Within an hour of arriving on Iranian soil, we were whisked off by our guide to the city of Ardabil, home to one of the most beautiful mosques in the country, dating back hundreds of years.
Our guide was very knowledgeable on the different methods of creating the ceramics that make this mosque so famous: some are painted on the tile and then fired; the more expensive way is to smash up the tiles and then make up the patterns from the pieces.
We also went to the museum in what was the town’s old hammam (closed down under the old Shah due to a surge in skin diseases…). Some nice effigies of people doing what you did in hammams back then…
And some depictions of beauty in the tiles above the pools
In Tehran, we began to learn about Iran’s place in early civilisation. Have to confess I don’t know much about ancient history, but I enjoyed some of the Archaeology Museum
And rather liked the use of the Lotus flower as a symbol of peace – must look into that for our garden in Australia…
We also got to see one of the Shah’s palaces, with its enormous marble bed and throne.
Tehran’s old city gate
And on our way east heading for Turkmenistan, we stopped briefly in Sharood, where we visited a Sufi mosque (now that’s another thing I need to research more in the future too – just what are all these different religions/sects and how they relate to Islam)
But perhaps my favourite historical pic is this character from the Archaeology Museum, who was apparently a teacher of Greek in ancient Iran. For some reason reminded me of Albert Finney in The Browning Version, one of my favourite films, so I had to snap this guy before we left…