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Esfahan’s Water Issue

Allahverdi Khan Bridge, also known Se-o-Se Pol, Esfahan, during the day, with the dried Zayandeh River, Esfahan, Iran

Allahverdi Khan Bridge, also known Se-o-Se Pol, Esfahan, during the day, with the dried Zayandeh River, Esfahan, Iran

The truly sad story about Esfahan is the dried up Zayandeh River. Its riverbed does not even show a small puddle, making beautiful old bridges like Se-O-Se Pool Bridge rest in a dire-looking flat terrain of gravel. Why is that? The precious liquid is diverted upriver, around the area of Yazd, watering pistachio farms and used for making tiles (the desert sand providing unlimited material to do so) in the many factories around Yazd. Of course the lack of rain has added to the problem. Continue Reading →

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Can I Take A Picture With You?

In Kashan, Iran

In Kashan, Iran

Iranians love taking photos of themselves, their family, famous sights and above all of foreigners. This reminded of our travel through southwestern China where Gilles became the photographic object of desire of young Chinese women. In India Heidi was frequently asked to pose with large families. What a blessing to have such freedom in an Islamic country where it can be truly touchy to take pictures, especially of women. Continue Reading →

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Christian Julfa

The Place To Go Out In Esfahan

Holy Savior Cathedral, or Vank Cathedral or The Church of the Saintly Sisters, in the Armenian District Jolfa of Esfahan, Esfahan, Iran

Holy Savior Cathedral, or Vank Cathedral or The Church of the Saintly Sisters, in the Armenian District Jolfa of Esfahan, Esfahan, Iran

The Armenian Quarter, Julfa, is where we ended up staying in Esfahan, by sheer incident. All the hotels closer to the center were booked, only the Julfa Hotel had rooms. How lucky we were! This neighborhood has an almost Mediterranean flair: small alleys all lined with trees, cafés and chic restaurants. Throngs of young people stroll the sidewalks and the girls are super stylish, dress elegantly and are so very pretty. Trendy clothes shops that would never make you guess of where you are. Obviously Iranians dress – especially women – very differently in private. Continue Reading →

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Esfahan – Love At First Sight

The Shah Mosque or Imam mosque (after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran) or Jameh Abbasi Mosque - Maydan-e Imam, or Maydan-e Shah or Maydan-e Naqsh-e Jahan, or Imam Square in Esfahan -, Esfahan, Iran

The Shah Mosque or Imam mosque (after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran) or Jameh Abbasi Mosque – Maydan-e Imam, or Maydan-e Shah or Maydan-e Naqsh-e Jahan, or Imam Square in Esfahan -, Esfahan, Iran

This was love at first sight! Islamic architecture of its finest and a refined urban flair. What left an equally everlasting imprint in our memory was the friendliness and openness we were received with in this town. Hardly anybody passed without giving us a smile, the braver ones whispered a shy “Hello”, “How are you?” or “Welcome to Esfahan”, while passing by. Quite a few stopped to ask how we liked Iran and their city. We also heard brave remarks like: we are not like our government. Continue Reading →

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Tombs Territory

Pasargadae & Naqsh-e-Rostam

Tomb of Cyrus The Great, Pasargadae, Persepolis & Pasargadae, Iran

Tomb of Cyrus The Great, Pasargadae, Persepolis & Pasargadae, Iran

Pasargadae is where it all started – the large Achaemenid Empire with Cyrus (580 – 529 BC) as its first king. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes – the Medes and the Persians. And it is his tomb we came to see. We had the place pretty much to ourselves: not many tourists find their way here, although it is not that far from Persepolis. Continue Reading →

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Persepolis – Looking At Persia’s Splendor

Persepolis - The Apadana, Persepolis & Pasargadae, Iran

Persepolis – The Apadana, Persepolis & Pasargadae, Iran

2.500 years ago this place most likely held the greatest wealth on earth. The treasury of the Achaemenidean kings Darius and Xerxes measured the size two soccer fields. Giant palaces, adorned with remarkable masonry work retell of the glory and power.

Then came Alexander the Great and burned the place to the ground. He had the foresight to order 10.000 mules and 100 camels to be brought to Persepolis to carry away the bounty. Continue Reading →

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Shiraz – The City Of Gardens

Qavam House (also widely called "Narenjestan e Ghavam"), Bagh-e Eram or Eram Garden Or Heaven Garden, Shiraz, Iran

Qavam House (also widely called “Narenjestan e Ghavam”), Bagh-e Eram or Eram Garden Or Heaven Garden, Shiraz, Iran

If you think of the tasty wine of that same name, forget it. Until the Islamic Revolution in the early 1970s, this fine beverage was eagerly consumed in Iran. Nowadays only the grapes are for sale. This does not mean the very wine of the name ceased to exist. Local farmers still produce small quantities for themselves, rumors say.

Nevertheless Shiraz has other sights to pride itself, lush gardens and the tombs of famous Shirazi. Flying in from Teheran we saw nothing but barren mountains without any vegetation, with patches of green in the flat terrain. Continue Reading →

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A Long Trip To Shiraz…

Sunset over Paris... view from an Airbus A320Holding on to a bottle of Jim Beam when boarding a plane would draw attention in any airport of this world. Doing so on the flight from Istanbul to Teheran gave us a sense of bad omen. The Iranian guy dropped in the seat behind us and nobody seemed to be bothered. Continue Reading →

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