Moving from Qazvin to Zanjan, we traveled the path like the tired rays of the sun at sunset. Zanjan, a city where we were not strangers, my wife’s aunt welcomed us with a warm hug. A large house with a yard covered with green ivy and tall windows that let the sunlight into the house. A house that witnessed two births until that moment, Javane and Mohammad Javad were born inside its walls. The night we arrived, there was a party because it was my aunt’s birthday. The first and last photo of our family of 6 was taken between shutter clicks.
This magnificent building is one of the sights of Zanjan. The name Mughal has been associated with destruction throughout history, but the Soltanieh Dome was built by order of the Mughal rulers. The fascinating paradox that makes beauty out of ruins, maybe they should have admired Iranian art as well.
A fusion of Iranian and Islamic architecture, even the Mongols succumbed to its charm. The turquoise dome of Soltanieh, the largest dome in the world after the Church of Saint Mary in Florence, shines like a precious gem on the brick slope and the expanse of a desert.
Crafting the world’s most exquisite and sharpest knives, Zanjan Bazaar unfolds as a Qajar-era market, the longest covered market in Iran. Walking under its brick arches, it’s an endless journey unless your feet give in, accompanied by the rhythmic beat of copper vessels that still resonates in my memory.
The mansion of the Zulfiqari family, one of the prominent figures of Zanjan, now hosts and shelters 5 mummies of the famous Salt Man. Discovered in 1993 in a salt mine, their history traces back 400 years before Christ.
We had to say goodbye to Zanjan and move towards the rainbow mountains of Mahneshan, which we were counting seconds to see. I hugged the whole family and hugged Javaneh tighter. I loved her and her name. Harmony full of zest for life…
Throughout these 75 days, Javaneh was the spectator of my travel images, posted day by day on Instagram. She journeyed and explored Iran with me. Just a few days after I reached Tehran, Javaneh slipped into eternal slumber, marking our first encounter and last farewell with her during that trip to Zanjan. The only group photo was the same 6-member birthday picture.
The name Zanjan is entwined with the Rainbow Mountains. From the city of Zanjan, we headed towards the village of Hasar in the Rainbow region. A village nestled amidst the Rainbow Mountains.
Mountains that appear as if the stained glass of the cosmic rainbow shattered upon them, creating a spectrum of seven colors.
The journey to reach these mountains was awe-inspiring, traversing wheat fields that, to us, felt like fields of gold in the season of our journey.
A young man from the village of Hasar, now one of our good friends, helped us set up camp near the river, bringing us a fishing tour for our evening fire.
Yet, neither did the fish become our catch nor did the flame of a fire embrace our bundles of firewood. This was our first camping experience, and none of the videos we had watched came in handy. It was a different kind of experience…
We went to sleep tired, hungry, with hopes pinned on the sunrise in our tent.
Early in the morning, with the first rays of the sun, we woke up and went to our young friend’s house to return the fishing tour and head towards Takht-e Soleyman.
As we entered the old house, the breakfast spread was laid out on the floor: honey, milk, local butter, jam, and freshly baked bread from the house’s oven. We had the most delightful breakfast of our lives in Mr. Ghorbani’s house, alongside his lovely and warm-hearted family.
We set out towards Takht-e Soleyman, unaware of the winding, untamed path and the pristine nature that awaited us.
Zanjan, situated in the Central District of Zanjan County, within the Zanjan province of Iran, holds the dual distinction of being both the capital of the county and the province. According to the 2006 census, the city was home to 341,801 residents distributed across 89,829 households. Subsequent to this, the 2011 census recorded an increase in population, with 386,851 individuals residing in 110,943 households.
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