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Persian Pearls

By Linda Tancs

The ancient kingdom of Persia, now known as Iran, isn’t exactly a tourist magnet yet boasts 16 World Heritage sites worthy of distinction.  Some, like the pre-Christian monumental ruins of Persepolis, represent one of the greatest ancient sites outside the Holy Land.  Another top attraction is Isfahan’s Masjed-e Jāmé (“Friday mosque”), the oldest preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia.  Created to exemplify Eden, the Persian Garden is a collection of nine gardens selected from various regions of Iran, maintaining an ancient geometric model and integrating cultural and social aspects of society in a manner intended to harmonize with natural surroundings.  Thankfully, many of its historic sites are far removed from the more problematic border zones around Iraq and Afghanistan, a plus for the many university groups seeking tours of Persia’s pearls.

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