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 the National Museum of Iran which is an institution formed of two complexes, including the Museum of ancient Iran and Islamic 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.
DAY 2: TEHRAN
This morning we take you 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.
Time permitting, we can walk around Tehran Bazaar, few steps far from Golestan Palace. Continue along the Bazaar route, we go to the Timche Akbarian for having lunch. Timche Akbarian dates back to almost 260 years from the Qajar era when its main purpose was for exchange and gold. Later it was developed into the first bank of Iran ran mainly by Jews who were the prominent residents of Oudlajan neighbourhood.
As of today, there’s no bank or money exchange but the place has been delicately restored into a Dizi Sara and tea house where tea comes in thin waist cups and along with sugar canes.
Dizi doubtlessly is one of the most delicious and traditional Iranian food. Eating it has a special custom. Dizi is a Mesopotamian stew usually made with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric and dried lime. Everything is mixed and cooked together.
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.
Tonight’s dinner in a vegetarian restaurant of the Iranian Artists Forum offers a chance to experience young artists life in the capital of Iran. We meed some of Iranian art students spend time with them.
DAY 3: TEHRAN – KASHAN (244 KM)
Leaving Tehran behind, we’ll travel south to Kashan to visit Bagh-e Fin Garden. This very early Persian garden reflects ancient landscaping principles that trace their roots to the time of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE. Today, it’s a delightful setting where you can meet young Iranian families who are out to enjoy their day.
You’ll also visit the historic Borujerdi House here in Kashan. With fine decorative motifs handcrafted of stucco, impressive domes, wall paintings and inlaid mirror mosaics, this former merchant’s home is regarded as a masterpiece of traditional Persian architecture. It also boasts 130-foot tall wind towers to catch lofty breezes that can cool the entire house.
DAY 4: KASHAN – ABYANEH – ISFAHAN (270KM)
Leaving Kashan behind, your first stop this morning will be in Abyaneh village. Abyaneh Village is known as the Red Village because of its red soil and houses. The houses of Abyaneh bear an ancient architectural style, featured by the use of clay as the construction material and latticed windows and wooden doors.
Your overland journey continues to 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 River. The 14th-century Shahrestan Bridge, for example, evokes the greatest aqueducts of ancient Rome and is the oldest bridge in Iran. Another famous bridges on the Zayandeh River are 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 5: 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 6: ISFAHAN
You are free to spending the day at the city center, Bazaar and shopping.
DAY 7: ISFAHAN – NAEIN – FARAHZAD (436 KM)
Leaving Isfahan behind, your first stop this morning will be in Na’in, an ancient community with origins dating back to the 8th century.
At the local Ethnographic Museum, set in an erstwhile private residence of the Safavid era, you’ll learn more about the region’s cultural traditions. We’ll continue the way to Farahzad village where is beautifully located on the edge of the sand desert and makes your stay especial since most other places in that region have some distance from the real desert.
In that place you’ll have the chance to visit the historic villages and stay with local people enjoying their homemade food, become familiar with their customs and ways of life.
O/N Barandaz Lodge (Guest House)
DAY 8: MESR DESERT – GARMEH (86 KM)
Explore Mesr desert with an off-road vehicle for visiting highlights of the area including Takhte Aroos hill – known for its unique sand hills, Takhte Abbasi hill, Mesr desert Canebrake.
These two are higher than the other areas in desert and their highest points are flat. Because of the strong winds and wind erosion in these areas, the peak of these hills have become flat gradually.
Takhte Aroos hill is one of the most beautiful desert areas in Iran. Aroos in Persia is a symbol of beauty. To get to these flat sand hills, we’ll drive some short distance through the desert which is only possible by 4wd. Once on the top of each sand throne, you get an amazing view of the village and the desert. Later, we’ll drive to Garmeh village to spend another night in a desert village with locals.
O/N Garmeh (Local Guest House)
DAY 9: GARMEH – KHARANAGH – MEYBOD – YAZD (273 KM)
Leaving Garmeh behind, we will have a short stop to visit Kharanagh old town and Single-minaret mosque and Kharanaq castle. Winding alleys are the wonders of this castle which were used to surprise bandits.
