Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Gonbad-e Qabud, Maragha, NW Iran (Robert Byron photograph)

      Maragha (4,900 ft.), October 16th. – We drove here this morning in four hours, through country that reminded me of Donegal. Lake Urmiya appeared in the distance, a streak of blue and silver, with mountains beyond.   Square pigeon towers, perforated at the top, gave the villages a fortified appearance.  Round about were vineyards, and groves of sanjuk [1] trees, which have narrow grey leaves and clusters of small yellow fruit. 

Gonbad-e Qabud, Maragha, NW Iran (Robert Byron photograph)

     Maragha itself is not attractive.  Broad straight streets have been cut through the old bazaars, and take away its character.  A Persian-speaking infant adorned with eyelashes as long as ospreys conducted us to the necessary officials, and these in turn showed us a fine grave of the Mother of Hulagu and is built of plum-red brick arranged in patterns and inscriptions.  The effect of this cosy old material, transferred as it were from an English kitchen-garden to the service of Koranic texts, and inlaid with glistening blue, is surprisingly beautiful.  There is a Kufic frieze inside, below which the walls have been lined with nesting-holes for pigeons.

[1]  So called by the local Turks; Persian:  sinjid; a relation of the English service tree.

From:  Robert Byron, The Road To Oxiana, London, Jonathan Cape, 1937

Robert Byron (seated left) and (human and boar) dining companions.

Take Me Away -- Roger McGuinn (Link)

On The Map -- Ray Davies (Link)

Absolutely Sweet Marie -- Jason and the Scorchers (Link)

 “After his lengthy analysis of the pattern on the Gonbad-e Qabud, Makovicky concludes that it is “[b]ased on tiles that can readily be obtained by transformation of the Penrose pattern of pentagons, stars, and lozenges. It deviates from a true cartwheel Penrose tiling only in several geometric and artistic adaptations.”


Back-To-School (today!) takes you so many places, I think.   

Safe travels, everyone.   

Write, please, if possible, soon, on that great, onion-skin airmail paper! 

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