Farewell to the Land of Persia!

Yes, this is my last post on Iran, a travel series that I had written for the past 3 months, capturing the places that I had visited and experiences that I had went through during that 8-day trip. It seems quite a lot for an 8-day trip but rest assured, we had quite a lot of free time as well to experience Iran at a more leisurely pace. We left Esfahan on a Friday – it was a start to their weekend and the city was quiet. There were not many cars on the roads. Shops were closed and not

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More Discoveries in Esfahan: Frescoes and Sunset

Our time in Esfahan got better each day. Not that the previous trips to Tehran and Shiraz weren’t great, they were just different. Each city has a special theme: palaces and museums in Tehran; gardens, poetry, Islamic shrine and Persian ancient cities in Shiraz; and mosaics and frescoes in Esfahan. And the frescoes in Esfahan are so well preserved like they were recently painted in the 21st century. Just a stone throw away from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square is a pavilion called Chehel Sotoun, a palace situated amongst beautiful landscape of gardens and a long pool. The pavilion was built by Shah

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Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square: Ali Qapu Palace and The Grand Bazaar

Last week I shared with you a glimpse of Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Esfahan, mainly the southern and eastern part of the square – Imam Mosque and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque – both feature beautiful and jaw-dropping Persian-Islamic architecture and mosaics. Moving on to the western side of Naqsh-e-Jahan Square is the Ali Qapu Palace. The palace was used by the first Shah Abbas of Persia in the 17th century to greet and entertain noble visitors and foreign ambassadors. It has 7 floors and is accessible by a spiral staircase. We climbed the stairs all the way up to the 7th

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Arrived in Esfahan and Scenes from Naqsh-e-Jahan Square

The melancholic Persian songs played on the car radio lulled us to sleep. I don’t know what the songs were about as Mustafa, our driver from Shiraz, spoke very little English, but it must have been about love, lost love, heartache, or…perhaps a lost goat. Although the car had air-conditioning, we could see the weather outside was hot. It was spring in Iran but there were times when temperatures shot up to mid 30 degrees Celsius and got uncomfortably hot. We drove past dry and rugged landscape – though some areas were dotted with cypress trees – but the land

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In Pictures: Ancient City of Persepolis and Tombs of Necropolis (Naqsh-e-Rostam)

Persepolis is located 70km from Shiraz and was the ceremonial capital of the Archaemenid Empire circa 515 BC. Persepolis means city of Persians and its construction began during the rule of Darius the Great. Archaeological evidence shows that Cyrus the Great chose the site of Persepolis and according to ancient tablets found at Persepolis, Darius planned for an impressive complex of palaces for government administration and cultural centre of the Archaemenian kings and their empires. Darius lived long enough to see only a small part of his plans materialised but the rest of his grandiose plans were executed by his

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Colours and Poetry in Shiraz

The first leg of our trip in Tehran was just an initial peek into the ancient and rich heritage of this misunderstood country. As much as we wanted to see more of the capital city, it was time for us to move on. We left Tehran for Shiraz via a domestic flight with Qeshm Airlines, flight duration of 1 hour and 20 minutes. The flight was fine but I was knackered. I was tired from the massive traffic jam to the airport in Tehran; another 3 hours waiting at the airport; the warm weather (sometimes it was uncomfortable because I

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Palaces and Museums of Tehran: Part 1

We arrived in Tehran in the evening, feeling tired especially after an 11-hour flight from Malaysia (including transit time in Dubai). By the time we exited the airport, we came across heavy traffic leading into Tehran. It was Friday, the weekend was already in full swing and locals were out and about (weekends in Iran are Friday & Saturday). A journey which could have been an hour to our hotel turned out to be 2 hours. All we wanted to do was check-in to the hotel, unpack, shower and go to sleep. The next morning I woke up bright and

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