Tehran Shiraz Yazd Isfahan Tehran
In this journey you will take pleasure in the snow clad mountains, enormous deserts, oasis towns and interaction with locals. Our tour starts in Tehran, and then we fly to Shiraz where we visit the tombs of famous poets and the ancient city of Persepolis. On the way back to Tehran we stop by Yazd, the second most ancient city in the world and then Isfahan, the city famous for its ancient bridges, mosques, minarets and tree lined avenues.
Highlights: The hills around Tehran, Imam Square and the ancient bridges in Isfahan, The ancient city of Persepolis; the capital of the Persian Empire during the Achaemenid era, Tomb of Sa'di and Hafez in Shiraz, The desert city of Yazd
Day 1 Tehran
When you arrive in Tehran our tour guide will welcome you at the airport and you will be transferred to your hotel. You will have a chance to observe the rich culture and history of this ancient city. Tehran, the capital of Iran, has many amazing museums, palaces and gardens which you will visit on your return to Tehran. You will stay the night in Tehran.
Day 2 Shiraz
We fly to Shiraz; this city used to be the capital of Iran. Shiraz is known for its nightingales, poetry, roses and before Islam, for its wine.
Day 3 Shiraz
Shiraz is the poetic capital of Iran because two of the greatest poets of the world were from this beautiful city. These poets are Hafez (1324-1391) the master of Persian lyrical poetry and Sa'di (1209-1291) the author of the famous Golestan book and Garden of Roses, a book of sonnets. Simple tombs were constructed for these poets after their death. These tombs became pilgrimage locations in the 14th century when the religious and art-loving Queen Tashi Khatun built a mosque and a theological school by the tombs. After visiting the tombs we visit the Safavid Mosque and the shrine of Syed Amir Ahmed, also known as Shah Cheragh or King of Light. The interior of the shrine is designed with beautiful mirror tiles, exhibition of fine china and glassware and inscribed old and modern Korans. Afterward, we stroll through the Eram Garden, famous for its rose garden, and avenues surrounded with cypress trees.
Day 4 Persepolis
We visit Persepolis in the morning because the weather is mild and the site is not crowded. Our tour guide brings to life the history of this ancient ruin. Darius I constructed the great metropolis to be the summer capital in around 512BC. Over the next 150 years, the Achaemenian kings, including Xerxes I, built their own palaces in this metropolis. This city was located on a vast platform above the plains. The Great Porch of Xerxes is ornamented by statues of winged bulls made of stones. The porch is connected to a massive ruined complex of royal palaces, halls, courts and apartments covered with inscriptions and carvings. A wall full of detailed carvings represents thousands of gifts received from other nations such as Ethiopia, Armenia, India and Cappadocia to their almighty ruler. We will spend 3 hours on this site in order to explore every detail. Then we have a short drive to four remarkable burial tombs Of Darius and his successors which is called Naqsh-e-Rostam. There is also a fire temple at this site which goes back to the Achaemenian times. We return back to Shiraz and the afternoon is for rest and personal activities.
Day 5 Yazd
We have a 425 km drive to Yazd. En-route we pass by mountains and vast desert expanse. On the journey we go to Pasargadae and visit the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid reign in 500 AD. Then we go to Abarkuh to observe the traditional cisterns, ice-stories and a 4500 year old cypress tree. This cypress tree is believed to be sacred and has become a popular pilgrimage place. Believers fasten pieces of fabric to the tree branches in hope of their wish to come true. We stay the night in Yazd.
Day 6 Yazd
Yazd is located where Dasht-e- Kavir and Dasht-e Lut meet. This desert city is surrounded by mountains; the tallest mountain is 4075 meters in height. Though Yazd is a Zoroastrian society it has great Islamic architecture and culture. Walking around the city one would think that time has stopped in this city because the people are very traditional and the buildings are old and retain the characteristics of the past times. One example of the characteristics mentioned is the chimney like structures on the roofs of houses in Yazd; the truth is that they are not chimneys; they are actually ancient ventilation systems. These ventilation systems gather the faintest breezes of the desert and send them into the building. Yazd is famous for its handicrafts; so while walking in the markets be sure to observe the hand-made rugs, small but complex carpets, Kilims, Termeh (a kind of hand-made silk tapestry), pottery and ceramics. Yazd is the holiest city for Zoroastrians around the world and the followers from other countries travel to this city to see the sacred fire in Yazd which has been burning none-stop for 1500 years. There are the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence in the southern part of the town. The towers were the place where the bodies of the dead Zoroastrians were left to be eaten by vultures at one time.
Day 7 and 8 Isfahan
We have a 300 km drive to Isfahan. Isfahan is known to be one of the finest cities in the Islamic world. We will visit the Shaking Minarets and the ancient bridges over the Zayanderud River; some of these bridges were constructed in the 12th century. Under these bridges are some teahouses which are the Iranian equivalent of the local pub, but of course they don't serve any alcohol. If you are in Isfahan you have to visit the famous Imam Khomeini Square which is surrounded by two mosques, a palace and the entrance to the Bazaar. There is a lake and fountains in the middle of the square. Also there are still the polo goal posts at either end. Going inside the Imam Khomeini Mosque, we will observe the most stunning monument in Iran and its exquisite Mosaic tile work. The inside and outside of the building is completely covered with pale blue tiles which is famous in Isfahan. Next we visit Chehel Sotoun Museum and Park. This monument was built in the 17th century and it consists of a reception hall, beautiful columns made of plane trees and a 110 meter pool in front of the building. The Vank Cathedral was built in the 17th century and it has an interesting museum attached to it which shows the history of the Armenians who lived in that area. You have two choices for spending your evening, you can spend the evening at the Abbasi Hotel; a good place to drink a Farsi Cola and enjoy the view and the environment or you can walk along the banks of Zayanderud River and drink tea at the teahouses located underneath the bridges.
Day 9 Tehran
The morning is free of activities and you can explore different places in Isfahan, or rest at your hotel. We have a flight to Tehran in the afternoon where we have an overnight stay.
Day 10 Tehran
Our tour starts in the morning. First we head to the National Jewels Museum where we will see a display of precious jewels many of which are the largest of their kind. One of these large jewels is Daria-i- Noor which is 182 carats and is the largest uncut diamond in the world. The other jewel at the museum is the jeweled globe which is covered in 51,363 valuable stones. Afterward we visit the Carpet Museum which shows the history of Iran, its poets and myths. Then we visit the National Museum, also known as the Archaeological Museum. This museum exhibits the objects dating back to the 4th and 5th Millennium BC and provides an insight into the Persian History. In the afternoon we go to Darband, a beautiful mountain area in the North of Tehran. In Darband we need to walk or ride donkeys and if we have time we can climb to the top of the Mount Tochal which is 3933 meters in height. We can see the vastness of Tehran when standing on top of the mountain. We taste the delicious Persian food in the restaurants and cafes in Darband which makes the hiking worth it!
Day 11 Tehran
Depending on your flight out, we may have more time for other sightseeing. You may discuss this with your guide.