This morning we drove to Meybod,, an ancient city (dating back to 3rd century BC) notable for its remarkable handicrafts. Meybod goes back to pre-Islamic arena and, hence, is the home to many ancient points of interests. It is part of the Tentative List to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
Unfortunately, some of its historical points were demolished by local authorities who did not understand the archeological values. Yet, it hosts many tourists from every corner of the world every day.
We stopped at the Narin Citadel, an important historical castle dating to pre-Islamic times before the advent of Islam to Iran.
It is one of the oldest castles in Iran and dates back from the Sassanian period (224 to 624 AD) . This ancient castle has been constructed on the top of Galeen hill and overlooks the city. Although built some 2,000 years ago, it contains what seems to be a type of plumbing system (made out of a kind of mortar called sarooj) which was built into its massive walls. It is too bad that we weren’t able to explore the castle more. These are photos from the outside.
You could see the city in the background.
Of course, Sally and I took photos of each other.
When we got back to the bus we discovered that Forod, our driver, had found a man selling pistachio nuts flavored with saffron and many of us purchased a bag.
They were a treat to eat.
Off we drove to the Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, It was a roadside Inn which supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa, and southeastern Europe especially along the silk road. The mud-brick structure is named after Shah Abbas the Great who ordered construction of such roadside inns across the country. This is another photo from the web.
The building is made up of covered passageways, exterior verandas, vestibule, central yard, and 100 rooms. Today, there are many shops inside and in the courtyard. We wondered through the complex and several people in our group made purchases.
We exchanged traditional greetings with an Iranian woman and took photographs.
The next place we visited was fascinating. It is called Yakhchal which means “Ice pit.” It is actually an ancient type of evaporative cooler. Above ground, the structure had a domed shape, but had a subterranean storage space. It was often used to store ice, but sometimes was used to store food as well. By 400 BC, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of using yakhchāls to create ice in the winter and store it in the summer in the desert. In most yakhchāls, the ice is created by itself during the cold seasons of the year; the water is channeled from the ganat (Iranian aqueduct) to the yakhchāl and it freezes upon resting inside the structure. The yakhchāl was built using a unique water resistant mortar called sarooj, composed of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash in specific proportions, that is resistant to heat transfer and is thought to be completely water impenetrable. This material acts as an effective insulation all year round. The sarooj walls are at least two meters thick at the base.
This is the outside of Yakhchal in Meybod.
This is where the ice was stored. You can see a staircase going down into it..
Again today our driver, Forod, found a treat for us. He was waiting at the bus with watermelon.
We all enjoyed at least one piece – especially Sami.
On the way to the Pigeon House we passed a man who was weaving.
When Nadereh said we were going to the Pigeon Tower, we didn’t know what it was. In the past, pigeon towers were built all over Iran for the purpose of collecting the birds’ droppings. The farmers of the past knew how pigeon droppings are a very rich and effective fertilizer for growing plants and crops. What a great idea.
Several of us climbed to the top of the towers.
As soon as we entered it, I remembered the pigeon houses that the farmers near Cappadocia in Turkey built into the walls. Due to the modern-day global culture of industrial farming and agriculture, these are actually no longer being used in Yazd or perhaps anywhere in Iran. I spoke to Sami about this and he said that the ones in Cappadocia are still being used.
We sat around a bit in the pigeon tower.
We visited was the Pirnia Traditional House. It is a traditional house which we were told is perfect example of this region’s desert houses in terms of architecture and art. It was constructed in the Safavid Period but I am not sure when. The period is listed from 1502 to 1736.
Lastly we visited the Jameh Mosque of Nain. It is one of the oldest mosques in Iran. It dates back to the 9th century with interiors dating back to the 11th century and it is still in use today. Jameh Mosque does not have the tiled dome that is common to many mosques due to its age and style.
There are a series of tunnels which historically delivered water to this mosque.
This is one of the water pits.
There was a man weaving heavy coats
and Nadereh tried on this coat which is made out of camel hair.
Someplace near the mosque there was a soldier. We took photos of Bob and Kay with him.
Then Sami took one of me. The soldier called me, “Grandmother.”
As we left the mosque area I spoke with this beautiful woman and took her photo.
We drove to Isfahan. I took a few photos through the bus window as we drove into Isfahan.
I sure wished I was out there walking through this park.
I think this is the day that we also visited the Hasht Behesht located in the center of the Garden of Nightingales. Hasht means 8 and the name translates to Eight Paradises. I could not find my photo so I am taking one from the web. It is from a different season.
This is a photo of the ceiling inside the palace (also from the web).
We were suppose to have leisure time to walk over the bridges in Isfahan but that did not happen because it was too late. That was disappointing.
This was the night that I had arranged to meet Fardin, a Servas member who lives in Isfahan. Nadereh had not contacted him yet and right after we checked into the hotel, I reminded her that we had to contact him right away because it as already getting late. I stood there with her as she tried to call his phone number.
Then we went to dinner. At dinner we found out that Lance’s leg was swelled. That was very concerning because he told us that it started after he got off the airplane on the 12th. We voiced our concern with him.
This is the view from our room at night.
After dinner Nadereh called me in my room and told me that Fardin had returned her call and would arrive at about 9:30. I was excited about meeting with him. It turned out that Nadereh had to stay with us the entire time. I don’t want to write down our conversation but Nadereh’s questions certainly affected our time. Fardin recognized how tired Nadereh looked so we didn’t meet for very long. I was disappointed not to be able to talk to him alone and for a longer time. She did take a photo for us.
I treasure my time with people.