Day 62 (1): Of mountain towns and nuclear facilities
Abyaneh Travel Blog› entry 87 of 260 › view all entries
June 6th, 2010 – by: Biedjee
One of the best ways to see Iran is with your own transport. Or, alternatively, hire your own transport. But to do so on your own can be a costly (and also somewhat boring) affair. I'd done it in Alamut and again I'd chartered a taxi to visit Takht-e Soleiman and both of the times I had wished there had been someone to share the trip with.
Well, fortunately Michael had the same idea. So rather than taking a boring bus to our next destination, Esfahan, we had chartered a taxi to drive us there via the town of Abyaneh.
Our driver, Reza, works as a taxi driver during the day and as ambulance driver at night.
On the road to Abyaneh we passed the Natanz nuclear facility. This place has been in the news quite a bit, since it was discovered that deep in the desert, 100 metres below the ground, the Iranians were researching uranium enrichment.
Now that the location is known the Iranian government no longer tries to hide the place, but instead all but advertises it with the amount of military hardware that guards the facility. For miles around the facility we saw anti-aircraft cannons pointing at the sky. Seemingly the Iranian government is not wondering if the facility will be attacked, but rather when.
Strangely enough, though everybody knows the facility is here (locals, tourists, international intelligence agencies) and there is a road running right past it, it is still not allowed to take any pictures in the area. If you get caught taking pictures you will get arrested and are unlikely to see daylight any time soon. Guess they are afraid a photograph will show something which is not visible on satellite images.
So, the Natanz nuclear facility is one memory of Iran I don't have pictures of. A pity, since the desert valley is particularly scenic.
Abyaneh is sometimes called “Red Masouleh” because it is similarly built on the slopes of a mountain, only the houses are made of red mud bricks. It is a beautiful little town, with a maze of steep twisting lanes and pretty mud brick houses. There don't seem to be many people living here, other than a couple of old men and women.
It was a great place to visit after the busy, bustling cities elsewhere in Iran. Here everything was nice and mellow and quiet and relaxed. It was quite a bit cooler up here in the mountains too. A perfect place to spend half a day before heading to a big city again.
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