Kashan’s surroundings is full of places to enjoy. Many tourists have to go to Abyaneh, a village with particular red architecture, preserved folk costumes and ancient dialect which is mostly overpriced and made for mass tourism. Still, the nature around Abyaneh is spectacular and a stay here would be a very good choice for it gives an opportunity to explore the wild side.
A bit south from here is Mount Karkas, a massive chain that has a terrifying name of human corpse because it was a place known for Zoroastrian temples and burying grounds. Others would book a crazy drive to Maranjab desert and Namak lake.
With lousy pop music on radio and with a glass of tea in one hand, our driver drove us through rocky path 150 km/h into one of the most beautiful deserts of Iran. The fearful experience is well worth of, not only because the driver knows these paths like the back of his hand, but for the blissful reward of sand dunes and spectacular sunsets behind the sea of yellow sand. This is a desert we all dream about. Many Iranians would asked us why are we going to a desert, since there is nothing there. They might be right, but for us Europeans deserts are spectacular areas, as much as Iranians love waterfalls and forests.
A bit further north is a desolate landscape of Lake Namak. In Persian Namak means salt and this is literally a salt lake. There is no water, only hard white salt laying on the ground, stretching miles in every direction, up to the bluish mountains in the backdrop. We had a simple dinner and tea in the Maranjab caravanserai built along the Silk Road path in 1603. Traders were travelling along this path for a month or so, and this was among the best places for rest and refreshment on the way. It still has simple rooms for travellers.
On the way back to Kashan, we stopped in middle of nowhere. With complete darkness around us, we closed our lights and lifted our heads to the skies. Stars everywhere, hundreds, millions of them above our heads stopped us for several minutes of complete silence. Unpolluted air gave us a brief moment of self-reflection but also of understanding the feelings of people throughout history who looked upon the starry sky and wondered.
Photos by: Andrea Seifert, Mint Media