Places to Visit in Isfahan
Naqshe Jahan Square
Located in the center of Isfahan city, this square is the second biggest square in the world. Its total area is 160 by 560 meters. It was built by the order of Shah Abbas, the Great king of Safavid dynasty who made Isfahan the capital of the country.
The square is a great combination of royal and public places and it is still one of the most important trading centers in this city.
Naqshe Jahan square used to be a polo field in old days and there are still some remains of the field.
For both foreign and domestic visitors, visiting this square and the marvelous monuments inside it is a must.
Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
Just in the Eastern side of the Naqshe Jahan square there stands a beautiful but small (compared to other) mosque. I dare to say that this is a masterpiece of Iranian architecture.
The mosque is named after a clergy who came from Lebanon to Iran and resided here by the order of Shah Abbas.
It has the most beautiful dome from the inside view and if you are familiar with Iranian carpet design you can simply see a similar design inside this dome. The design also reminds of a peacock tail.
Sheikh Lotfollah mosque was a private one used by the royal families. That is why it is smaller than any other mosque that you may visit in Iran.
In the Sothern side of the second big square in the world there is another marvelous mosque which can be called another masterpiece by itself.
The big size of the mosque, very tall minarets, subtle tile-works and exclusive architectural features like the entrance passage with a 45-degree angle toward Mecca and the great dome that reflects the sound 7 times, have made this mosque one of the main tourist destinations in Isfahan.
In the two sides of the mosque there are two religious schools dating back to the Safavid era. One of them is the winter school and the other is the summer school. Each one benefits from exclusive architecture that make the building suitable for the season in which they are used.
Aali Qapu Palace
This palace or pavilion is located in the Western side of the square. It was the political center of the Safavid dynasty. At first it was built in one floor and during some years the other floors were added for different purposes.
The 20-pillared terrace was built for Shah’s special guests to watch the events and ceremonies happening inside the square like the polo games, new year festivals and other national and religious events.
The last floor which was added to this palace was the music hall in the sixth floor which is the most beautiful part of the pavilion. The ceiling is double layered with some hole inside it to make the sound reflection stronger. What has made it more beautiful is the shape of the holes which are similar to Iranian musical instruments.
in a walking distance to Naqshe Jahan Square just behind the Aali Qapu palace there is a receiving palace called Chehel Sotun (40 columned). If you count the columns you will come to know that the number are 20 and the reason for naming this palace as Chehel sotun is the reflection of the columns in the pond in front of it.
When you enter the main hall palace you will see the fantastic paintings on four sides each one retelling a story about the important historical events from wars and battles to receiving ceremonies.
Vank Cathedral and the Armenian Quarter
At the time of the Armenian genocide, Shah Abbas the great invited a group of the Armenians to Isfahan, the capital, and placed them in a special quarter. They named the area Jolfa as a remembrance to their own area in Armenia. Then they started to build their small city in the heart of Isfahan.
The architecture and appearance of this quarter is totally different from the other parts of the city because it is designed and made by Armenian architects.
There are a number of churches there. The most famous and the most beautiful one is the Vank Cathedral which is well known for its great paintings on the walls.
This quarter plus the great Vank Cathedral are one of the most attractive tourist attractions in Isfahan.
Jame Atiq Mosque
In one of the lovely and old districts in Isfahan there is a big mosque some parts of which dates back to 15 centuries ago. Built in form of four iwan mosques, this mosques benefite from marvelous tile-works and the most beautiful and subtle Mihrabs.
To very high and beautiful domes, the library that has been suffered from two historical wars and fantastic Imam chairs with subtle decorations are the other must see parts of this great mosque.
: the existence of the river Zendeh (or Zayandeh) rood in the middle of the city, provided this opportunity for the architects in old ages to show their ability in designing bridges.
The most beautiful one and the only one with tile-works is the Khaju bridge, This bridge used to be used for some occasions and ceremonies and receiving special guests of the Shah. That is why at the middle of the bridge you can see a place prepared as Shah Neshin.
The other famous one is Si O Se pol. The name of the bridge means 33 bridges and that is because of the number of lower arches.
This two bridges are now not only used as a historical attractions for the visitors but also as a shortcut for pedestrians.
