Iran Part II - Persepolis


Sunday, 4 April 2010

The first thing that came to my mind when I opened my eyes this morning was [...]. Like every morning...[...] came to my mind at least once every hour of the day anyway. Then I felt how warm the room was. Whilst I was wondering where I was, I questioned whether I was in India. Then I remembered I was in Iran without thinking in which city I was. The first connection I made with Iran in my mind was another Persian Gulf country, Oman. I have never been to Oman but [...]very beautiful, peaceful days in Oman (exactly 45 days) [...]. [...] What I read about Oman and the pictures I have seen make me think that it is really a country worth visiting. While lying in bed my eyes closed, I imagined travelling [...] in Oman. My 28 year old brain immediately reminded me what a ridiculous dream this was. I had thought that the Syrian desert had cured me. [...] made me accept. But as soon as I returned to London and started my daily routine, the pain and [...] came back the same way or in different stages. Some days are normal but on some days an unbearable physical pain imprisons my entire body. I had thought that maybe during this journey as well I would be cured a little bit. Maybe I am getting better I don't know but [...] here also.

Then F. opened the curtains and I was amazed. I found myself again in a city surrounded by mountains, in Shiraz.

View of Shiraz

It looks different in day time than night time. The mountains are also dry and yellow. Shiraz is even hotter than Teheran. Spring here is like August in Turkey.

Our first stop was what I always wanted to see, Persepolis. It is the massive city destroyed by Alexander the Great. The monuments are very different that the ones in ancient Greece, Rome and of course Egypt. Due to the magnificent, detailed and beyond life Persepolis artefacts I had seen in Louvre and the British Museum, I had always wanted to see this place. It is certainly nice and interesting. However, because most of the remnants have been smuggled to Europe, unfortunately not much is left here. I have to say that Palmyra in Syria is much more impressive than Persepolis. Though, it helped me learn quite a bit about the Zoroastra religion.

Persepolis

Persepolis

According to our guide, even though they considered elements such as the sun, moon, water and fire sacred, they believed in a god called Ahuramastra, which they believed was one god that created everything.

Ahuramastra

I don't know how much of what the guide was saying was true but in the same periods around the world, other religions had similarities. So even though the names were different in every civilisation, they all had either Zeus, Baal, AmonRa or Ahuramastra as their god. The Zoroasta even had a holy book but Alexander the Great burnt all the copies.

The tombs carved on the rocks like in the ancient Aegean civilisations are magnificent.

Persepolis

Persepolis

Rock Carvings

Rock Carvings

Seeing eagles fly around these rock tombs gives this dry land the impression of a fairy land. As I said earlier, it is very hot here and dry. I felt very uuncomfortablein my black coat in this heat. The climate is one that I never felt before. It made me feel as if I was very close to Central Asia

Rock Carvings

After Persepolis, we went back to town and went around Shiraz. Rightfully, the Iranians are proud of their literature and very nicely show a lot of respect to them. Recently (after the revolution), despite the rejections of the mollahs, they built nice memorials for Sadi and Hafiz.

Iranian Poets

The reason why the mollahs refused was because they believe that poets are bad people and claim that this is written in the Qoran! For God's sake! But then, they had to give in because after all these poets have contributed to the world literature and are part of world heritage.

The memorials are really nice, especially their gardens are like a piece of heaven. The smell of lime and jasmine take over the heavy smoke and stink of exhaust in the city.

Iranian Poets

I wish [...] could have the deserving respect, people [...] remember the works, [...] visit...Time will tell. But I won't be around by then. But I think that Iranians who bring flowers for their 13th century poets, kiss their tombs and pray in front of them are people hard to decipher.

Iranian Poets

Anyway, then we visited the old palace of Shiraz, the bazaar and the history museum.

Shiraz Old Palace

Shiraz Bazaar

Little girl in Shiraz
Shiraz Palace

Shiraz

Shiraz

I think that the city is generally no different than an Eastern Anatolian town. Unfortunately, I haven't seen every corner of Turkey but I want to do this when I have kids so that they get to know their country. So I don't know how right it is to compare Shiraz with Eastern Anatolia but in any case, I get a sense of Central Asia.

I had never come to this region before. But for some reason, I had thought of Iran as a more developed country, and of Shiraz as a beautiful and developed city refined with poetry and rich literature. I was very wrong. The photographs I have seen in the museums prove that Shiraz hasn't changed a bit since the 19th century.

Our driver here, Akbar complains about the mollahs. He is not content with the system. He told that he was imprisoned a few times for drinking vodka. He thinks that the mollahs live a hypocritical life only for themselves and cause exarcebated standards of life for the people. Our guide here Hasan thinks good of Erdogan's reaction against Israel and thinks that he is a smart, strong and good leader. Only if he knew what he does in his own country...But just as I saw in Syria, people of this region, for some reason, appreciate autoratic, strong, loud leaders who act like kings. They want a strong symbol and just follow it. I realised: Like Syrians, the Iranians never once in their thousands of years of existence had their free will. There were always kings, invasions, then kings again, now Ayatollah and the mollahs. Pity. The people were never left to rule themselves. They cannot decide for themselves. We owe so much to Ataturk in Turkey but knowing that they are trying to turn the country into another Iran breaks my heart.

I also realised that all over the world, people are exactly the same. We all cry, laugh, eat and sleep. But some of us create artificial differences and hold on to these differences with their dear life. This is the root of all problems. Why do we try to find (create) these differences and hold on to them? In Iran, a country called a terrorist state by the U.S.A. and other western countries, people only care about surviving on a day to day basis. It is the same everywhere. But the politicians, for power and money struggles among themselves and against other countries cause hatred, alienation, poverty and differences. They even discriminate against their own people.

For instance, women are deprived from their comfort and freedoms, little girls are slapped on the streets (Today there was a little girl just looking around at the gate of the palace we visited. One of the guards of the palace suddenly slapped her and forecefully pulled her in. The girl was either 4 or 5 years old).

Shiraz

Unfortunately, I cannot say that these sights don't exist in Turkey or in other countries as well. But how can I hope about humanity and expect from a society, which disrespects and humiliates a little child?

I have no hope left. I am so grateful for all the material and spiritual richness, luck, possibilities, and opportunities that God gave me. What if I was born and lived in a country like Iran? What about that little girl I saw today; does she deserve a nice, comfortable, happy and free life less than me? Why is this injustice and inequality? There must be a reason why God allows me to see these. But I don't know how I can change and help. I feel restricted (with regards to solutions) and weak. I have to find a solution. Otherwise what is the point of living in this hopelessnes?

Shiraz

#Iran #Persepolis #Zoroastra #Ahuramastr #Asia #Shiraz #GreatAlexander #Rocktombs #Mullah #Sadi #Hafiz