Shiraz, Persepolis, 2010.08.24

Another sunrise seen in a bus station… We reach Shiraz. We will see the city later, though – now we hop on a minibus heading to Marvdasht. From there we catch a taxi to the legendary Persepolis, ancient seat of Persian kings (2.5 USD for the ride). The entrance ticket is so unbelievably cheap and it makes us enter such a magical place… After crossing the gate guarded by four bearded monsters (called Lamassus) we get sucked into the ruins of palaces, with many reliefs preserved, as well as full-volume sculptures of various monsters… After climbing the tomb we have a look back. And we are impressed. The whole site might not be huge but facing all the ghosts of kings from thousands of years ago makes it a unique experience…

Noon, back to Shiraz (after long negotiations with taxi drivers) where we are “taken over” by Fay, niece of Hadi, who in turn is a good friend of “our” Ali. Fay is a very modest girl, with every hour of our hanging out together we drag more and more surprising information – she studied a couple of faculties, she spent some time in Malaysia and she is… the first female airplane pilot in the history of modern Iran… She shows us the bank of the river called Dry. We pass small bars, tea-houses and lawns full of picnicking families (some even put up tents and stay there for night; very popular activity in Iran – you can put up tents virtually everywhere), she leads us to the beautiful Eran park, shrine of Hafez (a famous poet) and treats us to some fancy and delicious dinner… At the end of the evening she brings us to the weekend cottage built by her father; this house is so huge that they are using it for holding wedding ceremonies for hundreds of people.

After a night with noisy hotel fan we start our walk through Vahir bazaar with all its narrow and twisting streets, then we check out a couple of ancient hamams (paid entrance, but the prices are very low; in Vakil hamam they also exhibit old carpets), mosques, Arg Karim Khan castle (interesting inclined tower), Saadi shrine and Shah Cheragh prayer house (magnificent mirror-clad ceiling and walls); then we get on the night bus to Yazd…

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