Iran - A tale of tea, sand and kebab
Three weeks traveling around the country, visiting Tehran, Esfahan, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Persepolis, Bagh-e Shahzde, Mashhad, Rayen, Meymand, Ardashir-Kwarrah, Dasht-e Lut, Pasargadae, Meybod and more.
Somewhere in the middle of the bazaar we found a great tea house with live music and the local speciality: Kolompeh cookies. These sweets contains dates, walnuts and spices.
[Bazar-e Vakil in Kerman]
The proud chef with a sheep head.
After eating eyes and tongue, it's time for the brain dessert. Even though Pär looks a bit sceptical.
[Reine eating sheep brain in Tehran]
This is where zombies goes for a late night snack. The mind is a terrible thing to taste.
[Having sheep brain in Tehran]
Black on green
There are worse things to do in the afternoon than having a picnic in the grass while waiting for the sunset.
[Naqsh-e Jahan in Esfahan]
The 1800-year old palace was built by Ardashir Babakan, the founder of the Sasanian empire. But even among the deserted ruins, life finds a way. However it's not really a rose but a papaver (opium poppy).
[Ruins of Ardashir-Kwarrah]
Badger badger badger
The roofscape of ancient town Yazd is covered by badgirs. These are ingenious constructions acting as medieval air conditioning systems. And they really work!
Raiding the citadel
The town of Rayen is located at the foot of Mount Hezar, the 4th highest mountain in Iran.
[Pär and Reine surveying the citadel ramparts in Rayen]
[Pär trying to catch breakfast at nomad camp]
Open air kitchen
[Having breakfast in nomad camp]
Just one more hill. Just one.
[Pär climbing kaluts in Dasht-e Lut]
King of the hill
It's great fun climbing the kaluts (sand castles) in the Lut desert towards Afghanistan.
[Reine in Dasht-e Lut]
Lawrence of Persia
My poor shoes will never recover from this.
[Reine waiting for the sunset over kaluts in Dasht-e Lut]
Leave in silence
The kaluts remind me of the Monument Valley in North America.
[Sunset in Dasht-e Lut]
The path was blocked by an unexpected obstacle, so Pär tried some social engineering.
[Pär on a trek in Meymand]
Life between the rocks
[Trek somewhere in Meymand]
[Tina and Reine invited for tea in village somewhere in Meymand]
[Reine having tea in a cave in Meymand]
Below the minarets
We sat down in the mosque at sunset and watched as the hordes of people arrived for the evening prayer, ushered by the endless pre-recorded chants from the loud minaret speakers.
[Imam Mosque in Esfahan]
Looking for Baal
Naqsh-e Jahan is the second-largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, or so they say. The kebab animals are quick and hard to spot from a distance, so pay attention.
[Reine at Naqsh-e Jahan in Esfahan]
Bridge over river Zayandeh
There used to be lovely tea houses located on the many bridges across the Zayandeh river. For various reasons they have been forced to shut down, one by one. The only one remaining is located on the north side of this 298 meters long bridge.
[Si-o-Seh bridge in Esfahan]
Not really a final rest
Cyrus the Great was perhaps the greatest leader of ancient Persia, praised in the Bible for his humanitarian rule. The large tomb is located in his capital city of Pasargadae. Unfortunately it had already been plundered when Alexander the Great visited the site 200 years after Cyrus' death.
[The tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae]
Sins of the father
Since Xerxes sacked Athens in 480 BC after defeating 300 Spartans earlier at Thermopylae, it was probably inevitable that Alexander the Great had to burn Persepolis to the ground in retaliation 150 years later.
[Palace of Xerxes at Persepolis]
This is what happens when you mess with 300 Spartans. Notice the person for scale comparison.
[The tomb of Xerxes at Naqsh-e Rustam]
Lay a brick
The 1800 year old town of Meybod consists of mud-brick buildings. This man is creating bricks by mixing clay with straws.
[Worker in Meybod]
Welcome to Mos Eisley
The 1800 year old town of Meybod consists of mud-brick buildings with gardens featuring pomegranade trees.
House of strength
Attending a Zurkhaneh training/workout. This is the most fascinating nonsense I've seen in a long time.
[Zurkhaneh at Saheb A Zaman in Yazd]
This is the tomb of Emir Ali. The walls are covered with mirrors and the tomb itself is located in the center.
[Imamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze in Shiraz]
The lost boys
The really cool guys are hanging around beneath the bridges.
[Under the Khaju Bridge in Esfahan]
Raiders of the lost ark
[Pär and Hanna in the Bazar-e Vakil, Shiraz]
[Just outside the Bazar-e Vakil in Shiraz]
One color fits all
The color selection for chador clothing offers very little variety.
[Bazaar shopping in Shiraz]
The Chak Chak temple is the most important pilgrimage site of the Zoroastrians. The brass door is embossed with Zarathustra and the keymaster was a man who had lived here alone for ten years, with his entire family left in Tehran.
[The guardian of Chak Chak temple]
The sound of silence
Instead of a traditional burial, the Zoroastrians placed their dead on top of a Tower of Silence. The bodies were then picked clean by vultures and their bones later stored in the wall.
[A Tower of Silence south of Yazd]
Inside the fire temple
[Pär and Hanna admiring the view from Ateshkadeh-ye in Esfahan]
Smoke em if you got em
Just as any traditional teahouse, they have plenty of large qalyan (water pipes).
[Azari teahouse in Tehran]
Life is good
Even though it's alcohol free and tastes pineapple, you can still have a cold beer at sunset sitting on a rooftop.
[Reine and Tina at Amir Chaghmagh Square in Yazd]
One more for the road
This guy dropped tons of tea on our table until we had to ran away.
[Azari teahouse in Tehran]
Of love, wine and nightingales
The 12th century poet Hafez remains an idol 700 years after his death. The marble tombstone is visited by happy faces and the area more resembles a picnic spot than a burial site.
[Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz]
A patch of green
This garden was built in 1873, containing several fountains and the palace of Abdul Hamid Mirza, one of the last princes from the Qajar dynasty.
[Reine and Arghavan in Bagh-e Shahzde]
This looks like a good spot
The Iranians love to picnic. It's common to see people raising tents everywhere there is enough space.
[Picnic on the streets of Shiraz]
The salt lake is really salt. I tried.
[Reine at Daryache ye Namak]
The insane traffic of Tehran is more unpredictable than an earthquake and twice as dangerous.
[Driving north in Tehran]
Iran is not exactly well-known for the coffee, but we actually found a great place in Jolfa, the Armenian quarters in the south part of Esfahan. My espresso macchiato was excellent!
[The friendly barista at Cafe Ani in Esfahan]
Behind the wheel
[Lotfali Khan Street in Shiraz]
Follow the light
This town really needs better signs.
[The anonymous entrance of our hotel in Yazd]
The shrine of Imam Reza is so large that two freeways cross beneath it.
[Imam Reza Street in Mashhad]
Light at the end of the tunnel
[Bazar-e Vakil in Shiraz]