perfect square

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I arrived in Isfahan in the early morning:

Isfahan train station

Isfahan. It was a name that I had read about in adventure novels before…Isfahan.

The first thing I saw was the train station, though:

arriving in Isfahan

I got a hotel room in the northern part of town, where I slept for a few hours, then I went out and had lunch in a rather simple restaurant:

first lunch in Isfahan

And then I crossed a bridge into an older part of town:

bridge in Isfahan

I went straight to the Vank Cathedral, an Armenian church that had been here for almost four hundred years:

Vank Cathedral of Isfahan

The interior decorations were very shiny:

inside Vank Cathedral of Isfahan

Mostly just scenes from the bible, though:

mural in Vank Cathedral of Isfahan

After having been a Christian tourist in Muslim places of worship for quite some time now, I found myself enjoying the feeling of being among tourists (some of whom were probably Muslim) in a Christian environment:

tourists in Vank Cathedral of Isfahan

Good to mix it up a bit every once in a while.

There was a museum next to the church, and I stayed until it got dark:

Vank Cathedral of Isfahan at night

It all looked very nice in the evening light:

part of Vank Cathedral of Isfahan

Then I walked around in the Armenian quarter:

back alley in Isfahan

It was called Jolfa, and it reminded me of Spain or Italy. People were out taking walks, there were little cafés everywhere, and the whole place had a very laid back atmosphere to it. I loved it.

I reached a square that was apparently a meeting place for young people:

young people on a square in Isfahan

They would stand or sit around in small groups, mostly smoking cigarettes or chit chatting, and every once in a while one of them would go over to another group and talk to them. I figured they were probably trying to hook up.

dudes on a square in Isfahan

There were shops and cafés all around the square, so I got myself a rather strange-looking soft drink:

icy monkey drink

And then I stood around and obvserved what was happening:

New York

Many of the women here seemed to be covering their hair only as a gesture, a mere nod to the law of the land:

girls on a square in Isfahan

It all felt very different from the serious piety that I had observed in downtown Mashhad:


I ended up staying for a few hours on that square, watching what was going on. I even made some friends. There were Nasrin and Rana, who were university students:

Nasrin and Rana in Isfahan

And there were these dudes whose names I forget:


Then the police came and cleared out the square:

square cleaned out by the police

And I figured it was time for me to go back to my hotel.

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