Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Iran | Yazd

Wandered by Yazd, a city of about one million people located near the middle of Iran. It is known as one of the hottest cities in the country. As with many cities in the desert water is held in high regard. 
 Main square of Yazd (click on photos for enlargements)
 Main square of Yazd
 Main square of Yazd
Kids playing in the main square of Yazd. The city’s famous wind-catchers, which catch cool breezes and funnel them down into the buildings below, can be seen in the background. The wind-catchers were an early form of air-conditioning. 
 Skyline of Yazd with more wind-catchers
Wind-Catchers
Streets of Yazd
 Mosque in Yazd
 Detail of mosque in Yazd
  Detail of mosque in Yazd
 Hotel where I stayed in Yazd
 Courtyard of hotel where I stayed in Yazd
  Courtyard of hotel where I stayed in Yazd
Courtyard of hotel where I stayed in Yazd. The perfect place for sipping a saffron tisane as the air cools off at twilight. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Iran | Esfahan | Abbasi Hotel

Wandered down to Esfahan, south of Tehran. I was especially looking forward to visiting Esfahan since I had booked a room at the legendary Abassi Hotel, which if not the city’s best hotel is certainly the most historic and picturesque.
Location of Esfahan (click on photos for enlargements).
The Abbasi Hotel was originally a caravanserai built during the time the the Safavid Sultan Husayn (1668—1726). It was restored and remodeled in the 1950s into an upscale hotel. Film buffs may recognize the hotel as the set for the 1974 movie Ten Little Indians starring Oliver Reed and German bombshell Elke Sommer. I had read some on-line reviews that groused about the small size of some of the rooms at the hotel. This was certainly not the case with my first floor room, which opened directly onto the courtyard. A troop of dancers, had one been available, could have bivouacked in the room with space left over for a camel or two. 
This etching was made in 1840. 
The basic layout of the building itself has changed very little since 1840. The two-story arched alcove near the right edge of the etching now hosts a charming little snack shop. The dome and minaret of the mosque seen looming over the top of the building are unchanged. Oh how I would have loved to have been in that courtyard when it still hosted camels! Note that the camels shown are Two-Humped Bactrians, the most noble of the world’s four-legged creatures, and not one-humped dromedaries. I would have had second thoughts about staying at the caravanserai if they had let in dromedaries.
Lobby of hotel. I took this photo at five o’clock in the morning. During the day and evening the lobby was a madhouse of milling tourists from England, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, and elsewhere. As far as I could tell I was the only American. 
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
Courtyard of hotel
I spent my late afternoons in the courtyard enjoying glasses of refreshing hibiscus tisane with rock sugar. Clinically proven to lower your blood pressure!
Hotel lobby coffee shop where I got my morning caffeine fix. In the afternoons it was jammed with Chinese tour groups.