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Arge e Rayen- Iran

Arge e Rayen- Iran

I wanted to visit Arg-é Bam on my trip along the Silk Route in Iran, but went to Rayen castle instead. When i saw a picture of Arg-e Bam I knew I would go there no matter what. To my regret the horrible earthquake of 2003 ruined it completely and many people told me that there is nothing left to see besides piles of rubble and few ruined walls (below the Bam castle before and after the earthquake).

The medieval mud brick city of Rayen is similar to the Agr-e Bam but smaller in size. It is extremely well preserved, despite numerous natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures nearby, and it is one of the most interesting sites in Iran. Arg-e Rayen was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least 1,000 years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.

The outer walls of the castle enclose the main governor’s citadel, houses and other structures around the latter. Most of the houses are dilapidated and just few still stand but you can easily imagine how the city looked in the past. Especially with some of the continuing restoration that was/is going on.

Remaining walls and buildings were freshly covered with hay-mud mix in the course of reconstruction and you can see in one of the frames i took where this has been done, even the hay is still on the ground ready for mixing!

The castle is quite small and you will need much time to walk around. The most interesting part is the governor’s citadel. It has a square shape and many buildings on its territory, which include a governor’s bedroom, his office, rooms for official ceremonies and guests The whole area of the citadel is covered with a roof, with several staircases leading to up. The citadel includes several yards similar to traditional Iranian houses which have square form and no roof above them for access of light to rooms facing these yards.

You can climb up to the roof and the walls and walked around the citadel. From up there you can see all around the castle and will have a better view of the houses surrounding the citadel. The yards, rooms and other structures in the citadel are freshly renovated. You can see that some more lights will be installed soon here and there. A big hall looks like a kitchen and there may be a restaurant in the near future. Besides that all the spaces are completely empty.

Posted by TheJohnsons 00:34 Archived in Iran Tagged architecture desert tower culture history traditional travel fort mountain province city building world heritage mud castle rock stone old big medieval wall east asia middle ancient tourism historic brick fortress iran kerman bam persia construction landmark e persian protection era iranian citadel sandstone arg sassanid stronghold rayen arge pre-islamic mudbrick Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Gaochang

Gaochang

Here from my epic journey on the silk route in 2012/13 is my look at Gaochang in China. It was one of the highlights for me of the trip, I am a bit into ancient sites, I have a great connection with them, and I don't know why? Anyway I hope you get a taste for what out there and how the Chinese are trying to restore it!

Located 30 kilometres south-east of Turpan City, Gaochang, is an ancient city built on the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert and to the south of the Flaming Mountains. Built in the 1st century BC, Gaochang, was an important area along the Silk Road. It was burnt down and destroyed in the 14th century due to increased warfare. The old palace and city ruins can be seen today as they've been well-preserved.

Gaochang was once a fertile and prosperous city serving as capital for three western states in ancient times. The location of Gaochang was ideal as it was located in the middle of the Turpan Basin and the city’s layout was designed with high walls and deep moats, making it a significant military fortress for the Western Region for centuries. With an area of about 2 million square meters, the Ancient Ruins contain the outer and inner cities, along with a palace.

The layout of the city is similar to that of Chang’an (capital of the Tang Dynasty at that time, today’s Xi’an). It is said that, “If you want to learn about the prosperity of the Tang Dynasty, Gaochang Ancient Ruins will show you.” The outer city is surrounded by 11-meter high and 12-meter wide mud walls and nine city gates. The inner city is a 3-kilometer long rectangle that shares its southern wall with the Palace in the northern part of the inner city. A pagoda called, “The Castle of Khan” (meaning “Imperial Palace”) stands on a high stage there. With a history of about 1,300 years, Gaochang, has witnessed many ups and downs in the Turpan region. These delicate ancient ruins have been listed as precious cultural relics under state protection.

Posted by TheJohnsons 20:37 Archived in China Tagged architecture desert culture temple history travel ruins vacation fort mountain city china building cave sand place national stone old road bc destination buddhist attraction wall asian asia first antique ancient tourism historic chinese landmark cultural hall outdoors key silk century khan ruin basin protection relics xinjiang floor heat past lecture turpan units gentleman uyghur gaochang jiaohe tripitaka taklamakan tamrin Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Han Dynasty Great Wall

Or what's left of it!

