Our driving groups have been re-organised and we are now in group 1. We have a police car leading us with his blue light flashing constantly. There are two advantages to this : We do not have to stop at traffic lights and we do not have to stop at check points. However, we miss the freedom of being able to stop when we want - every 5 minutes sometimes.
The route was straight down the main road as wanted to have time to explore Persepolis. It was built by various kings called things like Darius and Xerxes starting in 512BC. It was sacked by Alexander the great and then buried and has only recently been excavated.
The carvings, bas reliefs, are plentiful and stunning in spite of the fact that the guide book says that the best ones are in museums. Lions and horses were clearly important and there are many beautiful pictures of them. The various countries who had been conquered by the Persians had to come here to pledge honour to the King at the new year and there are processions of them in the bas reliefs as well as many soldiers and the kings of course. There is a tomb in the hillside above the town and it is beautiful in its own right as well as providing a magnificent view point.
We then carried on to Shiraz and arrived in the middle of the afternoon and, after checking in to the hotel, took a taxi into town. We walked around the outside of the citadel. It is only a few hundred years old but has a spectacular tower at each corner of the fort structure. One of them has a tilt to rival Pisa. We then went on to the mosque which is later than the ones in Esfahan and has a different colour scheme in the tiles including black and yellow. A short walk in the bazaar to buy birthday cards for two of our fellow travellers finished the visit.
We ate in a beautiful old building which was once a meeting place for lawyers. The food has not been exciting, although fine, but the restaurants have all been in lovely buildings.