This was our first day on the road since my husband and I landed in Shiraz just four days prior. We had visited Persepolis and now we were heading to Cyrus the Great’s burial site and his capital Pasargadae. After that, we continued on to see the Beehive Ice House structure that was once a common fixture to the landscape in this area. Very few still remain intact today given that they are pretty fragile. The last stop of the day is to see the 4000 year old Cypress tree. It’s located behind the Ice House so if you are in the hood stop by for a look. Try to make a donation to the nice people who are looking after it’s well-being. I say quick stops not because I don’t want to spend more time looking around but the visa time is ticking.
It’s a place not to be missed. Pasargadae is an amazing site. The Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) the UN and a number of individuals recently saved it and Persepolis from being submerged under water. The work on the Sivand Dam has been delayed for the time being. This has given some skilled archeologists and scientist time to explore the area. Some amazing things like a cave believed to be occupied 7000 years ago and 9-mile dirt road believed to be the Royal Passage of the Achaemenids – to name a couple – have been discovered. More clues on what the
The garden of gravel was once a true Persian garden called the Chaharbagh. Modern examples of this four-sided style is seen at the Taj Mahal, the Fin Garden in Kashan and Amir Chakmaq Complex in Yazd – to name a few. Cyrus’ tomb was once surrounded with streams of running water, tall cypress trees and flowering plants like those seen in those gardens today. Many other travelers say that it’s not worth the visit but my visit gave me inspiration to learn more about Cyrus the Great. The site itself is more than a pile of cut rock but a place where huge amounts of history took place. Here’s more information about early excavations of the site.
Abrkouh: Beehive Ice House
The Beehive-shaped tall abobe Ice Houses for desert climates like those found in Iran around 400 BC. Water collects in the shallow trenches that collect water over time. The ice was later broken up before spring and stored deep inside the interior of the dome. The Ice House is then sealed off until the hot summer months when the ice was needed to make a drink cold, preserve food or make rosewater flavored faloodeh.
. For further explanation about these structures and others like them in the Middle East, check out this link.
These were used through out the middle east and today are used for storage or living quarters like these smaller Beehive houses in Syria.
The 4000 year old Cypress Tree
The cypress tree plays a significant role in Persian culture and influenced the design of famous Persian Gardens in both the past and present. It’s likeness is carved on the walls of Persepolis, referred to in many Persian poems, woven into carpets and common motif found in decorative tile works inside mosques and homes of Iran. It stands for many things including longevity, strength, freedom and the state of mourning.
I began noticing the presence of the cypress tree everywhere in my travels. In the center of miniature paintings, woven in countless rugs in shops and in about every garden visited. This tree today is in danger of being destroyed by modern man. The root system of this 33 meter tall tree extends as much as a mile from it’s center – local undertaker mentioned this when we visited. This means many roots lie underneath some near by farms and newly built roads.
The local Department of Environment of Yazd Province is trying to raise money to buy land near by so that they can ensure the future safety to the oldest living Persian. It is also listed on the UNESCO world heritage, so please visit have a look if you are near.