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Yazd, Iran

Yazd is a city of about 500,000 located in the desert at the geographic centre of Iran.

Yazd is a centre of Zoroastrianism in Iran. Zoroastrianism is an ancient religion that predates the Islamic conquest of Iran in the 7th century. Yazd today has a relatively high number of Zoroastrians. Our day started with a visit to an ancient Zoroastrian Tower of Silence on the outskirts of Yazd. Traditionally, the Zoroastrians disposed of their dead in these mountaintop Tower of Silence. The body was cleaned, and turned over to priests. The priests transported the body to the top of the Temple of Silence, where it was left in the open. Vultures would remove all of the flesh from the body. After that, the remains would be retrieved by the priests for burial.

We then visited a Zoroastrian Fire Temple. A fire temple is a place of worship for Zoroastrians, at which priests maintain a perpetual fire, a key element of the Zoroastrian religion.

Our travel group has a passion for coffee and, despite the fact that it is Ramadan and most places serving food and beverages are closed during the day, we were able to find a place serving cappuccinos.

We visited the Jameh Mosque in the heart of Yazd, and the main square and some shopping streets radiating from that.

In the evening, we visited a zurkaneh for a performance of varzeshe baastani. “Varzeshe baastani” translates as “ancient sport”, and is a form of ritual exercise performed by men to the beat of a drum and the sounds of a singer. The event is performed in a domed structure called a zurkaneh. The athletes perform a standard pattern of exercises, kind of an ancient form of aerobics.

Later that evening, our guide took us to a very modern restaurant, where we enjoyed some fabulous Iranian dishes. Due to serious declines in the value of Iranian currency, as a result of American sanctions, we find that the cost of food is very low for foreigners.

A view of the Tower of Silence
This is the area where the priests laid the bodies. The hole is where the bones were later put.
Jim with his back to another Tower of Silence
Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Jameh Mosque
varzeshe baastani
Yazd main square at night
Lamb Shank
Rice with lentils

Posted by Jimpat 05:18

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