gilgamesh Magazine, we find that our primary mission is to raise awareness and spread information about heritage and tourism. This comprehensive publication maintains a connection with the aesthetic preferences and patriotic sentiments of the Iranian people.
Gilgamesh also aims to awaken within our readers an adventurous spirit and sense of enthusiasm for travel and heritage. We hope to act as a medium for facilitating exchange between all sectors of society in order to preserve our environment, historical monuments, and both national and international heritages. The authors and contributing members of this quarterly publication are committed to raising awareness about culture, art, heritage, and tourism among Gilgamesh’s readers.
Gilgamesh Magazine Slogan
The slogan for our magazine is as follows:
“From the backwoods to the well-travelled roads”
The main idea of this statement draws from the fact that backwoods are more traditional and symbolize unexplored destinations, while well-travelled roads represent modernity and are often crowded. Gilgamesh works to uncover neglected aspects of heritage and tourism, providing illumination to otherwise inaccessible or complex issues. In doing so, we are keeping the spirit of adventure of the narrow paths of the past while improving accessibility to these physical and metaphorical destinations with the ease of an open highway.
Gilgamesh Magazine Persian-Language Content
The Persian-language version of Gilgamesh Magazine has been divided into seven sections whose titles all contain the word ‘rah’, or ‘path’, making it the most fundamental word used in the Persian-language version of our publication. Paths are important aspects of any journey, often just as important as the destination itself. A path, whether it be a highway, a sidewalk, or even a dirt road, is a route that connects two points to one another and thereby connects a traveller from origin to destination. Each path is therefore a means to achieving a goal. Embedded within each of the seven sections, or paths, of Gilgamesh Magazine is an intention to guide the reader toward a specific goal, or destination, which ultimately introduces him or her to a new world. We aim to transform our readers’ minds as they read, or traverse, each section such that their mentality after reading our magazine differs from their perspective prior to reading it.
The seven sections of Gilgamesh Magazine’s Persian-language version are as follows: Crossroads, Leader, Approach, Roadmap, Souvenirs, Companion, and Looking Ahead. In Persian, these words all contain the word ‘rah’. Within these sections, we address the diverse elements of culture, heritage, and the natural environment. In addition, each issue features a special topic that serves as the theme for that season’s publication.
The following section provides an introduction to each section of the Persian-language version of Gilgamesh Magazine:
Crossroads (Chahar-Rah) The intersection of multiple roads acts as a meeting point for travellers coming from various places and headed to different destinations. At these junctions, people from diverse backgrounds can interact with other travellers who they would not have otherwise encountered. The ‘Crossroads’ section of Gilgamesh reviews events and trends related to culture and tourism.
Pathfinder (Rah-Goo): In Persian literature, the leader of a path usually means a troubadour of sorts; someone who points travellers in the right direction through the use of music, literature, and play. In Gilgamesh, this pathfinder walks down a road and tells stories of both the past and present as he describes how this road once was and how it now is. This section is thereby dedicated to reviewing and analysing the traditions and narratives that have come to us from the past, and the role they may play in our lives today.
Approach (Rah-Yaft): Approach refers to the particular way of thinking one applies when considering a specific concept or issue. This section of Gilgamesh focuses on cultural heritage, which ranges from national to international, dynamic to fixed, tangible to intangible, or even the traditional arts and crafts or rituals and customs that have come from the heart of culture and history. The study of each form of cultural heritage requires its own approach.
Travelogue (Rah-Nameh): Since it contains the word ‘road’ within it, we view this term to be directly related to travel. This section is therefore dedicated to the subject of tourism and related topics.
Souvenir (Rah-Avard): Gifts and souvenirs are what a traveller brings back to his or her loved ones to remind them that he or she was thinking of them during the trip. Gilgamesh uses this section to explore a special topic or case in each issue, and in fact we would like to think of it as a souvenir from our own travels that we can offer to our audience.
Companion (Ham-Rah): A companion can be a friend, a partner, a co-worker, or someone with whom we travel. The ‘Companion’ section of Gilgamesh also examines traveling and tourism, but differs from the other sections of the magazine because for the articles here, we are usually accompanied by a cultural heritage or tourism expert. These companions of ours share their travel stories and review travel tips for our interested readers.
Looking Ahead (Ru-Be-Rah): The Persian translation of this term has several different meanings, but the main interpretation we use at Gilgamesh is for an individual who is standing on a road and facing the future with eager anticipation. This section of our publication examines tourism in a more comprehensive sense by ‘looking ahead’ to the future of tourism and its development.
Gilgamesh Magazine English-Language Content
The first international issue of Gilgamesh Magazine was released in the winter of 2016 with the aim of introducing different forms of art, culture, history, lifestyle, and tourist attractions within Iran and worldwide to an English-speaking audience.
In the English-language version of Gilgamesh Magazine, the sections are designated by the letters in the word ‘GILGAMESH’:
I: IranologyL: LifestyleG: GraballA: ArtM: MythologyE: EnvironmentS: StudyH: History
Gilgamesh Magazine Special Issue
In view of the goals set forth by our magazine, combined with a need to produce creative and informative content for the cultural and nature-related aspects of tourism, we published two special features issues entitled ‘Adolescence’ and ‘The Seven Cities of Love.’
The ‘Adolescence’ special feature issue of Gilgamesh aimed to introduce the children of Iran to their country’s many tourist attractions and reinforce the spirit of traveling with family. In our ‘Seven Cities of Love’ publication, we analysed the route between Tehran and Mashhad through the lens of Sufi mysticism, minimal impact tourism, and green transportation.
Gilgamesh Magazine Materials
Apart from the content of our publication, one of the most interesting features of Gilgamesh Magazine is the material we use for printing. This magazine is made of ‘stone powder’; no water is consumed and no trees are cut down for the production of this type of paper. We selected these materials because such an environmentally friendly choice aligned with the sustainability goals of the publishers at Gilgamesh.
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