The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.~Felix Mendelssohn
Would you expect to find an authentic Persian Teahouse handcrafted by 40 Tajik master artisans in the Rocky Mountains?
Expect the unexpected. It’s one of the joys of traveling.
On our road trip to Boulder, Colorado, our cousins took us to the Dushanbe Teahouse, a startlingly beautiful gift from the town’s sister-city of Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
Created on site in Dushanbe, the teahouse was disassembled, crated up, and sent thousands of miles to Boulder as a symbol of friendship, global cooperation, and cultural sharing.
Tajikistan, on the ancient Silk Road trails, is bordered by China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and Afghanistan and has cultural traditions and crafts that are centuries-old. The teahouse artisans used traditional Persian designs in their brightly-colored mosaic tiles, which repeat motifs from nature – stellar, solar, and floral. Now you can see why it was a logical choice for this week’s variations-on-a theme photo challenge.
The ceiling and columns are hand-carved and hand-painted, as well as the tables, stools, and exterior ceramic panels.
The interior of the teahouse is built around a central pool and a statue by Ivan Milashevich, based on a 12-century poem, “The 7 Beauties.” In it, princesses from 7 different nations share a fable about important cultural values.
Close Up of the 7 Beauties
Tajikistan was settled at the eastern periphery of the Persian Empire and has seen invasions by Alexander the Great, Mongols, Arabs, Turks, and Russians. Today, Tajikistan, with a population of 7 million, is struggling with the aftermath of civil war following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. And yet, these people share a message of peace and cooperation in ceramic tiles repeated on every table in the teahouse:
God’s light is the same in all the beings. It is present all the time everywhere.
Since all of us have the same life force/presence, we must all live in friendship and peace and resolve any differences through understanding and compromise.
Given the political climate today, I couldn’t agree more!
And now it’s your turn. What has surprised you in your travels? Food? Customs? Architecture?
Have an inspiring week, everyone!