Your overland journey continues to the small town of Meybod, where your first impression might be its striking monochromatic architecture of desert brick. But set along an ancient trade route, Meybod also offers a number of fascinating sites to visit including its caravanserai.
Built in typical Safavid style, this ancient desert inn features verandahs, shaded passageways, and nearly 100 rooms – some of which are now used as artisan workshops. At the local icehouse, you’ll learn about the thick-clay construction and subterranean chamber that allowed local residents to have ice and food storage before refrigeration – even during the intense desert heat of summer! Continue to Yazd and checkin to our hotel.
Tonight’s dinner in a local restaurant offers a chance to experience daily Iranian life in a town that’s smaller than Tehran or Isfahan. The ambience is a bit more laid back and the residents may seem a bit more reserved. But, you’ll find them warm, friendly and eager to meet tourists.
DAY 10: YAZD
At an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet with the rugged granite peak of Shir-Kuh in the distance, Yazd is one of Iran’s oldest continuously inhabited towns, its silhouette punctuated by minarets and the ingeniously-designed wind towers that capture desert breezes to cool homes during the hot summer months. Yazd is also the center of Iran’s Zoroastrian community, which is where you’ll begin the day’s sightseeing.
At the 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.
At Zendan-e Eskandar, you’ll find an ancient domed structure with a deep, circular brick-lined pit that resembles a dungeon. According to legend, the complex was built by Alexander the Great to hold prisoners during his conquest of Persia. Others believe it was constructed by the Persians to hold Alexander himself.
Among the many other historic sites to be seen in Yazd are beautiful old homes and the Dowlat Abad Garden. Standing by the garden’s long reflecting pool, you’ll be shaded by ancient cypress trees. Ahead of you is an 18th-century hexagonal pavilion with a beautiful stained glass window and a graceful wind tower – the tallest in Iran. All around are flowering fruit trees and other ornamental plants and trees.
DAY 11: YAZD – SHIRAZ (441 KM)
Leaving Yazd behind, your first stop this morning will be in the Pasargadae (A registered site in UNESCO world heritage). Your overland journey continues to the Persepolis (A registered site in UNESCO world heritage), and Naghsh-e Rostam (Necropolis).
Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. It was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. Spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River, it is considered to be the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples.
This was reflected in Achaemenid architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures.The archaeological excavations of Persepolis rank with Ephesus and Pompeii as among the world’s most impressive sites of antiquity. Among scholars of the ancient Persian world, it’s regarded as a masterpiece of Achaemenid architecture, urban planning, construction and art.
Naqsh-e Rustam is one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring ancient sites of the Achaemenid Empire, consisting of the colossal tombs of Persian kings dating back to the first millennium BC. It stands as a lasting memory of a once powerful empire that ruled over a significant portion of the ancient world.
Later, you will arrive to Shiraz. In Shiraz, you’ll visit the lovely garden tomb of Sa’adi and tomb of Hafez, two of our most outstanding poets to feel the taste of Persian Literature. Hafez is one of great poets who impressed everyone with his mastery. His poems give us a special feeling and the peace in his tomb is really outstanding. Sa’adi is a poet, philosopher and mystic who is known as the father of an alternative tourist. About seven previous centuries he travelled to different countries and cities. Then he collected all his experiences in verse and Rhyme prose in two books named Boustan and Golestan. These two books give you Lots of inspiration and information. We will get a chance to pay homage to tombs of these great poets.
DAY 12: 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. End your day in Shiraz on a tranquil note in the beautiful orange-scented Narenjestan Garden, laid out in the 19th century during the Qajar Dynasty.
DAY 13: SHIRAZ
You are free to spending the day at the city center, Bazaar and shopping.
DAY 14: SHIRAZ – TEHRAN
You’ll be escorted to the Shiraz Airport this morning for your departure flight to Tehran. After arriving in Mehrabad International Airport our tour guide transfer you to the hotel. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Milad Tower which is a multi-purpose tower in Tehran, Iran. It is the sixth tallest tower and the 17th tallest freestanding structure in the world and you will end your day exploring at Azadi Tower (Tower of Freedom) formerly known as the Shahyad Tower is a monument located at Azadi Square, in Tehran City, Iran. It is one of the symbols of Tehran.
DAY 15: TEHRAN (DEPARTURE)
Our tour guide will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your’ flight time.
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