The Beauty of Iran
July 29, 2014 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Sublime. Thank you for sharing.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:38 PM on July 29, 2014

Iran really is an extraordinary place. What I wouldn't give.
posted by mykescipark at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2014

Fantastic! The unusual angles and distortions work in perfect harmony with the highly geometric architecture, with an end result that reminds me of Persian calligraphy! Thanks for sharing!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2014

Just an interesting tidbit for comparison that I happened upon after skimming these links :

Under Saudi rule, it has been estimated that since 1985 about 95% of Mecca's historic buildings, most over a thousand years old, have been demolished.

Historic sites of religious importance which have been destroyed by the Saudis include five of the renowned "Seven Mosques" initially built by Muhammad's daughter and four of his "greatest Companions" ..

It has been reported that there now are fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of Muhammad. Other buildings that have been destroyed include the house of Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad, demolished to make way for public lavatories; the house of Abu Bakr, Muhammad's companion, now the site of the local Hilton hotel; ..

.. when the house of Ali-Oraid was discovered, King Fahd himself ordered that it be bulldozed lest it should become a pilgrimage site.

posted by jeffburdges at 1:20 PM on July 29, 2014

jeffburdges: a lot of these places are destroyed in the name of preventing 'idolatry', because you're supposed to be worshipping god, not the mundane material belongings of historical people. It's a horrible disservice to history but not antithetical to Islam.

For its part, Iran does a pretty horrible job maintaining its historical sites, especially anything that relates to the monarchy, but it doesn't outright destroy anything that I know of- but I could be wrong. I've been to Christian and Zoroastrian sites as well as the relatively secular mausoleums of famous poets and they're (horribly vandalized and neglected, but) intact. Most of the well-maintained sites are UNESCO sites.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2014

The Zoroastrian sites I saw in Iran, like the towers of silence outside Yazd, did seem to be left to the elements but relatively perserved, although there are still Zoroastrians in Yazd who could maintain the sites if they wanted I suppose. The Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd did not seem particularly run down. The Armenian Christian area in Esfahan was quite nice, although there is still an extant community of Armenian Christians there and they probably are responsible for all the upkeep.

I also did not think the mausoleums of the famous poets I saw (Saadi and Hafez) were vandalized or neglected at all. They seemed to be in excellent shape. I think the Shirazi locals would flip out if Hafez's tomb was neglected, judging by how popular it was when I was there.

I would not be surprised if the non-UNESCO historical sites in general were dilapidated. I doubt non-Islamic sites would be a priority in the current economic climate, especially when the money could be put towards a shrine for the second cousin twice removed of Hossein or some such.

I was there in May 2013 for what its worth. I'm also an American, although my government mandated guide did not whitewash anything (he was amazing, but that is another story), so I don't think I had a Potemkin Village visit either.
posted by Falconetti at 2:19 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wonderful photos, many thanks for posting these, gman.
posted by carter at 2:44 PM on July 29, 2014

These are excellent photos. Sublime, indeed. I would love to visit these places but now I fear they would not live up to the beauty of these photos.
posted by dios at 3:08 PM on July 29, 2014

Dios has it. Sublime.
Those mosque photos are mandalas. The design and craftmanship captured here is incredibly beautiful. Thanks for posting gman (Although Daily Mail, I wish you posted another link like pixoto).
posted by adamvasco at 5:35 PM on July 29, 2014

Wow, I really like that carpet one--the people, the cracked ceiling.
posted by blueberry at 9:40 PM on July 29, 2014

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