Iran has been in the news quite a bit lately in a scary, sabre-rattling way. I’m posting this view of my kids up on the hill above Persepolis, the ancient capital of Persia, smiling in the sun. When we just hear the geopolitical opinions about any country in the media it’s easy to mentally flatten the diversity of people and history of place into a one-dimensional ‘good’,’bad’,’friend’,’enemy’ descriptor. Pictures like this help me remember that every country has it’s own history, something which is important to the people that live there and that those ordinary people live ordinary lives wanting the best for their children, to be able to work at their chosen profession and relax and have fun sometimes.
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Samarkand . Alexander the Great described the beauty of this city in 329BC. The famous Chinese explorer Xuan Zang remarked on it as a center of international trade and artistry in the 7th century AD. There are operas, poems and plays about Tamerlane, the man who made Samarkand his capital. The imposing mosques, madrassas and tombs built by Timur and his successors have been heavily restored – not, in my mind, a bad thing. Now you can stand in awe and marvel at the skill of the artisans, designers and eingineers responsible for the enormous entrances and domes and the profusion of color on every surface, inside and out.
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