My favorite building in Esfahan is Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque on they Eastern side of Iman square and I go there a few more times. It is a simple building as far as mosques go. No minarets, iwans or courtyard. Just one richly decorated dome.
Another must see is the Jameh Mosque, which impresses with its size and the different styles that have been used in its construction. It has many nooks and crannies that beg to be explored. The big brick dome just has to be seen.
One of the many donation boxes in the Imam mosque is very clear on the return you get on your charity.
All good things must come to an end and one afternoon I pay for my room and plan for an early departure the next day. I want to go to Jolfa on my last night and buy two bus tickets for the grand total of 10 cents. They come with free candy and a big smile from the ticket seller. I find the right bus and get on, men in the front and women in the back. Vank cathedral is well hidden behind high walls, just like other active Christian churches in Iran. I pay the $3 for foreigners and looking at the surroundings that money is put to very good use. In contrast to the Armenian churches I have seen in Turkey this one, dating back to the 17th century, is very plain on the outside but has beautiful frescoes on the inside. Alas, photography is not allowed inside. So head on over to Wikipedia to have a look at the frescoes .
Attached to the Church is a small museum with some interesting exhibits of Armenian books and historical artifacts and some gruesome pictures of the 1915 genocide.
After leaving the church I park myself in one of the fancy coffee shops and get carried away with too many cafe frappes while I sort through my pictures on my laptop. This cafe could be anywhere in Europe: lounge music, fancy coffee drinks at high prices, snack food, filled with young couples on a date or people working on their laptops. Except maybe for the headscarfs, which ride at the very back of the head, revealing more than they cover. In my hyperactive state I think it is a good idea to take a picture of this orange glowing orb before buying some energy drinks on my way home.
I have so much caffeine in me that I walk all the way back to my hotel where I’m unable to sleep for most of the night after these guys stare at me.
At 4am I realize that I won’t make my planned early departure and think “screw it!”, turn off my alarm and sleep in. Thus, I get to spend another day in beautiful Esfahan. The front desk guys make of course fun of me when I finally appear from my room. I tell them to rename the place “Hotel California”.
Read in the next installment how I almost got electrocuted in a "Lost Paradise"