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PERSIA'S WORLD HERITAGE SITES
A World Heritage Sites Tour of Iran
Modern day Iran changed its name from Persia as recent as in 1935. At its height around 500 BC the Achaemenids, the founding dynasty of the Persian Empire had conquered Asia as far as the Indus River, Greece and North Africa including what is now Egypt and Libya.

The beginning of the Persian Empire is set at different times by different scholars, but the real force behind the expansion was Cyrus II, aka Cyrus the Great, in the mid-sixth century BC. Cyrus was part of the Achaemenid Empire, with Cyrus's capital first at Hamadan and then Pasargadae. In 330 BC, Macedonian Greeks led by Alexander the Great overthrew the Achaemenids and established the Seleucid Empire named after Alexander's general. The Seleucids were in turn followed by the Parthian and Sassanid dynasties. The Sassinids were defeated by Arab caliphs in the mid-7th century AD, and by 651, the Persian Empire had ended. The course of history has left its mark in the country and today Iran has over a dozen World Heritage Sites.


Tour Summary
Map
Day
Place
01
Tehran
02
Tehran
03 Tehran / Tabriz
04
Tabriz / Maku / Tabriz
05
Tabriz / Zanjan / Hamadan
06
Hamadan / Kermanshah
07
Kermanshah / Susa / Ahwaz
08
Ahwaz / Bishapore / Shiraz
09
Shiraz
10
Shiraz / Persepolis / Pasargadae / Yazd
11
Yazd / Esfahan
12
Esfahan
13
Esfahan
14
Esfahan / Abyaneh / Kashan / Tehran
15
Depart Tehran

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited
This tour has been tailored to include the following World Heritage Sites

 
Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Tehran
Once you clear Customs & Immigration, you will be met at the exit gate by our local representative for your transfer to the hotel. Check in time starts from 1400 hrs. The afternoon city tour includes the Crown Jewels and the Archaeological museums.
Overnight: Laleh Hotel (2 nights) (D)

Day 02: Tehran
Today’s tour includes Golestan Palace, the Glass & Ceramic museum, the Carpet Museum and Saadabad Palace. (B, D)

Day 03: Tehran / Tabriz
Tabriz and its Bazaar were already prosperous and famous in the 13th century, when the town, in the province of Eastern Azerbaijan, became the capital city of the Safavid Kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but remained important as a commercial hub until the end of the 18th century, with the expansion of Ottoman power. A morning flight will get you to Tabriz and transfer to the hotel. After check in, your city tour will include the Blue Mosque, Argh-e-Tabriz, the Municipal Hall, the House of Constitution and the Grand Bazaar* that consists of a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures, buildings, and enclosed spaces for different functions. It is one of the most complete examples of the traditional commercial and cultural system of Iran. Our next stop is an excursion to the ancient village of Kandovan, the Cappadocia of Iran (legend has it that the hanging gardens of Babylonia were erected somewhere near this village). We return to Tabriz in the evening.
Overnight: Pars Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 04: Tabriz / Maku / Tabriz
We take a full day excursion to explore some of the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran*. These edifices - the oldest of which, St Thaddeus, dates back to the 7th century, are examples of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative traditions. They bear testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox and Persian. Situated on the south-eastern fringe of the main zone of the Armenian cultural space, the monasteries constituted a major centre for the dissemination of that culture in the region. They are the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity. Furthermore, as places of pilgrimage, the monastic ensembles are living witnesses of Armenian religious traditions through the centuries. (B, D)

