As we follow the main road from Kerman to Shahr-e Babak, which runs 220 Km, we reach a fork in the road that leads to an old and historically valuable village. Taking the right at the fork and after about 16 Km of beautiful woods filled with shrubbery, wild pistachio and almond trees, suddenly a settlement carved in the mountains will reveal itself. This is Meymand Village, the residence of an ancient people with a rich culture that has endured throughout history.
While many have heard of Marco Polo, he was not a pioneer in the art of recording his observations and journeys. Centuries before him, an Iranian explorer excelled in travelogue writing by recording his detailed observations.
According to ancient Iranian scripture, Zoroastrianism began and flourished in Iran by Prophet Zoroaster. Based on the poems in the Gathas, Zoroaster was acquainted with many of the contemporary sciences. He was an intellectual and agnostic who had discovered the mysteries of existence and was hence chosen by God as his messenger and teacher.
By sheer coincidence, one of Gilgamesh Magazine’s editors met Shahin Tivay Sadatolhosseini along a busy highway in Tehran. He graciously accepted our invitation to share the story and philosophy of his journey where we learned about the man, his Wheel, and his RollEast Project. After 33 years, Shahin is back in his motherland. He has traveled across 14 countries on foot, but he wasn’t alone as he was accompanied by his Wheel and equipment which together were about 100 Kg.
Since the inception of the alphabet, calligraphers have played a pivotal role in the preservation of civilization’s beliefs and customs. The penchant to record teachings and quotes of great religious figures predestined calligraphers to serve diverse religions and witness essential rituals in Iran. Calligraphers were an important part of immortalizing divine words through artistic handwriting. The history of recording religious manuscripts and texts has led the way for each religion to pursue their own particular alphabet system and calligraphy style.
For three millennia Persia has been at the crossroads of the east and the west. As such she has amassed a precious treasure trove of myths. Many of these have been derived from Indo-European and Indo-Iranian origins that can be divided into three specific phases: Zoroastrian, Mithraic, and Manichaean. Each has its favorite and fantastic stories in different historical eras of Iranian culture and civilization.
I had run into a German tourist a few years back and asked about the places she had visited in Iran. She gave me the typical list of cities: Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, and Kashan, but she also mentioned Mars. I thought I heard wrong, so I asked for clarification, and she told me that she visited Qeshm which felt like she had landed on Mars.
Which civilization is the birthplace of the main religions? Which culture in a historical sense of the word ‘created’ and nurtured the most widespread religious beliefs? Is there an objective cultural crossroad in the history of mankind in which we may scientifically refer to as the ‘cradle’ of global-scale-religions? I believe there is, and its name is Persia or Iran.
In addition to playing childish games in its dusty warm streets, Khuzestan (province) had us playing on hills that we later realized had cultural value. Given our young age, we didn’t know that these hills and a lot of pottery pieces at our feet belonged to ancient times.