Iran in depth
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- Any cancellation at 90 days prior to arrival date: NO charge(except in case of issuing the flight tickets to guarantee the seats or rooms in hotels)
- Any cancellation between 89 days to 30 days prior to arrival date: 15% charge
- Any cancellation between 29 days to 20 days prior to arrival date: 30% charge
- Any cancellation between 19 days to 10 days prior to arrival date: 50% charge
- Any cancellation less than 10 days: 100% charge
This is the first day visit of Iran. In the morning, we get out of the hotel and drive to the center, the historical part of the city. Our first place of visit is “Golestan palace”. Golestan palace is a complex consists of several palaces which are all gathered to form the Golestan palace. This colorful tiled building has been used for so many important events in the past by previous kings and queens.
Taking a few steps, we find ourselves in hearth of “the Grand Bazaar”, one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. Visiting the oldest bazaar of Tehran would definitely sound awesome. Regarding its traditional architecture, a superb visual pleasure is provided for its visitors.
“Treasury of National Jewels” is our next stop. Here at the national jewelry museum you would not take your eyes off from one valuable object to another. The treasury of national museum is not just a museum in Tehran; it is among top 10 museums of the world with so many historical and valuable jewelries from hundreds of years ago. Every piece has been collected from different part of the world.
In the evening (not obligated), “Tabiat Bridge” show us a great view of Tehran. The multilevel, sculptural pedestrian bridge, designed by Iranian architect Leila Araghian, is a fun space to relax and, in good weather, it provides superb views of the north Tehran skyline.
Get back to hotel for rest.
Second day is also for full-day sightseeing in Tehran.
The first place of visit is “Sa’d Abad palace”. The summer home of royal family from Qajar dynasty to the Pahlavi, who expanded it to the site you see today. Covering 110 hectares and comprising 18 separate buildings, it will take you a good three hours to see everything.
In Tajrish district we couldn’t avoid ”Tajrish Bazaar” and its fresh fruits and dynamic atmosphere. It is a great place for shopping, relaxing, drinking a coffee and enjoying the weather and the view of mountains.
After having lunch, ”Azadi tower” is our must see. The inverted-Y-shaped Azadi Tower, designed by Hossein Amanat, combines modern and traditional architecture of Iranians. It was built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian empire and was the scene of much protest during the 1979 revolution.
Get back to hotel for rest.
We will check-out from hotel and drive to Hamedan to see the first monument related to Great empire of Achaemenid, “Ganj Nameh inscription”. Tomb of the most significant physician of Iran, ”Avicenna”, and ”Stone lion” are in our list of visit.
“The Ganjnameh” are set of cuneiform characters written in three languages (ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian), set into a rock face on Mount Alvand, about 5 kilometers from modern-day Hamadan. This monument is the popular designation of two trilingual inscriptions in three languages by the Achaemenid Darius I and Xerxes in a pass through the Alvand mountain.
“Avicenna mausoleum” is one of the main landmarks of Hamadan. It is the resting place of a very famous and most influential Persian doctor, mathematician, astronomer, physician, chemist, psychologist, geographer, geologist, poet, logician, and philosopher.
“Stone lion” of Hamadan is a monument located in a quadrangular square in the city of Hamadan. This lion now sitting on an ancient hill, used to guard the city with its twin lion, at the gate of Hamadan.
In the evening, time’s to get to the hotel for rest.
We can’t leave Hamedan without hearing about famous Iranian lover; Farhad, we go toward “Bisotun mountain” and its inscription which is the second visited inscription of Great Empire of Persia during our trip. ”Hegmataneh hill” (Iran’s first capital of 3,000 years old) and ”Taq-e Bostan” (A great example of Persian Sassanid art) are our next highlights.
