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Iran – Discovering the Traces of Old Persia in the Islamic Republic – Kashan. Episode 5

Monuments of Kashan: old villa

We wake up early in the morning. We want to arrive as quickly as possible to Kashan. So, we are the first wanderers at breakfast, we take our backpacks, we pay for our hotel and off we go towards the Teheran underground!

In the  old Lonely Planet guides from 10 years ago, you can read that it is not a too good idea to walk with your backpack through Iran because it reminds about the hippies that were heading overland in the 1970s towards India and Nepal ( including Lonely Planet founders :) ). Meanwhile, it seems it is not a problem anymore, but we did not see Iranians with too many backpacks – maybe only the younger generations.

Inside the underground, great fun. We were lucky because we were heading South, the trains towards North were packed since the first hours of the day. We get off at the metro station near the bus terminal. According to the guide, the bus terminal from Teheran is a huge building, worthy of serving a city of 18 million inhabitants. Iran has also a railway network, which, although it is quite extensive, it does not have enough trains, so the vast majority of the Iranians travel by bus.

As large as I suppose the bus terminal may be, as big and complex is also the underground station from the bus terminal. And obviously, we are not taking the needed exit. We look a bit disoriented to our left and on our right, when a guy appears who tells us “I suppose you are going to the bus terminal?”. He will lead us and we go by foot. On the road, we find out it is better to go with him because it is unsafe here and there’s a lot of weird people (it didn’t seem much more unsafe to me than the areas around many railway stations in Europe, on the contrary). Obviously, we tell him about Romania and he tells us that he traveled through Europe as well – one of the few happy ones from Iran. Finally, after about 10 minutes of rapid walking, we see the enormous bus terminal from far away.

We go down next to the leaving buses, the guy asks us where we are headed. Kashan ! He further asks some other guys in uniform and tells us that there are extremely frequent buses, the next one leaving in 15 minutes. We follow him to the upper floor of the bus terminal in order to buy tickets. We reach the ticket selling point where the guy cuts the queue and buys 4 tickets for us – they don’t cost much, 2.50 euros per person. The guy hands us out the tickets, he tells us that the bus is downstairs and ready to leave and walks away …Wait, wait we shout after him, to give him the money. “There’s no need, it’s a present” and tries walking away. 10 euros is an important amount of money for an Iranian! How many of you would pay for the train or the bus of a couple of foreign backpackers in your countries? Welcome to Iran!

The road to Kashan was smooth and without any problems. Iran has some impeccable motorways, so we complete the 250 km between Teheran and Kashan in less than 3 hours. We also passed through the town of Qom, the citadel of Khomeini, one of the most conservative cities in Iran and eventually we reached Kashan, a “small town” of only 300.000 inhabitants.

We take a cab from the bus terminal. After the craziness from Teheran, the quietness squeals in my ears and everybody here seems to move as in a replay. A most welcomed change. The taxi driver leaves us at the entrance on a narrow alley, in an old, traditional area. We chose well to stay at the Khan e-Ehsan hotel, a traditional caravanserai type hotel. And well we did, because we directly reached the world of the 1001 nights of the Scheherazade… the rooms that look a lot like some monk rooms from our country, but reach out in an interior yard with the according pool (the first time I thought it was a swimming pool, but no way, the tradition in Iran is to have a beautifying pool, not a swimming one), dominated by a bagir – that tall tower, typical for Iran and the Gulf, capable to attract even the smallest pale of wind in order to transform it in fresh air.

But why did we go to Kashan? Well because of the superb mini-palaces of the local merchants. Shah Abbas liked Kashan so much that he spent many years around here, choosing to settle here permanently, being buried in a mosque from the city. This is why the town attracted numerous merchants that built some sumptuous villas for themselves. After a golden period in the 19th century, unfortunately the 20th century was not that great and the city completely degraded and the villas transformed into ruins, actually in dust, being build from mud bricks. Fortunately, immediately after the year 2000, the local authorities began the restoration of these houses, 6 of them being reborn just like the Phoenix bird, transforming the city into an important tourist objective… although Yazd continues to be the typical city for a City on the Road of Silk, Kashan comes strongly from behind.

