Blogs from South, Iran, Middle East

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Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz January 4th 2019

Just like the irony of there being no beef madras in Madras, there is no shiraz to be found in Shiraz. A place that once produced some of the finest wine in the world, Iran's 300 pre-revolution wineries have now been reduced to zero. We are in the Islamic Republic after all and as such, there is not a drop of alcohol to be (legally) found in the country, outside of the small Iranian Christian communities that live here. Not that this should put anyone off visiting Shiraz, of course - my next destination has many a sight worth seeing. Oh, does it just. Now when I think about every place I have been in on New Year's Day over the years, the list is a microcosm of all my travels; London, Dubai, Berlin (twice), url=../../Africa/Egypt/Lower ... read more
Persepolis
Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh, Shiraz
Pink Mosque, Shiraz

Middle East » Iran » South » Kish Island November 13th 2018

In this blogpost we'll just share some personal reflections, our next blogpost will tell more about where we went, what we saw and did. "Iran .... we feel sad leaving you and your beautiful people behind, we hope all our so called 'leaders' will not screw up too much ..." It is with mixed feelings and thoughts that we have left Iran, after travelling through the country for 60 days. It has been quite an experience, a very real travelling experience I would say. Iran has left an enormous impression on us with all its nature, culture, history, food, beautiful buildings and of course people. We have found that we still learn new things, cultures and languages. We enjoy meeting new people and talking about the commonalities and differences in our lives. We love seeing new ... read more
Iranians are cool
Iranians are cool
Iranians are cool

Middle East » Iran » South » Kish Island November 13th 2018

We are writing this blog post from Amman, the capital of Jordan, thinking back to the last part of our journey through Iran, which remains a weird country if you think about the way the government and religious leaders don't respect internationally accepted human rights and laws. But these so called leaders are absolutely not representing the real country and its people as we discovered. We have fully embraced the people of Iran as they have embraced us with their friendliness, politeness and extreme hospitality. Iran truly is a fantastic travelling country. From Masshad we went to Qa'en and then to Birjand where we arranged a car and driver willing to bring us to Deh Salm a small oasis village in the middle of the desert. The journey itself was already worth it and we stopped ... read more
Desert castle
Desert castle
Desert castle

Middle East » Iran » South November 19th 2017

Sat 4 November Esfahan to Shiraz After a fairly straight forward, if long, drive we arrived in Shiraz in late afternoon. Another historic city with plenty to see - and we only touched the surface. Just enough afternoon daylight for us to walk to the formal gardens near the hotel; these were nice if quite simple and going into the autumn colours. We also visited the Tomb of Hafez as darkness fell. A nice spot and very popular with locals and tourists. We had dinner near the hotel - Susan managed to order a dish of liver, heart and kidney (she loved it), I had a koobiyeh (simple lamb kebab). Sunday was spent at Persepolis (see separate entry). In the evening we had a walk into town and ended up at the small friendly Café Naqashi ... read more
Masjed-e Nasir al-Molk
"the pink mosque"
Masjed-e Nasir al-Molk

Middle East » Iran » South » Persepolis November 19th 2017

I was oddly anxious about visiting Persepolis. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of whether it would be a disappointment - had Alexander made such a thorough demolition job in 330BC that there would be nothing worth seeing. In retrospect I needn't have worried, there is plenty to see and it is still an impressive place. Vahid walked us around the main elements of the site - I think we were lucky that it wasn't blazing sunshine at this exposed place. Whilst the buildings are fragmentary there are lots of marvellous reliefs to look at. We then had free time to explore further - Susan went for tea, I went to see the rock cut tombs in the hillside above the site. Going up the hill gave the opportunity to look down over the ... read more
Persepolis - Approaching the platform
Persepolis
The Gate of All Nations

Middle East » Iran » South March 6th 2017

PERSEPOLIS MARCH 6, 2017 This morning we started off a little earlier to go to Persepolis. It took about 1 Hour and 20 minutes to get to the site. This site was selected by Darius the Great around 518 B.C. Persepolis was never intended to serve as the capital of the empire but was rather a site in the heartland of their empire that they used for special celebrations. Xerxes and Artaxerxes continued building on the site and expanding it. Resting on a terrace platform,Persepolis was the acropolis of Parsa, the “city of Persians”. It extends over an area of 125,000 sq meters, and crowns a rocky promontory which projects from Mount Mithra. The platform is flanked on both sides by valleys where the houses of nobility were built. Further out from this were the mud ... read more
THE "GATE OF ALL NATIONS"
COMPOSITE ANIMALS ON THE PILLARS OF THE GATE
"ARMY STREET"

Middle East » Iran » South March 5th 2017

SHIRAZ MARCH 5, 2017 We got into Shiraz last night. This is a beautiful hotel. Our room is very nice except the bathroom is the smallest I have ever seen. I always thought the old Marriotts had the smallest bathrooms, but this one is the size of a postage stamp. This morning we first went to the Eram Botannical Garden a World Heritage Site.The garden was started about 900 years ago and is a beautiful example of the Persian garden with the central stream that runs through the garden and then radiates off. The old building at the end of the garden was built during the Qajar dynasty. On the way in we met a large groups of girls on a school trip. They were all 13 and 14 years old. They were very cute and ... read more
STUDENTS GREETING US AT THE GARDENS
THE QAJAR ERA BUILDING IN THE GARDEN
THE TYPICAL LONG POOL IN THE CENTER OF THE GARDEN

Middle East » Iran » South » Persepolis March 5th 2017

Drink wine and look at the moon and think of all the civilizations the moon has seen passing by. - Omar Khayyam Our second day in Iran began a bit earlier, and we were picked up by our guide and his driver to make the journey outside the city to several ancient historical sights – particular highlights for Clement. We began at the Necropolis, the dynastic burial place of four Achaemenid kings, Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I (from left to right). There are bas-relief renderings of their palace facades carved above the tombs, and the openings lead to funerary chambers, where bones were stored after vultures had picked them clean. All the tombs had been ransacked by the Greeks – a common practice at the time for invading powers – but the ... read more
Necropolis
Necropolis
Necropolis

Middle East » Iran » South March 4th 2017

YAZD TO SHIRAZ, MARCH 4, 2017 This morning we left Yazd after spending one night in the delightful Garden hotel. We really enjoyed our little room. After breakfast we set off. Our first stop was to view the ganats. There is not much to see above ground just little hillocks in a row coming from the mountain. However, Hadi explained how the ganats worked. They first dug a hole down until they reached the subterranean water. The then connected that by a long tunnel to the village or its destination. All of Yazd at one time receive its water that way. Now about 50% of the town gets its water through the ganat system. We next stopped to see a 4500 year old cypress tree. It was about 3 stories high and looked in very good ... read more
OPENING INTO THE GANAT CHAMBER
SNOW COVERED MOUNTAINS
DENNIS AND HADI BY 4500 YEAR-OLD CYPRESS

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz March 4th 2017

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you. - Hafez Within moments of entering the Islamic Republic of Iran, the secret police were on our trail. A man stopped our guide, whom we had only just met, before we had gone more than ten paces from passport control, and asked him in Farsi for his credentials and for details about our trip. It was a routine inquiry; American, Canadian and British tourists must be accompanied by a guide at all times while in the country, and even taking oneself to one’s hotel from the airport unaccompanied is illegal. I was so pleased to be waived into the country after weeks of nail-biting about potential visa retaliation against US citizens, given Trump’s executive order banning Iranian visitors to the US, that ... read more
Karim Khan Citadel
Karim Khan Citadel
Karim Khan Citadel




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