9.26.2017

A month in Iran: reportage 10: Bring me to Isfahan

Image may contain: people standing, sky and outdoorIn the cold shadow I contemplate Masjed-e Shah blue dome touched by the early morning light. The big rectangular square is empty, the huge bazar is closed. I'm sleepy. A man passes by bike and it's just a silhouette on the golden background: Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque through the fountain water spurt, there, in the center of the world, in front of Ali Qapu grand palace. 
Image may contain: sky, outdoor and textThere is nobody inside Masjed-e Shah, I'm the first visitor and savour my privilege. I have been here in 2004 and I remember it, still I can't avoid to feel the amazement in front of such a splendour. It's one of the most beautiful place I have ever seen. 
Image may contain: one or more people and outdoorWhen I get out it's already hot, Naghsh-e Jahan square has been invaded by tourists and light. Ali Qapu palace seems a mirage, its elegant terrace open toward the wide space where dances and exhibitions were held for the amusement of the king and his court. Steep stairs lead to small rooms finely decorated. Here are guarded some of the most surprising painting of Iran, featuring romantic love scenes, female dancers, cups of wine in a vivid, realistic style. 
Image may contain: one or more people and people standingSheikh Lotfollah Mosque is by the other side of the square but it's too hot to cross it now and I prefer to plunge in the bazar darkness, crowded and fresh. I must admit that I don't like it very much: it's full of tourists and souvenirs, and sellers continuously ask your attention in English or even Italian. It looks like the center of Florence. Not a place I'm missing. But there is a further part of the bazar where locals sell and buy. Here I feel at ease.
No automatic alt text available."Bring me to Isfahan!" I tell myself "Bring me again to sip from the cup of beauty!" Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. This is one of the few places where I feel to belong. It's small, claustrophobic, just a room closed by a cupola, but what a room! and what a cupola! being inside, my back to the wall, looking up to the center of it, I recognise the peacock and its golden tail, made of the pure light of the sun filtering from a hole in the ceiling. This was a private mosque, a place of secret, secluded worshipping for the king family ladies. I hold my breath. I'm sorry I can't pray. I whisper Al Fatiah and can't decide to move.
No automatic alt text available.One day in Isfahan, so few! still this square is the heart of it. I just want to see again Allahverdi Khan Bridge or 'Si-o-se-pol': 'the bridge of thirty-three spans'. I'm disappointed: the river is completely dry! But we are in summer now while my last time it was March and in Tehran there was the snow... The bridge is beautiful anyway and I sit taking a rest because it's about time to rush to the bus terminal.
Image may contain: indoorOn our trip back to Tehran a little nice episode happened, well illustrating the great kindness and hospitality of the Persian people. The bus stopped in a service area at dinner time, my son and I bought two icecreams and two small boxes of pistachio nuts but when we went to pay we found out that our money wasn't enough. The cashier put aside one pistachio nut box and handed out the rest. It was fine, in Teheran we were going to have a regular dinner. Few later a man came to us with the second box: "You finished the money you changed, right?" he said with a large smile "Where are you from?". He didn't know us, he didn't even was on our bus. 
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TO BE CONTINUED

Image may contain: indoorHave also a look to Part 1Part 2,  Part 3Part 4 Part 5Part 6 , Part 7 and Part 8
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