Page 4 of Redheadpeter Travel Blog Posts


Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran October 13th 2014

Geo: 35.6962, 51.4229We broke our journey north from Esfehan to Tehran at Kashan famous for Traditional merchants houses, roses and the garden nearby at Fin. Designed for Shah Abbas I these are regarded as the epitome of Persian Garden design. Fortunately they have their own spring delivering water from the mountains so the sounds of splashing and gurgling were everywhere. Few flowers, a few roses, but lovely trees and a couple of lovely pavilions from which to enjoy it all. Also famous because a 19th Century reforming prime minister, Amir Kahn, was assassinated here by those not keen on his reforms - like public schooling.Next door to the traditional house we visited was a small mosque holding a special event. Those people in the neighbourhood who claim to be descended from the Prophet (you can tell ... read more
Fin Garden 2
Fin Garden 3
Fin Garden 4

Middle East » Iran October 10th 2014

Geo: 32.6525, 51.6746Or, as my Farsi speaking ex-colleague Maryam has already pointed out, the proper anglicisation of the Farsi (rather than a translation) is Esfehan nesfe jahan. Sounds betterIt owes its splendour to one Shah Abbas I, in 1587, who arranged for the construction of the great central square Naqsh-e Jahan which is home to two glorious mosques (Masjed-e Shah and Masjid-e Sheik Lotfollah - the latter a private family mosque) and the palace Kakh-e Ali Qapu. Also the starting point for the 8 kilometres of Bazar-e Bozorg.But that isn't all, there are more palaces, beautiful gardens, the 800 year old Masjid-e Jameh (mosque) which having been continuously developed and enlarged is a living history of Islamic architecture. There are also beautiful bridges, the earliest dating back to the 12th century, though sadly not a drop ... read more
The 33 arch bridge
View through the inside of that bridge
Masjed-e Shah

Middle East » Iran » West » Esfahan October 9th 2014

Geo: 32.68, 51.68This is a collection of photos of people I have gathered in Iran. Explanations are as follows, relating to photo captions.Family from Persian Gulf - I was struck by the bright clothes and my guide (Soheil) found out they were from the far south of Iran near the Persian Gulf. Like everyone I asked they were happy to have me take their picture. Some people asked me to take their picture when the thought hadn't crossed my mind.Me taking pictures of myself - self-explanatory except it was in the mirrored terrace of a fine palace in Shiraz.The Hamam - you've seen this one before. Ancient Hamam, the owner and Soheil.Smokers in the tea house - we stopped off in the tea house for tea (obviously) and these guys were hard at work puffing away ... read more
Me taking pics of myself
The Hamam
Smokers in the tea house

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz October 8th 2014

Geo: 29.602, 52.5313Shiraz is a large and sprawling city and the things of interest to the traveller are somewhat scattered. But it figures on the UNESCO World Heritage List thanks to its gardens. But Iran is desperately short of water, too little has fallen and too much is being used so the water features in most gardens have been turned off and they are dry and dusty.Iranians also have a saying that all homes must have two things - a copy of the Quran and a copy of the poetry of Hafez, their most famous poet. Though others would support the claim of the poet Sa'di who wrote of his love of roses and gardens. Both were from Shiraz, both have their burial places here, both are in gardens.Yes there are mosques and shrines (one to ... read more
Prayer time, train stops, off to prayer room
Desert caravanserai seen from train
The tomb of Hafez

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz October 7th 2014

Geo: 29.602, 52.5313This is a bit of a cheat because I didn't see these places in this order - but it makes sense to group them together this way.In the 7th century BC the king of one of the Persian Tribes, Achaemenes, created a unified state in Southern Iran, thereby giving his name to what became the First Persian Empire. By the time his great-grandson ascended the throne in 559BC it was already a potent force, Cyrus the Great, as he became known, rapidly built up a huge military force and killed his grandfather, the king Astyages of the Median empire, at Pasargadae north of Shiraz. Within 11 years Cyrus had conquered much of modern Turkey, modern Pakistan, and the Babylonians. He built his palace at Pasargadae. He was finally defeated, though, by Tomyris - queen ... read more
Curious bull/man/fish creature
The tomb of Cyrus the Great
Persepolis

