We have decided that the phrase uttered numerous times by our curator guide at Crown Jewels Museum is a good phrase for the tour so far. Our first order of business today was to drive about an hour and a half to see the mud brick citadel at Rayen. Up until about 2006, I believe, we would take our groups to see the citadel at Bam. Unfortunately, a massive earthquake struck the area and the town and citadel were destroyed. Many tens of thousands of people were killed, and the region was devastated. Now we go to see a smaller but similar mud brick citadel at Rayen, which is about 1 10th the size of Bam. You can get a good idea of the construction techniques, architecture, and the use of the buildings present at Rayen.
After our visit to Rayen, we headed back towards Kerman with a stop for lunch at the Shazadeh Garden, near Mahan. It is amazing to see so much water in such a climate, but the water for the garden comes from underground and flows in abundance through the terraced garden grounds. After hiking up the several terraces we finally made it to the top and our lunch spot. Very much beautiful! We had lunch outdoors in the shade, with a light breeze, the sound of flowing water, good company and excellent food. No one wanted to get up and leave.
Our next stop was not too far away in Mahan at the mausoleum of Shah Nametollah-e-Vali, the 14th century Sufi leader. After this we headed back to Kerman to visit the Safavid period mosque, bathhouse and bazaar. We had some great interactions with Iranians who were also visiting the sights and really had a great day. We learned about the Kermani embroidery called Pateh, and about the Afghan refugee children who were out at the bazaar trying to sell us fortune cards. Kerman isn’t that far from the border with Afghanistan and the city is a hub for people fleeing the violence in their home country.
Tomorrow we head to Shiraz.