Sunday, September 21, 2014

Going south, Isfahan & Shiraz (28.08.2014 - 01.09.2014)

Leaving Tehran we stopped at the Imam Khomeini shrine/mausoleum/mosque/center. What a waste of time. The inside doesn't live up to the lavish exterior. An industrial hall with some shabby carpets...

On our way south we discovered some abandoned fortress and village all built out of mud (bricks). All over the country you can find these (partly) uninhabited cities/towns which now only serve as shelter for goats and sheep. Also many caravansary's are still intact. We had the chance to spot them from the street and enter a couple of them on our way through former Persia.

When night fell we finally reached Isfahan and found a solution for our tire problem. More or less since Georgia we were looking around to buy two new tires. But in the former soviet countries they had only the Lada sizes and in Iran only the ones for Iran Kohdro or Saipa (built under Peugeot respectively Kia license). The mechanic spoke English and had two second hand tires for us which were only a bit too wide ;) He as well painstakingly balanced all our wheels. As the tires weren't new he insisted we should drive slower than 100km/h ^^

In Isfahan we visited the different bridges crossing the river Zayandeh Rud. Sadly the famous Si-o-se Pol and Khaju are spanning a river which has been dry the last three years, as locals told us. The many pedal boats lying on the dry river bed looked quite sad...
On the big Imam/Naqsh-e Jahan Square the old Persians used to play Polo, up to the last Shah. Which is by the way a Persian invention!

Before heading on we stopped at the Armenian church to snap some pictures of the frescoes, books and other items on display. There is still an Armenian minority living in Iran. We've seen a couple of churches, especially in Tehran.
Almost reaching our destination we visited Pasargade, the former residence of the Achaemenid kings. There wasn't much to see from this first Persian empire, a bit disappointing.

Wandering around Shiraz aimlessly the following day we bumped into three Swiss travelers and decided to let them board our mighty car the next day to visit Persepolis. First time there were five people in our little Corsa ;)

Persepolis lived up to its fame and was quite interesting. The many arches, pillars and especially the big stone reliefs depicting the different tribes and nations presenting gifts to the kings were impressive. 
Afterwards we stopped at the old burial grounds of the kings, Naqsh-e Rostam. Declining the hefty fee to enter we snapped some pics and headed home.

In the evening we met up with the Swiss and some locals. After a couple of teas and rounds of Backgammon at the local cafe we visited them at home. They even organized some moonshine out of pet bottles for us ;) Later into the night they drove us in their Saipa cars (with squealing tires) to the internet cafe they worked for a round of Counter-Strike ^^ The Swiss got totally pummeled by the Iranians, having team members which had never played before and Genti shooting me in the back didn't help ;)