The Holy City, Qom

As I woke up this morning, I went to the balcony of my room and saw this view. It was so beautiful!  Unfortunately, we needed to check out and continue with our trip in Kashan and then we would head to the holy city in Iran, Qom.

Kashan. View from my room
Borujerdi ha House

Borujerdi ha House used to be owned by a wealthy merchant. It was built in 1857 for the bride of this merchant. The house took 18 years to build and it had very traditional Persian style and design. It was grand.

However, during the Islamic Revolution, a lot of things were confiscated. What happened to the merchant and the bride?  I don’t remember. 🙂  I quickly did a search on the internet as I write this blog but nothing about this was mentioned anywhere.

Another building within the complex of the House
The interior of the House. It had a feminine look.
Very floral
Could this be the wealthy merchant?
This water barrel could still be used in 2006. People could still get water from the barrel. Amazing! 

Similar to the previous place we visited in Kashan, the architect was ingenious!

Sultan Mirahmad Bath. Some of the carpets that were sold in the bazaar looked like the pattern on this wall.

Next to Borujerdi ha House was Sultan Mirahmad Bath. You just have to go inside and have a look even it costs a few dollars. It was so pretty. The bath house was converted to a tea house many years ago but the beautiful design was still being kept.

Sultan Mirahmad Bath. This reminded me of Turkey.
We were heading to the holy city, Qom, our last stop in Iran. This golden dome reminded me of the one I saw in Israel (I will write about my trip in Israel later)
Qom, the holy city in Iran
The mosque we visited.

Our bus was about to stop and we were about to get off. But before that, our local tour guide seriously told us several times, ‘for the girls, make sure that your hair is all covered under your scarf.’  Qom was a lot stricter than any other cities in Iran. It was a holy city in Shi’a Islam, after all.

The vibe of the city was also very serious too. We saw more pilgrims here than anywhere in Iran that we had visited.

Some of the pilgrims spent a few days in this city so they put up tents.

This city was also famous for another thing – the study of theology which included not only Islam, but also Christianity, Buddhism, and other religions. We had a chat with a student who was studying theology in Qom. The paper that he was working on was a comparison of different religions.

The brief meeting with this student ended our journey in Iran.

7 September 2006

Before I went to Iran, there was a warning issued by UN. The country was labelled as ‘Axis of Evil’ and my friends and family when they knew that I was going to travel there, all frowned. When I came back from my trip (still in 2006), I told them how beautiful the country was, how rich the culture was, and how friendly the people were. They were all surprised.

Fear comes from uncertainty and the unknown.

There is no place on earth that is so ‘mysterious’ that we need to ‘unveil’ it, as long as the place is inhabited by humans.

Rather, it is our uncertainty and the unknown within us that needs to be ‘unveiled’.

Imagine, if there are people living in that country, that means that place is ‘liveable’ and the way to survive as a foreigner is to follow what the locals do. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It applies to everywhere and in any era.

Tibet taught me a lot of things. Iran also did.

Were the Iranians living in the realm of terrorism? Not that I saw. One may argue that I joined a local tour and so of course, everything was beautiful. Then how about the passers-by who asked me and my group to take photos with?  How about the people we bumped into in the streets who talked to us about their studies at universities? How about our encounter with the locals at the live variety show? How about the karate students I met at the airport?  They were not staged. Even the local tour guide didn’t know that we met those people. I am not saying that everything was beautiful there. But in every place, you can find both positive and negative issues.

At the end of the day, you make the choice.

P.S. A girl that I met in Chengdu airport on my way to Tibet told me she was inspired by my journey in Iran. She travelled to Afghanistan several years after my trip in Iran. She even sent me photos of her trip afterwards. I was really flattered that I became her inspiration. We met up with each other again in Norway in 2009, four years after we first met.

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