A journey from ancient Persia to modern Iran
Modern Iran is perhaps the most misunderstood country in the world.
Home to the world’s greatest concentration of World Heritage listed historic sites and arguably one of the modern world’s most controversial nations.
The aim of our journey is to visit and learn about the ancient treasures of Persia and to understand the Iran of today. To find out what it really is like living in modern Iran we will to walk with the people, visit their homes, talk to mullahs and hear from people in the bazaars.
Trip date: 6 Nov – 20 Nov 2015
15 days, Departs: Shiraz, Concludes: Tehran
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Shiraz is the heartland of Persian culture and one of the most important cities in medieval Islam. It is synonymous with poetry and wine, education and nightingales. This beautiful city, set in a fertile valley once famed for its vineyards, is home to exquisite mosques and splendidly manicured gardens.
We begin with a visit to the Masjed-e Nasir-al-Molk, one of the most elegant mosques in southern Iran with its exquisite blue tiling, intricately carved pillars and beautiful stained glass. Today we also visit the Narenjestan Garden, wander through the bazaar to Vakil Bath and Masjed-e Vakil. Dominating the city centre is the fortress Arg-e Karim Khan.
Built in the early Zand period, the walls feature ornamental brickwork. In the evening we visit the tomb of the famous poet Khajeh Shams-ed-Din Mohammed or Hafez. Overnight Shiraz. (L,D)
After breakfast we set out for Yazd and Persepolis, the ancient Achaemenid empire, the ruins we see today hint at the grand scale of this once great empire, which was built over a period of 150 years from 520BC. During our time at Persepolis we also visit the Naqsh-e Rostam.
These four tombs are believed to be those of Darius II, Artaxerxes I, Darius I and Xerxes I. Another 50kms north we visit the ruins of the city of Pasargadae, established by Cyrus the Great in around 546BC. After lunch we continue on our way to Yazd via the town of Abarkuh, Overnight Yazd. (B,L,D)
Yazd is an enchanting place to wander in the maze of historic streets and lanes. The city has some of the finest examples of architecture and Persian mosaics in Iran. Many of the old buildings have magnificent wind catchers (badgirs) with large underground areas. Today we explore the Masjed-e Jameh, one of the most stunning mosques in Iran, the Ateshkadeh (Zoroastrian Fire Temple) and the Towers of Silence.
Following lunch we hope to visit the water museum where we learn the importance of the Qanats (underground water channels). Given its location sandwiched between two deserts, water and its management has been crucial to the survival of the city throughout millennia.
The museum examines the role water has played and provides insight into the lives of the men who at great risk maintained the tunnels. Later in the afternoon we wander the old city and bazaar. Overnight Yazd. (B,L,D)
After breakfast we embark on our road journey to the desert town of Garmeh. Enroute we take time to visit Meybod, a sprawling mud brick town approximately 50km north if Yazd. Here we find the crumbling Narin Castle, which dates back to Sassannian times.
From the top we are treated to fantastic photo opportunities with views across Meybod and into the desert. A true desert oasis, Garmeh is a picturesque 1500 year old mud brick village surrounded by date palms.
It is a wonderful place to experience true Iranian hospitality and home cooking, and showcases another unique and ancient side of Iran. Overnight home stay. (B,L,D)
We embark upon our road journey to Esfahan. Enroute we stop at the Jame Mosque in Na’in. This mosque was built in the 10th and 11th Century, it was one of the first mosques constructed in Iran, and it remains one of its most outstanding monuments.
Na’in is also famous for it’s wool textiles and high quality carpets, although Esfahan is the best place to see carpets from all over Iran. On arrival in Esfahan we check in to our accommodation. The evening is a lovely time to walk by the river and cross the historical bridge. Overnight Esfahan. (B,L,D)
Visually Esfahan is a most stunning city with its tree lined boulevards, Persian gardens and many important Islamic buildings such as the Masjed-e Jameh, Masjed-e Shah, Imam Mosque and square and Chehel Sotun Palace. On our first day in this fascinating city we visit the Imam Square and mosque, Sheikh Lotfolah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, and of course a carpet workshop.
In the evening we visit the Chehel Sotun Palace and afterwards wander the Old Square. One of the highlights of our entire journey in Iran is the Jameh Mosque, and we take a few hours here to gain some appreciation of this stunning complex.
In the afternoon we visit the Kelisa-ye Vank, and Khaju Bridge, one of the finest examples of Persian architecture at the height of Safavid cultural influence in Iran. It links the Khaju quarter on the north bank with the Zoroastrian quarter across the Zayandeh River. Although functioning as a bridge and weir, it also served as a building and public meeting place. Overnight Esfahan. (B,L,D)
A lovely oasis town on the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir, Kashan is known for its textiles, pottery and tiles. It also has a number of notable 19th century buildings and a lively bazaar.
