Leaving Tehran, we decided to go south. We like to look on the map, point some little, not very recommended place and take a local bus. That’s how we ended up spending most of Iranian time in and around… Kashan.
Of course there are places to see in Kashan, like in every town in this world. But between Esfahan, Shiraz or Yazd, Kashan has no marketing power. People usually pass by Kashan on the way down, sometimes just staying over night. Somehow we like those places.
Except our one night in the hostel (the traditional, old Noghli house), we didn’t meet any tourist in Kashan. My green scarf, which was ok in Tehran, also raised much more attention. In Kashan, 95% of the women are just dressed up in black. Not so far from the capital, but feels really like another country.
Which we like! After our first days in Iran, first impressions, getting used to the things, we really started to enjoy. On the tiny streets: many bikes, man with big hills of sangak bread in their arms, 800-years-old market and quite a few old, traditional houses. We were wondering from place to place, not being able to remember all the historical stories, mentioned in the travel guides or leaflets. Which khan-e (traditional house) is which, build in which year and how many sons had the big owner? Maybe not that important at the end.
– But look, Mummy! – said Hanna. – Why almost all the doors have two different knockers?! – Good question. But the first person was able to give us an answer: one (round and smaller) was used by women, and the other one (longer) by men. That the women of the house knew if they should dress up before opening the doors or not.
I also had this questions in mind: once we were invited to different homes – is it ok for me to take off this annoying scarf? It is. Girls and women in Kashan (but also in other towns, we have visited) are just waiting for a moment of crossing the doorstep to show their hair. Everybody is following on Instagram those courageous girls, who pose in their trendy clothes sometimes… even… without a scarf. But it’s a risky game. Just yesterday I have read the news that The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps arrested in Iran 8 girls for spreading ‘un-Islamic culture and promiscuity’. Hijab covering the hair that is compulsory for women in public in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution and it’s a very important topic in the social talks, while travelling through Iran.
It was a big topic also for our Hanna. While discovering different little part of the city, we have got invited to the primary school. Little girls, covered in pink hijabs, surrounded us and showed us the biggest interest in the world. Actually we were not aware that already from the first class of the school, girls should cover their heads. – Mummy, please do not tell them that I’m already in school. Next time in Iran I will wear the scarf, but for now I want to run free – Hanna had serious dilemmas.
This she really didn’t like. But both of the girls loved the fact, that the activity of eating was mostly on the carpets. You just seat on the ground and eat! This feels somehow closer with each other and more relaxing. The sweetest place to eat seemed like totally made for tourists, but most of our local friends were also visiting it today. It was Abbasi Traditional Dining and Tea Room and is for sure worth a recommendation.
But the coolest of the coolest places we have found (by accident!) in Kashan was… Puppet and Toy Museum of Iran. Just while walking between sandy walls, we ended up at the entrance. It’s a very new place (that’s why you won’t find it in any guides), very special and full of passion. Amir, the founder, is a dolls lover, who spend many of his life travelling through Iran and collecting traditional toys but also the stories about them. He finished Theater Studied in Tehran and decided to have his little baby: sweet museum in Kashan. His beautiful wife Farzaneh gives it an artistic charm, with her hand made art and cafe with the best lemonade I have drank on this world. We spend hours there, just sitting on the court yard, playing KLASY or building little dolls out of simple chickpea.
Kashan sits just on the edge of the large desert (almost 80 000 km2), which is situated in the middle of the Iranian plateau. That makes is a great spot for a trips into the wild. Which we did!
One the way to the total wild, we still visited Nushabad – huuuuge 3-floors-underground city, where hundreds of people could live during very hot summers, very hot winters or when they wanted to hide from the enemies. A real masterpiece! – But how did they use the toilet here? And how did they cook? – the young guy, guiding us through narrow corridors, explained Hanna and Mila all the details.
Desert is one of those places, everybody should see and feel. Our girls got simply crazy: running up and down, screaming around and singing songs. Was beautiful to see this freedom.
We decided to stay for a night in a caravanserai, we met on the way. Called Maranjab, was built in the 16th century and it’s located between the huge desert and Namak Lake, a salty lake with salty plateau around. Every day dozens of trucks are driving here to get salt out of the Lake. Almost lonely sleeping in the caravanserai has an amazing charm but probably it’s better to do it during Iranian summer (we had to use maybe 10 blankets;)
So many things around such a small Kashan;) But the truth is that we met people we can really call friends in Kashan and this is why we didn’t want to leave. Traditional houses, mosques and graves can tell you nothing in compare to beautiful people. I don’t remember with whom last time I felt as comfortable as with them.
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »