Yazd- the Jewel of the Desert
May 26, 2019
by Aleksandra Haliciu
I believe that a true nomad, a true wanderer, in order to deserve his/her name, should actually go out of the comfort zone and every now and then, explore the road less travelled and go to less ‘orthodox’ places, off the beaten track. I believe I have converted this ‘once in a while’ into a personalized way of travelling, maybe I have slid into a sort of dependency and hehe, became an adrenaline junkie after all. And yes – Iran is one of those places that caught my attention not only because of its millennial history but also because of its people, which I believe to be the most welcoming and hospitable people I have ever met.
Iran – A Country not to Miss
Iran is one of those countries that if you think about it too much, you might have second thoughts about going (unfortunately). Politics, media and maybe even friends will convince you that it is not the best place to be. I did not think much so there I was – all set to spend one month around this magnificent country, that intrigued me beyond words and that I whole-heartedly invite you to explore. Yazd has impressed me because of its mix of unique desertic architecture, its religious and historic importance and laid-back, cosy old town.
Yazd and Zoroastrianism
Yazd – a UNESCO Wolrd heritage site, is one of the country’s oldest city. It is the centre for the followers of the Zarathustras’ faith, who settled here to escape the Arab persecution. One place to visit is the fire temple, called Ateshkadeh has been burning since the 5th century AD, represents the pillar of the Zoroastrian faith, and symbolizes the presence of God. The Towers of Silence are definitely also worth a visit. According to the tradition, in these towers, they used to leave the deceased bodies in boxes for the birds to pick at. Last but definitely not least, Chak Chak ( which in Persian means ‘drip drip’) is the most important Zoroastrian site and is situated an hour away from the city. It contains an ever-dripping spring, and the legend says that the dripping is in remembrance of Princess Nikbanu. The way to get there is breathtaking and will require some photo stops.
Yazd and the Quintessential Persian Life
Getting lost in the mud brick old town, with its unique architecture and warren-like streets is such a pleasant way to discover this old desert city. If you are in for more places to visit, I recommend you take a look at Jame Mosque as well, with its beautiful blue facade as well as the colourful bazaar. If you would simply want to relax then you should enjoy some typical Iranian food. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was by their way of cooking the rice- definitely the best rice I have ever eaten! Then, my biggest discovery was ‘ash’ – a thick soup, done with different vegetables, beans and noodles. I must admit that the list is long however eventually you will see that Yazd has plenty to offer.
Iranian and their Eating Ritual
Iranians consider eating a ritual, and besides the variety of condiments and traditional ingredients, here in Yazd, I was amazed at the way they eat their meals. The restaurants have high ceilings, with exquisite Persian mosaics and beautiful oriental (live) music. Once you have been assigned a table, you have to take off your shoes, step up on the platform and sit on cushions at a low table. It kind of brings you back in time a bit, since everything has this air of ceremony. The sweets have also their place (where rosewater, saffron and cardamom are the main ingredients) and are to be enjoyed by the tea-loving culture – as yes, Iran is famous for its chai.