The Great Wall of the Han Dynasty was functioned as a prevention tool to prevent the invasion of the Huns. History of the Great Wall of China in Han Dynasty also proved its significance in the warring time.

This section is part of a new discovery of the Han Dynasty Great Wall has been discovered in a desert in Gansu Province. This Han Dynasty constructed 24-kilometre Great Wall section has contributed to the length of the Han dynasty Great Wall site in Jinta County, now totals 320 kilometres. With wind and rain lasting about 2,000 years, the overall shape and style of the wall are still clear, and half of the Great Wall section is well preserved.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:45 Archived in China Tagged buildings and desert landmarks tower nature landscape culture history travel fort the plants monuments scenery china world famous sites sand beautiful hill great old road historical beijing scenic tourists wall asian wonder border ancient spots tourism chinese brick fortress outdoor landmark oriental silk dynasty protection weed miracle attic defense han dunhuang gansu fortifications natural. Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Yumen Pass or The Jade Gate

In 2012 I took the minivans that do the trip out to the Jade Gate on the historic Silk route. Everyone had to go through here to access either China or the Central Asia continent and beyond into Europe. This is where my Silk Route Journey finished and my South East Asia Trip began.

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Posted by TheJohnsons 20:35 Archived in China Tagged sky architecture water desert tower view nature landscape history travel vacation province scenery china blue building famous sand heritage hill castle rock stone old road historical scenic yellow sunny wall dry antique ancient tourism historic chinese outdoor gate landmark pass silk dynasty jade ruin gobi han dunhuang gansu yumen fangpa Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Anau Fort Turkmenistan

During my journey along the Silk Route in 2012-2013 I visited Turkmenistan, here are my pictures from the Anau Fort just before we entered the Karakum desert. Both stunning places that I had to share

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:40 Archived in Turkmenistan Tagged architecture mosque monument culture religion history travel fort town city building famous house day castle stone old historical muslim medieval wall east asia middle ancient architectural historic fortress outdoor landmark oriental ages archeology syria syrian islam ruin arabic fortification orient citadel turkmenistan complex aleppo past islamic monumental Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Graffitti and Street Art Singapore

In 2013 I was in the amazing city of Singapore where I sought and found some of the wonderful street art you will see here in this slideshow

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:35 Archived in Singapore Tagged art architecture home view landscape singapore culture traditional street travel town thailand malaysia urban city new china white building house heritage window light red old festival wall asian beauty asia antique tourism shop style chinese vintage outdoor landmark design decoration colorful classic symbol exterior facade background draw vector illustration peranakan Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Persepolis

During my "Silk Route" journey in 2012 I travelled through Iran and of course the route Alexander the Great took to Persepolis the ancient City of Persia. Now in ruins, this UNESCO World Heritage is one that you really need to see to understand and get a feel of. The area of the site is vast and seems to just keep going and going. It is pretty amazing to walk around and imagine how it would have looked in the 4th century.

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:34 Archived in Iran Tagged sky architecture monument culture history travel ruins statue palace city king blue world sand heritage sculpture stone old historical outside unesco site capital wall east middle antique ancient tourism historic sight iran persia persepolis carving gate landmark archeology empire shiraz persian dynasty ruin iranian relief nations excavations basalt bas-relief achaemenid xerxes Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Necropolis at Naqsh e Rustam

During 2012 following the Silk Route of Alexander the Great I visited Iran, and persepolis and this great Necropolis; Naqsh-e Rustam where the great kings of Persia, Darius and Exercese and Artaxerxes I Makrocheir, Darius II Nothus. A beautiful landscape and a place I will always remember....

