Iran Diary: Day Eighteen-October 27, 2009

Isfahan

 We had arrived at our hotel late at night.  I did not see the hotel’s compound until morning so I was amazed to see the immense building complex and the beautiful garden that the building surrounded.  About 300 years ago the Sultan Husayn built the caravanserai that has been beautifully transformed into this hotel.  The whole complex is well maintained and the classical garden is magnificent.  I felt as though I had wandered into a world of Persian stories and miniature paintings.

After a sumptuous breakfast we visited the Jameh Mosque located in the old Jewish Quarter which now has a mixed population.  The mosque was started in the 12th century during the Seljuk Period and a lot has been added since.  The blue-tiled exterior is beautiful and the architecture of the pillars and arches that support the Seljuk domes is magnificent.

One of Isfahan’s most famous monuments is the Bridge of Thirty Three Arches.  It was built during the reign of Shah Abass I at a time when the Persian Empire was one of the great powers of the world.    When we were there the flow of the Zayanden River was being interrupted by an upstream dam.  We were told that by late Spring the river would be flowing again.  The arches supporting the bridge  are a favorite locale for young people to meet.  The existence of such places is frowned upon by the religious authorities.

Shah Abass I relocated many Christian Armenians to Isfahan in the early 17th Century. There are still some 15,000 Armenians and 13 Armenian churches in Isfahan.  The Vank Cathedral is the center of this community.  Each year on the 24th of April a memorial service is held in the Cathedral for the Armenians massacred by Turks in 1916-17.   Amir told us that sports may be gradually beginning to thaw the difficult relationship between modern Turkey and the Republic of Armenia.  He called it “soccer diplomacy”.

The Abbasi Hotel is a converted 17th century caravanserai 17世紀のキャラバンサライ(隊商宿)を改造したアバーシ ホテル

The hotel’s intricate staircase   ホテルの入り組んだ階段

Beautiful Romanesque-like arches and pillars of the Jameh Mosque ジャーメモスクのローマン風のアーチと柱

Under the Bridge of 33 Arches 33アーチ橋の下

Vank Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter アルメニア地区にあるヴァンク教会

An angel in the Cathedral 教会の中の天使

Even with tough sanctions they still manage to get some foreign products 厳しい経済制裁下にあっても外国製品が入って              いる

Sometimes taxi drivers will not stop for mullahs. This is a form of protest against the regime タクシーが宗教指導者に止まらない事もあるという。現政権に対する抗議の現れである

A happy buyer and even happier seller in a Persian carpet shop 幸せな買い手ともっと幸せな売り手、ペルシャ絨毯の店で

ZFC Fried chicken and pizza! ZFC フライドチキンとピザ!

“May I take your picture?” 「写真撮ってもいいですか?」

Isfahan’s famous dish Fesenjan. I chose chicken but lamb or beef are also used. They are cooked in pomegranate molasses and walnut sauce and served with saffron rice – excellent! イスファハン名物料理フェセンジャン。私はチキンを選んだけれど子羊や牛肉も使われる。これらの肉は柘榴のシロップと胡桃のソースで煮込まれて、サフランライスと供されるー素晴らしく美味!

 

 

About YASUKO

She lives and works in a small beach community in Southern California with her spouse John. As an artist she has wandered around in several media (kimono painting, oil painting, drawing, installation, etc.) but has settled down to photography for the last six years. She also wanders around different countries, regions, and cultures to see life from many different angles. She has started this blog with not-so-good English, rusty Japanese and a lot of guts.
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