Darius, Xerxes, Achemedes, and more…

OK, if I didn’t spell them all correctly, my apologies! It has been another full day of sightseeing as we continue our adventure in Iran. Yesterday we departed Tehran for Hamadan, which is a great city nestled up to the Zagros Mountains. We drove through some amazing landscapes, and the mountains here are really high! One pass we went over on the way was over 9,000 ft – just about where people start to feel really dingy from the altitude. Luckly we didn’t stay at that elevation for very long and descended into the valley and Hamadan.

Our visits included the tomb of Ester and Mordechai, in a synagogue. Yes, there is a Jewish population as well as a Christian population in Iran. They are allowed to worship freely and in Tehran we passed several churches. While the numbers are small, they are not harrassed and there are places where on one block there might be a church on one corner, a mosque on another and a synagogue on another corner.

Today we learned a little bit about pre-Islamic Persia and the various kingdoms that shaped the empire. From archelogical digs in Hamadan, to viewing bas- reliefs carved into the mountainside and depicting the coronation of the a king with the blessing of the god Ahuramazda, the history of this country before Islam is very complex, rich, and interesting. We will be seeing many more pre-Islamic sites over the next several days, and I can’t wait. Persia was a powerful and far-reaching empire at it’s peak.

OK, time in the computer is at a premium, and people are waiting so I need to cut this short. To sum up our tour so far, it has been amazing, and we have been welcomed by the people we meet, and also met with as much curiosity about us as we have about the Iranian people, their culture and their country. I hope this will help to dispell some misperceptions people have about Iran. It is a wonderful country to visit and I highly recommend it!

Hopefully I will get some photos up when I have more time, otherwise it will have to wait and I will post them at the end of the trip.

More to come later! If anyone has any questions or comments, you can post them here!

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