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A gem in the desert
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TehranTimes , Tir 18th 1391‎   

TEHRANTIMES , Iran Highlights , Travelogue :  We continued walking around Persepolis taking picture of this great wonder. We met up with our guide at the entrance of Persepolis and headed to our next destination.


The Nashq-e Rostam is a place where the kings ( and their families ) are being buried. There are 4 catacombs being carved into the mountains. The entrance of these catacombs are at least 10m high. It is amazing how they actually transport the caskets of the royalties into the catacomb itself. Our guide mentioned that the entrance used to be higher , due to erosion from the mountains , the entrance is now closer to the ground that we are standing on.

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On the entrance of each catacomb , carvings are evident. There is a big one that caught my attention , which seems to depict someone surrendering to the king. This seemed to be carved to remind people the greatness of the kings being buried there. There are also carvings of battle scenes on the walls of these mountains. On one corner was a solitary cubic structure , which was believed to be an Achaemenid fire temple. But we were told that there were many argument about the purpose of this structure. Nowadays no one knows for sure what it was used for.

We departed Nashq-e Rostam for Pasargadae , the burial ground for Cyrus the Great. The drive towards Pasargadae was scenic as I see mountains and mountains rise and fall before our eyes. As we arrived at Pasargadae , what I saw was a single mausoleum structure standing in the middle of nowhere . Our guide explained that this used to be the burial grounds of Cyrus the Great. His wife & himself were believed to be buried , not inside the building , but within the rood structure of the mausoleum. Our guide went on to explain the grounds where this mausoleum stands , is where one of the great battles that was supposed to take place. As Cyrus the Great was supposed to fight his grandfather`s army here , his enemies actually deflected to his side as they did not agree to the cause of their battle. Thus the battle never took place. From the Mausoleum  , I can see a building , which was made known to be the palace of Cyrus.

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This modest-sized building looked more like a farm house then a palace. It seemed to suggest how modest Cyrus lived in those days.

No wonder he was well-liked by his people as a ruler. We were then headed to follow our plans. The drive did not take too long before we were heading towards the desert city of Yazd , where we would spend the night.

Along the way , we stopped by this town , where we were shown an ice house. As this area is mostly desert , people keep ice & snow during winter in the underground chamber of this building for use during summer. We were then driven to the next town to see the oldest tree in Iran. This Cypress Tree is about 4500 years old. At first sight , I have no idea how old this tree is until the guide told us so. 4500 years later , the tree is still standing tall. As we journey into Yazd , the might of Zagros Mountains was better appreciated when driving compared to flying. At ground zero , driving through these snowcapped mountains , It made me feel humans are really insignificant. One sneeze from these mammoth mountains , we will be buried underneath the stones and snows.

We arrived at Yazd some 2 hours later. The hotel that we checked into is indeed a gem in the deserts. It is located in the old part of Yazd. , where the alleys were constructed to resemble some sort of mazes. If not for our guide I am sure to get lost in here. Now back to our hotel , from the outside it really looked very ordinary and run down.  However the inside is a surprise , this is the nicest hotel we stayed throughout the whole of our trip in Iran. The rooms are very cosy and large and the staff are simply wonderful and friendly. After checking in and  leaving our luggage , we headed out for dinner. As my guide knew I wanted to try camel meat , he brought us through the mazed alleys to this restaurant that serves camel meat. The texture of camel meat tasted like lamb , except it does not have the lamb smell.

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We headed back to the hotel to rest for the night , on the way back , our guide brought us to this shop , where the shopkeeper was kind enough to show us old Yazd from the roof top. I had read on Lonely Planet that when in Yazd , We should get onto the roof of these buildings and see the old town from a different perspective. The view up here is indeed different , it felt like part of the set of " Prince of Persia " , certainly felt as if I can jump from roof top to roof top. As wind towers are characteristics of buildings in Yazd , from the roof I can see loads of wind towers on each of the buildings.

( Source : TravelPod.com )
( To be contd. )

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