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A visit to my family’s hometown of Esfahan, Iran

Posted by on January 8, 2013
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My last stop in Iran was Esfahan, often referred to as ‘Esfahan nesf-e jahan’ (Esfahan is half the world), is the number one tourist destination in Iran thanks to its beautiful Persian gardens, huge bazaars, massive UNESCO-listed central square and numerous artisanal handicrafts. In Esfahan, you’re constantly surrounded by the arts — painting, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and architecture. My favorite thing to do every time I’ve visited here is to watch artisans make their beautiful handicrafts, things like the famous Persian carpets, engraved metal plates and enamel working. Needless to say, if you’re a tourist in Iran, Esfahan is the place for souvenirs.

But for me, Esfahan isn’t just about cool crafts; it’s also where my parents are from and where many of my relatives still live. At this point in my trip, I met up with my mom, who up until this time had been holding down the fort in Esfahan while I backpacked through Iran. One of my sisters also made the trip out from New York, so it was a nice change of pace to end my many days of solo travels with some family and familiar faces. We shopped, lounged around in my parents’ condo and ate, which was maybe the best part of it all. As good as the food had been throughout the entire 15-month-trip, nothing compares to mom’s homecooked meals.

Take a look at Esfahan and my last days in Iran.

Naqsh-e Jahan Square (“pattern of the world”) is where polo, which was actually founded in Persia, was played hundreds of years ago but is now just used as a park area surrounded by bazaars and mosques.

One of a few 400-year-old bridges in Esfahan. When I went the river was unfortunately dry.

View from my parent’s condo in Esfahan.

As it always happens, I was having a little too much fun catching up with my family to remember to take a lot of photos. But I did manage to get one snap of my two uncles in their factory. There are six brothers on my dad’s side, and all of them have storefronts on the same street. I went to each of their shops and drank tea with each before ending my trip.

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