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When I was planning my two weeks trip to Iran, I read that Yazd is a rather boring city. Apparently nothing goes on there and there’s nothing to see. I must say, that I think I have to stop reading travel guides and making assumptions based on what I read because this opinion, as well as the one about Teheran, didn’t check in reality at all. I had fun in Yazd and I would love to go back there one day.
I don’t know if my feelings were connected with the city directly. Yazd reminded me a bit about Marakech when it comes to the architecture. Yellow and orange buildings, small, narrow streets and cats taking naps here and there, plus all the cafes and restaurants – I felt like I was somewhere else, but definitely not in Iran. From the time perspective, I think I liked it there so much because I used Couchsurfing and spent a lot of time with my host, Zara. I saw famous places, ate local food and made friends.
Before visiting Yazd I had a whole list of places to see, but I actually ended up walking around the city, drinking tea on rooftops and chatting to people. I think I can’t advise you much when it comes to what to do and see in Yazd.
I have a very fond memory of one place – Tourist Library. It’s hard to say what it actually is. It’s a bit of a coffee shop, a bit of a restaurant and a bookshop. You can drink coffee, tea and sit by a pond on a richly decorated chair. On the shelves you will see a lot of old maps of Iran and guide books in every language possible. In the price of the drink there is an access to the rooftop from which you can watch the sunset in the evening.
It was there, where I stopped to rest and hide from the heat. I ordered a coffee, took my Kindle out and sighed with relief. The air con was sounded very loud in the big room, mixing with some traditional music playing from the speakers.
‘Is it worth trying some coffee here? ‘ – I heard a voice. I looked up and saw a beautiful girl. She looked Iranian, but as it turned out she was from Denmark. We became friends very quickly.
J. had been travelling for a few months. She just came from Turkey and she was going further, to India and Nepal. She took a break in her studies and now she was using the opportunity to travel.
We drank one more coffee and shared our impressions of Iran and from our travels. When I was leaving I offered her to meet in the evening. Along with Zara we wanted to see the sunset and I told J. to meet with us later.
I really like meetings like that, just randomly and unexpectedly. I love to just offer ‘hey, do you want to come with me’. It’s the best part of the trip for me!
I left Tourist Library and went for a walk. I stopped at the Zoroastrian temple, where a small flame has been burning for centuries. Zorostraians are followers of a religion, which is very different from Muslim. They have equal rights to the Iranians, which is not something everyone has in the country. They can build temples, establish cemeteries and openly talk about their religion and their prophet.
Yazd made me feel lazy. The city has a very laid back atmosphere. You can just walk around the old city, sit down somewhere in a shade and drink cold lemonade. During the day the city is a bit empty and quiet. The heat doesn’t allow people to normally function.
But the evenings are fascinating. The sunsets seen from a rooftop are magical. Oh, the colours! This is what I call a golden hour. After the dusk, the streets fill up with people. They sparkle with different colours, with sounds and with that lovely chaos that you can find only in Iran. It’s still hot and it’s hard to breathe, but it’s so nice to be out and about and enjoy the lovely local life.
‘I’m sorry. Where are you from? ‘ An older gentleman, around 60 years old stopped our group on the street. ‘From different countries’ – said Mahjid – ‘Iran, Ukraine, Poland, Denmark’. The man smiled a little when he heard it. ‘Do you like Iran? How long have you been here? Where are you going next?’ – he started asking. But then he got a little shy. I guess it’s not really polite to ask people so many questions. ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I teach English and I don’t have any opportunity to speak the language. This is my wife by the way’ – she pointed at a woman standing behind him. She smiled and said a quiet hello.
We talked a little. I really hadn’t seen a person who was so happy to speak English in a long, long time. I’m sure that he will remember us. I wish my students were so happy to speak English!
I’m not sure what I actually did in Yazd. I was in a garden, I saw the special wind chimneys, I talked a lot about travelling and Iranian culture. I laughed a lot.
And that’s it!
What to do in Yazd – you will ask. And I will answer – allow the city to enchant you. Don’t focus on attractions, just enjoy the atmosphere.