I stepped on the same grounds that once belonged to a king of the Safavid Empire over 400 years ago. Shah Abbas I was 17 years old when he was announced King in 1588. Let those numbers sink in for a second. 

Snowy Alborz mountains on the drive to Behshahr.

We were traveling north to Behshahr in Mazandaran (about a 5 hour drive from Tehran) for my cousin's engagement party, and stayed an extra couple of days to explore this gorgeous city known for its lush scenery. It's close to the Caspian Sea, and near the foot of the Alborz mountains, so the hills and humidity made me feel right at home. 

It was a bit chilly, but my family took me to up a long winded road on a mountain in the middle of the jungle that surrounds a lake with a destroyed castle and garden that belong to Shah Abbas I in the middle. It might have been because it was the wintertime and there was overcast, but the grounds were eery. 


Recently, after scavenging near the suburbs of Behshahr, an ancient town was discovered which included nearly a thousand corpses of children to middle-aged men, in addition to what's guessed to be some of the Shah's gold. I learned about this after I mentioned how heavy the aura felt.

Being in this part of the world that's so rich in history is something that you can feel in the air. It's humbling being Iranian. I can see why persians have so much pride in their culture and heritage -- the energy from the very ground you walk on is infectious. 

The next day we went to a another lake just in time for the sun to set. The pictures don't do it justice. On the road we passed a shepherd and his sheep and I went back to speak with him after we arrived. He told me about the value of his sheep, and how thankful he was for them for they were his lifeline. Living off the land and appreciating the family line of work you were born into was something his father instilled in him from a young age. There's a common trait that has been plentiful among a majority of my interactions so far in Iran, and that's gratefulness. 

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