Middle East » Iran October 5th 2014

Geo: 34.7946, 60.5005My crossing into Iran was easier than expected except it's a way complicated border. My driver took me to the first Turkmenistan checkpoint, where there was a queue - so he spoke to the guards and I jumped the queue (grumbly rumblings from the natives - quite right too - and if I had stood in the queue it might have prevented later problems). All they do at that checkpoint is write down, in a ledger - the IT revolution hasn't reached Turkmenistan yet - your passport number and your name. You then wait around for a minibus that takes you the 30kms through the mountains to the frontier proper Easy enough getting past Turkmenistan immigration (except for all the ladies who go back and forth trading stuff who are expert queue jumpers). Then ... read more
so flashy its kitsch
a quiet courtyard, but the carpets are all ou
a busy courtyard, and well lit

Asia » Turkmenistan October 4th 2014

Geo: 37.6229, 62.0837Known in its heyday as Marv-i-shah-jahan (Merv- Queen of the World) it stood alongside Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo as one of the great cities of the Islamic world. Though it's history goes back much further - the most ancient walled enclosure dates back to 5th or 6th century BC, in Alexander the Great's time it was known as Margiana It hosted Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. One complex of buildings house the mausoleums of two askhab (companions of the Prophet). The Seljuk Turks made it their capital, it may even have been the inspiration for the tales of Thousand and One Nights.It was attacked many times and after each attack a new city was constructed slightly to the west - so the entire site now occupies over 1500 hectares though substantial buildings, as opposed ... read more
Mausoleum - a companion of the Prophet
An Ice House
Walls - 25 metres high after 2500 years

Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat October 3rd 2014

Geo: 37.9502, 58.3802Originally developed by the Russians in the 19th century Ashqabat ('City of Love' in Arabic) is certainly the oddest city yet. It was completely demolished by an earthquake (9 on the Richter scale) on 6 October 1948 which also killed over a third of the population. A certain amount of rebuilding was done in the Soviet era but since independence in 1991 and the acquisition of huge wealth through gas (mostly) and oil and the influence of mad presidents the place has been completely transformed. Huge highways and boulevards lined with glistening white buildings - apartments, government ministries, some private companies - lots of Turkish construction companies. But no shops - they have all been put into centralized bazaars and shopping centres. Loads of monumental parks and buildings - the Constitution Monument, Independence Square, ... read more
The Wedding Hall - I kid you not
The indoor Ferris Wheel
Empty streets -white tower blocks

Asia » Turkmenistan October 2nd 2014

Geo: 42.3277, 59.1544This is cheating a bit - the desert was some way south of Konye-Urgench which we visited first, but I'm sure you will allow the geographical slip.Konye-Urgench came soon after a trouble-free crossing of the Uzbek-Turkmenistan border. Trouble free because I was there early, immediately in front of a busful of Americans/Canadians being shepherded by their guide but who would surely have kept me waiting a while.My guide was waiting as promised just outside the Turkmenistan border area and so we were immediately on our way.There isn't much to see of Konye-Urgench, but it is anther town that can lay claim to having been the centre of the Islamic world. This was in the 12th century, under Persian rule, but it went into decline when the capital was moved to SAmarkand in 1220. Ghengis ... read more
some minaret
beautiful tiling
a collection of monuments

Asia » Uzbekistan » Khiva September 29th 2014

Geo: 41.3806, 60.3595Khiva is an ancient Silk Road town - it operated a slave market for 3 centuries on which its wealth was based. They point out the places in the East Gate where slaves for sale were displayed but otherwise there isn't much evidence of its trading past. The caravanserai and bazaar are 'closed for restoration'.So what is there - and why Disneyland. It is a walled town - actually there were two sets of walls. The area inside the inner walls known as Ichon-Qala and the bit inside the outer walls Dishon-Qala. With the exception of one infrequently visited palace Dishon-Qala doesn't figure in this tale, that's Uzbekistan, remote from its capital. That means broken roads and pavements, holes in the pavement big enough to fall down, litter and rubbish everywhere.Inside Ichon-Qala there is ... read more
ruined desert fortress 2
ruined desert fortress 3
leaving bricks to dry in the sun




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