Ian Wright starts his journey in Tehran,
Irans busy and polluted capital city which has
a population of 12 million. He pays a visit to the Shrine of the Ayatollah, last resting-place of Ayatollah Khomeini and Irans
holiest site of worship. He also visits the Martyrs
graveyard where soldiers from the Iran/Iraq war are
buried. After taking part in the House of Strength,
an ancient Iranian sport, Ian checks out the local night
life and the next morning treats himself to a local
dish of sheeps brains.
Ian goes skiing in Dizin, a mountain
resort just two hours from Tehran. Like the beaches
on the Caspian Sea, the ski slopes are very accessible
from Tehran, and it doesnt cost much to get there.
From Dizin Ian travels 300 miles to Bandare-E
Torkaman on the Caspian coast, where he stays
with a local family. He goes sturgeon fishing and catches
a 50-pound fish, from which will come 15 pounds of caviar.
The caviar processing plant is on stilts in the middle
of the sea, and Ian samples some of the days catch.
Ian witnesses a Turkman wrestling bout, where he is
challenged by local wrestlers, descendants of Genghis
Khans Mongolian invaders. He then catches a train
for the 22-hour journey to Esfahan (via Tehran).
Esfahan is Irans most popular
tourist destination, mainly because of its magnificent blue Mosque with its incredible echo
effect. Ian also visits the historic Shah Abbas
palace, constructed around a huge polo court. Ian takes a flight to Shiraz to see
the Islamic festival of Ashura. Thousands
of devout Shiite Muslims flagellate themselves in the
streets all day to mourn an ancient prophet.
From Shiraz, Ian trucks out to find the Qashqai
Nomads in the south of Iran. At one time Nomads
made up much of Southern Irans population. Ian
helps out with sheep herding and witnesses a baby goat
being born. Next, Ian hitch-hikes to Persepolis,
the ancient city built by Darius the Great 2,500 years
ago at the height of the Persian Empire. The ruins were
also the scene of the hugely controversial party thrown
by the last Shah of Iran in 1972, costing millions of
dollars. It was one of the events that sparked the dissent
that would eventually culminate in revolution in 1980.
Finally, Ian hitches south east to visit the remote
but magnificent Citadel at Bam. Although
most of this fortress is medieval, some of it was built
almost 2000 years ago. The Citadel was prone to many
attacks in the past, but amazingly none were successful,
despite the fact that it is constructed entirely out
of mud and straw.