9.14.2017

A month in Iran: reportage 7: The disapearing town of Tar

Image may contain: sky and outdoorSix in the small car on the country roads of Natanz, heavy transpiration under modest dressig and scarves. Not a tree, not a stream. The desert schorching heat. Masoud stops in the nothing and we get off with our pik-nik stuff. He stares in silence: "I can't believe." he finally says "Here, it was all green". The immense emptyness swallows his words. We have no reply, we see this place for the first time in our lives and it is a wide stretch of rocky desert. 
In silence we walk on the dusty path, and getting close we notice that it climbs among terracings and dry stone walls. "Here, it all was gardens, orchades, fields..." Masoud repeats in sad amazement "I haven't been here in ten years... maybe fifteen... Nothing is left. It it is all dust." His mother is quietly crying. 
Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and natureA big walnut tree stands out, bold and green. When we reach it I see that it's growing in a little stream, almost invisble but drawing a green line of bushes and smaller trees. Atop there is a building, a traditional house of pressed earth bricks. "My grandmother used to live there. Imagine! she had to walk all this way to Tar and to climb all the hill to go back, everyday... But at that time it was very beautiful here. We used to come at dawn to help the adults, we used to play here, to fill our pockets in secret with walnuts and other fruits... And coming back to Tar at the sunset the workers used to have their baskets full!"
Image may contain: mountain, sky, cloud, nature and outdoorOur pik-nik stuff look unreal in the desolation of this place. But up we go. We stop by the stream, in the shadow of some trees, we sit on the ruins of a wall and we share a watermelon, looking down to the valley.
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, tree, outdoor and natureWhat happened here? what happened in Tar, where ancient buildings are fading, wasted and not restored, in ruins or demolished? The ancient mosque has got a new neon sign, but it's empty. The ancient public bath is closed and the new one, bigger and modern, at the edge of the village, is abandoned. New houses have been built in a modern opulent style. 
Image may contain: outdoor and nature"Tar used to be the richest town in the area" Masoud explains "My gradfather, Najmeh grandfather..." he point to his wife and my best friend "a few families from Tar were very rich, they used to own all the land. They sent their sons and daughter to Tehran to complete their studies and eventually they moved to the Capital city. I was born there. Najmeh too. We used to come here in summer, after the school finished. 

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Ancient buildings in Tar
People from Tar were very rich and people from other villages used to come to work for them. In Teheran they started a new bussiness, for exemple Najmeh's father became a builder, mine opened several shops of cars components... They didn't care anymore about their fields and orchades, their hired workers became the effective owners, time and weather wasted their traditional houses and they were happy to build new ones, with all the conforts they had got used in Tehran."

He takes a long breath. "Nowadays the small villages that used to be poor are rich, there people remained, kept taking care of the land... and Tar is disapearing."

TO BE CONTINUED

Have also a look to Part 1Part 2,  Part 3Part 4 Part 5 and Part 6
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The door of an ancient house: different knocker for men and women, to let know who's coming.
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The interior of a modern house in Tar: all the conforts!

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