Places to Visit in Shiraz
Built by the order of Darius the great, one of the most effective Achaemenes Kings, it was the capital of this dynasty. So of course it is a city. The most significant archeological site of the word.
You can find the subtlest and the most attractive stone carvings on the walls and columns of this city each one representing a historical story, special custom or even legend or legendry creatures.
The most surprising thing about this marvelous city is that the first ancient water and waste water channels are built just under this city. The other surprising thing is the building of such high columns without ant lifting machines at that tame and also the tombs of the kings on the highest part of the rock just behind the city.
Naqsh-e Rustam or Persepolis 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.
On the huge rock in which the great kings are buried and just between the tombs, magnificent stone carvings are created. In addition to the appearance beauty, each one of these carvings conveys a story about the glory and power of the Persian kings and armies in the old ages and also their superiority over many other nations.
This is not very far from the marvelous Persepolis and even if it was, it would still be worthy to visit.
Cyrus the great, the most loved Iranian King, is buried in this ancient city. He was the greatest proponents of the human rights and the first charter of the human rights was written and published by him in 538 B.C.
The tomb is close to the ancient City Pasargadae where there used to be castles, public halls, treasuries, watchtowers and big gardens.
Karim Khan Zand is the most famous King in Zandiyeh Dynasty. The one who respected the human rights and called himself the Representative of the People. He acted for the benefit of the people and built many fabulous attractions in Shiraz, the capital at his time.
Zandiyeh complex contains three important of these attractions. It includes a Bathhouse, a Traditional Bazar and a public mosque all with great design and architecture.
Today there is a great atmosphere just around this complex for relaxing and spending the free times in the weekends. And for the tourists it is a good place to hang out with the locals to feel the local life directly.
This garden which dates back to two centuries ago in Qajar era is one of the gardens in Iran in the shape of Persian gardans. What is exclusive about this garden is the abundance sour orange trees (that is why they call it Narenjestan) beside tall palm trees.
The purpose of building this garden was to create a political center for governmental issues of Qajar dignitaries and for administrative purposes of ordinary people.
There is a great pavilion at the end of the garden with elaborated designs, tilework, plaster work, paintings and mirror works. The garden is named after the constructor Mirza Ali Mohammad Khan Qavam-ol-Molk.
If you are interested in the design of the Persian Grdens, this garden is one of the best choices among all to visit.
The pink mosque is a rainbow of small colorful glasses which are sophisticatedly placed in every doors and windows that dates back to 19th century and it is named after a Qajar ruler who ordered the construction of the mosque.
At the dawn time specially in winter the sun Shines directly to the stained glasses of the doors and the inner part of the prayer hall gets painted with colorful lights. That is why this mosque has several names as colorful mosque, rainbow mosque and pink mosque.
This mosque is one of the Iran national heritage site that attracts a lot of domestic and foreign visitors annually.
Places to Visit in Kashan
The Historical Houses
Due to its rich carpet industry there have been many carpet merchants in Kashan and many others from other cities who chose Kashan for their business purpose. Also the existence of this industry made the other industries stronger and other merchants came to this city for trading and exchanging.
The result is that there are a huge number of traditional houses that were luxurious at that time and are built based on the architectural elements of Qajar era.
The most famous and most beautiful ones are Tabatabaeiha, Boroujerdiha, Abbasian and Ameriha. Although the last one has been changed into a traditional hotel and just a small part of it is open for the visitors.
Although these house all are belonged to affluent and wealthy families, from outside view you cannot see any luxurious and elaborate sign and the walls are just made of clay and straw which was the typical way of making buildings in dessert areas at that time.
The oldest Persian Garden is the fin Garden which is located a few kilometers far from the city center in Kashan. The original part of the garden was built in Safavid Dynasty but it was reconstructed later in Qajar era about two centuries ago.
The garden contains a central pavilion, very tall cypress trees, water channels for ventilation and irrigation and also a bathhouse where the great Deputy of Nasereddin Shah, Amir Kabir was murdered.
The water which is flowing all around the garden comes from a spring coming from the mountains just behind the garden and the fountains work naturally with water pressure and declined surface of the ground without any pumping or electricity.
Those who are interested in adventurous and nature tours or excursion, Maranjab dessert which as just one-hour drive from Kashan city center can be a good choice.
