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a rare chance to gasp at Iran’s many splendours

Samira Ahmed by the Bridge of Shadirwan in Shushtar - BBC
Samira Ahmed by the Bridge of Shadirwan in Shushtar – BBC

Samira Ahmed was granted a rare opportunity to journey into the heart of Iran for BBC Four’s Art of Persia, and she didn’t waste it. At many points in this first of three instalments I found myself gasping at the sheer magnificence of the sites she was showing us, and the beauty of the objects found there. The vast, desert ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil, relic of a lost world; the ruins of Persepolis and the grand tomb of its ruler, Darius the Great. These are sights that few Westerners will get to see in real life.

A lesser presenter would have been content to make this into a travel programme, with the occasional observation about the Iranian people. But Ahmed is clever and curious, and you sense that this is one of the great projects of her career.

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