Esfahan Bird Garden (Paq-e Parandegan) is not far from the Koh Ateshgah Sasanid fire temple which I climbed on a previous visit and first impressions were that it didn’t look much but initial impressions belied what we found inside the extensive grounds.
Founded in 1996 the garden covers more than 50,000 square metres, most of which is enclosed by a net suspended high off the ground giving the 125 or so species of birds plenty of room to fly around freely whilst making sure that they don’t escape their environs.
We saw parrots, budgies, cockatoos, ostriches, owls, pheasants, peacocks as well as the aquatic birds in the large pool; pelicans, flamingos and storks and cranes all balancing on one leg and black and white swans paddling smoothly along in the clear water.
My favourites were the toucans which reminded me of those Guinness adverts of long ago and in Farsi they are known as Fala-Fala. Two toucans perching on the branch; Fala-Fala, Fala-Fala.
Esfahan Bird Garden made a perfect outing on a beautiful sunny and warm early spring afternoon. The trees were just breaking into leaf giving the hedgerows and woodlands a lovely hazy-green appearance. The Zayandeh-Rud however was extremely low as there was a drought in this area threatening the production of those gorgeous melons and other orchard fruits that we picked in abundance at the end of last summer. I can now report in May 2012 that the drought conditions have eased and the melons are just as sweet and juicy as ever!
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Posted in Iran-Go and visit!, tagged Esfahan, fire temple, Iran, Isfahan, koh artashgah, Sala, sasanid, Temple, zayandeh rud, zorastranian on May 2, 2012 |
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The two mountain ranges of Sala and Sofeh shelter the city of Esfahan which nestles in a verdant plain irrigated by the mighty Zayande-Rud as it winds its way through the province. The plain itself is well developed. The city of Esfahan, described by Fitzgerald as Nesf-e Jahan “Half the World” because of its wonderfully varied history and culture, has been built up over many centuries and there are now signs that the smaller towns and villages are themselves becoming suburbs of Esfahan rather than remaining individual settlements.
Driving into Esfahan from the town of Sede you are suddenly faced with a rocky outcrop. There is no gradual build up to this 13th Century citadel, and it rises from the plain with a suddenness that takes you by surprise. This bastion includes the remains of a Sasanid Koh-Ateshgah Fire Temple at the top, and once seen from the road below, the urge to climb the dusty, rocky mountain to sit in the Zorastranian temple becomes an irresistible challenge. I recommend an early start to ensure that you make the most of the cooler conditions and there are fewer people around to interrupt the peace, quiet and photography. The dry heat however does not sap your energy nearly as much as the humid damp that we experience in the UK and I found the climb, which rises to 1600m above sea level, much more comfortable than I anticipated.
The views from the top of Koh-Ateshgah make the sometimes tricky and earthy scramble well worth the effort and there are plenty of flat rocks along the way where you can admire the ever-widening views, drink some water, enjoy the cooling breeze and catch your breath. It takes surprisingly little time to reach the top, whereas the trip down I found much more hazardous and time consuming.
A fascinating couple of hours well worth spending at this historic monument and all for 65p for the both of us.
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