Bakhtiari graves – it’s not just men!

This week, I thought some of you might like to see the trailer for Pedram Khosronejad’s film about Bakhtiari lion tombstones (click here: its 16 minutes). This includes some fascinating testimony from some of the men who made the tombstones (up in situ, accommodated in tents for two or three months by the commissioning families …

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Cycling across Persia in the 1890s

In 1896, three British men set off on “the longest bicycle ride ever attempted, just 19,237 miles over continuous new ground” – including a ride through Persia. John Foster Fraser’s account of the two year trip is full of colonial-style anecdotes (many of which are a little too close to racism for many modern readers). …

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The hanging town of Yezdikhwast

Yezdikhwast is between Isfahan and Shiraz – or, for Vita Sackville-West in 1927, from Isfahan on the way across the Zagros Mountains when she visited the Bakhtiari. She described the town as: “that fantastic grey eyrie overhanging a chasm. Pierre Loti compared it to the abode of sea birds [click here and scroll down for …

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Alexander the hero?

From 334BC onwards Alexander was aiming to conquer the whole of the Persian empire. He raced through Anatolia, defeating Darius III at Issos (click and rollover to see annotations on the mosaic) and then again – at Gaugamela. Babylon and Susa then surrendered without a struggle, giving Alexander access to the immense Achaemenid treasures. Alexander …

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Bibliography: Three British ladies in Bakhtiariland

Three very different British women travelled in Bakhtiari territory between 1890 and 1927.  Although their accounts span only four decades, they encapsulate the meteoric rise – and fall – of the Bakhtiari, all of whose important leaders were immediate relatives of the ‘Great Khan’, Hosaynqolī Khan. Here below is the full bibliography for my article …

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A Bamboo cart to the source of the Karun

Major Herbert Sawyer was an Indian Army officer who, in 1890, carried out a geographical-military reconnaissance in West Persia, including a mapping of the Bakhtiari territories.  Even though a detailed version of his map was publicly available in 1894 (click here and scroll down); copies in the India Office collection (now in the British Library) …

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