Iran – Discovering ancient Persian empire

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          I had a wish, hidden even from myself, to go to Iran, to see ancient Persia, civilization that was one of the most important in the history of mankind. That huge step, invitation to travel, came suddenly and unexpectedly, as a gift, as soon as I became ready to absorb and recognize in me traces of everything that I will awake in myself by this visit. And my visit happened during Ramadan fast, which gave additional solemn tone to the whole journey.

Hijab-does it hide or reveal?

          I was informed and warned about all things I should pay attention to when I get there, what are the restrictions regarding clothes, behavior and so on, but none of these diminished my excitement while I was packing long dresses and scarves in different colors, which are worn as hijab and are compulsory there for women. Although in some moments it seemed even challenging, provocative to cover my hair, it became clear to me why that beauty is “hidden” and kept only for those with whom we want to share it. As in some movie or theatre play, somehow I came to live the role of the Persian girl and that is why I probably felt so good, that role suited me well, especially on all those remarkable places which I visited.

          Isfahan, Persepolis, Pasargadae and Shiraz are the cities which left permanent trace and stamp in my soul and made me wish for more, to explore, and I would also say, “remember”. This country is fascinating and special in many ways, with its culture, art, temperament, courage and defiance of its peaceful and just inhabitants, far from the picture created in the mass media, which some interest groups create for their own selfish ambitions. I felt more than safe, pleasant and relaxed.

                “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”  Hafiz of Shiraz

          The city of art, of the poets Hafez and Saadi, made me go back in time when they lived and created poems, when, it seems, people knew far more about love and life. Values which they created through their poems and sent to the world are worthy nowadays too and we return to them again and again. In Hafez Mausoleum, beside his grave, I truly felt his presence. His life story, his life and devotion, first of all devotion to beloved woman, and all that through contemplation of God, is really timeless. And if there is poet whom I love more than Rumi, who is also Persian, that is Hafez.

            Pink mosque in Shiraz is absolutely enchanting place, and in spite of all the other beauty I have seen, which also have fascinating artistic value, in the sphere of architecture and painting, Pink mosque is unequalled. With myriads of mosaics on one side of its walls, where the light disperse on the inside when the sunlight touches the windows, you really get scenery from the fairy tale. Colorfulness, intensity, strength and power of the colors of mosaic on every inside and outside wall are something that you should really see with your own eyes, because not even the best photography can capture that beauty.

           Glass mosque, with millions of pieces of glass which decorate its interior is also unique in the world. Although it was time of Ramadan fast, I succeeded, in the period between payers, in peace and quiet, to absorb that refracting of light in every pore of my being. Magnificent, as every other spiritual structure, and yet with a dose of dedication and passion that came from all artist who took part in creation of this work of art. Although similar, every one of these buildings gave one new tone in the mosaic, mosaic created of my impressions about this country.

          On the journey from Isfahan to Shiraz, which lasted for a long time, through magnificent stone desert, we came across breathtaking Persepolis and Pasargadae. Persian Empire, although nowadays you can find only leftovers and ruins, shines from every stone and rock with its grandness and royalty.

          Pasargadae was founded in 6th century B.C., and it was built by the ruler who laid the foundation to Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, and his tomb might look familiar, because you have probably seen building like this many times, if not in reality, then on the photos. It inspired Ivan Mestrovic, sculptor, to build the Monument of the Unknown Hero on Avala, hill near Belgrade. The history repeats itself. Cyrus the Great was an exceptional ruler, in every way; his ruler’s methods and principles exceeded meaning of true democracy, even as we know it today.  By pursuing policies of religious, national and territorial tolerance, Cyrus the Great became the creator of the first charter of peace, which is nowadays kept in the museum in London. Many more things can be learned from his ruling. And it is no wonder that Persia was leading civilization when it was founded on these principles.

           And why Alexander the Great set Persepolis on fire? And do Persians consider him Great? Persepolis was the most perfect city of those times, and although Persians gave it up and backed up from the invasion of Alexander’s army, still, he set the city on fire. The history will never know did he do that on purpose or unintentionally, but it was something that changed the course of history. Persepolis holds secret of Persia and tombs of the rulers who created history of mankind for hundreds of years. Darius the Great extended his empire all the way to the Danube River, even to the land of today’s Serbia. It is a great feeling when you stand in front of the grand rock, knowing that such a great ruler sleeps his eternal sleep under it.

“For I have learned that every heart will get what it prays for most.”  Hafiz

          Still, greatness of country is created by its inhabitants, people with smile, hospitality, acceptance and love that radiates from their eyes. Iran is really special and no matter what external or internal restrictions does it suffer, sanctions, inflations, religious and other police, Iran is country of people who radiate goodness.

          Open your hearts without prejudices and fear, and Iran will be precious experience for you, reminder of the true, original human values. Far away from politics, religion, wars, authority and power. Only pure love toward Man and what is divine in each and every one of us.