First we had breakfast in the nice garden restaurant. Two beautiful cats were sitting on the french window sill thinking that food ought to be shared with them.
The first morning visit was at the beautiful Masjed-e Jameh Mosque, also called Friday mosque (15th century on 12th century foundations). It is famous for its particularly fine mosaics and calligraphic inscriptions.
We walked through the old town in the shade and visited a traditional house where Saeed explained the genius cooling system. Every higher standard house has got a wind tower (badgir) that captures wind from 1/2/4/8 directions. They have a structure that contains the shafts, air shelves that are used to catch some of the hot air and stop it entering the house. The currents that enter the house do so often above a pool of cool water. Like this, it is cooling the air while warm air is expelled upwards, out of the house, in through a different shaft.
After a delicious cappuccino we went to a carpet seller. He showed us superbe pieces and we decided to buy three small silk carpets for our house in La Cadière in France. Roger and René also bought one carpet each. It took the time of a full lunch, we had more tea and Philippe was in his element. He negotiated a good price and everybody was happy.
In the afternoon we visited the water museum which explains 2000 years of Iran’s unique irrigation system that has made life in the desert possible. Qanats (underground aqueducts) run from the mother wells, that can be 300 m deep, close to the mountains to the city where it is distributed to households and farms. There were water distribution clocks that marked the 15 or 20 minutes shares purchasable. Qanats run through many of the wealthy houses, collecting the water in pools in the basement which is the coolest part of the house. The qanat builders were brave men who risked their lives when they dug into the ground. They wore a white padded cotton hat and white coloured clothes that was luminous in the dark and would act as shroud in the event of a fatal accident. For the entrance to the qanats they used a ring made of ceramic.
The meal we had in the evening was the best so far. We had dizi a soup-stew meal and Koofteh, meatballs with rice. We met Fatima, Saeed’s wife who is an artist. She had baked a delicious cake for us.