Lar, Khonj, Siraf, Iran
“…From there we continued our march for three days through another desert like the former, and came to the city of Lar, a large city with many springs and perennial streams and gardens, and with fine bazaars.”
By the time we reached Lar, and took time finding the hotel where we were the only guests, I could barely wait to close the room door firmly shut. Had there been anything to watch on TV other than a religious program in Farsi, I would have been content. There was not. I went out in the evening and bought some walnuts, salty cheese, yogurt, olives, fresh bread and chocolate for dinner. I wandered round New Lar but there was little of interest. Old Lar was destroyed by an earthquake in 1960 and a whole new town was built a few miles away. Old Lar, still inhabited, is the only part of interest.
Although the current bazaar dates primarily from the 16th century, there was a bazaar here when Ibn B passed through in 1347. Perhaps because it was located in an area prone to earthquakes, (better structural support?) or perhaps due to the very hot climate, the bazaar is built below ground level. It is built in a cruciform or ‘chahar-su’ plan, with a pierced central octagonal dome, which admitted both light and cooling breezes. Originally there was an octagonal pool under the dome which further cooled the inside temperature, but it is no longer there. The ashlar stonework is masterfully executed while the remains of painted stucco moldings are still visible.