After the first adventures in Iran, we are now in Kashan, a small city close to the desert.
But before we can get to Kashan, we stop on the road at yet another castle and get into shopping a few scarves made from a lovely lady. The scarves are handwoven and either 100% cotton or 50% cotton and 50% silk. The colours were stunning and I was impressed that this shop employs women, who are widows or single moms and struggle finding work.
Kashan town is famous for its historic houses. In the past, it was a fairly important town for trading. Most of the historic houses are indeed the houses of the most important merchants in the city, back in the day.
Kashan was also a resort for the Safavi kings. The kings used to come here on leisure holidays.
1) Tabātabāei House
The Tabatabaei House is a house that was built for the affluent Tabatabaei family in Kashan around 1880. The house is enormous, with approximately 5,000 square metres and 40 rooms. It has four patios, four basements and three wind towers.
Nowadays it features film locations. As a matter of fact, a few rooms were closed to the public, because a film was about to be shot a few days later when we were there.
2) Abbāsi House
The Abbasi House is another merchant’s house by one of the most affluent families in Kashan, again. Nowadays, it is partly converted into a teahouse and a shop and a museum.
In one of the chambers, the ceiling has mirrors glued to the ceiling to give the impression of a night’s sky at candle light. There are also several secret passageways in the house.
3) Fin Garden
Just outside of the city, you can find the Fin Garden. The best time to visit, and the time we went there, is at dusk. The lighting is magical and there are much less tourists.
The garden was built in 1590. This is the garden where the kings would come and enjoy some time off. It is also the place of a famous assassination. In 1852 Amir Kabir, the chancellor of the Qajarid king, was assassinated in this very garden, or better in the bath house, by the king’s order.
4) Borujerdi House
Yet another merchants house with beautiful frescoes, decorations and a very luxurious house.
Fun fact, the daughter married an heir of the Tabatabaei house. She then moved in with her husband, who built the Tabatabaei house.
5) Rose water production
It is almost time for lunch and we have seen enough houses. Close by there is a traditional rose water factory Masoud wants us to visit.
There happens to also be a shop, where you can buy all sorts of products with roses.
The lady in the shop explained to us that rose water is great for a bunch of things, from simple perfume and moisturizers, you could pour a few drops on your pillow at night and enjoy a great night’s sleep.
The shop features rose water drinks, that, to be honest, were a bit too sweet to my liking. There are also creams, soaps and so on…and obviously the famed rose buds. Persians love to put rose buds on their food and rice.
6) The Underground City of Nushabad
Not far away from Kashan, in the middle of the desert, you can find a recently discovered underground city. Nushabad dates 3000 years back. It was meant to protect the people from invaders. Whenever raiders, bandits or conquerors happened to be close by, the people of Nushabad would move downstairs. Up to 3,000 people were estimated to live in the narrow rooms and corridors. And if an enemy or several enemies managed to come all the way down, the could be easily killed, since they could only pass one at the time.
Another purpose of this city was to escape the heat of the surface and to be close to the well, that could offer water to the passing caravans.
7) Great Salt Desert, Dashte Kavir-Salt Desert National Park
If you have time, you should not miss out on one of the largest salt deserts in Iran. The roads there are a bit bumpy and you need a great deal of patience, but the reward is worth while. The endless sand dunes give you a picture on how it must have been being a merchant on a camel on the Silk Road back in the day.
8) A night in a traditional hotel
We stayed at Ehsan House, a traditional Persian hotel with a big patio and the Persian seats. In our rooms we enjoyed the light from the coloured windows. The interesting things was that, since the building was, like most buildings in Kashan, built underground, by strolling on the flat roof, you could see the cars on the road driving by, which confused me quite a bit.
In the evening we could eat Persian delights like kookoo sabzi, zereshk polo and kashk-e bademjan.
Have you ever been to Kashan? What was your favourite memory there? Let me know in the comments down below.
Till next time!