Esfahan, Iran, October 18, 2015

Meet the group:  C and M from Switzerland and Barb and Bill from Calgary-


Heather from Australia and Richard from Ireland with Ludo and Rina from Belgium-


Ernestine from Vancouver and Paul and Linda from San Francisco-


Esfahan!  What a beautiful city!  As Robert Byron, an author said, it's a "refreshment of humanity".  

The Bridge of 33 Arches, built between 1599 and 1602 is 298 meters long-


Inside the bridge-


It's the dry season so the water in the Zayandeh River is held upstream behind a dam-


The Khaju Bridge was built in 1650 and is 110m long.  Both bridges are for pedestrians and motorcycles only-


The sun shining through openings makes it look like there's a candle burning under the bridge.  Don't forget the importance of light to the Sufi-



The Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the second largest in the world.  Only Tiananmen is bigger.  It was started in 1602 thanks to Shah Abbaz the Great as the new Safavid capital.  It's 512m long and 163m wide and polo games used to be played in the center-


There are many traditional craftsmen at work-


These fabric stamps-


are used-


to create gorgeous tablecoths and bedspreads-


There is an abundance of semi precious stones such as turquoise and lapis-


Nougat, that doesn't stick to your teeth is made here-


Painting on camel bone is also popular.  The artist is holding the miniature box that I bought.  It's a mosque dome-


The Masjed-e Shah Mosque is also from the Safavid era and was started in 1611.  The front portal is 30 m tall and decorated with mosaics with geometric designs, floral motifs, calligraphy and stalactite mouldings-


Because of Moharam, the 10 days of mourning, there is a war memorial, with soldier cutouts and ammunition boxes in front of the mosque-


There are also 'tea gardens' (instead of beer gardens) in front with interesting slogans-


Bullet holes are visible in the front door-


The front entrance had to be built to fit into the square so upon entering, the corridor is angled to the right to reach the mosque because it's essential to face Mecca-


The tile work and arches are magnificent-  




In the largest area, the acoustics are unreal.  Maddy snapped his fingers near the floor and it echoed four times!

The Sheik Lotfollah Mosque-


 was finished in 1602-


It has no minarets because it was the private mosque of the Shah.  It is said to be the most beautiful in the world and once again, after entering, the corridor is angled to position the prayer hall accordingly.  This is not observable from outside-


The center of the dome is the heavens and as rain falls, the drops get larger.  The drops also resemble peacock feathers-


The brown color represents the earth and the blue represents the sky, so nature is brought into the mosque-



Beautiful verses from the Quran are done in mosaic style-


The Ali Qapu Palace was built in 1592 for Shah Abbas I and is a 6 story building-


The tile work is very different-





Even the stairs are tiled-


The music hall is on the top floor.  The walls and ceiling are stucco cutouts of fruit, trees and instruments.  The acoustics are perfect-






More Irenglish-


Huh?


Another cool teahouse-


Sugar, sugar, sugar!  The yellow lumps are for the tea and the dessert is like naan bread soaked in honey.  Very sweet!


Cigarette packages with warnings-


Today was perfect!  Looking forward to more tomorrow!























































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