What have we visited in Kashan? As I have told you – at least 5 immense, spectacular houses, built with a typically Asian laboriousness, , with interior gardens, with bagirs, with interior pools, a true cascade of authentic Persian beauty. And like everywhere, we encountered countless groups of pupils, boys and girls, on a trip… Among those whom I have discussed with, I cannot forget a girl with violet eyes like I have never seen before… She, together with three other girls from the group, were Afghan, refugees in Iran. And then I have remembered that Iran is the country that shelters and integrates without any dollar in international aid the largest number of refugees in the whole wide world. The traditional Iranian hospitality, as well as the teachings of the Koran obliges the locals to share their little with the ones that come in need from other parts – especially from the war torn Afghanistan or Shiite Arabs from Iraq, refugees following the American Invasion.  Those arrived are treated just like the Iranians, jobs are looked up for them, their children go to school and they receive houses. And the number of refugees is not measured in thousands but in millions – in 1992, 4.5 millions refugees were welcomed to Iran from the world total of 17 millions!!!  And this thing was ignored by the international press which jumps like burned whenever 200 refugees appear on some sort of a ship on Italian shores.

I will not tell you too much about these houses, I will only post some photos … they are extremely beautiful and honestly, worth every minute spent here. The bazaar is not to be ignored either – it is very quiet and nobody, incredible, but nobody will try to sell anything to you! With the help of an old man from a café we climbed up the bazaar in order to see the town from above…bold hills and minarets.

In the evening, we returned to the hotel. The second day we’re leaving towards Esfahan – the jewel of Persia!

Sights of Kashan:

 Travelling the Teheran metro to the bus station

In the underground, towards the bus terminal

Teheran bus station

With the bus drivers

Teheran - Kashan bus

In the bus

Teheran bus station

As usually, drivers adorn their buses with porn pictures :)

Kashan hotels

The Khan e-Ehsan hotel. Do you like it?

Kashan traditional gates

Traditional gates

Kashan hotel

The interior garden of the hotel

Kashan: Khan e-Ehsan hotel

The hotel

Kashan: Khan e-Ehsan hotel

Our room

Kashan: Khan e-Ehsan hotel

And what we are seeing through our window :)

Kashan: visiting the mosque

At the mosque

Monuments of Kashan: Mosque

Kashan: Persian minaret

A typically Persian minaret

What to eat in Kashan: Iranian sweets

Around the city center …Spiderman and Mickey Mouse in Kashan

Fast food restaurant in Kashan

In Iran the cookies are an art, as well.

Kashan: Traditional house

Traditional house

Kashan: Traditional house

Another interior garden

Kashan: Hammam

At hammam

Kashan: traditional Iran Hammam

Kashan: traditional Persian Hammam

Kashan: old Hammam roof

On the rooftop of the hammam

Kashan: bazaar

Around the bazaar

Kashan panorama

The city as seen from the top of the bazaar

Kashan city

Kashan: traditional houses

Around traditional houses again

Kashan: posing for Iran school girls

With Iranian schoolgirls

Kashan traditional villa

Kashan: Traditional house

Any foreign should wear the hijab in Iran

Let it be clear to you!!!

Palace of Kashan

The girl with violet eyes

The girl with the violet eyes is the one on the left

Kashan: traditional house

Another traditional house

Kashan wonders

Arnold Schwarzenegger books in Iran

Not all America is evil

Kashan: Traditional house

Kashan murals with martyrs

The Ayatollah and the martyrs

 

 

 

Până acum există "3 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Ele says:

    Observe the veil is a law but porn pics on buses are OK? A country of contrasts! I love your posts about Iran, seems the devil is not as black as they paint it.

  2. LylaBRonhaar says:

    Hey I am so glad I found your webpage, I really found
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