The cities of Bam, Shiraz & Yazd


We arrived in Bam on September 18th after having fixed Troopie's suspension and spent the night at Toyota's in Zahedan. Eastern Iran is not considered particularly safe as it is an area through which a lot of drugs coming from Afghanistan are smuggled to the rest of the world. On several occasions we were given police escorts (once a gunman in the car, once two gunman on a motorbike in front of us). 



Bam is famous for its old city. It is a citadel of some 6 square km that was founded some 1800 years ago and that was once inhabited by as many as 6000 people. On several occasions during its history it was invaded and the population suffered greatly. The attack of 1810 was so gruesome that the people of Bam decided to leave the city permanently. Today it stands as it was left nearly 200 years ago : a small city where streets were not widened to accommodate cars or trucks. A city that had thick mud walls to defend itself and did not yet fear any attacks from the air.




From Bam we drove on West to Kerman. Kerman is where we learned that Kathleen's parents had to cancel their 10 day trip in Iran with us. We were to pick them up from Shiraz airport and visit Shiraz, Yazd and Esfahan. We had been looking forward to this holiday within our journey : we would no longer have to decide where to go, where to eat or more importantly where to stay. We also hadn't taken time to plan anything else of our journey through Iran. When they told us they couldn't come because of professional reasons, we were shattered. It took us several days to get over the blow and get going again. Instead of sleeping in the car, we took a room in a hotel for 3 nights in order to make up our plans. 



Kerman is where we started to visit what is so typical for Iran : mosques (left), bazaars (centre) and teahouses (right) ! At that time we were not "mosqued out" yet ! 



Iranian boys in the Kerman bazaar (left), the niche in Masjed-e Jame mosque pointing the direction of Mecca (centre), one of Kerman's many cake shops and its owner (right)


One of the things we decided to do is to test Iranian hospitality a little further by going to the hotels where we had been booked, explaining our case and asking the management if we could use their car park and sleep in our car. This had failed in Bam. We had been to the only hotel in town with a car park, had had lunch then asked the management if we could use their car park. They wanted 100,000 rials for this or US$ 12. We ended up paying 50,000 rials for a room in a good guesthouse. In Yazd, we went to the 3-star Safa'iye Hotel, the best place in town, where we had been booked with Kathleen's parents. We were told we could use their car park for US$ 20 a night. Having slept in Troopie in hotel car parks for free for the last 6 months and having explained we were booked in the hotel we were quite impressed by their level of hospitality ! Eventually the restaurant boss who had been around the world on ships and spoke a little English turned up and convinced his colleagues at the reception to let us stay for free.



Islamic art doesn't allow representations of any living creatures. Mosques are decorated with colourful motives and graphics. The colours are chosen to be especially bright in order to be seen in the bright sunlight. In Yazd, we were on the lookout for 3 special things. The first are house doors on which men and women have to use different handles to announce themselves. We still haven't found out which is which (we didn't dare try it out !). The second particularity to this part of Iran are wind towers : these stick out of many old buildings in the city and are meant to catch every single breath of wind to people's homes. The third are peculiar wooden shapes carried by men on a special day as penitence to clear them of their sins.



Women in the back, men in the front. Spot the difference !



The tombstone of famous Iranian poet Hafez (left), bearded men here, there and everywhere (centre), stunning tile decoration.


Street life (left), with a local Mullah (centre), ever smiling kids (right)



We are doing well !

Southern Iran Back to Trip page The ancient city of Persepolis