WHY WE LOVE THIS?
+ Explore fabled capitals of ancient empires with our expert Trip Leader, well-spoken and experienced in sharing his native land with travelers.
+ Stroll in magnificent Persian gardens that trace their design principles to the days of Cyrus the Great.
+ Mingle with local residents and vendors in three colorful markets including the only bazaar in the world recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
+ Discover Pasargadae and Persepolis, cities of the Achaemenid Empire that rank among the world’s greatest sites of antiquity.
+ Get to know the warm Iranian people as you dine in fine local restaurants we’ve selected for their delicious Persian food and friendly ambience.
Tehran → Isfahan → Yazd → Shiraz
DAY 1: TEHRAN
After arriving in Tehran from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) our professional tour guide will meet and greet you then you will be transferred to hotel for rest. In the afternoon, you’ll go to see National Museum of Iran which is an institution formed of two complexes, including the Museum of ancient Iran and Islamic Era.
At the Treasury of National Jewels inside the Central Bank of Tehran, you’ll be dazzled by a breathtaking collection of crown jewels, many of them gathered from around world during the Safavid Dynasty that ruled from 1502 to 1736. Also part of this glittering collection is the Naderi Throne; made of wood, covered in gold, and encrusted with more than 26,000 precious gemstones, some believe that this throne was inspired by the legendary Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal.
Then we move to a World Heritage Site, the lavish Golestan Palace. Built during the Qajar Dynasty that rose to power in the late 1700’s, this fabulous walled complex is centered on a landscaped garden with tranquil pools. Many of the elements you’ll admire today date to the 19th century when local Qajari architects and artisans were looking to integrate traditional Persian style with elements of Western and Russian origin. The palace buildings are among the oldest in modern Tehran and they are still regarded as a crowning achievement of the Qajar era.
Tonight’s dinner in a local restaurant offers a chance to experience daily Iranian life in Tehran. At night we go to Tehran Nature Bridge where Tehran young couples spend time together.
Note: the priority in sightseeing may be changed due to the time of your arrival, preference of your guide and also official and unofficial holidays of some museums.
DAY 2: TEHRAN – ISFAHAN
Leaving Tehran behind, we’ll fly to the Isfahan. As the 17th-century capital of the Safavid Empire, Isfahan was one of the world’s greatest cities – architecturally striking, wealthy beyond imagine, and politically powerful with Europeans, Ottomans, Indians and Chinese coming to its court – the heart of a vast Persian Empire that stretched from the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq to the Oxus River in Afghanistan.
Indeed, its grandeur inspired the rhyming proverb, Isfahan Nesf-jahan (Isfahan is Half the World). You’ll join our expert guide to begin your exploration of the city, starting with some of the centuries-old, still elegant bridges that span the Zayandeh Rud, Sio-ce-pol and Khaju. There are sluice gates below the bridge to let the water runoff from Zayandeh River in the spring, and there are beautiful stony archways above each gate.
These archways provide a great acoustic place for every man who wants to sing. You can always find a man or a group of men singing under the bridge. The songs are usually about betrayal or unrequited love. You have the chance to chat with these men and listen to their songs.
DAY 3: ISFAHAN
Continue your exploration in Isfahan at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simple at first glance but wondrous in its rich detail and bold design, the Masjed-e Jamé is another masterpiece of Iranian architecture, covering nearly 5 acres in the heart of this historic city.
This is one of the oldest congregational mosques in the country, and its construction and embellishment over the past twelve centuries illustrate a number of important periods in Islamic architecture.
Next up is Chehel Sotun. Set in a landscaped and forested park in front of a tranquil reflecting pool, this graceful pavilion was built by Shah Abbas II for entertainment and court receptions. Entering through a portico with twenty slender wooden columns, you’ll discover soaring halls embellished with frescoes, paintings and mosaics; the Hall of Mirrors is especially breathtaking!
In the city’s Armenian quarter, you’ll delve more deeply into the region’s complex history as you visit several churches including the 17th-century Vank Cathedral with its lavishly decorated interior and unique blend of Islamic and European architectural elements.
