Iran: Khasan to Semnan

Day 14: Two weeks on the road. Amazing. The map on the car is being filled in.

We had an early morning start today from Esfahan. Sad to be leaving as it is a great city but we have many kilometres to cover today.
The cars we given the once over again. Oil, water, air etc. All fine running sweet.

Our long drive involved one side trip. The city of Kashan, just north of Esfahan. This city of a quarter of a million is a delightful oasis in this desert landscape.

It boasts a cluster of historically significant 19th century houses as well as some beautiful gardens. We first visited the Fin Garden. Designed for Shad Abbas 1, it is renowned as being the epitome of a Persian Garden.It recently became a World Heritage Site. Water is channeled from the mountains 20kms away, into turquoise-coloured pools and fountains all through the garden. The cedar trees in the garden are nearly 500 years old and there is a perfusion of orange, quince and other fruit trees in the complex. In the centre of the garden is the Shah’s two storey pool house, beautifully decorated and positioned to enjoy the views of the garden.

We then went off to see the large traditional houses built by wealthy merchants in the 19th century. All the houses are set around a series of interlinked courtyards and are embellished with fine stucco work, stained glass and clever wind towers. These wind towers are complex but basically they work to draw hot air out of the house and draw in outside air, cooling it over specially designed water basins at their base. The doors to these houses also have 2 door-knockers. One is short and fat, the other long and thin. These were designed to give off different sounds so those in the house would be able to tell if it was a man or woman at the door – vital in a society where women lived in purdah ( in seclusion or behind a veil ).

Then, after a good lunch, it was back on the motorway, through a number of toll booths, (US$2 or less each) over the rolling landscape of the desert towards Semnan, the half way point to Mashhad, our final Iranian destination.

C-YA Andrew and Jeff

Andrew Bochenek.
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015

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