September 23: We all made it and some had a bit of rest before we ventured out on the first day of out tour. We had a slight change to the itinerary but that was for the good. We started our day at the beautiful Golestan Palace museum complex, now a UNESCO World Heritage sight. The complex used to be a citadel or fortress before Tehran was the capital of Iran. It was eventually transformed into the collection of throne rooms, dining rooms, formal reception rooms, etc to what we see today. The architecture and artwork are very beautiful. Mirror tiles were used in many of the rooms with stunning effect.
Our next stop was the Archeological museum which showcase artifacts from around Iran from different periods – many are thousands of years old. Iran has a very rich archeological record, with much still being discovered.
We finished the morning at the Glass and Ceramics museum. This used to be a home of a noble, went through many owners and various uses until it was purchased and turned into the museum. We wandered through the rooms and up the grand staircase to more rooms displaying exquisite pieces of glass work and ceramics.
We were able to squeeze in a visit to the crown jewels museum, which is only open from 2 to 4 pm 3 days of the week. We got there right as it opened, went through the many layers of security and finally laid eyes on the amazing collection of jewels collected by the kings of Iran over the centuries. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, turquoise, gold, silver, pearls. Wow. Beautiful pieces – or very much beautiful as our guide in the museum kept saying! Our timing could not have been better (thanks to our guide Bahman!) as the museum, practically empty when we arrived, was now getting extremely crowded. Time to go!
After that it was on to the airport to catch our flight to Kerman. While we were waiting in line to board, a worker came over with a big smile and asked us where we were from. He had a coworker standing back apparently also waiting for the answer, and when we said we were from the US, the young man who had approached us turned back to his friend and there was an exchange of a few bills. Apparently we had settled a bet to his benefit. They both came back over with big smiles and welcomed us to Iran and wished us a good flight and asked where in the US we were from and so on. It was very cute, and I am glad we made his day a few rials richer!
Hopefully I can get some photos uploaded later to share, but I have to get going now. We are headed out to Rayen to see the mud brick citadel there.