During my epic trip to Iran last year, I mostly stayed in Tehran, the cosmopolitan capital of the country and the city of my childhood, but luckily I got to make several memorable short forays into a few other cities as well: I visited Esfehan (nesfe jahan) with my fabulous Khaleh Farzie; went to Yazd with Haleh, my dear childhood/family friend; visited my vivacious aunt in Shiraz; went to the holy city of Ghom with my uncle; took a short and sweet road trip jaunt to the Caspian sea with good friends where we stayed in a beautiful villa and explored the amazing wonders of the Babolsar food market; and near the end of this truly epic and sentimental journey to my homeland, I also went and visited my father’s side of the family in Kermanshah.
Each trip had its own indelible charm and memories, forging stronger and stronger my deep love for Iran, but it was the visit to kermanshah and spending time reconnecting with my paternal family there — each of whom were kinder and warmer than the next — that had me in tears when I had to leave to go back to Tehran.
Family connection and emotional sentimentality aside, Kermanshah is a region of Iran steeped in history and boasting of both natural beauty and cultural attractions — the historical sights, the Grand Bazaar, the drop-dead-gorgeous mountains, and oh yeah, the amazing food — that makes it a natural destination for anyone traveling to Iran.
Throughout nearly the entire duration of the flight to Kermanshah from Tehran, I had my face pressed and practically glued to the airplane window … staring down at the land that lay below, unable or unwilling to peel away my gaze, and feeling … so much love. So. Much. Love. But also feeling sad. Feeling very very verklempt.
I don’t know how to explain it, except that the topography laying below me was not generic to me. I found it inherently dear, I found it … painfully beautiful. I mean both words (painful and beautiful) sincerely. Kind of like The Little Prince and his rose. These mountains weren’t any old mountains. They were MY mountains. You see.
Or perhaps you don’t see. I’m not being very articulate!
What I will do, however, is do my best to articulate many of the highlights of my trip to Kermanshah. Starting tomorrow, I will have posts sharing with you photos and memories from my short and sweet visit to Kermanshah with the hopes that you’ll enjoy the peek at this beautiful city in Iran, and in the spirit of inspiring you to make plans to go for a visit yourself. One day. Some day! Why not?
Kermanshah, “The Land of History & Myths”; “The Land of Eternal Lovers”; “The Land of Shirin & Farhad”, the land of LOL trees (see below, ha!) is very much worth a visit.
So my friends, coming up in back-to-back posts for your perusing pleasure, expect the tales, anecdotes, pix and high jinx accounts of the following:
- A visit to the Grand Bazaar of Kermanshah.
- A tour of Takieh Moaven al Malek. A striking building with a stunningly long name!
- The tale of vanushk and unripe chickpeas. (You’ll like this, I just know it!)
- Persian roses and Persian Carpets in Kermanshah.
- A sing-along climb up the mountains at dawn and a picnic breakfast sur l’herbe.
- Visiting Hercules and Farhad in Bisutun, and going to taghbostan.
- And finally: A lusty tour of some of the yummy things I ate in Kermanshah. (Because we can’t possibly leave a real or virtual trip to Kermanshah without partaking of all its savory and sweet edible wonders now, can we?)
So khoda hafez for now and see you tomorrow! Basheh? Basheh!