Blogs from Iran, Middle East - page 5

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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

Middle East » Iran » South March 3rd 2017

YAZD, MARCH 3, 2017 Today we are in Yazd. This is an ancient city whose origin is uncertain. It is at the confluence of two great deserts. It is at the foot of the the Shir mountains. For centuries water has been brought down to this town by a series of “ganats”. These are series of channels dug to capture the water from the mountain and bring it down to large underground reservoirs. It is the center of Zoroasterism in Iran. This religion is extremely old and has about 10,000 followers today all over the world. It was the first religion to embrace monotheism. It is fairly simplistic and somewhat mystical. One of the unusual elements of their beliefs is that at death, we should not defile the earth with our rotting flesh. So they put ... read more
SMALL VILLAGE AT BASE OF TOWER OF SILENCE
OTHER TOWER OF SILENCE
ONE OF THE ZOROASTTRIAN HOUSES

Middle East » Iran » South March 2nd 2017

TEHRAN TO YAZD, MARCH 2, 2017 Today we are on our way out of Tehran to drive to Yazd. We are first going to stop at the National Archeological Museum. It is here that you really appreciate the history of Iran. Mr. Hadi guided us through the various civilizations that have inhabited Iran and their contributions to the culture. The artifacts on display were fascinating covering a period of about 5000 years. As the civilizations progressed the artifacts increased in complexity and new techniques were discovered. It was really fascinating. One of the most interesting displays was “salt man.” This is the head, complete with hair and beard, and the leg still in a boot, of a 20-30 year old man who was killed in a salt mine accident and was buried in the salt mine. ... read more
CYLINDER WITH HAMURABI'S CODE
PRESERVED HEAD OF SALT MAN
PRESERVED LEG OF "SALT MAN"

Middle East » Iran » North March 1st 2017

TEHRAN, MARCH 1, 2017 Today we are going to see the palaces of Reza Shah the first Pahlavi Shah. He was tall and trim and an army man. He had very simple tastes and led a very rigorous life. This is the Sa’ad Abad complex There is the royal way leading up to the palace complex lined with a double row of Plane trees. We saw two of the twenty-seven palaces there. By far the most beautiful was the “Green Palace” so called because of the green marble used in the palace. What made this palace unique was the mirrored reception hall which was beautiful. We met four Iranian girls there who were celebrating the birthday of one of the girls. They had balloons and were carrying a birthday cake with them. They invited me to ... read more
CAST BRONZE BOOTS
SHAH'S STUDY
MARY WITH FOUR IRANIAN GIRLS GOING TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY

Middle East » Iran » North February 28th 2017

TEHRAN, IRAN February 28, 2017 Well, we woke up at 2am and couldn’t get back to sleep. We’ll get this all sorted out in a day or two. We met our guide Hadi today and went to see the Niavaran Palace. This is a huge complex that covers 500 acres and has multiple parks and buildings The palace was started under the rule of the Qajars but completed under the Pahlavis. We toured two of the buildings which had been restored to their former glory and were filled with objects from the Pahlavi’s time. We then stopped for a cup of tea and then got back on our minivan and rode back toward the center of town for lunch. We stopped at a pizza place and had a good pizza and then went next door to ... read more
MOUNTAINS AT SUNRISE
ENTRANCE TO NIAVARNA PALACE
WALKING INTO PALACE COMPLEX

Middle East » Iran » North » Tehran November 22nd 2016

Our flight to Tehran was delayed by nearly 2 hours which meant we didn’t arrive at the hotel until nearly 10pm. It was cold and raining and as we drove it turned to light snow. An hour after we arrived everywhere was blanketed. The last day in Tehran was taken up by Marie doing some work, Emma went shopping at the bazaar. Most people would bring home some handicrafts as a souvenir, or maybe a rug. Oh no not us we have 6 Iranian kebab skewers (which are not small) for the bargain price of about NZ$3. Ironically since work was paying we stayed in what should have been by far the best hotel but was by far the worst; rude service, appalling food and rubbish internet. Completely un-Iranian. You wonder when you’re here in Iran ... read more
IMG_1760

Middle East » Iran » South » Shiraz November 20th 2016

We had Sadj drop us in an area of Shiraz where the guidebook showed there were a bunch of hotels to choose from. Being our last destination before returning to Tehran we wanted a reasonably decent room so we’d determined to take our time in assessing our options. Marie got left with the bags while Emma did the rounds. As one of the leading tourist destinations in Iran, costs were relatively high and budget places weren’t even clean. There wasn’t much in the mid-range so Emma negotiated with the one with the nicest room relative to cost. What should have been a US$80 room was offered for US$57 but internet was separate and costs were quite high. We managed to get it for US$53 with internet included. After settling in we headed out to explore. This ... read more
Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh
Shop
Dinner stop




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