Carved on limestone on the Bisotun hillside (southern hillside of Paru Mountain), “Bisotun inscription” is the most remarkable historical writing documenting the victory of Darius I the Great over Gaumata, the Median Magus, and rebellions and the re-establishment of the empire by his own words in three languages of Akkadian, Elamite, old Persian. A legend began around Mount Bisotoun, as written about by the Persian poet Ferdowsi in his Shahnameh (Book of Kings) about a man named Farhad, who was a lover of Shirin. The legend states that, exiled for his transgression, Farhad was given the task of cutting away the mountain; if he succeeded, he would be given permission to marry Shirin.
The view of distant mountains from the top of this low, “Hegmataneh hill” is pleasantly rewarding, especially in the late afternoon, but it’s what lies below that excites archaeologists: an ancient Median and Achaemenid city.
At “Taq-e Bostan” (“the arch of the garden”), situated in the neighborhood of modern Kermanshah, several Sasanian reliefs can be found: The Investiture Relief of Shapur II, the small cave, the large cave of Khusrau II.
Check-in in Kermanshah.
Susa or Shush in Khuzestan province will be our next destination. After check-in in hotel, we go through its various attractions like “Tomb of Daniel”, “palace of Darius” and “Susa castle” for getting more and more informed about Achaemenid empire.
The first is “Tomb of Daniel”. There are many places that claim to be the traditional burial place of the biblical prophet Daniel, a Jewish prophet revered in Iran. But the tomb located in Susa, Iran, is the most widely accepted and the first that was mentioned by Benjamin of Tudela, a medieval Jewish traveler whose journeys preceded Marco Polo’s by about 100 years.
”Palace of Darius” in Susa is our next highlight. Named as the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, The construction was conducted parallel to that of Persepolis. Man-power and raw materials from various parts of the empire contributed to its construction.
The last but not the least is ”Susa castle”. Located on the side of the ancient Susa Castle and facing the monument of Daniel the Prophet, the museum is open to visitors in the presence of different objects from the 5th millennium BC to the Qajar era.
Our check-in and rest will be in Ahvaz.
Not enough for Khuzestan province, “Chogha Zanbil” and ”Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System”, two highlighted UNESCO world heritages sites can be explored.
”Choqa Zanbil”’s magnificent, UNESCO-listed brick ziggurat is the world’s best surviving example of Elamite architecture. Even if you’re not a fan of ancient ruins, the great bulk and splendid semi-desert isolation of the site can’t fail to impress.
Also listed by UNESCO as a ‘masterpiece of creative genius’, ”the Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System” has been diverting water for irrigation from the Karun River for over a millennium. The system comprises bridges, weirs, canals and tunnels, but the most impressive component is a series of ancient watermills powered by human-made waterfalls.
Our check-in and rest is also in Ahvaz.
Again, Check-out is in the morning for going through the most frequented city of Iran, Shiraz. En-route we will visit “Sassanid ruins of Bishapur”, recently added to the UNESCO world heritage.
The city (Bishapur) was founded in 266 AD by Shapur I, who was the second Sassanid king and inflicted a triple defeat on the Romans, having killed Gordian III, captured Valerian and forced Philip the Arab to surrender. The most important point about this city is the combination of Persian and Roman art and architecture that hadn’t been seen before Bishapur construction.
Check-in and rest in Shiraz
We start Shiraz excursion from the most famous attraction of the city and Iran, “Persepolis”. Registered as UNESCO world heritage, it was conceived by Darius the Great who, in 520 BC, inherited the responsibility for ruling the world’s first known empire founded by his predecessor, Cyrus the Great.
On our next stop, the spectacular rock tombs called “Necropolis” will be visited. The tombs are believed to be for Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I although historians are still debating this.
Not so far from Necropolis, we go for the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, “Pasargadae”. Founded by Cyprus the great, It was one of the oldest residences of the Achaemenid kings. Pasargadae consists of the tomb if the Cyrus the great and a building known as Zendan-e Soleyman.
Not enough for Shiraz? “Hafez tomb” is not obligated in the evening but is definitely a must see. Iranians have a saying that every home must have two things: First the Quran and then Hafez collection. There’s no better place to know about this great figure of Iran poetry history.
