Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Small Desert Town on the Silk Road


In 2001, I travelled around Iran, which is a truly fascinating country, inhabited by some of the friendliest people in the world. I went to the more obvious destinations, like Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz, but I was also lucky enough to visit some of the smaller, less well-known caravan towns on the Silk Road, like Yazd and Na'in.

Na'in is a small town famous for its beautiful, blue and white carpets, which traditionally used indigo and silk brought by the camel trains returning from the Silk Road. In the middle is a two-thousand-year-old Sassanid Citadel, surrounded by a maze of alleyways, little changed since the Middle Ages. The town's tenth century adobe mosque, Masjid-e Jame, is one of the oldest in Iran.

All of the architecture in Na'in is designed to protect people from the baking heat of the desert sun. The traditional houses use wind towers to funnel the breeze through the interior. The rooms are below ground, where it is cooler.

If you like remote, exotic places, which the modern world has passed by, Na'in is for you.

Realistically, I will probably never return there, but back home in England, I have a beautiful Na'in carpet, which will always remind me of the town where it was made, and the people who made it.

The photos show a covered alleyway in the bazaar, a typical Na'in home with its rooms below ground, surmounted by a conical roof and wind towers, the crumbling Narin Ghaleh Citadel, where the inhabitants of Na'in used to flee to escape the invading Mongol hordes and, finally, the tenth century mosque.

Excuse the poor quality of the photos. They are grabbed frames from a tape on my old video camera.


  1. It's hard to arouse dreams about Iran ! You did it ! And the photos are not poor !

  2. I love your pictures! They are always so exotic :-)

    (if exotic is the good word in english to say "dépaysantes")

  3. These pictures are amazing! I have never been to Iran, but this is one of my dream to see this country! I heard it is so beautiful and diverse. The books I have read about it made me wish to see it by myself. And now your pictures....Maybe one day!


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