Day 55: Solomon's throne

Takht-e Soleiman Travel Blog

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The road to Takht-e Soleiman
Zanjan is a unique place in Iran, as two of the ten UNESCO sites in this country are within easy driving distance of Zanjan. If the Iranian government had any interest in promoting tourism (which it hasn't had since 2007) then Zanjan could easily attract many more foreign visitors than they do now.

At the southern end of Zanjan I found a taxi stop with cars waiting to take passengers to Dandy, which is in the direction of Takht-e Soleiman. Let's see if I could convince a driver to take me to the ruins and back, a roundtrip of more than 350 kilometres.
After some hard bargaining I had found someone willing to do it for $35 (which is less than is indicated in my guidebook) and off we went.

It was a very long drive to the ruins, but fortunately a very scenic one.
Some kids in a small village along the way
En route we passed small mud brick villages, drove through vast expanses of semi-desert and crossed some very scenic rugged mountains.

What makes Takht-e Soleiman so special is that it is one of the few pre-Islamic (approx 3rd century BC) sites in Iran which was spared by the invading Arabs. The reason for this was thanks to a cunning ruse by the Zoroastrian monks who lived here in the 7th century. Knowing the Arab's reverence of the old testiment they renamed the site Throne of King Solomon, which spared it the destruction most other Zoroastrian sites in the country endured, even though Solomon had nothing to do with the place. The Arabs turned the place into a fortress, which in turn saved the place from destruction from the Mongols in the 13th century.

The place did not stand the test of time though and today there is in fact very little left of the site.
This is pretty much all there is left of the place
The place has a natural warm water spring and the artificial pool created by the Zoroastrians in the 3rd century is still filled with water, offering some nice reflections of the ruins beyond, but this was hardly worth the trip. I can understand why UNESCO has decided to protect the place, with natural gas and hot water and its rich history of occupation in different eras. But the experience had not been worth the 5-hour drive (2.5 hours to get there and 2.5 hours back to Zanjan). Mainly because it had been a boring drive. Sure, the views were spectacular, but as I could hardly communicate with the driver, this would have been another trip which would have been much nicer to do together with someone else. But alas, there are very few travellers in Iran these days and even less so north of Tehran
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The road to Takht-e Soleiman
The road to Takht-e Soleiman
Some kids in a small village along…
Some kids in a small village alon…
This is pretty much all there is l…
This is pretty much all there is …
wonderful surroundings on the way …
wonderful surroundings on the way…
Tiny villages on the way
Tiny villages on the way
Approaching Takht-e Soleiman
Approaching Takht-e Soleiman
This is one of those sites where y…
This is one of those sites where …
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
some local wildlife
some local wildlife
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman ruins
Takht-e Soleiman natural spring (a…
Takht-e Soleiman natural spring (…
Takht-e Soleiman
photo by: Biedjee