02.04.2007 -17 °C
I am in dead central Iran, in the ancient town of Yazd. A few hundred kilometers east is the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders. With its amazing badgirs (wind towers) and mud-brick old town, Yazd is (according to UNESCO) one of the oldest towns in the world. Almost all buildings in this old town is made of sun-dried mud bricks. A few hundred kilometers south is the town of Bam, also made of sun-dried mud bricks which four years ago was almost totally destroyed by a massive earthquake which killed 31,000 people.
Yesterday I did a day trip with a car and driver to the ancient village of Kharanaq and the Zoroastrian shrine of Chak Chak. Parts of the village of Kharanaq are believed to be more than 1000 years old - and it sure shows its age. I climbed to the top of the Qajar-era mosque with its 17th-century minaret which was a thrilling but very claustrophobic (in total darkness) experience. At the top, with its breathtaking views over the village, I was able to get a nice dance with the minaret - aka a "shaking minaret". The nearby caravanserai and ancient aqueduct offered great insight into the life of a bygone era. At Chak Chak with its Pir-e-Sabz fire temple, I climbed the nearby mountain - much more challenging than it looked - and was rewarded with some awesome views of the desert valleys and surrounding sharp edged mountains. Just outside Yazd I climbed to the top of the "Tower op Silence" - where for centuries sky burials were conducted. Deceased bodies were placed at the top of the tower and hungry vultures had to finish off the rest!
Food is great, people are truly friendly, the old part of town is a mud brick maze to get lost in, the market another lovely old maze of excitement - Yazd is a lovely town! A great base to explore the surrounding desert.