Shiraz has quite a number of beautiful gardens, tombs of poets past, and ornate buildings of long gone glory days. Quite a contrast from from the blandness of the new part of the city.
But my favourite part is the walk through the old city. More than just a maze of bazaars and old mosques are hidden gems tucked behind high walls accessible only by foot or bike along the narrow lanes.
Found a ‘museum’ that is guarded by army soldiers in a quiet and somewhat deserted old compound with ornate carvings, and some beautiful calligraphy locked away in the basement: no English sign, just bravely knock on the big wooden doors which bears no clue to what lies beyond and enter. And who says you can’t take a photo with an Iranian soldier? Anything is possible here.
Bumped into enthusiastic Iranians who warmly invited us into their home, even though we don’t speak each other’s language, nibbling on argil (sic) a date-like fruit under the tree itself, as the uncle cackle in delight surrounded by his family. Language is no barrier as long as people are open-minded enough!
The rest of the day was spent walking around, and like any other day in urban Iran so far, we were constantly stopped by strangers – men, women, old and young, whether English-speaking or Farsi-only – who came up to chat with us or help us with directions.
As night fell, we found the Nasir-al-Mulk mosque. Serene. An oasis from the chaos on the streets outside, set against these coloured glass windows. We sat in for the evening prayer.