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January 15, 2003

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Our guides call Shiraz the heartland of Persian culture. It's a city of poets; Iran's most prominent poets, Hafez and Sa'di, lived and died here. Their tombs attract thousands of visitors; we wish we could read the poetry on their shrines. Shiraz served as Iran's capital from 1747-1779, during the Zand dynasty, and most important buildings date from this period. The best thing to do is wander around the parks and gardens. Nomads still wander in eastern Iran because the arid conditions go against settled life. The women of the Qashqa'is nomadic group wear colorful dresses, garish jewelry, and don't hide beneath their chadors.
You can always tell a dervish by his axe. He collects money in that gourd and sings operetto style.
Nomad woman (on the left), a fierce dweller of the Eastern Iranian desert. Nomad woman (on the right) carries a backpack over her chador.
Hanging out with descendants of Muhammad (remember the black turban). They're nice people who give Islamic fundamentalists a good name.
A quiet religious school or medressa.
Mullah of the month.