This afternoon, your exploration continues in Imam Square. This 17th-century site is one of the largest public spaces in the world. Here in the square, you’ll visit the 17th-century Shah Mosque, revered as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and easily recognized by its magnificent tile-work and soaring cupola and minarets.
In the Ali Qapu Palace, you’ll marvel at its beautiful music rooms and the balconies where Safavid kings would sit to enjoy the polo matches unfolding in the square below. You’ll end your day exploring the Qeisarieh Bazaar that surrounds Imam Square. With hundreds of local vendors that specialize in traditional arts and crafts, it’s a wonderful place to shop for pottery, enamel, jewelry and delicately inlaid board games.
DAY 4: ISFAHAN – YAZD (323 KM)
Leaving Isfahan behind, we go to visit Yazd. We start with Tower of Silence, you’ll learn about one of the traditions of this ancient pre-Islamic religion: Until the mid-1900’s, the dead were transported to this tower where they were left to decompose and be devoured by birds.
Zoroastrian tradition considers a deceased body to be “unclean” and this process of excarnation prevents contact with either fire or earth – both of which are considered to be sacred.
At the still-active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, you’ll see a flame that is said to have been burning for the past 1,500 years. It’s an important pilgrimage site for the faithful and here our expert guide will offer additional insight into one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.
In Amir Chakhmaq Square, you’ll see a very impressive Hussainiya – a congregation hall for Shia commemoration ceremonies. With three tiers of recessed alcoves, all perfectly proportioned, its facade is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks. Then visit the Friday Mosque, built in 1324, where you can gaze upon the tallest minarets in the country.
DAY 5: YAZD – PASARGADAE (315 KM) AND SHIRAZ (137 KM)
We’ll depart Yazd this morning to visit Pasargadae, founded in the 6th century BCE as the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire that stretched from Anatolia and North Africa across western Asia to northern India and Central Asia.
Hailed as the First Persian Empire, it was the largest that the ancient world had ever seen. Here in the middle of this vast plain, the impressive tomb of Cyrus the Great himself stands amazingly intact among the evocative ruins of his palace and the city he founded.
These remains are outstanding examples of early royal Achaemenid art and bear witness to the soaring cultural heights of Persian civilization and the aesthetic influences they absorbed from the lands they controlled in Egypt.
Continue to the Shiraz– Iran’s “City of Roses and Nightingales.” you’ll visit the lovely garden tomb of Hafez, a revered poet who wrote for the royal court in the 14th century. Enjoy a stroll in this enchanting oasis of flowers, shade trees, reflecting pools and pavilions as our guide offers further insight into Persian culture and literary traditions. Don’t be surprised if other visitors are inspired to recite the well-known verses of Hafez, which all Iranians study in school!
DAY 6: SHIRAZ
After breakfast, will start your full day tour of Shiraz along several young Iranians Photographer. It is the best time to communicate and exchange information with each other about everything in addition to visiting many sites. At first, you will visit Eram Garden with its aromatic myrtles, beautiful flowers, fruit trees, and towering cypress (one of which is said to be 3,000 years old). You will also visit Karim Khan Citadel. Built during the Zand Dynasty.
Then you’ll have time to explore and shop in the bustling Vakil Bazaar, home to hundreds of stores, beautiful courtyards, and even an ancient caravanserai.
After that, you will visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque (Pink Mosque). It built by the order from one of the lords of the Qajar Dynasty, Mirza Hasan ‘Ali Nasir-al-Mulk, it took 12 years to complete in 1888. Its interior reveals a magnificent masterpiece of design with stunning colors. This is a space where light and worship intertwine. The mosque comes to life with the sunrise and colors dance throughout the day like whirling dervishes. It reflects on the ground, walls, the arches and the towering spires. It even reflects on the visitors as if a colorful ball is hit by the first sun ray and explodes to thousands of butterflies all around.
DAY 7: SHIRAZ – TEHRAN (DEPARTURE)
You’ll be escorted to the Shiraz Airport this morning for your departure flight to Tehran. After arriving in Mehrabad Airport our tour guide will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your’ flight time.
Note: We have a suggestion for your departure flight: You can find many flights from Shiraz International Airport to international destinations through most popular airlines so no need to go back to Tehran. You have more time to enjoy Shiraz.
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