There is no place for place!
How can a place
House the maker of all space,
Or the vast sky enclose
The maker of heaven?
He told me:
‘I am a homeless treasure.
The world was made
To give you a place to stand
And see me.’
Tell me, if the one you seek
Why put your shoes on?
The real road
Is found by polishing,
Polishing the mirror of your heart.
Belief and unbelief
Both have their origin
In your hypocritical heart;
The way is only long
Because your delay in starting it:
One single step
Would bring you to him:
Become a slave,
And you will be a king.
Water Management in Ancient Persia
Ancient Persians were well known for the ways they procured and supplied water.
Water management in a geographical location where it cannot be found abundantly all year round is a challenge. It represents the determination of a nation to survive and thrive, DestinationIran reported.
There are different water-related structures and facilities in Iran for the Iranians as well as foreign travelers to visit and appreciate how water has been managed for centuries in this country.
Kariz Water Structure
Ancient Persians, who arrived in the Iranian plateau after migrating from Caucasian mountains around 3,000 years ago, settled in south and central Iran. These two are areas where we have most water structures.
Kariz is an underground aqueduct dug by pickaxe and shovel to transfer water from high mountains located tens of kilometers away from human settlements that have no accessible sources of water.
People did not leave their territories in search of better living conditions. Instead, they invented this system using natural resources and laws to let water flow through manmade water channels in a smartly-devised gradient and run down the ducts for long distances to bring life to villages and towns.
Up to this point, water has been transferred. Now, it’s time to harness the power of flowing water and preserve it.
Huge underground tanks were built and insulated using traditional cement called Sarouj for storing water that had arrived in a village after a long journey.
Such structures are called Aab-Anbar in Farsi, meaning water tanks. These have two openings, one inlet and one outlet, on two sides of such structures at slightly different elevations.
Water fills these tanks from one side and leaves them from the other. So, there was always a constant flow of water. It was never still. That’s why it always remains fresh and drinkable.
In addition, the other energy-saving invention of Persians, Badgir (wind tower), was implemented in these water reservoirs.
At least a couple of them were constructed on both sides of a tank while a dome shaded it.
Badgirs let the air blow in from one side and out from the other. So, water was always exposed to fresh air, too.
A piece of salt rock was also thrown into the water to ensure it remains clean. Some other openings were worked out to allow the light in as well.
People loved to have something icy in the hot summer time. People started devising such systems for water management in ancient Persia’s hot climate to have icy refreshment in summer.
Desert nights were quite cold and water could freeze. This is what people needed to make ice out of water in ditches or pools next to a wall adjacent to a large mud-and-brick dome covering a huge water tank underneath.
Every night, ice was made and the next day it was shaded by the wall and preserved in a cool place.
The ice made in such a manner was kept in such structures until the end of summer due to the efficient insulation system devised for ice-houses.
The oldest remnants of bridges trace back to the Sassanian period, 3rd to 7th centuries. They were so strongly built that they remain extant today, despite all the flooding and windy events lashing at them for centuries.
Most of these bridges have been constructed on very powerful rivers in southwest Iran.
The main material contributing to the solidity of these structures was Sarouj--the same traditional cement.
There were arches built on top of the Sarouj-made foundations with flat roofs on top of these structures. These flat surfaces were connecting ancient roads on one side of the river to the other.
The empty spaces between arches and under flat tops created enclosed areas as shelters or shady spots, which could function to let more raised water to go through and help the entire structure resist against the current.
Stone, rubble, pebble and bricks were combined using Sarouj. Once hardened, this locally crafted mixture turned into a hard cliff-like wall, which allowed the safe passage of water streams.
Thanks to this technique, which ancient Persians invented to construct bridges, we can now study this aspect of water management.
Water Dams on Large Rivers
What’s left from those ancient water dams indicate the rigidity of the structures installed on big rivers of Iran to block the water and redirect them into farms and orchards.
The same local construction materials referred to earlier were made use of for building such structures.
Basically, the purpose of building some bridges in Iran was to make it possible for the caravans and people cross those rivers while it raised the level of water for purposes like irrigation.
In some cases, even before the Sassanian rule, Persians had redirected part of the water in large rivers to transfer it to agricultural fields by making water channels.
