Admittedly, it was decades ago that I was in Iran, during the last year of the U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi regime, but I have never forgotten the beauty of the Imam Mosque — the turquoise and cobalt, blue-tiled mosque of Isfahan.

It, and the medina, the square on which it sits, are generally considered the most beautiful architectural sites in all of the Islamic world. They and other buildings around the square were built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas the Great as the centerpiece for his new capital.

In the 1970s, I knew little of the wondrous sites I would be seeing in the former Persia. These are the “cultural” sites, one must assume, that President Trump has been warning that he may demolish. It is not just Isfahan that is likely to be on his destruction list, but Persepolis, a palace complex started in 518 B.C., and Shiraz, the city of two great Persian poets, 15th-century Hafez and 13th-century Saadi, along with the site of their mausoleums set in the tranquil gardens for which Shiraz is renowned.

On a round-the-world inaugural Pan Am flight, I was offered the chance to stop in Iran and I eagerly accepted. The plane landed in Tehran, but I bypassed it to go to Isfahan which a world-traveler friend had told me was the most beautiful city he ever had seen.

I arrived on Nowruz, the Iranian New Year’s celebration taking place during the vernal equinox, and found that there were no hotel rooms vacant, for so many Iranians had come to the city for their holiday. And there were no flights out and no trains on which I could book space to leave.

I went from hotel to hotel seeking a room for the night. Finally, one was offered by a 12 year old. His grandfather owned the hotel whose front steps he was sweeping, and he had seen me come and go twice to the hotel seeking a room.

In those days of the Shah, the boy had gone to a school where he had learned English. He said he was glad I had come to see Isfahan, Iran’s most beautiful city, and offered me his room. Then he sent me sightseeing and that night he slept on the hall floor outside.

After the imprisonment of our embassy personnel in Iran during President Carter’s administration, I was telling this story in a restaurant. A waitress overheard me and exclaimed that no one would have been that kind in Iran. She said I was making the story up. How little she and so many others know of the generosity and kindness of so many Iranians.

I happily spent that day, as my young host directed me, visiting his city. I went first to the Masjed-e Shah. There, the color of the tiles seems to change as the sunlight changes. Inside, one goes from sumptuous sanctuary to sumptuous sanctuary. Exquisite calligraphy decorates everywhere. Then I visited the seven-story palace on the medina and the Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah, a small mosque that has no minarets, but is bright with pale blue tiles whose color changes with the sun. I went to the bazaar full of carpet sellers and samovar-makers. I visited the museum in Shah Abbas I’s reception hall.

The following day, I took a bus to Shiraz which in the 18th century was the country’s capital. There, I visited the Vakil Mosque, where flowers decorate the tiles. I went to the tombs of the poets and to gardens renowned for cypress trees, roses and tranquil pools.

I had already, on arrival in Iran, briefly stopped at Persepolis, which was then celebrating Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It was difficult then to visit its great sites, begun by Darius the Great about 518 B.C. I remember largely that there were flags everywhere celebrating the rule of the Shah.

I was, surely, no fan of his, particularly after the son in law of the late Stanley Burnshaw of West Tisbury was imprisoned by the Shah’s government on his return to Iran from college in the United States. He had marched in anti-Shah parades in California where he was studying.

But the Iran I visited in the 1970s was, regardless of its government, filled with magnificent architectural and historic sites that President Trump has recklessly threatened to destroy. I hope that world opinion and wiser U.S. government advisors will prevent such destruction of history, art and culture.