Calling on Kashan

Exploring the labyrinthine underground — and enchanting overground — of an ancient Iranian city

A narrow walkway of underground village, Oui is hand dug from clay. Peerawat Jariyasombat

Quietly situated between two famous destinations of Iran, Tehran and Esfahan, Kashan is a peaceful town most tourists may skip. But its hidden gems are stunning to explore.

Nestled in the embrace of a snow-capped mountain range, Kashan is a sleepy town off the beaten track. At first sight, there is nothing outstanding here. Under the strong sunlight, low-rise houses in earth tones scatter side by side with the desert.

The town reminds me of Tatooine, the desert realm from Star Wars. If a spaceship flew over my head or Storm Troopers show up at the corner, I would not be surprised.

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