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.
The traveler from Singapore and I arrived around 2pm in Kashan by bus. We had both chosen the same hotel, such that we could share a taxi from the bus station to our traditional hotel Khan-e Ehsan. Both of us were struck, when we entered the building and especially the courtyard. Once I entered my room, a first had to orient myself and was then faced with the difficult task of choosing one of the four beds in the room.
Impressed by our hotel, we set out to discover to city together. The first goal was to find one of the taditional houses, which today serve as museums. On the way, we found a mosque containing a shrine. The shrine was set up in a room, decorated with mirrors, lit in green light. A local asked the usual questions, where we are from and so on. He then explained a few particularities of the mosque and the shrine.
The Tabatabei House, which we visited, had us struck in awe. I did not have any particular idea of what to expect under the term “traditional house”. I was more thinking along the lines of a dirt wall house, as one occasionally sees them on pictures of an oasis. I certainly did not expect a rich man’s house with 3 courtyards and tons of rooms. Immdiately we started snapping away with our cameras. An incredible number of nooks and crannies were to be discovered. When we left the house, it was already starting to get dark.
The next destination on our tour was the old city wall. We first had to find it in the labyrinth of streets among the old houses. Unfortunately, the wall was not indicated on our city map. We only had to ask once for directions to finally find the wall. Unfortunately, time is taking its toll on the wall. A first part has been renovated and reconstructed. Eventually we found the door into the pentagon of the city wall. Once inside we were surprised not to find any buildings, but field of vegetables.
To finish the sight-seeing, we crossed the bazaar for a first time. We found anothe mosque and a shrine. We walked into the mosque, where we stood in the corner, observing the people. It didn’t take long to be remarked and questionned about the origin and destination. An extended foto shoot followed, with almost everybody wanting to be in picture. We were asked to take pictures of the people, of their kitchen and even of an old photograph from 1944. Finally we had to leave the mosque, since it was closing. We stepped into the neighboring building, containing a shrine to the son of Imam Reza, the most important Imam in Iran. The shrine stands in a large room decorated with mirrors and lit in green. I still need some time to get used to this wonderful green color. Once we had seen the shrine and taken some more pictures, it was quite an ordeal to leave especially one young fellow. We finally succeeded and set off.
After a small dinner, we headed back to the hotel. In the hotel, I enjoyed the warm in the courtyard finishing my post for Teheran, before going to sleep on the traditional bed (or was it board).
Is there anything nicer, than a breakfast in a courtyard on a Sunday morning? I enjoyed the atmosphere in the hotel, before heading out to the Fin Garden. The Garden lies a few kilometers outside the city, which is why one takes a bus or a taxi to get there. I decided to take the bus from the main square of the city. The guy at the reception told me where to go and for what to ask. However there was one detail he did not mention. When getting into the bus, the people tried to explain something to me, but eventually told me to get into this bus. When the bus driver told me to get off, without any garden nearby, I realized what the they tried to tell me. This bus turned off about 2 kilometers before the garden, such that I had to walk the rest. There were buses going all the way to the garden, but they are not regular city buses, the are minibuses.
I still enjoyed the visit to the Fin Garden, which is one of the most beautiful Persian Gardens in existence. The garden is equipped with a sophisticated watering system serving all the plants from one single source. Today, a part of the garden, a small museum and a hamam can be visited.
Back to the city, I managed to catch the correct minibus, which was driven by a sympathetic old man. Once back in the city center, I picked up my backpack and went to the busstation to immediately catch the next bus to Esfahan.