Sights Sounds and Smells of the Zurkhaneh Club
The Zurkhaneh Club will delight your eyes, your ears, and your nose will get a workout as well.
The Saheb a Zaman Sports Club is just off the Amir Chaqmaq Square. You can watch the world go by in the square whilst waiting form the show to begin. The night we went it began at 6pm, but best to check it out during the day to be sure. Entry in 2011 was 10000IR each.
Zurkhaneh means, in Farsi, 'house of strength', and it is strength you see exhibited here. There is also clearly joy, camaraderie and pride of performance. The performance last about an hour. We guests remove our shoes to enter the viewing area. The arena is in a circular pit, under the broad dome of a former water reservoir and above the water storage itself. The walls are covered with trophies, murals and sporting equipment.
You will see burly men warming up, doing push-ups and marching in circles. You will see club twirling, and you will see dervish twirling. You will even see dervish twirling endurance contests. The finale sees the most experienced indulging in skillful chain swinging. All the while the cadence of the performance is kept by the drummers, who also chant poetry, and generally keep the ship in order.
What the guide books omit to mention is that the performance is also an olfactory experience, where the odour of sweaty shoes is gradually overcome by the miasma of underarm and he-man sweat! I slipped downstairs to the now empty water reservoir chamber over which the arena has been constructed. The reservoir is also graced by 5 elegant badgirs, which can be observed from outside in Amir Chaqmaq square, to which we return for a stroll in the cool evening air after the performance
- Arts and Culture
It can be hot work wandering the dusty lanes of this adobe city.
And eventually you will need some refreshment
You are heartily sick of Delester!
Keep a look out and you will eventually see a watermelon vendor.
A couple of slices of watermelon cost next to nothing, are safe to eat, and help support the small businessman
- Food and Dining
In keeping with our rule to select only the finest religious buildings for a visit, we chose the Jameh mosque. It is renowned for its brilliant tilework, and the massive portal and minaret (among the tallest in Iran) at the western entrance. it was covered in scaffolding on our vist.
Inside is an arcaded courtyard, where often one saw young people either gathering to talk, or sketch. The massive squat dome covers the sanctuary, at the end of a deep iwan. The mihrab in here is tall and intricately decorated with faience and calligraphy
- Budget Travel
- Religious Travel
Moments with Arthur Upham Pope & Phyllis Ackerman
One of the merits of the Great city of Esfahan is the river passing through, called "Zayandeh-Rood". So there are lots of bridges built on the river some historical some new, the name of one of the ancient rivers is "Khajou" bridge. I don't want to talk about it but in the East side of the bridge there is small building containing Professor Arthur Upham Pope and his wife Phyllis Ackerman's Tomb, I am sure lots of people go to see the bridge but never explore what a great person resting near "Zayande Rood" river bank.
Arthur Upham Pope (1881-1969), was an American archaeologist and historian of Persian art. He married fellow Persian art historian, Phyllis Ackerman, in 1920. In 1923, Pope was appointed director of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. They were pioneers in the study of the Persian art, history, heritage and culture, and its interrelations.
In 1964, during a state visit to Iran, They were formally invited to move The Asia Institute in Shiraz as an independent research center of publication and study, which would be housed in the Narenjestan Garden [ I will Talk about this garden that now is a museum in my shiraz Travel guide] . They accepted this generous offer and following months of planning, packing and organization, they returned permanently to Iran in 1966.
They spent their final days in Iran and upon their death, they were provided with a magnificent mausoleum built in Professor Pope Park on the banks of the Zayandeh River in their beloved city of Isfahan
- Arts and Culture
Walking from Jame Mosque to Alexander Prison
One of the greatest places you can see in Yazd is its Jame Mosque with the enormous gate and dome and its nice combination of colors-navy and khaki-all under the absolute blue sky.
If you want to go from Jame Mosque to Alexander Prison by cab it might take you a long time, but walking through narrow alleys is a cheaper and more comforting alternative.
Alleys mostly are roofed in traditional way and if it wasn't covered by Asphalts you would feel you're in the dynasty of Qhajars or Safavid or even further.
About Vank Church in Esfahan
For me after visiting Esfahan's numerous palaces, gardens and mosques It was undoubtedly worth to see how christianity exists in Iran and that was my second experience of visiting a Church which was great. The museum of the church is also so helpfull to know more about armenian.
There are three churches in Julfa, of which the most important is the Vank church or (The Church of the Saintly Sisters). This church has been built in the reign of Shah Abbas II, in 1074 (1663 A.D.).
