Yazd is nothing like anywhere in Iran, edge of the desert, the old city of mudbrick
We decided to spend a day in a city called Yazd, after our thoroughly enjoyable 6 days in Esfahan. We’ll have some posts from Esfahan eventually, but right now it feels like a lot to digest. We made a good friend there, and had a few other interesting experiences.
Yazd is nothing like anywhere we’ve been in Iran to date. Situated on the edge of the desert, the Old City is a maze of crumbling mudbrick alleyways. The heat hit us like a wall when got off the air-conditioned bus. It was 37 degrees Celsius at about 10:30 at night, and the warm, dry wind that rushed through the open windows of our taxi into town reminded Laura of Saudi Arabia.
Our hotel is a bit expensive (at $40 per night), but the food is good, they have wifi, and the setting is charming. It’s built in an old Yazdi traditional house. The main courtyard has a fountain and some lush trees, and his half covered, providing some much appreciated shade. Travelers loll around in the midday heat, with only a few (us not included) willing to explore Yazd before things cool later in the day. It’s something like 45 degrees out there as I type this. YEsterday we had a fantastic late afternoon wandering the streets exploring and snapping some photos. It was nice to feel photographically inspired again. Iran has been tough because there are a lot of restrictions on what you can photograph (all government and military sites are out), and people don’t respond so well to unsolicited photos. In fact, taking shots of military installations, even if they are not obviously military-looking, can carry accusations of espionage or camera confiscation.
We only have three and a half days left in the country before we catch a flight from Shiraz to Bahrain, and then Bahrain to Thailand. Tomorrow we will go south to Shiraz and the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis.
Yazd is a warren of narrow alleys
Many domed passages have holes in the roof to let heat escape and let light in.
Nice light on a sweet ride.
A traditional Yazdi house: everything radiates from a central courtyard. Notice the funny tower: that’s a “badgir,” which is basically a natural air conditioner. The taller the badgir, the more wind it catches and channels into the house. These things dot the skyline in Yazd.
We stumbled upon a traditional house being renovated. After asking the workmen if we could enter, we found the inside a beautiful maze of dusty rooms. The delicate light and colour was very nice.
Motorcycles are more common than cars in Iran, probably because they are less expensive and more convenient in congested traffic.
We enjoyed walking through town at the magic hour, when the setting sun casts arguably the best light of the day.
Yazd is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on Earth, with human settlement confirmed as going back at least 7,000 years (probably more).
Traditional door knockers. The left one is for women, as it makes a less deep sound. The right is for men. This is of course important in a culture where single women and men are heavily discouraged from interacting.
The grill of a Paykan, the most common car in Iran, and one that according to the Lonely Planet, is absolutely terrible for emissions.
Motorcycles parked in a courtyard.
Laura Beauchamp, International Travel Photographer.
My lovely wife.
It’s not uncommon to see two, three, or even four people on a motorcycle.
After much searching, we found the way to ascend the roofs of the Old City, and made it in time for sunset.
Up there, we met a couple other travelers, and enjoyed a shared meal afterwards.
The nighttime view from the roof to the Jameh Mosque and other Yazdi landmarks.