Posted by TheJohnsons 22:33 Archived in Iran Tagged architecture desert monument culture religion history travel ruins statue mountain province king tomb heritage hill necropolis rock stone old historical cross unesco destination wall east asia ancient tourism historic iran persia persepolis cultural grave empire shiraz darius persian fars dynasty iranian relief antiquity naqsh-e naqsh achaemenid xerxes rustam artaxerxes rostam Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Kellies Castle

In 2013, I visited Malaysia for two months, here in Perak one of my favourite provinces, on being so close to Ipoh , I visited kellies Castle. An amazing concept that never quite got finished, a shame as I suspect it would have been stunning even today! Overlooking the picturesque view of Batu Gajah, Perak, is the unfinished castle of William Kellie Smith, better known as Kellie’s Castle. The brainchild of the Scottish rubber plantation owner to celebrate his child’s birth, the castle and surrounding ruins bear signs of Smith’s grand vision for his family home. Originally, the castle would have boasted a 6-storey tower, an indoor tennis court, an entertainment area on the rooftop, a wine cellar, plus what would have been Malaya’s (later Malaysia) first elevator. It was designed in a Moorish and Indo-Saracenic Revival style with top quality craftsmanship in mind. To realise his dream home, Smith brought in 70 workers and imported bricks and marbles from India as well as exquisite tiles from Italy. Besides its beautiful exterior, Smith had also instructed the construction of secret exit tunnels speculated to be utilised in case of emergencies. There is also a small secluded room near the wine cellar which people have dubbed as a secret room though it was reportedly planned to be a photography room. Construction was halted however when Smith suddenly passed away at the age of 56 from pneumonia while he was on his way to Lisbon to pick up his elevator. His grief stricken wife, Agnes, sold the castle to Harrisons and Crosfield and the castle was left abandoned before being made into a tourist attraction years later

Posted by TheJohnsons 21:07 Archived in Malaysia Tagged sky architecture home view nature park history travel ruins palace green grass malaysia room building heritage window castle rock stone old historical arch tourist balcony british attraction wall asia ancient tourism historic vintage brick construction landmark design structure sunlight batu mansion rustic abandoned moorish background aged hallway perak ipoh kellie Comments (0)

The Big Year Out-Khiva


View The Big Year Out & Things we wish we had done & Photos of us & Photographic Equipement & Visas & Transport and bookings on TheJohnsons's travel map.

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Khiva;
Beautiful restored living citadel town which is so refreshing after seeing so many abandoned ones in Turkmenistan. First thing that struck me about the Uzbeks here is how relaxed and laid back they are. Meros (see review) was a good place to start, even the border guards at the Uzbek border knew about Meros!

In Khiva, it was the first time we had seen bus loads of tourists sinceTurkey! You can by a two day ticket for all the sites within the citadel, pay in soumme as it works out cheaper than paying in dollars, as the official rate is less than the black-market rate. We found the official rate was just under 1900 to the dollar and the unofficial was 2800(exceptSamarkandwhere we got 2700). So you see it pays to pay in Soumme. There were two sites within Khiva which were not included on the ticket, the Kuha Ark; you have to pay extra to go up onto the bastion where you get magnificent views of Khiva. The Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum and all minarets have additional charges (albeit small ones). Another particular site within the citadel we really enjoyed was the Juma mosque which was cool and peaceful and beautiful when we went there.
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The eateries were more expensive inside the citadel, but the one café we frequented for two or three nights also had a wifi spot, which was very reliable, right next to the unfinished minaret. Food was cheaper outside the citadel walls and we even found more than one great supermarket right opposite The Isfandiyar Palace which is also well worth a visit. The prices at the supermarkets were a fraction of those in the cafes etc.

Water pressure is not great in the Old town, not sure but can’t imagine that its any better outside as Khiva does suffer with this. We managed to get a bumblebee sim card through our hosts at Meros, and is well worth getting for calls and texts around Uzbekistan. ATM can be found at the Outside south Gate, Hotel Asia, which only takes MasterCard and Maestro, no visa

Posted by TheJohnsons 23:26 Archived in Uzbekistan Tagged art architecture mosque tower culture religion history traditional travel town urban city building heritage mosaic old road muslim unesco central religious wall east asia antique ancient tourism historic dome fortress gate landmark oriental decoration silk persian islam arabic exterior uzbekistan minaret bukhara kala islamic khiva uzbek majolica madrasah khorezm itchan Comments (0)

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