Esfahan, Esfahan, Esfahan
- This whole page is dedicated to Esfahan, one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world. The picture shows the Imam Square, on a par with Madrid's Plaza Major or the Times Square in New York: one of the few truly great cityscapes. It's towards evening, when the Iranians come out in force for a picnic (with all the trimmings) and a chat and some cool air. That was also one of the very few occasions where we actually saw kids playing freely with each other — they are normally rather hidden and under tight parental control. The dome at the very left is part of the Sheik Lotfollah Mosque, while the huge portal on the front is the entrance to the Imam Mosque.
- A wall in the Ali Qapu Palace, one of many covered with the most awe-inspiring paintings: such tenderness, such delicacy, such grace (makes one almost forget the crude paintings in the Golestan palace). Nowadays Ali Qapu (built in the 16th century) is the most amazing secular building in all of Esfahan… but it was merely a gateway to the Royal palaces that lay in the Gardens behind.
- One of the handicrafts Esfahan is famous for: intricately painted metal plates. Painting such a plate will take the artist roughly two months; once finished, it will cost about 250 dollars.
- This is the enormous central dome of the Imam Mosque: too rich to be photographed. This is something one has to behold in person.
- A set of tiles inside the Imam Mosque. We have seen many displays of animals — birds, monkeys, elephants — in Iranian mosques, the admonishing words in the Koran about idolatry notwithstanding. The Iranian adore beauty and they love complex, colourful shapes. Sadly, this is not reflected in today's dull and grey dress codes, though we have learned that what Iranians wear in private is a different matter.
- The entrance portal of the Imam Mosque in all its daylight splendour. Again, such a dazzling display of colours and shapes is almost impossible to ban on a photograph.
- Once again, the entrance portal of the Imam Mosque, this time by night.
- A mullah inside the Jameh mosque realises that time flies. The huge Jameh Mosque is far less brilliant and not as eye-catching as the Imam Mosque but it showcases eight centuries of mosque building. A veritable museum and a very impressive building, with many nooks and crannies to explore.
- Stonework in the Jameh Mosque. This is just one of many such panels in the compound… the wealth and breadth of art on display in this mosque belies its plain exterior.
- One more picture from the Ali Qapu Palace which we revisited the following day (as we did with all the other great monuments in Esfahan). This is part of the so-called music room, a flight of small chambers in the upper-most storey of the building. The walls are covered with finely worked and painted plaster; the apertures in the plaster are shaped like all sorts of musical or kitchen instruments: the overall effect is rather pleasing.
- Let's go to Iran 3…
$updated from: Iran 2.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:23 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$