In this dessert area you can see a caravanserai dating back to Safavid dynasty, a Salt Lake, sand dunes, an ostrich farm and camels.
The climate in the dessert is typical to most of the historical places in Iran. Hot and dry in summer and cold and dry in winter. The best time to visit Maranjab dessert is of course in spring and autumn. If you have Maranjab in your plan you should at least allocate half a day to this excursion.
The covered traditional Bazaars exist in almost all the Iranian Historical cities. But there are some differences that make each one unique and you cannot ignore that.
The first interesting thing about the Traditional Bazaar in Kashan is that it is still active and alive and still the most important shopping centers for the local people.
Just in the middle of the Bazaar there is a Caravanserai named Aminodolleh which is not as simple as the other caravanseris that you may see in Iran. The reason is that it is not made for ordinary people and public purposes. It is a private one who has built by the order of a wealthy man for the business purposes and to receive his special guest who were mostly merchants.
Places to Visit in Yazd
Tower of Silence
Yazd has many monuments and sites which are related to Zoroastrianism. The most attractive one to the tourists is the tower of silence which is the place where the Zoroastrians took the dead people and left them there. That is why the tower is called the tower of silence.
The main tower is a circular raised one in order to prevent the animals to eat the dead bodies but it is not covered and the birds could easily reach the corpses. The reason is that the animals take away their food but the birds eat it at the place where they find it.
In addition to the main tower there is another building made for the people who worked there and performed the burial ceremony. The reason for that is that in the past many people died because of some infectious diseases. And the those who worked there should not be in contact with other people.
This square is known as the center of social gathering and manifestations in the old days and it is a complex including a mosque, Bazaar and a ware reservoir all of which are in the national heritage list.
Because of the unique structure of the central tower of the square it is known as the symbol of Yazd. The square is named after the man who built it. He was a ruler of Teymurid dynasty who made this complex by the help and advice if his wife.
The surrounding area was used as a symmetry but later in Pahlavi dynasty it was forbidden to bury the dead people in that area and the old graves all were destructed.
One of the most splendid masterpieces of Iranian and Islamic architecture is the Jame mosque in Yazd. The tall entrance portals, unique and artistic calligraphies on the corners, the lofty minarets which can be seen from outside the city and the high ceiling with exquisite tile-works are the features that have made the mosque a unique and exclusive piece of art.
Locating in the center of the city and in the old district and also closure to the other attractions and hotels as well as the splendid architecture have made this mosque one of the inevitable historical places in Iran Yazd.
Just 30 miles from Yazd city center in the Mehriz county there is a castle which has been constructed in Sasanid dynasty between 3rd -7th centuries. This castle was a bank with safe deposit boxes to keep gold, silver, cereals and money during invasions.
The castle has two entrances one is the main door and the other is just for the guardians. The whole castle is made of simple mud bricks and the very tall walls around it increases the safety of the castle. Other features of the castle that add to its safety are the very narrow tunnels that only one man can pass through it and also the complex srtructure with many turns and twists that make it difficult for the robbers to find the way to the reservoirs.
A few kilometers far from Yazd near the city of Ardakan, there is one of the pilgrimage destinations for the pious Zoroastrians people in Yazd was the place called Chak Chak or Pire Sabz which dates back to pre-Islamic Period.
It is in fact a village in the middle of the dessert which has been noticed of in 2006. Every year between June 14th to 18th many Zoroastrians from Iran, India and other countries go there to hold a special ceremony.
The story behind this place is that Nikbanou, one of the daughters of the king Yadgerd lll, was captured by the Arab invaders and kept in the mountain of this village and the water drops that fall from the springs of the mountains are legendarily thought to be the tear of grief for her.
This is an ancient village just 70 miles far from the Yazd city center that can be every photographer’s dream to go there. The village is about 4000 years and it includes two parts. The old part is made of simple sun baked bricks and it is almost deserted and the new part in which 130 families are still living.
The name of this village, Kharanaq, means the birthplace of the sun because it is in the center of the dessert.
Places to Visit in Tabriz
The largest covered traditional Bazaar is located in Tabriz, a big city in the Northwest of Iran on the slopes of Zagros mountains. This marvelous Bazaar has been listed in the UNESCO Heritage site list as the first Bazaar in the world.
