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It's Snowing in Isfahan

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Saturday 12-12-64

This morning was miserable. The day was bleak and I felt quite sad about leaving Farshid and his family, not because I was losing the comfort of their home, which I was, but because I felt they were all such good friends. We had breakfast in almost complete silence, and at about 8.30 set off in the car for the bus station. On the way, Farshid’s mum stopped the car to buy us some lunch and some sweets to have on the journey. We got to the bus station, and after many photographs and goodbyes and thank yous, boarded and set off for Isfahan. I hope I will meet them all again. They are really such nice people. Farshid’s mother did so much for us, and gave us so much, treating us as if we were her own sons, and she could not understand a word of English. I kissed her goodbye as I would a close relative, and meant it sincerely.

It was a real luxury bus, with music playing and all, so our comfort was to last until Isfahan at least. This bus trip was notable for one important occurrence - I saw snow actually falling for the very first time in my life. It was quite light at first, hardly visible, and I was most disappointed, although it was strange to see those wind blown specks powdering the desert white. By the time we reached Isfahan, however, it was much heavier, falling straight down, and this was more like it. I looked at the snow on the sleeve of my duffle-coat, and could see with my naked eye individual crystals of delicate patterns. Fantastic! We had difficulty finding accommodation but finally got into a tiny room in the usual type of cheap hotel. We found two Australians we had met at the Iraqi Embassy in Tehran staying in the hotel next door, and had an uneventful chat with them. I don’t like them at all. They seem like typical western tourists of our age who lost their way somewhere in Europe and somehow ended up in the Middle East.

Sunday 13-12-64

Sunday morning we awoke to a completely snow covered Isfahan and went off to do the sights. The great Naghsh-e-Jahan Square with its surrounding buildings is the main place of interest and it was superb. Unlike other monuments we have visited, it was different from previously seen images of it because the conditions of its setting were so unusual - it was snow covered.

Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, Isfahan

Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, Isfahan

The mosaics of the dome and arches of the Shah Mosque were beautiful in colour and design and the architecture was geometrically very fine.

Detail of the Shah Mosque, Isfahan

Detail of the Shah Mosque, Isfahan

The same fineness was there as we had seen at the Taj Mahal. In spite of the cold it was good to be there when it was snowing. The old palace of Shah Abbas with its huge verandah overlooking the square was also excellent. I took in the scene fully and was completely satisfied. We visited the unusual covered bazaar, old, but clean, and then went back to the main street. They were shovelling the snow off the roofs, and we narrowly avoided being dumped on a couple of times. The snow in the streets had turned to slush by now, and I was deciding that I did not like it so much after all. I think rain is cleaner and much more pleasant. Snow is oppressive when it is falling heavily, and it leaves a mess when it thaws. We visited another mosque, and went up one of the minarets, climbing a spiral staircase reminiscent of the one in Melbourne at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The view was superb: snow covered roofs, the Great Square on one side, the mosque courtyard below, the rocky mountains in the distance, also snow covered, and peering out of strange cloud formations. Another beautiful minaret was not 30 feet away, and the main dome of the mosque was quite close also.

Isfahan under snow

Isfahan under snow

I did not want to descend, but the custodian was becoming anxious below, so we put him out of his misery and came down. We also visited the old river bridges of Isfahan, which were a bit of an anticlimax after the other marvels, and by then we had seen the town. We decided to leave that night for Shiraz, thereby saving time and money.

Posted by Ozac 05:17 Archived in Iran Tagged snow mosques isfahan

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