Once again, Isfahan – that fabled city in Iran famed for its stunning Persian Islamic architecture and impressive boulevards covered with bridges will take Madrid by storm and stay put for a few days.It is indeed a treasure chest for culture vultures and other visitors who may show curiosity for this old civilization. Yours sincerely expected to see an array of stalls on an open ground on his first visit. However, it was otherwise. As a matter of fact, this treasure trove is neat and compact akin to the wartime old bookshop at 84 Charring Cross Road in London. Once inside you are drawn to the curios, handicrafts and artifacts orderly displayed both on the walls and on the tables. In the midst of the paraphernalia, a silent weaver is busy at work.
Isfahan, the ancient city prides itself in Katam Hari – a delicate art consisting of an elaborate process wherein skillful artisans inlay such materials as bone, mother-ofpearl, wood (various colors),metal.gold,silver,brass, aluminium and twisted wire decorating these surfaces mainly in geometrical shapes depicting the daily life of the royalty and noblemen hunting, playing polo holding court etc.
The world-renowned Ghalamaker carpets are hand painted and stamped with patterns adding one color at a time. Check out the colorful tapestries too. A special mention must also be made of Kashikari tiles from the blue mosques of Isfahan.
The owner Mr. Taheri as well as the knowledgeable shareholders are at hand to answer any questions in impeccable Spanish the visitors may put to them. The quaint store happens to be multifold – a conference hall, a travel agency organizing guided trip to Iran, various cultural activities (such as Sufi music recitals), and Persian classes.
You can also shop for unusual gifts for the Yuletide – costume jewelry, stunning long colorful dresses, tunics etc.
By Christopher Miller