Once one of the oldest and most powerful civilizations in the world, today Iran is one of the least understood countries of all.
Come to discover this country full of history, culture, art and good people, one that stays in our heart forever.
Together we will get lost among the infinite bazaars, enter some of the many mosques that exist in every corner and taste the delicious oriental flavours.
Welcome to Iran, or more specifically, Tabriz, one of the largest and most populated cities in the country and capital of the province of East Azerbaijan.
Upon arrival, you will be greeted at the airport by our taxi driver, who will take you to the guesthouse where Fábio will be waiting for you.
Bring warm clothes, it’s cold around here!!
It’s time to wake up and start exploring this wonderful country, full of history and beautiful people.
We will begin by walking to the Grand Bazaar, one of the most important places of commerce and culture on the Silk Road between the 12th and 18th centuries, and still the largest covered Bazaar in the world. After walking through the streets and labyrinths of the bazaar and making the first purchases, we will visit Jameh Mosque, the largest and most important mosque in the city.
In the afternoon, with the first flavours of Persian cuisine in our mouths, we will visit Saat Square, where the Palace was built after the Second World War. Today, part of it is a museum which, among many other historical things, contains maps and old photographs. Before dark, we will go to the Blue Mosque, built in 1465 and partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1780.
At night, and if everyone agrees, we will walk through Shahgoli Park, a place where much of the local youth population comes to stroll and date at night.
Today, midway through the morning, after breakfast and a walk through the city, we will leave for Kandovan. The comparison between this village and Cappadocia, the famous Turkish village, is inevitable, due to the Troglodytic houses dug into volcanic rocks that blend into the surrounding hills.
In mid-afternoon, after a delicious lunch and exploring this small village, we will have our first experience of travelling by train in Iran. Our destination is Tehran, the capital of the country, where we will arrive after about 13 hours of journey.
We will arrivevery early , leave our suitcases in the hostel and go out onto the streets.
The first impression is lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of noise and lots of pollution. But the capital of Iran is much more than that.
We will set off towards the Golestan Palace, the oldest historical monument in the city, and then, of course, we will get lost in the streets and alleys of the Grand Bazaar. Be careful not to get hit by the vehicles carrying goods to the market! We will also have time to try the delicious fruit juices.
The day will continue with a visit to the National Museum, full of history of ancient Persia and the rich Museum of Jewellery. At the end of the day, we will take a leisurely stroll across the Tabiat Bridge, with a privileged view of the city.
Accommodation: hostel (mixed dorm)
Today we will have another train journey, this time to the south of the country, more precisely Shiraz but before that, we will visit the north of the city.
We will start at the Tajrish Bazaar, which is much smaller than the Grand Bazaar, but equally full of life. Right next to it is the Emamzadeh Saleh Shrine where, after drinking tea at its doors, we will pay a visit. If we still have time, and to finish this first stop in Tehran, we will take a taxi to Darband, one of the most liberal places in the city, with many restaurants.
With the first light of day, we will arrive in Shiraz, a city known for its poets, flowers and, in the past, for its wine. It is also known for its mixture of cultures, due to the fact that here were the largest communities of Jews and Christians in the whole country. This will be another day of walking around the main points of interest in the city. Among them, the Vakil Bazaar and the mosque with the same name, and Karim Khan Castle, that served the capital of the country for 30 years and later was used as a prison. Even before nightfall, we will visit the Musalla Gardens, where Hafez, a Persian poet who is worshipped as a God, is buried. We will surely find someone reciting poems and/or praying near his grave.
Very early, even before breakfast, we will leave for the Nasir Ol Molk mosque, famous for its stained-glass windows which create an impressive colour play at dawn. Afterwards, we will return to our lodgings for a well-deserved breakfast and to pack our backpacks. It is time to visit one of the most historical sites in all of Iran – Persepolis, a city built more than 500 years before Christ and which, throughout its history, has been capital of several Empires.