Back to hotel and rest in the evening.
Second day in Shiraz is dedicated to exploring Shiraz city.
The first stop is ”Nasir-ol-Molk mosque”, the most photographic mosque of Iran, Step on mosque to see the pink and the beauty of the Iranian architecture. It is known as the “Pink Mosque” because of the usage of considerable pink color tiles for its interior design.
A few minutes from the mosque, one of the most famous buildings of Zand kings and Shiraz is located. “Karim Khan castle”, this burly fortress was part of the royal court that Karim Khan hoped would rival Esfahan and because of that, its design is a combination of military and residential architecture.
“Narenjestan Ghavam” is the next. Narenjestan Ghavam or Qavam house is one of the most beautiful and praised garden of Iran. Built during Qajar era (about hundred years ago) by Qavam family who were among the political figures of Shiraz, the place was for residence of the whole family and the office for administrating purpose.
“Eram garden” is the next garden but still have a lot to offer. Called as “a piece of the heaven, it has the form of well-known Persian garden. It should be noted that the word “Eram” is the Persian version of the Arabic word “Iran” which means heaven in Islam’s holiest of books, the Quran.
Back to hotel and rest in the evening.
We cannot stay anymore in Shiraz but en-route we will visit another pink thing in Iran, “Maharloo salt lake”.
Shiraz is not only home to the “Pink Mosque” but also the “Pink Lake.” Those flying into Shiraz can witness spectacular views from above when the lake is full, and those on the ground can enjoy both the lake and the beautiful surrounding scenery.
It worth also visiting “Ruins of Sassanid palace“ in Sarvestan at least once.
Another remains of Sassanid era, registered as UNESCO world heritage as “Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region” is in Sarvestan. The Sarvestan Palace was built by the Sasanian king Bahramgur. The name “palace” is a bit misleading, because the monument’s function is not really understood. It may in fact have been a hunting lodge or even a sanctuary.
Our check-in is in Kerman.
By sure, you’ll be surprised after visiting “Shahzadeh Mahan garden“ in heart of desert.
Arriving at these handsome gardens is like being beamed onto a different planet. One second you’re in the arid semi-desert, the next it’s all flowing mountain water and tall green trees. The structure is relative to the Qajar era. There are various pools constructed in the garden that is sheltered with fine trees.
If it’s not enough for Kerman, we can go for “Ganj Ali Khan complex“.
Ganjali Khan Complex is a Safavid-era building complex, located in the old center of city of Kerman, Iran. The complex is composed of a school, a square, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, an Ab Anbar (water reservoir), a mint, a mosque and a bazaar. This complex was built by Ganjali Khan who governed Kerman, and in Isfahani style of architecture.
After a half-day sightseeing in Kerman, time’s to go toward Yazd for check-in and rest.
Full-day sightseeing will give you a good perspective of the Yazd city. Yazd is a ‘don’t miss’ destination because of its winding lanes, forest of badgirs, mud-brick houses and delightful places to stay.
Our first place of visit is ”Dolat Abad garden”, a residence of Persian regent Karim Khan Zand. The tallest wind tower of the pavilion inside the garden is conceivable from miles away. “Badgir”, the traditional air-conditioning system of the garden and also local houses located near desert, shows how people were adapted to the condition.
The second is ”Fahadan neighborhood”, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Yazd. Most of the historical building of Yazd that built with mud brick like aristocratic houses and water cisterns are in this neighborhood.
“Zoroastrian fire temple” is our next place to explore; the place of worship for Zoroastrians. This brick Zoroastrian temple holds a fire that has burned for more than 1,500 years. The ancient flame has been kept alive throughout various centuries and relocations, and continues to burn today.
In the evening,” Amir chakhmaq complex” and” Jame mosque of Yazd” await us.
