Thursday, November 17, 2016

Iran, towers, markets and jewels

Yesterday had been clear and sunny, temperatures in the early twenties down to eleven degrees overnight, toda had the same temperatures but much more haze, as smog pollution blanketed the city.

We braved the metro and found it cheap at around 25 cents per journey regardless of length ( a little more if you interchanged lines). 1st destination was the Azadi Tower, an icon of the city. On the metro people moved along to allow us both to sit, offered to help if we looked at a map and were very kind.

At Azadi Square we approached the monument having braved more traffic. Currently the base is being renovated so you could not ascend the tower. Given the smog, the views may have been mediocre as well. 

Tower ticked off it was time to metro back to the bazaar area. A quote in the 2012 Lonely Planet says that “It has been estimated Tehran Bazar controls one-third of Iran’s entire retail and trade sector. Prices here set the standard for prices across the country and competition is intense – there are, for example, more than 4000 carpet merchants in 60 passages.”  And with 10 km of lanes - you would believe it. Compared to the Souks we visited in Morroco the Tehran Bazaar is relatively orderly and with high ceiling the interior is light and airy. But you still had to be aware of the constant line of trolleys being pushed down narrow alleys. 

Lunch was at the recommended restaurant Moslem.  Another busy busy spot where they can serve 4,000 to 5,000 people a day! There was a dish we were supposed to order but I left the name at the hotel. Instead of ordering Talchin, I ordered Tashslik. Oh well, nothing lost as the lamb chops that came out were tender and delicious. Meals here are so big you order one because it feeds two with ease.
Stomachs fed, it was off to the National Museum for a look at the historic items, many from Persepolis and Susa. A small collection, but impressive in the range of history they encompass
Our final destination for the day was the so-called Jewel Museum. In fact it would be more accurately described as an abundance of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones kept in the vault of the central bank. It was AMAZING! These are the Iranian Crown Jewels and are so valuable they underpin the Iranian currency. Piles of precious stones some as big as eggs, or tiaras, or jewel encrusted plates, crowns, scabbards...oh and a globe fully encrusted in diamonds, rubies, seas of emeralds etc...a mere 51,000 stones. Over 1 meter tall it does look amazing in real life. but somehow I don't think it would work in our living room.

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