Zoroastrians, desert and Persepolis

(March 2016)

Finally, we left Yazd, only a few more days in this beautiful country but still lots of interesting things to do in our way: the desert, the incredible Persepolis and we would end up in Shiraz (next post).

From Yazd to Shiraz we organized the trip with a driver, it was 2 full days and 442k if we had done it in a straight line. How could we be so close to Iranian desert and not spend a night in it? Impossible! In fact, there were so many interesting places along the way that we weren’t ready to miss them.

We left at sunrise to get to some small, abandoned villages similar to Yazd. Kharanaq was the first one, although it was a dry area it had some green, very green nooks; and a caravanserai too (a place where caravans used to stop and stay over while crossing the Silk Route) that was converted into a handicraft selling spot.

Half an hour drive from there, there is a Zoroastrian sanctuary: Chak Chak. Legend says that princess Hayat Banoo ran away to protect her honor. In her escape, she sighted her enemies getting closer while she was trying to get away. She climbed the mountain weeping, asking the mountains to take care of her, to save her from the enemy. The mountain then opened letting the princess inside it and closing after her leaving the evil outside not able to find her. Inside the mountain, water started weeping as tears of the orphans and oppressed. The amount of water would change as the passerby need it. Since then, the mountain helps those in need.

Meybod, another sun-dried bricks city with a few interesting buildings to visit: the citadel, it was built at least 1800 years ago and a circular building which doesn’t seem very exciting. It turns out that it used to have more than four thousand pigeons’ nest. There are no pigeons today, but the nesting holes remain.

And now Bafq, the desert, we were so excited… We rode a camel, a five-minute ride unfortunately, but then we had all the time in the world to walk around the dunes or whatever. We couldn’t, as soon as we got the dunes people recognized that we talked “weird” and soon made friends. Again Iranians willing to give tourist the best of times so common in this culture…

We love watching sunsets and sunrises anywhere, and the desert was still on our list. We stayed at Hossein Barzegari Campsite, a family run campsite at Bafq dessert. And we saw Jupiter and 4 of its moons thanks to Maryam’s explanations and her father’s telescopes, and dinner was made by her mother. An exquisite place.

The way to Persepolis was long and not highly recommended, to be honest. It makes more sense to travel from Shiraz and to get there sooner rather than getting  there at midday and tired of so many hours in the car. But before arriving at Persepolis we stopped in Pasargadae, which it disappointed us a lot. Not much to see and not in a very good state although it was one the Empire’s capital. We also visited Naqsh-e Rostam that seemed also discouraging. But it wasn’t, once we were closer the mountain doors, the detailed sculptures…

And the moment to regret traveling to Iran during No Ruz arrived: Persepolis. It was packed with people, we could hardly walk around, and there is not a single picture without a head, a colorful parasol or something like it. To visit Persepolis it is best to go early and if possible not during No Ruz. Persepolis symbolizes the success of the Persian Empire during Darius I the Great  in 520 BC. There is so much to see… mountain doors, palaces, columns, more doors, stairs designed so that the long dressed flaunted in the most splendorous way…

And there is only time to remember Shiraz, but that would be in our next post.

All the pictures and videos of Iran are in the Gallery and if you want to see other parts of the country you can check our Iran section

 

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