”Jameh Mosque of Yazd” and ”Amir Chakhmahk” will show you the beauty of colors. Jameh Mosque of Yazd is the main, congregational mosque of Yazd dates back to Sassanid Era. The exquisite mosaics on the dome and Mihrab, and the tiles above the main western entrance to the courtyard are masterpieces of calligraphy, evoking sacred names in infinitely complex patterns.
Still excited by the breathtaking architecture, we get back to hotel for rest.
Enough for Yazd, we leave toward Isfahan; but on the way ”Meybod” and ”Na’in ” wouldn’t be missed.
Meybod is a sprawling mud-brick town that is at least 1800 years old. Several sites of interest are dotted around the town center, chief of which is the town’s ancient fortress.
Well regarded for its handicrafts, the town of Na’in (or Naein) dates back 2000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously settled towns in Iran. In the past it was known for its ceramics and textiles; today it’s primarily known for fine hand-knotted carpets and for hand-loomed camel-wool cloaks.
By following the route that brings us to Isfahan, we find ourselves in “half of the world” (what’s Isfahan famous for).
Exploring the bridges crossed over “Zayande Rud” is what we are looking for in the evening.
“Si-o-Se pol” is the largest bridge of Isfahan. Constructed by Safavid king, Shah Abbas I, on the purpose of being a bridge and also a dam. The name that literary means “33 bridge” comes from the structure of the bridge that comprises 2 superimposed rows of 33 arches.
Tired of being on the road and strolling along the bridges, time’s to get back to hotel for rest.
Not wasting the time, we start exploring Isfahan from ”Naqsh-e Jahan square” (UNESCO world heritage) and all the buildings located in its corners including ”Imam Mosque” (also registered as UNESCO world heritage), ”Sheikh Lotfollah mosque”, ”Ali Qapu” and ”traditional Bazaar”.
It was laid out in 1602 under the reign of the Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas the Great, to signal the importance of Esfahan as a capital of a powerful empire. Cross the square on a clear winter’s day and it’s a hard heart that isn’t entranced by its beauty.
The name means ‘pattern of the world’ and it was designed to showcase the finest jewels of the Safavid empire – the incomparable Masjed-e Shah, the elegant Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah and the lavishly decorated Kakh-e Ali Qapu and Qeysarieh Portal.
After a half-day sightseeing of the square, Jolfa (the Armenian quarter) and its “Vank church” is our must see.
The church is a masterpiece for its architecture. Once you step on the church, clays and bricks will show you the great combination of Iranian and Armenian architecture. Certainly, it’s a way to show the mixed culture and the symbiotic circle that stood for four more than 400 hundred years in Julfa.
Back to hotel and rest in the evening.
Time’s to check-out and leave Isfahan toward Kashan. But en-route, impossible to miss ”Abyaneh village”.
Abyaneh or the Red Village dates back to 2500 years ago. It is one of the top three villages in Iran attracting visitors from across the world. It is famous for its living traditions and interesting architecture. All the houses in Abyaneh are built with red mud bricks, giving the village a very special look.
Overnight stay will be in Kashan.
Our last day stay in Iran is also for Kashan.
“Tabatabaies house”, which known as the bride of the historic houses of Iran, was built in 1835 for the affluent Tabatabaei family. The head of the family, Seyed Jafar Tabatabaei, a carpet merchant, built this house in the name of his wife.
Not far from the house, “Sultan Amir Ahmad bathhouse” is located. Built in the 16th century, the bathhouse today serves as a tourist attraction, rather than its primal purpose. The objective of the bathhouse was not only to promote cleanliness, but also to be a place for relaxation, discussions and even praying. A prototype of a modern spa center!
Last place you’ll see in Iran and Kashan is “Fin garden”. Registered as UNESCO world heritage, Fin garden will show you the beauty of the Persian gardens. Designed for Shah Abbas I in the 16th century, this delightful garden with its symbolical proportions, old cedars and splendid weather will stun you.
No more time left in Iran, we have to get to the IKA for departure.
Fly back to home.