From Kerman, we continue up the road. In the village of Fahraj is one of the oldest mosques in Iran.
It has that plainness of most early-period religious buildings, before they turn into palaces.
Next stop is Meymand village, where people live in caves.
There is an underground mosque.
Reminds us of Matmata in Tunisia.
We have been traveling in Saeed’s car since Shiraz. Back on the road, we greet a truck full of friendly field workers.
Daily we are pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and welcoming attitude of Iranians. Good thing we have Saeed with us: everyone is curious about how we find Iran, but few people speak English.
Arriving at the Zeinodinn caravanserai, where we spend the night. Caravanserais were inns – located about 30 KMs apart – where travelers would spend the night.
It’s on the old Silk Road.
This is the corridor lined with rooms.
Next day, we arrive in the desert city of Yazd.
Like many desert places, it’s pretty conservative.
Zoroastrianism has a visible presence in Yazd. Zoroastrianism was the religion of all classical Persia before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century.
Inside is a fire said to have been burning since 470 AD. It was first lit in the time of the Sassanian Empire.
Close to town are two Towers of Silence, where Zoroastrians used to expose their dead.
From the top, you get a good view of Yazd.
We attend a session of zoorkhaneh, which is part sport, part exercise, part theatre, part religious ceremony.
Maria dons an obligatory chador when we visit the Shazdeh Fazel shrine.
We visit the water museum. Of course, water has always been a concern in the arid parts of Iran.
In the heat of the afternoon, the Dowlat Abad Gardens beckon.
The tower is a windcatcher. Many buildings in Yazd have them.
Next day, we stop in the town of Varzaneh to see the old bridge.
There’s also an ancient pigeon tower.
The interior is remarkable.
In days of yore, the dung was collected and used on the fields.
Sight or Insight of the Day
Across the street from our hotel in Yazd is a girl’s school.
It’s difficult to understand the motive for the startling difference between what men can wear (virtually anything) and what women and girls can wear (the more concealing, the better).
This is taken from an Iranian talk show on the TV in our room.
You can barely hear the poor woman’s mumbled responses.