We take time to visit the Fin Garden, and traditional houses of Khan-e Tabatabei and Khan-e Boroujerdi, these are grand houses of their era, featuring beautifully intricate stone reliefs, fine stucco and wonderful mirror and stained glass work. In the bazaar, time permitting, we pay a visit to the Masjed-e Soltani and the 800 year old Mir Amad Mosque. After lunch we continue on our way to Tehran, arriving in the late afternoon we check in to our hotel.
Remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight Tehran. (B,L,D)
Tehran is the capital of Iran and has a population of 14 million. The city has many historic mosques, churches, synagogues and Zoroastrian fire temples, however modern structures such as the Azadi Tower and Milad Tower have come to symbolize contemporary Iran.
The vast majority of the population understand and speak Persian, and also identify themselves as Persians. Tehran is a large, interesting and modern city, with nightlife, restaurants and cafés, shopping and business centres, which are a stark contrast to the fascinating ancient sites such as the Golestan Palace.
Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date back to the 19th century. This really is one of the greatest sites in Iran, and we take our time wandering through the complex with our knowledgeable guide. In the afternoon we visit the Jewelry museum, which is so valuable it is now housed in the Central Bank of Iran. Overnight Tehran.(B,L,D)
Leaving Tehran behind we drive north towards the Alborz mountain chain. Enroute we take time to explore the Ghale RudKhan. Located approx. 25 kilometres from Foman, we take a very worthwhile, one hour hike uphill to access the castle. Believed to be built during the Sejluk dynasty, the most stunning aspect of the castle is its entrance gate.
We eventually reach the historical village of Masuleh, one of Iran’s most beautiful villages. Built on a steep mountain side and draped in mist shrouded forest, are Masuleh’s earth coloured houses. The architecture is unique, in that the buildings have been built into the mountains side and are interconnected.
Due to the unique layout motor vehicles are not permitted to enter Masuleh. In the late afternoon we have time to wander the small alleys, visit the charming tea terraces, and of course meet the local people. Overnight Masuleh. (B,L,D)
We have a leisurely start today with time to further explore the village before continuing on towards the tomb of Sheikh Safi at Ardabil via the Caspian Sea. Overnight Ardabil. (B,L,D)
Drive to Kandovan (275kms/4-5hrs), and Tabriz (60km)
Reminiscent of Capodocia in Turkey, is a settlement of troglodyte homes carved out of rock. Set beyond the ancient village of Kandovan are the foothills leading to Mt Sahand, a volcano which stands at 3707metres. It is a very picturesque landscape and so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Another famous site is the Blue Mosque, one of the most glorious building of its era.
Overnight Tabriz. (B,L,D)
Today we visit the UNESCO listed Tabriz Bazaar. This is a magnificent labyrinth which covers 7 square kilometres with 24 separate caravanserais and 22 impressive domed halls. Construction began a millennium ago, and it is an extraordinary experience to wander through the colourful maze and take in the sights and sounds.
Another famous site is the Blue Mosque, one of the most glorious building of its era. In the afternoon we take our flight back to Tehran. The rest of the day is at leisure before venturing out for our final dinner.
Today is the final day of our stunning journey through Iran. After breakfast we transfer to the airport for onward arrangements. (B)
Dates & Cost
Trip: 6 November – 20 November 2016
Ex: Shiraz (Iran)
|14 nights||15 days|
|Twin Share||Single Supplement|
|AUD 8,540||AUD 1,350|
(Group size maximum 16 persons)
All tour costs are land only exclusive of international airfares and taxes.
The tour costs shown are per person quoted in Australian dollars and are subject to change due to exchange rate variations and other factors. Please check with us at the time of booking.
Traveller’s Notes: Should you be travelling alone and wish to share, we will endeavour to match you with a roommate of the same gender. However, if this is not possible or the allotted roommate cancels you will be required to pay the single room supplement. The number of single rooms available on each tour is strictly limited.
Space on Adventure Associates’ Special Interest Land tours is limited to allow for ease of movement for an in-depth smaller group experience. To ensure your place on these exciting adventures, please contact us to reserve a place, then complete the Booking Form and return to us with your deposit. Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form.
|Deposit required:||AUD 1,000 per person|
|Balance due:||75 days prior to departure|
|If booking within
75 days of departure:
|Full payment must be made|
Travel insurance is strongly recommended. Adventure Associates recommends the following Travel insurance companies; SureSave and Aussietravelcover. You can access these insurance companies by visiting the Adventure Associates website. By clicking on the travel insurance companies icon. It will take you directly to the website for a quote.
Otherwise if you need assistance with your travel insurance please contact our office on +61 2 8916 3000 or 1800 222 141
Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.
|More than 100 days prior to departure||AUD 1000 per person|
|Between 99 and 75 days prior to departure||Full loss of deposit per person|
|Between 74 and 35 days prior to departure||75% of tour cost per person|
|On or within 34 days prior to departure||No Refund|
All cancellation charges will be strictly applied. If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out travel insurance. Once the Land Tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.