THE ADDRESS Magazine Summer 2014 - Page 407

Photo: Anisha Shah Inside Iran – The Glories of Persia By Anisha Shah Dawn light streams into Nasir al-Molk mosque, illuminating the meditative dusty air with a vibrant palette, enriched in intensity by the stained-glass windows. The reflections cast onto a deep-pile Persian rug snuggling my toes and inviting me to stay a while. The mosque is empty at first light; a privilege which is a rarity in Shiraz, the city of poetry, literature, flowers and wine; the vineyards of old no longer exist since Iran became the Islamic Republic in 1979. Shiraz is one highlight amidst a handful of enchanting cities on my cross-country voyage. Unearthing turquoise-tiled minarets and domes dotting Esfahan’s Naqsh e-Jahan Square, the immense power of the Achaemenid’s ancient capital Persepolis, staggering beauty of Elamite ziggurat temples at Choqa Zanbil and roaming the parched mudbrick lanes and crumbling rooftops in Yazd, is a vivid journey through history. Driving the frontier Travelling by road through the frontier, renowned moreso internationally for it’s nuclear ambitions than as a travel destination, I realize it is as spectacularly beautiful as the people are hospitable. Nestling a staggering 16 Unesco world heritage sites; architectural marvels and treasured remnants of powerful early empires, Iran is the vanguard 407