In Shoushtar, where you can see several examples of water management, Nahr-e-Dariun demonstrates the planning skills of ancient Persians.
Are these methods useless today? Are these structures obsolete? Are we so advanced in 21st century to say goodbye to them? You can visit these sites in Iran to see the realities on the ground and learn the fascinating passion of Iranians for water management in this semi-arid country.
Iran, Japan to Boost Cultural Ties
The current friendly relations between Iran and Japan are expected to continue in future, said the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh.
Speaking in a meeting with Japan’s ambassador in Tehran, Koji Haneda, he said diplomats and ambassadors play a very important role in development of cultural relations between various countries.
“There is a significant potential for expansion of cooperation between the two countries by holding various exhibitions of traditional arts and handicrafts,” he said.
Referring to the importance of developing ties between Iran and Japan, Malekzadeh said there is no restriction on boosting cultural ties between the two countries.
“We are prepared to hold various joint cultural exhibitions with Japan because the measure will help introduce the arts and traditions of the two countries to each other,” he said.
Malekzadeh invited Haneda to participate in the Voice of Spring Festival, which will be held in 31 Iranian provinces.
Haneda said Iran is a large country that enjoys significant potentials in various fields, adding that this can help increase tourist attraction.
He said that he has so far travelled to the beautiful Iranian cities of Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd.
“During the trips, I found that there is close and friendly relations between Iran and Japan,” he said.
Haneda noted that valuable and unique relics are kept in Iran’s National Museum.
He noted that an exhibition of pottery works made by a Japanese artist will be held in Tehran in Cooperation with Iran’s National Museum.
Rome Confab on Iranian Civilization
The International Conference on Iranian Civilization: Past, Present and Future was held in Rome.
The two-day conference, attended by a number of cultural and political dignitaries and Iranologists was held in the Sapienza University of Rome.
Addressing the ceremony, Professor Luigi Frati, the chancellor of Sapienza University, presented a report on Iranology and oriental studies conducted in Iran.
He hoped that new links will be established between the universities of Iran and Italy.
Meanwhile, Iranian ambassador to Italy, Mohammad Ali Husseini, referred to Iran and Italy as two ancient civilizations of the world.
He also said Iran and Italy have always been the center of civilization and culture in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, respectively.
Husseini noted that there is significant potential for expansion of ties between the two countries.
Salad With Pinto Beans
Lettuce, 1 medium (chopped)
Tomatoes, 3 medium (cut into pieces)
Cherry tomatoes, 7 (halved)
Cucumbers, 4 small (sliced)
Carrots, 2 medium (sliced)
Radishes, 3 small (sliced)
Onion, 1 small (chopped)
Parsley, a small bunch (chopped)
For Pinto Beans
Dried pinto beans, 2 1/2 cups (picked over, rinsed and soaked overnight)
Olive oil, 1/4 cup
Lemon juice, 1/4 cup
Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper, a pinch
Olive oil, 1/4 cup
Lime juice, 2 small
Dried mint, 1 teaspoon
Garlic, 1 clove (minced)
Salt and pepper to taste
Salad Dressing: In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients together and mix well using a whisk or a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Pinto Beans: Drain the soaked beans and place in a large pot. Fill the pot with five cups of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Simmer for ten minutes over low heat.
Salad: In a large salad bowl, toss all washed and chopped ingredients and Pinto Beans and gently mix well by hand. Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. You may sprinkle the salad with crumbled feta cheese.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
Lettuce is one of the most delicate salad vegetables in the world. The vegetable is usually consumed cold and raw, in salads, sandwiches and a number of other dishes.
Usually, lettuce leaves are slightly bitter. However, they might be used in a way that helps rid them of the bitterness. Being high in nutritional value, lettuce offers a number of health and nutritional benefits.
Lettuce, being high in dietary fiber, aids digestion and is good for those suffering from constipation.
The juice of lettuce, when mixed with rose oil and applied to the forehead, can help ease headache and even aid a sound and restful sleep.
Lettuce has been associated with reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and cataracts. This mainly results from the presence of betacarotene, the chief disease-fighting nutrient, in the salad.
Some 5,000 historical relics will be restored in different provinces of Iran in the next Iranian year (starting March 21, 2013).