From Yazd to Kashan

Barely standing the heat of sun, it becomes what purpose the many towers on the roofs of houses serve, and why many houses and workshops are created underground. The heat in the summer (about 40 C in the shadow) and the dryness of its surrounding areas (Yazd is at the edge of two deserts) have led to a number of inventions in order to make life more comfortable. Wind towers attached to the roof of each clay house serve to cool the living and sleeping rooms as well as the water cisterns. Water is brought from several hundred kilometers in the adjacent mountains by an ingenious underground canal (khanate) system. In the old part of Yazd large sections of the historical loam houses are still preserved, a labyrinth of lanes and loam walls, yards and mosques. To cope with the heat and dryness, we drink a lot of water. Once we ask for a bottle of mineral water in a small store, but instead of handing us a the desired product, the clerk asks back whether we would want to order beer. However, we kindly deny. Consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden and so far, we have not seen a single person drinking any alcoholic beverages. However, in private houses wine and beer are commonly available as we are told, illegally brewed or smuggled into the country. Obviously, one can also buy alcoholic beverages illegally by asking for mineral water. We continue our journey to Nain and Kashan, oasis cities in the desert, where the importance of water is even more preponderant. This year, the rivers and creeks in the region have all dried out and there is a severe drought for the 2nd consecutive year in the whole country. Thousands of camels and other animals are reported to have died, and the Iranian government has called for international help, the 2nd time only after the Islamic Revolution in 1979! Despite the drought, we celebrate the Swiss National Day (August 1) in the best local restaurant and eat a delicious trout, probably from a nearby fish farm, which still must have some water.