Tag: Isfahan

Arty Farty in Isfahan

It was my last morning in Isfahan. My wonderful, chatty hotel owner, Sam, was surprised I didn’t see this wonderful palace, called Chetel Sofun.  So, as I had booked a half a day tour of the city, starting at midday, I raced out after breakfast, only to find that it didn’t open until nine o’ clock.

You wouldn’t believe it but next door was the contemporary art museum, where this kind and friendly man let me go in early, before they were officially open! There was a sculpture show on from Tony Cragg, an English man who happens to live in Germany. It was a magnificent building, rather small, but so intimate, it was just absolute magic!

These little gems keep coming up on a daily basis. Have I told you that I have fallen in love with this country? It is just amazing. After this magic show, I went to the palace, just before the tour buses came!  The palace  Kakh-e Chetel Sotun was  built as pleasure pavilion and reception hall. The name means the palace of the forty pillars! There are only twenty pillars, but normally, when there is water in the long pool, there are forty pillars reflected.  

It is richly decorated. And some amazing paintings! I was in awe, like I have been on a daily basis, over and over again!! I walked around the gardens, there was water at the back, which adds so much more to the beauty of the place. Most places are being cleaned up for NoRooz the up coming new year!

Before I knew it time was up! I had to rush back to the hotel, change and get ready for my last adventure in Isfahan! My half day tour, which was over eight hours long! And turned into the most amazing afternoon EVER!

Amazing Armenian quarters


The Armenians had fled the genocide in 1915, where over 1,5 million people died. The Armenians, who are amazing crafts people, settled in Isfahan, but due to the fact that they were Christians were given a sections of land across the river, where they received the freedom to practise their religion. Two major churches were built, the cathedral of St Joseph and the church of Holy Bethlehem. Near the cathedral, is also a genocide museum and a memorial.

The Church itself is overwhelmingly impressive. The whole ceiling and walls are covered in frescoes. I found them rather reminiscent of the churches I saw in Ethiopia. Moments like this I wish I had the energy to carry my good camera, with the excellent Tele lens. Shame that as I get older, each kilogram counts! I bought postcards instead. I met two lovely young women, who were Muslim and were told off, because they were eating ice cream! They both spoke excellent English and after the “compulsory” selfies I went on my way.

The genocide museum is impressive, and very depressing too. Over one and a half people were starved to death or just murdered. The Armenian people were one of the first Christian countries, if not the first. It is high on my list to visit too. The museum had an interesting collection of old hand written bibles, beautiful decorated with paintings.

After my church visit I walked to Jolfa square, where a group of architecture students were drawing. I looked at their work and could chat very lit little, as my twenty words of Farsi are not enough, and very little English was spoken, or the young people were too shy to speak. Not to worry. I asked for directions to visit the second church.

The church of the Holy Bethlehem. Not as big as the first church, still very impressive. I had promised Seymiak at the hotel I would visit the music museum, where the good news was that my entry was free, and the bad news was that the life performance had just finished. I chatted with the people in the coffee, and one of the girls called me an “uber” taxi! Indeed! One third of the price of a normal taxi, this young man drove me home for less than an Australian dollar!

Incredible Isfahan

What a city! What an incredible city. What an enormously interesting place! Such history. Hard to sum it all up in one page. I stayed at Hotel Iran, an amazing gathering place. Run by three brothers, a place of kindness and friendliness. Siyamak, Sam for short, is a story teller, who lived for over twenty years in Canada. The hotel is within walking distance of the main square.

Imam Khomeini square where most of the important buildings are situated. Less than fifteen minutes walking, one gets to the biggest square I have ever seen. At the top, instead of a cathedral , there is the big mosque, Jaame Abbasi mosque, with the most amazing acoustics ever. I was very fortunate that my new friend Hamid, sang parts of the Q’ran for me. It gave me goosebumps.

There is a big palace, with frescoes, and the whole square is surrounded by the Bazar. Shopping seems to be a major past time, until I found out it was about shopping for NoRuz, the Iranian New Year! One of the first things one notices in Iran is all the white plasters on women’s, and some men’ s noses! Plastic surgery is very big here. Nose jobs being number one! Had I known that I would have booked in to remove the bags under my eyes, than travel for six months and come back totally rejuvenated. Hm! This still can be done! People watching is one of my major hobbies and there is plenty opportunities in the square. Just sitting on a bench and watching the world go by.

There are so many buildings of interest here. I saw only a small part of it. Mainly because my knee is giving me a lot of grief and I need to pace myself, not easy to do when everything is fascinating and stunningly beautiful. The night life is interesting too. I only managed to have the energy to go out twice in the evening, and watch families shop. It is a little bit like Christmas, but people buy food and new clothing rather than presents and toys, it is all very exciting, it is springtime here in Isfahan, and during the day it can be rather warm. The trees are budding and the flowers are starting to bloom. What a great time of the year to celebrate a new beginning! There is a high energy in the air and the children and adults are all full of energy and expectations.

I spend most of my days walking, from one mosque to the next. Resting where ever possible and tasting the amazing ice creams! I had spaghetti ice cream twice now. It is a required taste. It has of course nothing to do with spaghetti. In Farsi it is called Falode, and it is really a speciality of Shiraz.

One of the highlights was the Armenian quarters. Isfahan has several really old bridges, which look fabulous at night, and one of the bridges leads to the Armenian quarters. The first thing I saw was a craft market, which I love. I wanted to buy a small, hand made little bag, and the girl gave it to me! This is how it goes all the time! Be careful what you say, people give it to you immediately! Just to make sure she wouldn’t miss out, I bought one also. The friendliness of the people is overwhelming, have I already written that?


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