Tuesday 27 October: Following Marco Polo's route east to the ancient desert oasis town of Yazd and the mud-brick built Silk Road Hotel set around a pleasantly cool courtyard restaurant.
Amir Chakhmaq with it's three-storey high arched alcoves is the heart of the old town with the Water Museum and several mosques nearby including the 15th century Jaame Mosque with 48 metre high twin minarets and orange dome. Out of town, the hill-top Towers of Silence were used by the Zorastrian priests to lay-out the dead for birds to pick the bones clean so as not to pollute the purity of the earth and air - some lessons could be learned here.
Day trip in hired taxi into the desert with fellow travellers Rita, Matt and Ivan to Meybod, Chak Chak ('drip drip') and Kharanaq. Visited Meybod's crumbling mud-brick Narein Castle, domed ice storage house and impressive 4,000 perch pigeon tower. Chak Chak, a Zorastrian pilgrimage site where the princess Nikbanuh fled the invading Arabs in 637 AD and escaped into the mountain leaving only her scarf and the 'drip drip' of her tears behind. Kharanaq, a deserted mud brick village since the 1970's, when the whole population moved, across the road, to a modern village where piped water, gas and electricity were provided. Only the old-village mosque remains in use.
Photos of Yazd and around.