Travel Journal Overview: My first introduction to Iranian nose jobs, yes they are common. The wonderful Jameh Mosque. My first but not last Zoroastrian fire temple.
Iranian tours to meet some Iranians?
I made it to the travel agent by 9am, after a rushed beefburger and bipsi breakfast. I was greeted by a solitary tour guide with perfect English. But no one else. It wasn’t too bad either, Hossein was a fountain of information and was already filling my ears with history of street outside. It was there that we met the Iranian mother and daughter tandem that would also be joining us on the tour. The mother was stout, curious but obviously displeased at a westerner or anyone was interrupting their private tour. The daughter was also quite silent, but had at least one redeeming feature: a white plaster across the bridge of her nose!
Nose jobs in Iran …
I had noticed this anomaly amongst Iranian women, but thought little of it. It seemed to me that at least 6 % of all Iranian women I saw on the streets of the main cities had this little white surgical plaster on the bridge of their nose. This was all later confirmed to me later my an Iranian student as “Nose Jobs”. In a country where Islam dictates no harm should done to the body, women should not stand out, and little self promotion in the area of the body is beautiful; it seemed Hollywood plastic surgery was rife. It was explained to me that women wanted to make the only part of the body they were allowed to be exposed to be the most beautiful thing.
Yes, nose jobs are common in Iran!
Genetics in Persia seemed to mean hereditary bumpy noses, not that I could tell. So women have taken to nose jobs in order to create the perfect profile. Yes indeed these Persian Princesses could avail of relatively cheap surgeries in their homeland. So cheap in fact that it turned out the daughter on tour had returned from Singapore to have the surgery. Not withstanding cost, there were also, fakers. People who never ad the surgery, but wore the plaster as a fashion symbol! Even the Iranian youthful male was yielding to this fashion craze. I calculated at least .5% of all young men on the street had such a tell-tale plaster. A country in conflict with itself, or rather finding itself in preparation for change.
Jameh or Friday Mosque in Isfahan Iran
Either way, both ladies were not that communicative. So I resigned myself to learning a little from Hossein. First stop was Jameh Mosque, not on the tour list, but still. Jameh or Friday Mosque (of which there is one in most Iranian cities) is one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran. The origins of this mosque lie in the 8th century, but it has burnt down and been rebuilt many times resulting in different architectural styles throughout the grounds. One of the more interesting things I found was the domes in particular the south dome was built to house the mihrab in 1086-87 by Nizam al-Mulk, and was larger than any dome known at its time. What’s more Of note is the elaborately carved stucco mihrab commissioned in 1310 by Mongol ruler Oljaytu. A really beautiful and descriptive sight, similar to many works in Pakistan.
Iranian Art students
More over than any of this, I found the most intriguing sight to be the Iranian Art and Architecture students scattered over the courtyards with pencil and paper in hand. Mainly black clad girls sat cross-legged and silent as they sketched, measured and stared in thought at the various architectural sites surrounding them. To me I found myself starting at them more than the Mosque’s sites. It was a peaceful surreal sight, almost like stepping back in time.
Secondly I took a slight detour as the mother bombarded Hossein for the third time about the origins of a certain tile in a dome. I headed down into one of the vaults under the mosque. A place where light shone through in beams of dusty light from the ceiling above. Large sandstone columns strutted down every 5 feet casting long dark shadows into the empty vault. The air was cool, and the place had a very hidden feel to it. Hossein appeared, and seemed none to concerned I was there. We headed over to another vault that was still used for prayer. A white washed room, with fewer columns and more ceiling gaps to let the light in from above. On the way out he made particular reference to the ancient 800 year old door we passed through, just as I scraped my day pack across it, opps.
Zoroastrian fire temple in Iran
Next up on the tour, our little white mini bus took us to the Zoroastrian fire temple. Zoroastrianism is the religion and philosophy based on the teachings ascribed to the prophet Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism was once the dominant religion of much of Greater Iran, the number of adherents has dwindled to not more than 200,000 Zoroastrians worldwide, with concentrations in India and Iran. An outline of the religion can be found here :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism.
In the case of the fire temples Zoroastrians believe that on the fourth day after death the human soul leaves the body and the body remains as an empty shell. Traditionally, Zoroastrians disposed of their dead by leaving them atop open-topped enclosures, called Towers of Silence, or Dokhmas. Vultures and the weather would clean the flesh off the bones, which were then placed into an ossuary at the center of the Tower which is usually build on top of a hill.
In this case we only had the death call of any tour, ten minutes to climb the fire temple, or hill on which the temple was located. It was a large sand colored hunk of rock that would have taken at least 35 minutes to climb from where the bus left us, and the same down. Aggrieved I made a note on the map of its location, and would later weigh up whether to come back, or if I made it to Yazd to see them there.
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
Liked this post?
|Never miss a post!
Subscribe to my free newsletter now for weekly updates. (Get my ebook & mobile app for free! )