After dinner, we set off on a night bus ride that will take us to Kerman.
We arrive in Kerman early in the morning after an 8-hour bus journey. Hamid, who will be accompanying us for the next two days, will come to meet us at the bus station. In his company, we will visit the Shazdeh Garden, the Jameh Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, before heading to the Kaluts Desert, one of the hottest places in the world and probably the most incredible scenery on this trip.
Weather permitting, we will be able to glimpse the sand castles that give the desert its name and change colour even before the sun sets on another day.
Accommodation: family house
Meals: breakfast and dinner
From Kaluts we go to Hamid’s house in the village of Kohbanan. Today the day will be calm, we will visit small villages, walk through the mountains, and end with a delicious dinner prepared by his wife. I believe that it will be the most delicious meal of the whole trip.
Accommodation: family house
Meals: breakfast and dinner
After a short bus ride, we will arrive at Yazd, one of the oldest cities in the world and once one of the most important trading posts on the Silk Road. We will begin with its historical centre, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and we will then go to Jameh Mosque, the mosque with the highest minarets in Iran. Later, we visit the Water Museum.
In the afternoon, it is time to get to know Zoroastrian culture, one of the oldest religions in the world. We will travel by taxi to the Towers of Silence, where the funerals of the believers of this religion are held.
Today we will start the day early. We will go by taxi to some historical villages that lie outside of Yazd. We will start with Chack Chack, an uninhabited village that serves as the most important pilgrimage site for the Zoroastrians. Then we will visit Kharanaq, known as the ghost town, and explore Meybod, where it is possible to see the ruins of Narenj Castle, one of the most important places in the region before Islam.
In the middle of the afternoon, we will travel to what I consider to be the most beautiful and charming city in Iran, Esfahan.
We will start the day at Naqsh-e Jahan Square, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and one of the largest squares in the world, with much to see. The starting point is the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, the first monument to be built in the square, completed in 1619, and built for the royal court. Nowadays, it is one of the most visited mosques in the country. After walking a bit around the square we will see another mosque, named Shah, which is famous for the colours and tones of its mosaics. Later on, we will go into the large bazaar – as always in the form of a maze – full of carpets, spices and scents. We will have lunch there before moving on to the banks of the Zayandeh River, where we will spend most of the time visiting the famous bridges and the garden on the banks of the river, never missing the opportunity to talk to the locals. This is without a doubt the place where everyone comes to socialize and enjoy their free time before returning to their homes.
By now you will probably already be in love with the Persians; some of you from the first day in Tabriz, for others, may have taken a little longer to let yourselves go until arriving in Tehran or Shiraz to realize how welcoming and incredible these people are.
To be able to enjoy yourselves in the best way, today is totally free. You can stroll again through Naqsh-e Jahan Square, discover one of the many bridges crossing the Zayandeh River, or picnic in the garden on its banks.
In the morning, after finishing our breakfast, we will go on a bus trip to Kashan, where we will arrive at lunch time.
This city was one of the earliest centres of civilization in prehistory. The story goes that the Three Wise Men passed through Kashan as they followed the star that guided them to Bethlehem. After having been destroyed by a great earthquake in 1780, it was rebuilt and nowadays it is possible to visit the great historic houses of the city, and that is where we will go after a quick lunch. Abasian and Tabataeiha are the two houses chosen from among others, followed by the Bathhouse of Sultan Mir Ahmad. Before nightfall, we will also visit the Agha Bozorg mosque, built in the 18th century and also a school.
Accommodation: guesthouse (mixed dorm)
The morning is free until two o’clock in the afternoon when we will head back to Tehran. Until then you can do whatever you wish. You can visit the desert and dry salt lake, or the Fin Garden and the historical village of Abyaneh. Visiting the Bazaar, the underground city, or just strolling through the streets, are also great options.
Accommodation: hostel (mixed dorm)
Today our adventure ends!
You will be transported to the airport in time for your flight.
Good journey back home. Khodahafez!