When Gertrude Bell's uncle was appointed Minister in Tehran in 1891, she declared that the great ambition of her life was to visit Persia. Several months later, she did and so began a lifetime of travel and a lifelong enchantment with what she saw as the romance of the East, which evolved into a deep understanding of its cultures and people.
This vivid and impressionistic series of sketches, her first foray into writing, is an evocative meditation that moves between Persia's heroic past and its long decline; the public face of Tehran and the otherworldly 'secret, mysterious life of the East', the lives of its women, its lush, enclosed gardens; from the bustling cities to the lonely wastelands of Khorasan.
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