A real Caravanserai

Tuesday 4 to Wednesday 5 November.

After a tension filled day watching the intense ceremonies relating to the martyrdom of Imam Hassein we drove out of Yazd to spend a night at the Zein-o-din Caravanserai.

Accommodation was simple, two mattresses on a raised platform, surrounded by heavy curtains. There was a row of platforms on both sides of the circular corridor, probably accommodating up to 30 people. And a corridor on the other side was similar.

This caravanserai is the only one remaining of two circular buildings. The rest are square, but all with a large courtyard with rooms off it. In this case rooms were dining and bathroom facilities.

Nine hundred and ninety-nine Caravanserai in Iran were built under the order of Sultan Abbas I in Seljuk times to provide safe accommodation to travellers. They are placed approximately 30km apart  – a day’s journey for a camel.

We had seen many Caravanserai along the Silk Route, often three days journey or approximately 90 km apart, but they originated in ancient Persia.

We were given a dinner of chicken, rice and salad. Then an Iranian guest took out some musical instruments, a recorder and a tar (a string instrument about the size of a guitar, but the body is a double gourd). He entertained the rest of the guests playing the instruments and singing. Another Iranian guest joined in whistling.

After our intense day of ceremonies it was a delightful way to relax in the evening.