Yazd

Amir Chakhmaq Complex 

Yazd’s architectural centrepiece, the Amir Chakhmaq complex is located in the heart of the city, in a square of the same name. The imposing three-storey façade flaunts a number of beautifully symmetrical iwans, which light up and glow after sunset. It is one of the largest hosseiniehs in the country (buildings used in the commemorative ceremonies for Imam Hossein’s death), and dates back to the 15th century, although it has undergone numerous renovations.The outstanding three-storey facade of this Hosseinieh is one of the largest such structures in Iran. The rows of perfectly proportioned sunken alcoves are at their best and most photogenic in late afternoon, when the copper-coloured sunlight is captured within each alcove and the towering exterior appears to glow against the darkening sky. New two-storey arcades hem the pedestrianised square and illuminated fountains lend an attractive foreground to the splendid vista at night. Only the 1st floor of the structure is accessible.A huge wooden palm nakhl (cypress tree-shaped wooden structure) is parked under the Amir Chakhmaq. An important centrepiece for the observance of Shiite Ashura commemorations, this nakhl is over 200 years old and is no longer moved. During Ashura, it is draped in a black cover for a day or two around the celebrations to represent the coffin of Imam Hossein. Illusions to cypress trees, and by association the nakhl (which in fact means date palm), predate Islam and signify immortality, resistance and freedom – qualities that have come also to be associated with the Shiite imam, Imam Hossein.

Zoroastrian Atashkadeh

Zoroastrian, an ancient monotheistic religion in Iran before that dates back to around 3500 years ago,was the principal religion in Iran before the Islamic victories, and the community still lives in some specific parts of the country.Yazd is the centre of Zoroastrianism in Iran,and is home to several sites of religious and historic interest.The Ateshkaadeh or fire temple ,this elegant neoclassical building , reflected in an oval pool in the garden courtyard is the most prominent , consisting of a flame visible through a window from the enterance hall that has allegedly been burning since the 5 th century A.D.

Chak Chak

 

In the heart of the desert , almost 70 KM far from Yazd , is Iran's most prominent Zoroastrian pilgrimage site, Chak Chak. A tiny cliff-side village , according to myth the rock face opened up and offered refuge to Nikbanu,the daughter of thhe last pre-islamic ruler,from the encroaching Arab infringers.Each year in june  thousnds of Zoroastrians from Iran , India and other countries flock to the fire temple of Pir'e Sabz.Tradition has the opinion that Pilgrims are to stop the moment they see the the sight of the temple and keep their journey on foot the rest of the way.The temple of Chak Chak, which is the persian for 'drip drip',consists of an ever-dripping spring,said to be the mountan weeping in the rememberence of princess Nikbanu.Growing beside the saintly spring is an enormous and ancient tree said to be Nikbanou's cane.Myth also has it that a petrified colorful cloth from Nikbanou could be seen in the rocks although pilgrims have since taken this.

Jame Mosque

 

Ascending above the historical city,this marvelous construction is graced with a tiled enterance portal,flanked by two 48m-high minarets and adorned with inscriptions from the 15th century.The delicate mosaics on the dome and mihrab,and the tiles above the main Western enterance to the courtyard are masterpieces of calligraphy , evoking saintly names in immeasurably complicated patterns.Built for Sayyed Roknaddin in the 15th century, the mosque is constructed on 12th-century foundations over a former fire temple and with access to the Zarch Qanat(a stairwell leads to part of this ancient water channel but is closed to the public).The Jame Mosque is specifically remarkable for the prevalence of faience- a form of tiling that , like mosaic, is formed of various coloured pieces that are merged together to create the design.This is one sight where having a guide(and ideally a rudimentary knowledge of Arabic script) can transform the experience of a visit as it is impossible to guess at the calligraphic conundrums involved in the design without specilized interpretation. 

Towers Of Silence

 

Another outstanding Zoroastrian site, the ominous-sounding Towers of Scilence are situaated just outside the city and surely worth a visit.Risisng from a solemn desert landscape,these two circular,raised structures sit atop adjacent hills.In the Zoroastrian tradition, once a body stops to live,it can immediately be contaminated by demons and made impure.To avert this infilteration,Zoroastrians purified the dead corpse by exposing it to the elements and local fowl on top of flat-topped towers in the desert namely Dakhmas.According to a tradition dating back over 3,000 years , bodies were arranged on the towers three concentric circles.Men were located in the outer circle,women in the middle,and children in the inner-most ring.Dead Bodies were then left until their bones whitened by the elements and stripped by the vultures.

Dolat Abad Garden

 

Once a residence of Persian regent Karim Khan Zand,this small pavilion set Unesco-listed gardens was constructed around 1750. The inteior of the pavilion is superb, with intricate latticework and exquisite stained-glass windows.The pavilion also boasts Iran's loftiest badgir;standing over 33m tall,it was rebult in the 1960s.The pretty garden,constructed on the traditional persian garden principle of symmetrical design,is planted with soaring ecergreens and dotted with sour orange and pomegranates.There's a coffeshop on-site and some craft shops by the door.Note the unattractive but hygienic modern take on a water fountain:it dispenses disposable straws.



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