Shah recaptures for an American visitor the adventure and elegance of sport in Iran / Virginia Kraft

Before the marble walls of a Persian palace, soldiers stood stiff-backed and motionless. Near by, a dozen grooms, resplendent in gray and gold, fussed nervously with their mounts. The horses, eager to be off, pawed the earth and snorted at each other. In the warmth of the morning sun I waited outside the imperial stables at the end of a mile-long drive lined with poplars. Suddenly in the distance there was the sound of horns, and the massive silver grille of a limousine loomed into sight, followed by a caravan of tooting cars. Wearing riding clothes, His Imperial Majesty Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, stepped nimbly from his peacock-blue Rolls-Royce and greeted me with a warm hello.

Two days before, excited and a little nervous, I had visited the Shah's summer residence at Shemiran outsideTeheran. Seated on a sofa of intricate petit point in a gymnasium-size room furnished in marble, mahogany and crystal, carpeted in a ransom of Persian rugs and hung with a museum collection of paintin... >>>

recommended by Darius Kadivar