Persepolis – the Pompeii of Iran

Persepolis bulls

Persepolis would have to be the highlight of my trip to Iran. The Pompeii of Iran, and far more impressive. Founded by Darius in 518 BC it is a massive archaeological site boasting beautiful capitals, fantastic animal friezes and a thousand impressive figures from various areas of the Persian Empire bringing gifts and paying homage to the Shah at New Year. We are fortunate to still see it as during the revolution Khomeini threatened to destroy it and locals lay on the street in front of the bulldozers in protest.


Seen from the tombs above, it looks like an enormous factory sight, a large shady forest leading up to its doors, which also houses our bungalow accommodation for the night.View of PersepolisTomb Persepolis







Nearby is another magnificent archaeological site of Tombs elaborately  sculpted with Victory scenes.

Tomb 1TombTombs of Naqsh-e Rustum

Persepolis panorama


This is not the only gigantic site in Iran, as can be seen by the Isfahan main square – 500m x 150m, the second largest  in the world  after Tiananmen square. It is awesome, absolutely magic, and the photos hardly do it justice!Isfahan main squareIsfahan main squareIsfahan mosque





Isfahan square


From luscious garden squares, more elaborate mosques and palaces surrounded by locals picnicking we move on to our hike amongst the desert castles and salt lakes of Kerman.Kerman Castle desert


Kerman desert

Kerman desert




Kerman desert and me




Salt lakes – Kerman

Salt lake Kerman salt lake




Hike to the Maiden CastleQal’eh-e-Doktar

Maiden castle

Maiden castle

Maiden Castle


Back into civilisation to stop for lunch in the market

Yadz  Hotel

Our Yadz hotel

Caravanserai bedrooms

Caravanserai Bedrooms







And onto explore the various Caravanserai – traditional roadside inns, some of which will be our accommodation.

Our Kashan hotel

Our Kashan hotel


Local girls



Local girls are embarrassingly attractive. Super made up, and as our guide  related often retouched with plastic surgery that is cheap in Iran. Veils sit well back now on bouffant hairstyles and their long sleeve jacket cover ups can be flashy colours, very slinky, like a second skin hugging leggings  or over stove pipe stretch jeans.

Forty (40) is used to mean lots, as Italians would use ‘mille’ (thousand). The old fable of Ali Baba and his 40 thieves or the Palace of 40 columns only means there were lots of them….columns and thieves!

Young men are required to do military service, or they will not be given a passport. There is no access to Internet products as there are no credit cards linked to any external banking system. Tourists pay in local currency, as it is rare to be able to use a credit card, and Euro or other foreign currencies are generally exchanged in the black market. School

Children learn at least 1 language at school, and if studying overseas need to leave a deposit ( approx Euro 4,000) to guarantee their return.

Local Sport centres continue to train athletes in the traditional method used to train ancient warriors.

And martyrs from the Iran – Irak war are encased in tulips (Islamic emblem of self sacrifice) or on posters in each village.Matryrs


Athletes tarining

Pahlevani and zoorkhaneh Sport rituals








Iran is a very genuine country, well preserved, feels completely safe and the people give a warm welcome. It has an extraordinary mix of architecture, old and new and very refined with an eclectic cultural flexibility that reflects the ancient Persian Empire, one of the oldest and richest in the world.

Belt makerKashan mosque(2)







If you get the chance to go there, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!