Day 05: Tabriz / Zanjan / Hamadan
We drive to Hamedan via Zanjan to visit Gonbad-e-Soltanieh*. The mausoleum of Oljaytu was constructed in 1302–12 in the city of Soltaniyeh, the capital of the Ilkhanid dynasty, which was founded by the Mongols. Situated in the province of Zanjan, Soltaniyeh is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture. The octagonal building is crowned with a 50 m tall dome covered in turquoise-blue faience and surrounded by eight slender minarets. It is the earliest existing example of the double-shelled dome in Iran. The mausoleum’s interior decoration is also outstanding and scholars such as A.U. Pope have described the building as ‘anticipating the Taj Mahal’. After our visit we continue to Hamadan.
Overnight: Azadi Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 06: Hamadan / Kermanshah
We explore the charming waterfall of Ganjnameh where we will see Achamenian Rock Inscriptions; the dominating memorials of Avecina (the greatest physician and philosopher of Persia whose medical treatments and philosophical ideas are presently practiced and observed by the world’s scholars); visit the tomb of Baba Taher (a famous Persian Poet), the tomb of Esther & Murducai, most important Jewish pilgrimage sight in Iran and the famous ancient Stone Lion. In the afternoon we drive to Kermanshah, visiting en route the temple of Anahita and the Achamenian rock carvings of Bisotun*, that are located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and feature remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I. This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire.
Overnight: Azadegan Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 07: Kermanshah / Susa / Ahwaz
After breakfast we visit Taq-e-Bostan with its Sassanid Reliefs dating back to 4th century AD and drive to Ahwaz stopping in Susa to visit Tchogha Zanbil*. The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam contain the best preserved and the largest of all the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. We then visit the historical irrigation system of Shushtar*, a masterpiece of creative genius that can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C. It involved the creation of two main diversion canals on the river Karun one of which, Gargar canal, is still in use providing water to the city of Shushtar via a series of tunnels that supply water to mills.
Overnight: Pars Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 08: Ahwaz / Bishapore / Shiraz
Full day drive to Shiraz, with a visit of the Sasanian remnants of Bishapore en route.
Overnight: Pars Hotel (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 09: Shiraz
Full day sightseeing with visits to Eram, a Persian Garden*, the tombs of the prominent Persian Poets Hafiz & Saadi, Nassirolmolk Mosque and the old bazaar of Vakil as well as its unique mosque. (B, D)

Day 10: Shiraz / Persepolis / Pasargadae / Yazd
Today we visit majestic Naqsh-e-Rostam and Naqsh-e-Rajab and Persepolis*. Founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site. We continue our journey and visit the tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of Achamenian Empire in Pasargadae*, the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire and exceptional testimony of Persian civilization. We continue our journey visiting 4000-year old Cypress tree in the city of Abarquo, and explore the Zoroastrian village of Cham before our arrival in Yazd.
Overnight: Daad Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 11: Yazd / Esfahan
We explore Yazd visiting the Zoroastrian Silence Towers and Fire Temple, the mosques of Jameh & Mirchakhmaque, Doulatabad, a Persian Garden* with a beautiful mansion embracing the world's highest ventilation tower. After the tour we drive to Isfahan.
Overnight: Abbasi Hotel (3 nights) (B, D)

Day 12: Esfahan
Our full day city tour includes the old bridges of Khajou and Sio-se-Pol, the Armenian Vank Cathedral as well as its museum, Hasht Behesht Palace, Chehel Sotoun Palace and Meidan Emam*, known as Imam Square. The square is an impressive testimony to the level of social and cultural life in Persia during the Safavid era, built by Shah Abbas I the Great at the beginning of the 17th century, and bordered on all sides by monumental buildings linked by a series of two-storied arcades. (B, D)

Day 13: Esfahan
Morning visit to Jameh Mosque, then return to Meidan Emam to visit the Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and Ali Qapu Palace. The afternoon is free for exploring and shopping in the old bazaar. (B, D)

Day 14: Esfahan / Abyaneh / Kashan / Tehran
We drive to the ancient village of Abyaneh to see visit people that still use traditional dress, continue to to Kashan to visit Fin, a Persian Garden*, the mosque of Agha Bozorg and the rich merchant houses of Tabatabaeiha and Broujerdiha. Before our arrival in Tehran we visit the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Overnight: Laleh Hotel (1 night) (B, D)

Day 15: Depart Tehran
Check out by 1100 hrs. After our incredible journey of marveling at Iran's cultural and natural heritage, we are transferred to the airport.

* Denotes a UNESCO World Heritage Site

B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

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Departure Dates

2017
Apr 28 & Oct 06*


Prices
Departure Tour Price US$ Single Sup US$
2017 6590 695
Tour Price Includes Tour Price Does Not Include:
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • Domestic airfare: Tehran/Tabriz (based on current application fare)
  • 27 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • International airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities
Domestic / Regional Airfare INCLUDED in Tour Price
 

Estimated International Airfare (not included in tour price)
East Coast US $ 1100
West Coast US $ 1300
Please note: This tour operates with a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 08 participants.

Other Dates / Customized Itinerary / Languages
In addition to our set programs we are also pleased to offer customized tours.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your individual needs.

Customized tours can be conducted in English, French, German, Spanish or Italian. Each departure is conducted in the designated language only.

Contact Information
Bestway Tours & Safaris
Fax: +1-604-264-7774
206–8678 Greenall Ave Phone: +1-604-264-7378
Burnaby B.C., Canada Toll Free (US & Canada): 1-800-663-0844
V5J 3M6 Email: bestway@bestway.com
33 years in small group journeys

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photographs © Peter Langer
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