Jaffer Kuli Khan . . Ja’far Quli Khan . . Jafar Gholi Khan . . Jaf’r Quli Khan

Recently I introduced you to Sattara Khanum, and her husband Jaffer Kuli Khan (Sitara and Ja’far Quli Khan in Lorimer’s translated Duraki/Behdarwand poem). The puzzle in the posting this week is a salutary lesson in careful reading of transliterated names and also, perhaps, in not believing everything that even the most renowned authors write  – …

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A sublime bridge: the Si o Se Pol

When I very first came to Isfahan, years ago and on an overnight bus from Shiraz, the early morning darkness of cold suburbs and dull office blocks was suddenly transformed into a softly-illuminated miracle of supreme architectural beauty as we clattered over the splendid 33-span bridge constructed by Allahverdi Khan.  I remember gazing out, sleepily …

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Sattara Khanum – and her velvet tresses

This week – something special for my Bakhtiari subscribers.  An extra welcome to you all! My posting on Bakhtiari poetry recitations mentioned how the people and places in one of the poems on this website (on the battle of the Duraki and Behdarwand) are, according to their translator DLR Lorimer, traceable in Henry Layard’s book …

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The ‘festival of lights’: 1595

In 1595, three years before Shah Abbas formally designated Isfahan as his capital city, he spent a mind-blowing 22 thousand tumans on an eye-popping ‘festival of lights’ in the city. Fifteeen thousand footsoldiers were gathered from nearby regions, equipped with regalia and banners, and presented to the Shah just outside Isfahan – in the village of Daulatabad – …

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The valiant hawk

This week I want to show you the Gonbad-i Bāz – an octagonal tower perched atop a conical mountain near Natanz, and an unusual survival of a non-religious Safavid-era building. Although Kleiss suggests that this domed tower is a royal pavilion for hunting the “numerous deer” in the area; most other writers, and all the …

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Aerial photos of Isfahan

Can I this week share some 1930s aerial photos of Iran from the Oriental Institute in Chicago – and juxtapose them with the Google Earth satellite images (still aerial of course, just from a little higher up!) that I used when identifying and double-checking locations for the stopping places along the thousand kilometre walk of …

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Musulman and Kafir lions: ‘O cat of Ali’

The famous Bakhtiari lion gravestones were recorded by the earliest of the European travellers (the line-drawing below was published in 1891) – and they are now being analysed and recorded more formally. When I very first saw them, at dusk on the way northwards from Lali up into the mountains, I was SO excited – …

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