Famed for Islamic art, ceramics, and exquisite buildings, Kashan was a big surprise on my Iranian journey. The beauty of the town was so unexpected after a long bus journey from Isfahan. But here in Kashan were some of the most exquisite buildings I had come across in Iran.And this was where the Three Wise Men set off, following the star to Bethlehem.
The Fin Gardens are probably the finest Persian garden in Iran. Characterised by the artesian water channels and central pavilion this garden epitomised the Safavid era. The decor in the pavilion was so unexpected, a jewel in Iranian architecture. The Fin Gardens are also the site of one of the most infamous assassinations which occurred in 1852. Amir Kabir the Foreign minister was assassinated in the harem here and it felt somewhat creepy to walk through the echoing corridors. I was amazed to hear that bone setting went on in hammams. Kashan, I learned was built on natural springs and water literally flowed through channels in the streets. It was also famed for rosewater and there were huge copper distilling boilers everywhere.
But Kashan had even more architectural treasures. The old merchants house looked like something from the Arabian Nights. The architecture was exquisite with detailed ceramics. Even the door was distinctive with its male and female knockers- designed so that women would not have to face strange men at the door. Close by the hammam was another treasure with tiled walls and arches. I stood on the roof and looked out over the city and thought how lucky I had been to come here.
Kashan felt quite magical and was a delightful finale to my Iranian journey. Where I finished the three wise men started out. One day I’ll go back to Iran.
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