AFGHANISTAN. Parwan Province (now Panjshir Province). 1984. Afghan guerilla leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, centre, is surrounded by Mujahideen commanders at a meeting of the rebels in the Panjshir Valley. Massoud was central to much of the anti-Soviet resistance, and after the troops left, struggled with others to create a new government. In a few years, Massoud and his forces were fighting the Taliban, and he had become an enemy of Osama bin Laden. On September 9, 2001 Massoud was assassinated by two attackers backed by Al Qaeda, just days before the September 11 attacks on the U.S.
“There is an Armenian cathedral at Julfa across the river [in Esfahan], which resembles a Mohammadan shrine of the XVIIth century. Inside, the walls are covered with oil paintings in the Italian tradition of that date. Attached to it is a museum, but the treasures are of historic rather than artistic interest.”
- Robert Byron in The Road to Oxiana
More of my photos from Iran. (New) Julfa in Esfahan is a curious place that gives you the feeling of being in a village in the city. Now, of course, the city of Esfahan has swallowed the quarter, but when it was established by Shah Abbas I in 1606, it was deliberately put far from the Islamic shrines around the Naqsh-e Jahan Square.
Like Byron I was struck by the interesting mix of Islamic/Persian art and Christian/European motifs. It’s also interesting to experience the religious and ethnic diversity of Iran that you so rarely read about in mainstream media.