The monuments of Isfahan from Byron’s car

So much it meant to have escaped from Teheran

After having described the Friday Mosque of Isfahan, it seems that Byron wants to continue with his hopping-on-an-off and sightseeing the most important monuments of Isfahan. It is always the evening of the 11th of February 1934, and as he did for the Maidan-i Imam, he drives around some other monuments of the city.

Again, we need to remind ourselves that at this moment he was not traveling alone: Mr. and Mrs. Hovland were giving him a ride to Shiraz, where they were moving to from Teheran. This explains his hurridly visit to a city, Isfahan, that certainly deserved much more time.

“Dusk was falling when I reached the College of the Mother of the Shah which was built by Sultan Hussein the Safavid in 1710. Through the entrance a narrow sunk pool led to a black arch and doubled it unrippled, creating, as it were, an architectural playing-card. The old white-stemmed poplars had just been pollarded; twigs and branches were scattered over the paving. I emerged into the Char Bagh, Shah Abbas’s avenue, and drove beneath the double line of trees to the bridge of Ali Verdi Khan, which carries the road to Shiraz, and the royal vista, across the river to a slope a mile long. The bridge encloses the road by arched walls, on the outside of which runs a miniature arcade for foot passengers. This was crowded with people, and all the town was hurrying to join them; there was never such a flood in living memory. The lights came out. A little breeze stirred, and for the first time in four months I felt a wind that had no chill in it. I smelt the spring, and the rising sap. One of those rare moments of absolute peace, when the body is loose, the mind asks no questions, and the world is a triumph, was mine. So much it meant to have escaped from Teheran. ”

And the best way to complete this suggestive description of the city and the feeling of peace and awe that Byron put in this passage…here is a small gallery, for visual reference 🙂

View within the center garden of the Chahar Bagh. Photo by Chala Hadimi (archnet).
View of the Chahar Bagh facing south, with the façade of the Madrasa Madar-e Shah. Photo by Chala Hadimi (archnet).
Si-o-seh Pol, downstream view from northeast. Photo by Robert Byron (archnet).
Si-o-seh Pol, downstream view from southwest. Photo by Khosrow Bozorgi (archnet).
Si-o-seh Pol, view showing pedestrian arcade at night. Photo by Daniel C. Waugh (archnet)



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