The magnificent architecture, the order of shops and the plenty number of passages, Caravanserais, corridors, mosques, religious schools plus the kinds of businesses that used to run in this place, have made this Bazaar an exclusive one among all the indoor Bazaars in Iran and even in the Middle East.
Inside the grand Bazaar of Tabriz there are a number of smaller Bazaars each of which are named after the owner or the builder. They are amir bazaar, shaft bazaar, raste bazaar, Halajan bazaar, Yemini bazaar, Old bazaar, Haj Mohammad Hussein bazaar, Mushir bazaar, big woman bazaar, Safi bazaar, Amir Abolhassan bazaar, Haye Sara Rasool, Haj Mirza Ali Naghi Station, caravanserai, Sheikh Kadhim Station, Haj Zar-Ali Hall, caravanserai and Dalan Mirza Shafi, Malekh Malek.
The most famous and the biggest Caravanserai inside the Bazaar is Mozafariyeh Caravanserai. This Caravanserai is built in 1267 AH by the order of Muzaffareddin Shah and today it the most important carpet trading center in East Azarbayjan state.
The Blue mosque
Also known as Kabood mosque, this mosque was built at the time of a ruler Called Jahan Shah in 1465. The reason of naming this mosque as Blue is the beautiful dark blue color which is used in the tile works in the entrance Iwan. The calligraphies and also around Jahan Shah’s tomb.
The mosque was unfortunatelu ruined during a very strong earthquake in 1773. The only parts which survived are the entrance hall and the tomb.
Just by one hour driving Northwest from Tabriz you will reach to a very unique village that you can find nowhere else in Iran. The village is called Kandovan.
What has made this village exclusive is the cone like buildings which are still used for living. These buildings are just built by carving the rocks and some of the are in two or even three floors.
This village has extremely cold winters and mild summers.
Although the whole village is a tourist attraction, there are still many people living and working there and it has also schools for children.
Places to Visit in Tehran
The National Museum
The national museum in Tehran which was previously known as Bastan (ancient) museum includes two main parts, the first part is related to the pre-Islamic era built by the order of Reza Shah the Pahlavi king and the second part is related to the post-Islamic era and it is added to the first part in 1996 a few years after the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
This museum is known as the archeological museum as well which is in two floors. The oldest objects are exhibited in the upper floor so you can start your visit from that floor to follow the chronological order.
This palace is a master piece of architecture relating to Qajar era that elegantly combined the ancient Iranian architecture by Western elements. The Qajar Family came into throne in 1779 and made Tehran as their Capital. They made this palace both for living and as a political center for their government.
The features and characteristics of the palace dates back to 19th century. You can see pools and wide planted areas all around the palace. As it is said earlier it is a masterpiece of architecture and this fact made it a great source of inspiration for today’s architects and artists.
Darband and Darakeh were previously villages near Tehran. Being located in the slopes of the tall mountains has given a pure and cool air to these areas and today they are parts of Tehran city limits.
There are so many cafes and restaurants in these places and they attract many domestic and foreign tourists annually.
Iran Tourism has been affected by many political, social and economic factors in recent decades. But what is important is that Iran Tourism is growing these days. By the development of the media, Iran is now well known in western countries and lots of tourists Tourism in Iran Tour Operator annually. However, Iran Tour Packages has the potential to have much more visitors.
Iran Travel Agency is very extensive; the magnificent touristic sights and attractions can be found in every corner of the country. You can choose to hike and ski in the Alborz mountains or see the nomadic life in the Zagros mountain chain. A beach trip in the south by the Persian Gulf and or in the north by the Caspian Sea could be another choice.
But among all major Iran Tourist Attractions, they are eager to have a deep journey in the pure and rich history and culture of Iran Visa. The most central and western part of Iran is where you can find magnificent monuments that reflect the history of different eras and dynasties. You can ask us to design an itinerary for you based on your time, interest and budget or you can design and customize your favorite Trip to Iran.
Whether as a solo traveler or as a couple or in the company of your family and friends, PERSIAPSSENGER can provide you the best Iran Private Tours. nature Iran Tour Guides is known as a culturally rich country with hundreds of historical monuments that reflect the history and culture of the era they are built-in. mosque