“If you look up, at just the right time, you'll see a peacock on the ceiling,” our guide, Javad, explained as he walked us under the gilded and tiled dome of Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran.
We craned our necks, searching for just the right angle. With the aid of sunlight passing through a nearby window, an image of a peacock — previously unseen, now tail shimmering — was revealed to us brush strokes. Intermittent cries of “Oh!” indicated when everyone in the room “got it.”
A playful peacock on the ceiling of an early 17th century Iranian mosque? Throughout the space, there were little optical illusions buried in rich, broad designs. Like so many mosques in Iran, the calligraphy and tile work were truly dazzling. (In a visual dictionary, the definition of dazzling ought to include a few shots from inside mosques in Iran.)
As we lingered, a group of young Iranian women on a school trip entered the mosque. They stole glances of our group as we made our way around, only half paying attention to their guide (even that is a generous estimation). When their lecture ended, we found ourselves surrounded, answering questions about where we were from, where we had visited in Iran, what we thought about the country. They invited us to a concert that evening, email addresses were exchanged.
“Are you on Facebook?” They'd ask.
Yet another dose of the unexpected — in peacocks and people — during our visit to Iran.
Our experiences above were from the G Adventures Discover Persia Tour. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on the ad below. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission that helps us continue to share stories like this. Thank you!