Published: February 16th 2011January 21st 2011
jom’e Jan21F – bist o yek
To shorten the rather complicated and full day of visits in Shiraz, let’s just say I see all there could possibly be worth visiting, and also mentioned in LP Iran. No, I have to say -- I see everything to the point of near casual indifference -- every nook, crack and cranny of Shiraz, of which I can only imagine the usual tourist would hardly ever get a whiff, including myself had I not “lucked out (??)” in running into the old man I take as guide. (But is this really luck(ed) or "f_cked"? Both meaning to say by this old guide Mohammed and what now looks like a problem finding photos taken while in Shiraz!)
Together with Mohammed, I go from mosque to mosque, girls' or boys' Madraseh, an old traditional Persian house of a royal Shirazian administrator and, nearby, his daughter’s house, a museum -- Shiraz' merchant houses, called the Naranjestan Estate -- tiled mirrors were everywhere, until about 1:30pm. In short, what I see are old, worn torn and run down places, now allowed to deteriorate into a state of near disrepair, no doubt of rare beauty in their heyday.
Much of the background to these sites are hurriedly explained as Mohammed prattles on and on, however, I am not ‘au courant’ in the histories of Persian Safavid, Qajar or Sassasian periods and a great deal of this explanation goes over my head. I only take in a little of what is said.
I gain a pretty good insider’s view on the whole, however, and get the chance to drink tea and hot sweetened milk with many Shirazians attending mosque, things that would clearly not have been possible on my own. To make my point, at one mosque, I was in sight of a Shirazian mullah praying through loud speakers and I am listening and watching other Muslims pray; a few cry during the prayer ceremonies as the mullah wails away, at what I can only conclude must involve some pretty dire tidings, sorrow and pain.
Mid-afternoon approaches, and we break (50,000IRR for the guide). I return to the Hafez for a shower and eat something. While I need an internet café and go looking, I find nothing open; it is jom’e!
A driver is later found to take in a few more remaining sites of Shiraz, including Aramgah-e Sa’adi and Aramgah-e Hafez, tombs. Sa’adi might be a famous poet, but Hafez is a poet and an Iranian folk hero, adored and loved like any music superstar today.
I am finally taken to the Melli Bank ATM near the Argh-e Karim Khan built in the Zand period. I overpay a little in order to satisfy my driver and guide and at the end of the day am happy to unload these fellows, the guide who has become something of a thorn in my side.
I should point out that Mohammed is a crafty old guide; he holds the famous poets’ tombs to the end and shows you possibly countless other less important sites (if you allow it – I didn’t) and, in doing so, keeps you out longer in the hope of enticing/forcing you to pay more for the extended version of the tour. Watch out!
I am home after 6:00 pm and eat and rest up for tomorrow’s 5:00 am start to Persepolis and then Isfahan.