Iran Part V – Sleepless in Isfahan


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Last night, the dinner we ate or I should say couldn't eat (of course it was chicken again) was terrible. I had put out everything that was in my mouth. I never do this sort of behaviour. On our way from the restaurant to the hotel, I kept on complaining about the inedibility of the food. When we reached the hotel, I suddenly had mental clarity.

How can I complain about food? There are so many people in the world who can’t find this and die of hunger. I felt very guilty for complaining. I couldn't sleep at night for 3-4 hours. I contemplated a lot. At first, I couldn't believe that I was in Iran, in Isfahan. God is so generous to me. God doesn't let me go without food, water, family, love, home, work and to top it all realises all my childhood dreams and wishes (except for [...] but there is a reason for that). And all I do is to complain. I am actually so lucky. God's hand is always on me thankfully. God is always so generous and gracious to me. There must be a reason for this.

If God is showing me his/her love, generosity and graciousness so clearly, gifting me with my childhood dreams like travelling our planet, engraving the love of nature and animals by talking to me through my mother, showing me love and graciousness through F., making me feel hope, magic, [...], all beauty concerning the humanity and all his/her emotions in an exploding intensity through [...], God is actually speaking to me very clearly.

There is no hurdle or middleman between us. There isn't for anyone actually. We can directly talk and communicate with God. This is the most beautiful and gracious king: King of the Universe, our creator. S/he created us not as servants but workers, for a reason and with a responsibility. The conclusion I reached in my insomnia last night was this: If God is so generous, gracious and full of love for me, then this is also my duty.

I may not be a big, famous, rich leader. This has no importance. All I need to do is to give love, graciousness and generosity to all creatures that come my way during my lifetime. That's it! Not everyone has to be famous or a leader. There is need for workers as well. Without the workers, there is no completion or production. So I am also a worker. God's worker. [...] wasn't [...] but like Ataturk, God [...] also sent to this planet and life with a special duty. I am a soldier of love. I am a worker of love. And I believe that if in this world we spread love, graciousness, generosity, kindness and smiles as much as possible, we can solve even the most difficult problems.

For me, God is actually love; love is god. Creator = (equals) Love. At this age, I know with certainty. There is no stronger power than love. This power can create and it can destroy. It is an incredible strength. Hence, love is God.

If the Creator is love, then I thought about the equivalent and the meaning of the verb to create. I tried to reach a solution with a mathematical logic. If the word creator is love, the verb to create isto love. So why did God create us? Because s/he loved us. The Creator is the King of the Universe. We were created to complete the whole of the universe. Hence, to create = to love = to complete = to be (because we are when we are whole, we are, I am).

Therefore, God said be = said I create = said I love you. To tell another person (or something) I love you, is actually to tell "I am because you are," your existence is important or "for me to be whole, you are important" (for me to be me, you are [you]).

So, I love [...], F. my family, nature, our planet, the Creator because for me to be me, they were created (of course the Creator wasn't created). We are all part of a chain, a whole. A chain of love!

...

We completed our morning tour; we are resting in our hotel before we start our midday tour. Even though not as much as Shiraz, the heat strengthens in midday. It becomes particularly tiring because I have to wear a coat and a headscarf.

This morning, we saw the Jewish neighbourhood (the first to start settlement in Isfahan were the Jewish),

shaking minarets,

the Zoroastra Fire Temple (the Zoroastra believe in one god and do not worship fire.

They only use fire as they worship god) called Atasgah (like "ates" (fire) in Turkish), the Siyesepol bridge with 32 passages (Allahverdi Han)

and the Armenian Vank Cathedral.

Shah Abbas the First asked Armenians to settle in Isfahan for economic gains in the 17th century. The richest group in the city are the Armenians. Inside the Cathedral and the decorations look very similar to Safavid mosques besides the depictions of Jesus Christ and the Bible. There is a monument in the courtyard of the cathedral for the so-called genocide; next to the monument, there are lots of photographs and posters full of propaganda and accusing Turkey. [...] The cathedral's museum is very rich and interesting.

It is possible to see the tiniest book in the world, a prophet Abraham portrait drawn by Rembrandt and a piece of hair on which an Armenian sentence is written with a diamond pen. There are of course also articles, videos and interviews about the so-called genocide.

We visited the Juma Mosque, which is in the oldest town centre of Isfahan constructed by the Selchuks. The mosque built on an old Zoroastra fire temple carries layers from different periods and marks from different kingdoms.

The Selchuks, Safavids, Ilhans and Kachars are included in this. The combination of the art of all these periods, cultures and kingdoms created one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art.

It is worth visiting Isfahan just to see the Juma Mosque, the Blue Mosque (now called the Imam Mosque) and the Sheikh Lutfullah Mosque nearby.

Interestingly, aesthetics play a major role on human psychology, impressions and observations. If we never came to Isfahan, my thoughts and impressions about Iran would have been very different than what they are now.

...

After a short nap, we went to a second Safavid palace: Hasht Beshast (8 Heavens).

Another name for this palace is the Nightingale Palace because it is situated in a garden with plenty of nightingales. Before the palace, I have to say that the garden (I should actually say park) is really very green, smells beautiful and is full of colourful flowers.

Isfahan's garden and parks really deserve their reputation.

Unfortunately, not much has survived to this day from this palace either due to time and damages but it is not difficult to picture what a wonder it was at its heyday. It appears that like the Tulip Period of the Ottomans, the Safavids lost their power with time due to their devotion to pleasure, gardens and beauty.

Tonight, we decided to have a fast-food meal not to try our chances again with the Iranian food. The Iranians are very respectful but it seems that they do not care much about helping the tourists or being friendly. Since it is not easy to come across a smiley face, we were psychologically drawn to the first corner buffet we saw with a smiley teenager in it. The pizza we had looked and tasted nothing like a pizza but at least, thankfully we got to eat something without saffron and chicken.

As for the Iranians, as I wrote earlier, they are respectful but distant. They are either shy or wary of foreigners. Who knows? But as a nation, they are introverted. Their facial features are no different than statues and figures seen in Persepolis. So it seems like their facial features haven't changed in thousands of years. I am no genetics engineer but it seems like they didn't mix much with the other nations, societies and races who have passed through these lands in their thousands of years old past. For example, our guide today told us that the Armenians never marry with the Iranians. Of course in every country, minorities tend to stay together and don't mix with the rest but this seems like a very shy and introverted society to me.

Tonight is our last night in Isfahan. We will start our journey toward Qom in the morning. God willing, we will stop by Abyaneh and Keshan. After spending a few hours in Qom, we will get on our Istanbul plane on Friday morning. I can't wait!

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