We felt relieved this morning when we learned that Bob had convinced Lance to go to the doctor to check out his leg. Many of us were concerned that there may have been a clot formed from being on the long plane ride 5 days ago. Sami and Forod took him to the hospital when the rest of us went to Masjed-e Emam (The Shah Mosque). Forod was the interpreter. Jumping ahead to mid day on this story, Lance joined us at lunch and we learned that they did an ultrasound and told him that he was fine. We were all relieved. An interesting part of this is that Road Scholars Assurance Program paid for his treatment and he just needed to pay them back. I believe the cost was about $50.
I took a morning panoramic view from our balcony at the hotel. We learned that the people of Isfahan are happy that the Zayandah River has water in it right now. I read that the Zayandeh used to have significant flow all year long, unlike many of Iran’s rivers which are seasonal, but today runs dry due to water extraction before reaching the city of Isfahan. In the early 2010s, the lower reaches of the river dried out completely after several years of seasonal dry-outs. Last night Farden told me that when the river is dry, the city feels dead. We are lucky to be here now.
I think that Nadereh decided to rearrange our schedule so we could arrived at the Shah Mosque in the before the crowds. But when we arrived, there were people everywhere and we had to wait our turn to enter the mosque. I may very well have my photos mixed up since we changed the order of what we visited and I clearly did not take careful notes on this day.. I am just going to attempt to list the places we saw and perhaps record some facts I read. Then I will just put the photos at the end of this post.
The Royal Mosque and the Square are both registered as a UNESCO World Heritage sites. The splendor of the mosque is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions.
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the four monuments that dominate the perimeter of the square and was one of the first to be built. The purpose of this mosque was for it to be private for the royal court (unlike the shah Mosque which was meant for the public).
The dome was spectacular.
I do remember that the Naqsh e Jahan Square was amazing. It was quite the attraction with horse-drawn carriages available for rides.
We walked around in the square.
What a beautiful entrance.
This is another view of the square. They used to play polo in the middle of this square.
These are some more photos I took today.
These are not just designs. They actually are calligraphy and Nadereh could read some of it
I think that the polo games were viewed from the balcony of this building.
We climbed a spiral staircase up to the 6th floor to the music hall where deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic.
We were able to take photos of Naqsh e Jahan Square from above it.
We enjoyed the decor at the restaurant where we had lunch.
We went to the Chehelsotum Museum. where we saw more than 300 instruments from around Iran. Since I didn’t take any photos while we were there I am using this one from an article in the Guardian on the web.
On the way into the museum we passed these photos of the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhan and Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Their photos are depicted on posters everywhere in Iran.
We stopped in a shop where a man was demonstrating how he hand-block printed designs onto material.
As we walked from place to place I engaged in my favorite activity, taking photographs of the local people and even having brief interactions with some of them.
These young adults were playing soccer
These people invited me to come sit with them but I had to follow the group.
We stopped to rest for a while and get something to drink.
Sheila was having a conversation with this man who spoke english.
I love to take photos of people.
We were taken to a carpet store where they gave a lecture about the different Iranian carpets. We had tea and were shown many different carpets. Sally was inspecting one.
Bob did not find this very exciting.
I thought about buying a very small silk carpet to hang on the wall until I found out it was over $500. Some of the larger carpets were amazing with a different pattern on each side. A couple of people did find carpets to buy. So how do you buy carpets with a credit card in Iran? Let me just say that there are ways around the system and the sanctions.
We returned to our room at the hotel and had time to relax. I took a few afternoon shots from our balcony.
I went down to the lobby a bit early to wait to go to dinner and I saw 4 of the women in our group coming back into the hotel, I learned that they had gone out for a walk across in the park and across a bridge while Jane and I were in our room. I didn’t understand how they managed to do that but I felt so jealous and really wished I had been included. I certainly would have gone with them.
We were driven close to the restaurant tonight but the street was too narrow for the bus to get there so we had to walk down the narrow street and passed a very old mosque.
We also passed another beautiful doorway.
We ate at Malek Solton Jarchibashi, a beautiful museum restaurant with live music.
It is kind of strange but I took a photo of the rectangular water bottles.
As we left the restaurant, we were given chocolates. II opened the chocolate and there was a face on it. When we got back to the hotel, I took a photo of the wrapper and the chocolate.
The face is Shah Abbas. He is honored. One thing he did was to move the capital of the Empire from Qazvin in the north to Isfahan in the center where it was better protected against the Ottomans. The chocolate was delicious.
It was another day packed with activities.