Shiraz!

March 25

We landed in Shiraz at about 7:30 am,

and wound our way around security and found our guide Ali. He was so warm and welcoming! We loaded our luggage on the minibus and headed off to see some sights. The first stop was the Holy Shrine of Ahmad Ebn-e Mousa Al Kazem which commemorates some of the most important imams of Shia Muslims.

Then we went to the Nasir al Molk Mosque where the light through the stained glass was amazing.

I believe we then visited Naranjestan gardens. They are owned and tended by Shiraz University.

After visiting a fort called The Citadel

we stopped for a favorite Iranian treat called falooda. It is made with frozen rice noodles, rose water and lime. We had ours with ice cream. I liked the ice cream with the lime, but could do without the falooda (it’s a texture thing). Then we went and visited the tomb of Hafez, a Muslim Sufi mystic poet especially revered by the Iranian people.

Because it is Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and schools and business close for all or part of the 13 days it is celebrated there were crowds and crowds of people, mostly families everywhere we went. The last day is nature day and everyone goes and spends the day outdoors. This was the only day we had rain, but families were out in their tents and shelters anyway. This is an ancient springtime celebration with no real current religious ties as it dates back to before any of the current monotheistic religions began. It is Zoroastrian in origin and is still a holy day for them. According to Ali, there was an effort to reduce this celebration in favor of more time during a religious holiday (Eid al Fitr), but public outcry kept it in tact. Families use this holiday time to camp and visit their national historic sites.

We stopped at a carpet shop where they served us tea and we negotiated our purchases. It was beautiful to see and learn about the different styles, symbols, and sizes of the carpets. (Yes, I bought one.)

IMG_0212

This is my Persian rug. It’s about 1 meter by 2. The 3 diamonds represent tents surrounded by animals and plants for the community and each corner is guarded by soldiers.

Young people in particular, often encouraged by older family members would approach and ask where we were from. The obvious pleasure and warm welcome that infused their faces when we said we were Americans was certainly the antithesis of what I had expected. To a one, they engaged us in conversation in sometimes very broken English, wished us to feel welcome and wanted pictures taken with us. I have never felt more welcome anywhere else I have visited.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rteeter2014
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 19:27:27

    What wonderful adventures you are having. I would love to get to Iran. We had friends in Sweden who wanted us to come, but, at the time, it did not seem to be the thing to do! We are going to Italy for vacation the end of May.Hugs,Becky

    Reply

  2. Helen Webb
    Apr 09, 2016 @ 22:40:25

    Pam, you do an excellent job of explaining and sharing pictures. Good work!

    Reply

  3. Ellen Manning
    Apr 10, 2016 @ 16:21:41

    Thank you again for using your excellent teaching skills to educate us from half way around the world. Your presence over there must be really special to those you meet since there is so much anti-muslim rhetoric in this country right now. I salute and love you my friend!!!

    Reply

  4. Judy Taft
    Apr 10, 2016 @ 20:51:39

    Wow Pam! Your photos and explanations are fabulous! What a wonderful experience you are having! We have just returned from a very different part of the world (S. Am.) where we had a great experience also. We went to Chile, Easter Island, Argentina, and Patagonia. Great experience also! We had unusually good weather in Patagonia and got some great scenery photos. Will have to share them with you one day when we get a chance. I took an iPhoto course at the Apple Store last week and guess who was my instructor– Katie, your former pastor. She told me to tell you “hi”. Continue to enjoy all the unique times you are having!

    Reply

  5. Kathy
    Apr 13, 2016 @ 00:48:51

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. Feel like I’ve gotten a glimpse of part of the world I’ll never see. thanks and be well! Kathy H

    Reply

  6. adriannderson
    May 13, 2016 @ 10:58:51

    I love all of the people who wanted photos with you, especially the man who didn’t want you to be too close. But in all seriousness, the doorways to the mosques are so incredible! What a beautiful country.

    Reply

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