The trip from Mary to Dashoguz was hopefully the one and only time I took the airplane during this trip. The flight leads across the Karakum desert to the North-East of Turkmenistan, where a large source of income is agriculture. The region was also an important trading center during the time of the silk road, connecting to current day Russia, Iran and Uzbekistan.
After the surreal world of Ashgabat I was very curious about the looks of the rest of Turkmenistan. I was glad having chosen the car as means of transport to Mary, a very important point on the silk road.
On Tuesday it was time for my next border crossing. The first one which required applying for a visa on the way. Past gthe border a whole different world was waiting for me: Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital.
The last real stop in Iran was the city of Mashhad. The second largest city of the country is home of the shirne of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of the Shia. The shrine is the destination of the pilgrims, but the city grew during the war with Irak.
The dessert city of Yazd was during the time of the silk road one important stop for the traders and the carawans. Today, the city has a rather sleepy character even though the city has more than half a million inhabitants. The efforts for more tourism are clearly visible.
The city of Shiraz is primarily famous through the ancient city of Persepolis, the capital of the first Persian Empire. The city itself however also sports quite many attractions, especially gardens and parks, as well as curious students.
One of the destinations I had chosen before leaving on my trip was Esfahan. The city in central Iran is full of interesting sights. I did not see many of them, since there were a few more surprises.
Following Ali’s recommendation, I visited the town of Kashan, 3 hours by bus South of Teheran. Besides the typical tourist sights, Kashan has to offer a few extras.
After my long train ride from Turkey to Tehran, I had three days to discover the capital of Iran. The city has a very distinct character, which reflects the character of the people in Iran.
My last stop in Turkey was going to be the recently earthquake-hit city of Van. The uncertainty, whether a trip through this area was actually possible, was big. However, I still tried and the trip was definitely worth it.