Its design is very much similar to that of the domed sanctuary chamber of a Persian mosque, with the addition of a raised chancel and altar within a semi, octagonal apse. By contrast to its modest exterior, the cathedral`s interior is lavishly decorated.
- Museum Visits
Zoroastrians' Fire Temple
The Yazd province is home to the largest population of Zoroastrians in Iran. Zoroast was the ancient prophet of Persians, who had brought a religion, Zoroastrism, based on humanity and goodwill, which is still very alive.
These constructions are very important to the Zoroastrians, and normally include a building and beautiful gardens. They house the Holy Fire, which is cherished by Zoroastrians, and have been alight for over 1500 years. The Fire is kept in a case higher than the ground, far from sunshine. There are rooms for rituals around the monuments.
After all if you come to Yazd you should visit this place which helps you understand Persian culture more and more.
- Museum Visits
The Power House : Iranian Traditional Sports
My local Yazd friend brought me to this place. I've never seen something like this before. I am not so sure where it is, may be somewhere near Amir Chaqmah. This place is like a traditional gymnasium where the locals - children, teens, adults and even oldies came to do workout. They will start with warming up and doing push-ups for about 20 minutes. Then they will start spinning according to the music and later using the weights, something like a baseball bat (see the pic), they will exercise their hands. The whole performance took more than 1 hour. There was a small entrance fees (not sure how much since my frined paid it) and chai were served (FOC).
- Budget Travel
Para Gliding at The Desert
My local Yazd friends took me to this desert (about 20 minutes drive from the town). We want to view the sunset. So happen that there were some para gliders at the desert. Wow....what a view. It was really a nice experience watching them para gliding, and the beautiful sunset too.
Zoroastrians Fire Temple,
First time, the of this temple was brought to Aqda of Yazd province from Karian, Pars and it was kept there for 700 years, then it was moved to Turkabad of Ardakan and it was kept there for 300 years. At last it was brought to this fire temple in Yazd and it has been lit since for 60 years ( quoted from the signboard of the fire temple )
Adobe bricks are a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous material (sticks, straw, dung), which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. Adobe structures are extremely durable and account for the oldest extant buildings on the planet. In hot climates, compared to wooden buildings, adobe buildings offer significant advantages due to their greater thermal mass.
Yazd Water Museum
A qanat is a water management system used to provide a reliable supply of water to human settlements or for irrigation in hot, arid and semi-arid climates. The technology is known to have developed in ancient Persia, and then spread to other cultures.
Qanats are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels. It is very common in the construction of a qanat for the water source to be found below ground at the foot of a range of foothills of mountains, where the water table is closest to the surface. This technique:
- Taps into subterranean water in a manner that efficiently delivers large quantities of water to the surface without need for pumping. The water drains relying on gravity, with the destination lower than the source, which is typically an upland aquifer.
- Allows water to be transported long distances in hot dry climates without losing a large proportion of the source water to seepage and evaporation.
The Yazd water museum explains these all. No admission charge (May 2008).
Badgirs - windcatcher
A windcatcher is a traditional Persian architectural device used for many centuries to create natural ventilation in buildings. It is not known who first invented the windcatcher, but it still can be seen in many countries today. Windcatchers come in various designs, such as the uni-directional, bi-directional, and multi-directional.
Fire Temple - Ateshkadeh
The sacred eternal flame is said to have been burning since about A.D.470. Above the entrance of the hall is a symbolic bird-man symbol of Zoroaster (see more pic). One hand holds a ring, which symbolises loyalty, while the other is held up to indicate respect. The wings have three layers of feathers, reflecting the Zoroastrian belief that you should think, speak and act decently. No admission fee.
Towers of Silence
Towers of Silence are circular raised structures used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead. The towers, which are fairly uniform in their construction, have an almost flat roof, with the perimeter being slightly higher than the center.
Zoroastrian tradition considers a dead body—in addition to cut hair and nail-parings—to be nasu, unclean, i.e. potential pollutants. Specifically, the corpse demon was believed to rush into the body and contaminate everything it came into contact with, hence the Vendidad has rules for disposing of the dead as "safely" as possible.
To preclude the pollution of earth or fire, the bodies of the dead are placed atop a tower—a tower of silence—and so exposed to the sun and to birds of prey. Thus, "putrefaction with all its concomitant evils" "is most effectually prevented."
In the Iranian Zoroastrian tradition, the towers were built atop hills or low mountains in desert locations distant from population centers. In the early twentieth century, the Iranian Zoroastrians gradually discontinued their use and began to favor burial or cremation.
It is located 7km from the city centre. The best way is to charter a taxi and asked the taxi to come back 1 hour later. One way taxi IR20,000 (May 2008).