Al Hambra: Generalife, Palacio Nazaries, Palace of Charles V, Alcazaba
This panoramic view was taken from Mirador San Nicola, Al Bayzin, Granada, Spain. A distinctive palace and fortress with Sierra Nevada mountains in the background.
Granada was reconquered in 1492 by Queen Isabella I de Castille and King Fernando II de Aragon, completing the Spanish Reconquista, and marking the end of the Islamic rule in Europe.
Muhammad XII, also known as Boabdil, the last emir of Granada was forced to leave the land, where he was born and breed. He was brokenhearted and fell into pieces. According to the legend, when he reached the rocky prominent which gave the last view of the city, he stopped and surveyed the fascinating red palace and its surrounding for the last time, in his life.
He has so many creations and yet He never forgets me. But I only have One Creator, and I’ve forgotten Him countless of times (Saadi)
I wish I could show you when when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being (Hafez)
The next journey was to Shiraz, in Fars Province. It would take around 8 hours to arrive at Shiraz. On the left and the right side of the road were mostly desert. It was beautiful tho..
One thing to be noted, it was very difficult to find a toilet on the highway. In the middle of the trip, I felt like I wanted to go to the rest room. I told the driver to stop whenever he found a toilet. Gosh, it took forever! I could not wait anymore and ‘force’ him to stop. I did ‘my business’ around the bush, haha. By the way, I am not suggesting this because it was not a decent thing to do in Iran.
Prior to arrival at Shiraz, there were two stops. The first, the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae. Cyrus the Great is believed to unify the area which became the seed of modern-day Iran. Since 2015, the tomb was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. We only saw the tomb from the entrance gate.
The Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae
Now, let’s continue my buried travel-tales 🙂
Isfahan, Nefse Jahan, or which literally means Half of the World, is one of the largest cities in Iran. It is located 340 kms south of Tehran. Isfahan served several times as the capital city in the past. It was seemingly during Shah Abbas I (Safavid Dynasty), Isfahan experienced its golden era when the shah made the city his capital, which was rather safe from the threat of his arch-rival, Istanbul-based Ottoman Empire. Shah Abbas I also turned Isfahan into a beautifully cultured metropolitan city of that time, which can still be easily noticed today.
Our minibus departed from Kashan around 9 am and arrived at Isfahan at around 1 pm. Isfahan is quite accessible by several means of transportation, such as airplane, bus, car and train. In the current times, Isfahan is associated with technology. Industrial areas were seen to be set up adjacent to the city.
Kashan was an old city. It was just approximately two-and half-hour trip from Tehran by car. We traveled on Friday and it was seemingly a special day for Iranians who observe Friday much more than us, in Indonesia. I could see people offering tea and snacks by the streets -which is considered a way to respect Jum’ah. In Indonesia, Friday is just another workday, with an unofficial extended lunch break. In Iran, it was a bit different.
I liked it. It gave me some spiritual feeling.
Then we arrived at our hotel in Kashan. It was an old house and has been refurbished to a hotel. I liked everything at the hotel! The name of the hotel is Manouchehri House. It was originally built during Safavid Era. It has been renovated and became the first boutique hotel in Iran. It was even awarded Lonely Planet Top Choice in 2012. Highly recommended!
I couldn’t ask for more. The room, the food, the bathroom, the amenities, and the atmosphere were just beyond expectation. It was true that we were a bit struggling with the stairs. Given the perfect service it provided, I had no problem with that.
Manouchehri House, Kashan
Iran was already in my bucket list since long time ago but I had no chance (and budget) to execute it yet. Rich of history and culture, beautiful landscape, and amazing architecture were among the main things that interest me about Iran. And Iranians are so nice. I have some Iranian friends when I was in Delft and their spirit to learn is impressive. In addition, Iran is quite famous in Indonesia for many reasons. Long story short, I was really intrigued to see this country.