End of the tour, shaking minarets, an Armenian Church, the 33 arch bridge

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 17th, 2007. Updated on March 10th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Iran.

Travel Journal Overview:A rather strange cultural scene with shaking minarets, the best church I’ve come across in my travels and back to those bridges

The Shaking Minerets in Esfahan (click to enlarge)

The Shaking Minarets in Esfahan (click to enlarge)

Next up on the whistle stop tour: The Shaking Minarets, surely a highlight in many Iranian Tourists itinerary. At 11am a Mosque care taker would emerge on the roof, proceed to one of the two minarets and push it from the inside, thus causing the minaret opposite it to sway simultaneously.

Yes a little man did appear on the roof, yes he did disappear into one of the minarets and do something that caused…lets say a wobble to occur. The other minaret then trembled more than shook. Ok, it wobbled a little too. This caused a huge eruption of applause from the Iranian audience below. Personally I would have found more excitement in watching two gerbils mating, but did let loose the fakist of smiles and raised eyebrows as all the Iranians looked around with huge gasps of amazement. How could I disappoint them?!

Next: The Armenian Church (Vank) where unlike the Iranian tourists, I had to pay an entrance fee… Now am I wrong or was Armenia the first nation to formally adopt Christianity. Is Iran a Muslim country. Am I to be depicted as Christian, yes(no religious debates, or truth here). Do I have to pay to go into a Muslim Mosque? No. Do I have to pay to go into a Christian cathedral/church? Yes. No comment.

The exterior of the church was nothing exciting, but what I will say is the interior is possibly the most impressive “Christian”church/cathedral I have seen. It’s small, but the church is decorated with glorious and beautiful frescoes and painting works that represent biblical traditions. Most impressive is right above the entrance way a depiction of heaven, purgatory and hell. Graphic depictions of Angles and whitened glory oppose scenes of gory violence and Hell Fire while sandwiched in the middle are hand beating repenter’s. The ambient lighting inside the church added to a truly enjoyable depiction of old and new testament religion. That, coupled with the mix of Christian and Islamic architecture and design made it quite a visual feast for the eyes. No photos allowed, and lots of security staring at you. Hmm, nice Christian attitude.

The museum was also quite nice. Artifacts of actual interest lined two floors of a separate building. Much of the interest lay with the history of the church in Islamic history, not something you come across everyday. Near the entrance there is the world’s smallest book, the bible, along with many highly miniaturized writings that Esfahan was famous for. Also the Armenian Genocide display on what happened in Turkey made for quite a visual impact.

More on the history here:- Armenian Church Iran(links gone2012) unfortunately the video does not show the entrance way nor do they do the art justice.

Next: The Khaju and 33 arch bridges. Although having been there twice before I enjoyed the bridges. They were set in nice park land areas overlooking the Zayandeh river. While Khaju may be the largest, I found the Si-o-Se-Pol or 33 arch bridge to be the nicest. It gives one a nice tranquil historic feeling as you gaze upon its majestic reflections on the river. Still the guide started to flounder on my new found questions on its history. Built at the beginning of the 17th century at the order of Shah Abbas, its real purpose was to irrigate the royal gardens.

With that came the end of the tour, no tearful goodbyes to the mother and daughter and no tip for Hossein , you have to do something outside the norm for a tip from me. I headed back to Imam square for my last night in Esfahan, the fat man at the Amir Kabir had arrange my bus ticket for me to Shiraz.

Some related links from this website that  you might like: (including a lot more photographs from Iran)

Stories: Feeling Low on the Road, in Iran

Stories: Iranian women, and the others I met in Iran

My Iran country guide

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