My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Friday, 2 December 2016

Iran: A Persian Odyssey - Shiraz contd.

we walk through Shiraz to the Citadel

the Citadel Shiraz
 After lunch on our first full day in Shiraz, we walk through the streets to the eighteenth century Citadel fortification Arg-e Karim Khan Zand and its bath house. The 15m towers at the four corners have pretty brick patterning and inside can be found the old bathhouse, pleasant central gardens, and a museum.

The huge tiled panel over the entrance shows the famous Persian warrior Rostam fighting the white devil Deev, from the long epic poem Shahnameh written by the Persian eleventh century poet Ferdowski.
our first picnic and gorgeous Iranian cakes

Picnicking is an Iranian institution and they have perfected it to an art form. Everywhere we travel we see families picnicking - by the side of the road, in gardens, at special picnic sites, at viewpoints, even in car parks. The blankets are spread out, shoes left at the edges, and family groups kneel and sit cross legged enjoying this most sociable of gatherings.
all we get to see of the church of
Simon the Zealot

After coming out of the citadel we are to experience the first of many picnics back at the coach. We soon discover that the tour buses, guides and drivers are all geared up for this always welcome refreshment. They invariably produced delicious local cakes and biscuits to supplement the coffee and tea served from large thermos flasks replenished daily at the hotels.

Suitably refreshed, we can only walk past and glimpse the church of Simon the Zealot. Simon was martyred in Iran, and the church is apparently open for all on Sundays, but not at other times it seems. There is also a Zoroastrian fire temple and an Armenian Christian Church in Shiraz, but again access is not straightforward.

steps lead up to the Tomb of Hafeiah
Our final visit of the day is to the Tomb of Hafeziah, the much loved fourteenth century Shirazi love poet. The tomb is beneath an octagonal kiosk surrounded by pleasant gardens, and is much visited by Iranian families and tourists alike. The Iranians love poetry and revere their own poets, often able to quote large passages from the best known works.
As we leave we are approached by a man with a canary - for a small sum, the canary will randomly pick a card from a collection - the chosen couplet from Hafez's anthology The Divan, is a charming alternative to our horoscope.

fortune telling budgie
Supper tonight is at Shatar Abbas One - they were making bread and pastries as we went in. As a result the bread was lovely and fresh. The veggie option was a plate of sliced fried peppers which was quite unimaginative - the others had the usual meat kebabs. Tea was a very long time coming after the meal.

Some of us walk back through the extensive Azadi Park to our hotel. Even late at night it is relaxed and friendly with quite young families strolling, and young men playing board games at tables. It has been a very pleasant first day and introduction to this incredible country. And each day seems to be better than the last. 

Tomorrow we will visit Persepolis.

1 comment:

  1. Finally finding time to read about your Persian journey. Enjoying it so far! Look forward to more. That is one place I've never visited (and won't be able to), so it's nice to see it through your eyes!