Created 8-Sep-14
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If you’re going to get lost, Esfahan (also spelled Isfahan), a city of 1.3 million about 200 miles south of Tehran in central Iran, is an extraordinary place to do it. There’s a centuries-old saying that Esfahan is “half the world,” (Naqsh-e-Jahan) meaning it contains fully half of the earth’s wonders.Jean Chardin, a 17th-century French traveler, wrote that Esfahan “was expressly made for the delights of love”; in the 1930s, the British travel writer Robert Byron rated it “among those rarer places, like Athens or Rome, which are the common refreshment of humanity.” If a traveler had any lingering doubts about the hospitality of Iranians toward Americans, this was the place to dispel them. Making a new friend required no more effort than standing still for 30 seconds.
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