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Bulbs and dionysias - Iran in April (5)


By AndrewR


We were now nearing the end of our holiday, but there was time for one more botanising stop on our way to Esfahan.

Here we found merendera sobolifera

And two forms of tulipa humilis, growing side by side – a white form

And a deep pink form

Located on the main north/south and east/west routes crossing Iran, Esfahan was once one of the largest cities in the world. For many years, it was also the capital city of Persia. More recently it has developed as a major commercial hub but still retains much of its past glory, and is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture including covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. The authorities decided to plant a tree for every resident of the city but had to stop when they reached 1.5 million through lack of space! However this makes Esfahan a beautiful green and pleasant city with shady walks, despite the heat and traffic.

There are two important historic bridges across the Zayande River which runs through the city, the Royal Bridge

And the Bridge of 33 Arches

The river starts in the Zagros mountains and dries up in the Gavkhooni wetland. It does not flow every year, and after two ‘dry’ years, the population turned out in force this year to celebrate its appearance this spring.

We made an early morning visit (before the hoards of other tourists arrived) to the Friday Mosque, one of the oldest mosques still standing in Iran

From here, we went to Imam Square, the second largest square in the world (after Tiannanmen Square in Beijing)

A royal viewing platform was built in the 17th century so the rulers could watch the polo matches played in the square in comfort

From the balcony, a staircase leads to a music room – the carved stone enhancing the accoustics of the space

Finally we were let loose in the bazaar to shop for souvenirs and presents before our flights back home

I did not know what to expect before my trip to Iran. The most common question before I went was “is it safe?” Not only is it safe, we received a warm welcome wherever we went. Locals are keen to practice their English (even small boys can talk about English football teams!), or have their picture taken with us. One woman even took chocolate from her four year old daughter to give to us. The weather was warm in the cities (mid 70 degrees Fahrenheit), but cooled down as we went up into the mountains. Iran is also very dry, and with bulbs and plants growing on steep hillsides, drainage will be critical for anything planted in our gardens. After this trip, my ‘wants’ list got a lot longer.

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Wonderful holiday - I can well imagine your wish list has grown!

2 May, 2017


Thank you for sharing your Iran visit with us. Some wonderful plants viewed on the way, not surprising your 'wants' list is enormous. Your next project will be to source some of them in the UK?

3 May, 2017


I must say the 'is it safe' went through my mind when I saw your first title. glad the trip was so enjoyable for you as it has been enjoyable for me to read all your blogs.
lots of plants to tempt you and me.
it reinforces the maxim 'right plant in the right place'

3 May, 2017


Sbg - my response to anyone who asked "is it safe?" was "if it isn't safe, they will cancel the trip."

3 May, 2017


Dont tell 'Eggheads' question panel about the Zayande
River !

3 May, 2017


that's true Andrew.

3 May, 2017

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