The first coffee-library for Spanish-speakers in Iran is born

“Centinela”, the first coffee-library for Spanish speakers of the Islamic Republic of Iran, opened its doors today to the public to spread the Hispano-American culture and to become the meeting point for the small but growing community of Iranians in love with the Spanish language .

Located in a small restaurant in the center of Tehran, this “café con libros” was born out of the efforts of three Iranians and their desire to “contribute a grain of sand to the relations between Spanish speakers and Persians”, as well as having the ambition of being a central focus in the dissemination of Spanish among the citizens of their country and of cultural exchange with the Hispanic world.

“It is the first center of its kind in Iran, the only one for people interested in the Hispanic world, where they can practice their language, read, listen, watch movies or football and be a reference to gather and expand friendships, all in Spanish “, indicated to Efe Nima Nassehí, one of the people in charge of” Sentinel “.

According to Nassehí, the idea behind this café was to “centralize” the Iranian Spanish-speaking community in one place, among other things so that they can continue to speak in the language that they had so much trouble learning in universities but that they can not apply in your daily life

“Some 5,000 people learned Spanish in Iran and every year about 150 people come to study the language in higher education centers, but these” Spanish-acquaintances “leave school and drop out because they do not have the capacity to develop what they acquired,” he said. .

Precisely, one of the surprises with which the Spanish speakers meet upon arriving in Iran is the enormous interest that exists for Spain and Latin America in the country, as well as for the great level shown by the Iranian students of Spanish, women in their immense Most.

However, in bookstores there are hardly translations of books in Spanish, except for some great classics such as El Quijote or very popular authors such as Gabriel García Márquez, most of them also translated into Farsi through another intermediate language, usually English or French. .

Nazanin Nozarí, Spanish teacher and another of the promoters of “Centinela” defined the place as “a cozy place” so that those interested in the Spanish language “feel at home” and can enjoy their literature.

Like his partner, Nozarí pointed out that the biggest problem is the “lack of places to speak” in Spanish and that therefore “Centinela” – a name that joins the acronym of Information Center of Spain and Latin America – aims to fill that gap .

At the moment, coffee, which also aims to expand over time to offer Spanish and Latin American cuisine, has a small but varied library with volumes ranging from a biography of Joaquín Sabina to a translation into Farsi of Rafael Alberti’s poetry. , going through the complete works of Camilo José Cela.

In addition, its managers intend to offer art exhibitions, exhibitions and book presentations or translations, as well as business or commercial meetings between companies from Spanish-speaking countries and their local partners.

The initiative, completely private, accepts all kinds of funds for its collection, whether books, music or movies, and intends to organize cultural events every two weeks on a Spanish-speaking country in cooperation with the embassies present in Tehran.