This morning at breakfast I noticed a woman who was wearing her headscarf as a turban instead of around her neck. She taught me how to wear my new read scarf that way. It seemed like it would be much cooler without having it wrapped around my neck so I put my new red scarf that way.
We drove to the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque this morning. The The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque, is a traditional mosque in Shiraz. It was built under Qajar rule of Iran. Construction began in 1876 by the order of Mirzā Hasan Ali (Nasir ol Molk), a Qajar ruler and was completed in 1888. It is famous for its extensive use of stained glass and is still in use under protection by the Endowment Foundation of Nasir ol Molk. The designers were Mohammad Hasan-e-Memār, an Iranian architect, and Mohammad Rezā Kāshi-Sāz-e-Širāzi.
Nadi took a group photo but it didn’t come out so great. Oh well, it is a memory.
Near the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque there was an building where people used to be able to come for water. A bucket was lowered into a well and a cow would be used to pull the bucket up from the well.
Two girls walking around on the outside of Mosque wanted to take photos with me. I loved the brief interactions with these girls.
Jane took photos of me with my scarf in turban style.
Then we went to the Eram Gardens which means heaven in Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an. This garden is one of the most famous and beautiful Persian gardens in all of Iran.
The garden belonged to the leaders of Qashigai tribe ion the 13th century before being confiscated by the central government. They are a World Heritage Site and are protected by Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization. A fact which makes these gardens significantly remarkable is the knowledge of technology, water management, engineering, architecture, botany and agriculture that was applied on them. Persian gardens can be a symbol of Paradise on the earth and you can realize how their notion permeated in Iranian life and art, especially affected literature, poetry, music, calligraphy and carpet design.
The Persian garden has been a principal reference for the development of garden design in western Asia, Arab countries and even Europe. The geometry and symmetry of the architecture have influenced design in other gardens as well.
It was built between 1879 and 1886 by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. The Qavam family were merchants originally from Qazviin. But they soon became active in the government during the Zand dynasty, followed by the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasty as well.
It was so peaceful wandering through the gardens. I just love the space around us and the quiet time in the gardens.
There were two people (perhaps a mother and daughter) taking photos of each other. I offered to take a photo of both of them together in front of a tree with pink blossoms. I just noticed that she was not wearing a head scarf. Interesting. How did I miss that when I took the photo?
Somebody also took a photo of me near the tree….
… and near the pond.
It was also fun to photograph twin girls who were posing for their mom.
We had a group photo taken at the gardens.
The garden also boasts a graceful mansion built in the early 18th century. Qavam House (also widely called “Narenjestan e Ghavam”) is a traditional and historical house.
I could have spent hours and hours in that garden.
As we were walking back to the bus, we passed a man selling sour plums. I watched him put salt into a small bag of them.
I purchased a bag to share with the people on the bus. They really were sour but tasty.
We at lunch at Saray-e-Moshir. The salads and soup were wonderful. We were given a choice of main courses and several of us at Lion Fish from the Caspian sea. There was also a dessert buffet with a variety of choices.
The restaurant is across from the Vakil Bazar which is the main bazar of Shiraz, located in the historical center of the city. It is thought that the market originally was established by the Buwayhids in the 11th century AD, and was completed mainly by the Atabaks of Fars, and was renamed after Karim Khan Zand only in the 18th century. Like other Middle Eastern bazaars, there are a few mosques and Imamzadehs. Imamzadeh means “offspring” or descendent of an imam) constructed beside or behind the bazaar.
This is the entrance to the Bazar.
This is a mosque near the bazar.
Nadereh walked with us through the Bazar past many artisans selling local textiles and handcrafts and into beautiful courtyards. We stopped at a spice shop where she told us that turmeric is known to prevent Alztimers.
Then we were allowed to explore the area on our own. Several of us went with Nadereh shop where I purchased a scarf and others also made purchases of scarfs and tunic like tops..
Here are some more photos from the bazar.
I loved watching this man at the bazar.
Then we visited the Tomb of Hafez who is Iran’s greatest lyric poet, and whose poems and tales are still known to every Iranian. It is said that there is both a Quran and a book of Hafez’s poems in every home. Nadereh read 2 of his poems both in Farsi and in English to us as we stood at the tomb.
This is the dome over the tomb….
… and the underside of the dome.
Many people stood around the tomb and touched it.
I liked this tree near the tomb.
This is the calligraphy on the tomb.
Our last stop was at the Quran Gate at the entrance of Shiraz. It was originally built in the 10th century. During restoration in the mid-18th century, a small room was added on top of the gate to house handwritten Qurans by Sultan Ibrahim bin Shahrukh Gurekani. The two Qurāns are know as Hifdah-Man. It was believed that the Quran would bless every person who passed through the gate.
During the Qahar dynasty, the gate was damaged by multiple earthquakes; it was later restored by Mohammad Zaki Khan Nouri. In 1937 the two Qur’āns were removed from the gate and were taken to the Pars Museum in Shiraz, where they remain today. In 1949 the arch of the gate was restored by Hosein Igar, a merchant also known as E’temad Al-Tejar.
Today the gates are part of a city park where Shirazi’s relax and picnic during their leisure hours.
We walked under the gate and were going to walk up to an area where we would have a wonderful view of Shiraz but it was closed because the rains last night made it unsafe. They were worried that people would slip off the trail.
There was a sculpture near the gate.
The gate was very close to our hotel so I asked permission for us to walk back to the hotel. Sally, Lance, Jane, and I walked back but, of course, Nadereh walked with us We were not allowed wot walk on our own. It was only 1 block and we arrived before the bus. I just shook my head at the supervision requirements.
Dinner tonight was at the Haft Khan Restaurant. The décor of the restaurant is filled with parts from a Mercedi Benz factory. We watched the men make Sangak Bread. Samgak which means little stone is the name of the Iranian tnational bread and is baked on a bed of small river stone in an oven.
At our table there was an American Flag. Each table had a flag representing the people who were dining at that table.
We were served a variety of traditional Iranian dishes and drinks – family style that were absolutely delicious. I had to photograph some of them.
There are a few people in our group who chose not to go to dinner. I know we are eating too much food. Three meals a day is a lot. I can’t imagine staying at the hotel instead of having this cultural experience.
This was quite a day. I hope I have captured the essence of it.