World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris

World Heritage Tours - World Heritage Tours - Tours in the Middle East, Tours in South America, Tours in Indochina, Tours in Africa,  African Safaris



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THE PERSIAN ROUTE
A World Heritage Sites Tour of Iran
We travel through history and art, as we explore Persepolis,the 2500 year-old capital of the Persian Empire. We see Islamic architecture at its best in Esfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd with their elegant mosques and labyrinthine like bazaars. Iran is a fascinating country, where you will also be surprised by the warm hospitality of its people.
This tour was one of the first from North America to Iran, and has received considerable coverage in the North American press (New York Times, International Travel News, etc.). After over six years, it still remains one of our most popular programs to Persia.


Tour Summary
Map
Day

Place
01 & 02
Tehran
03
Tehran / Hamadan
04
Hamadan / Kermanshah
05
Kermanshah / Susa / Ahwaz
06
Awaz / Shiraz
07
Persepolis
08
Shiraz
09
Shiraz / Yazd
10
Yazd
11
Yazd / Esfahan
12, 13 & 14
Esfahan
15
Esfahan / Tehran
16
Tehran
17 Tehran / Depart

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

World Heritage Sites in Iran covered on this tour
Tchogha Zanbil (1979) The ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, surrounded by three huge concentric walls, are found at Tchogha Zanbil. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal, as shown by the thousands of unused bricks left at the site.
Persepolis (1979) 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.
Meidan Emam, Esfahan (1979) 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-storeyed arcades, the site is known for the Royal Mosque, the Mosque of Sheykh Lotfollah, the magnificent Portico of Qaysariyyeh and the 15th-century Timurid palace. They are an impressive testimony to the level of social and cultural life in Persia during the Safavid era.
Pasargadae (2004) The first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II, the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. Its palaces, gardens, and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization. Particularly noteworthy vestiges in the 160-ha site include: the Mausoleum of Cyrus II; Tall-e Takht, a fortified terrace; and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace, and gardens. Pasaragadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia. Spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Hindus River, it is considered to be the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples. This was reflected in Achaemenid architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures.
Detailed Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive Tehran
On arrival, we are welcomed to Tehran, the pearl of Persia. After checking into our hotel, we enjoy a leisurely evening and rest up, before our formal itinerary of exploring this country rich in history and culture begins.
Overnight: Laleh Hotel , Tehran (2 nights)

Day 02: Tehran
Our half-day tour of the capital starts off with the visit to the Archeological Museums. Its massive collections include a stone capital of the winged lion from Susa and a 6th century B.C. audience hall relief of Darius the Great from the Treasury at Persepolis. The museum’s exhibits date from 4500 B.C. to contemporary times. (B, D)

Day 03: Tehran/Hamadan (Drive 215miles / 343kms)
An early start takes us on a scenic drive to Hamadan, one of the oldest inhabited towns in the world. An afternoon tour of Hamadan will include a stop at the charming waterfall Ganjnameh before proceeding to the magnificent and dominating Avecinna Memorial and Baba Taher Tombs. Next follows a visit to Ester and Murducai the most important Jewish pilgrimage sight in Iran. Before we lose ourselves in the maze that is the colorful oriental Bazaar of Hamadan, we pay a visit to the famous 14th century Stone Lion.
Overnight: Azadi Hotel, Hamadan (1 night)
(B, D)


Day 04: Hamadan/Kermanshah (Drive 118miles / 189kms)
We depart in the morning for Kermanshah via Bi-Sotoun, where the famous bas reliefs are carved out of a dramatic mountain. This region hosts the most interesting and famous archeological sites in Iran. We view many Achaemenian inscriptions including one of about 1200 lines where we get insight into the hard fought battle of Darius, defeating the governors who tried to dismantle the Empire. Leaving the famous Tablets of Darius we visit the Temple of Anahita, the goddess of abundance and the guardian of water in ancient Iran. In the evening we visit the traditional bazaar in Kermanshah where we’ll have the opportunity to sharpen our bargaining skills.
Overnight: Azadegan Hotel, Kermanshah (1 night) (B, D)

Day 05: Kermanshah/Susa/Ahwaz (Drive 314miles / 509kms)
We travel south on a scenic countryside drive to Ahwaz. En route, we stop at Susa, one of the oldest archaeological sites in Iran. This prehistoric settlement (from at least 4000 B.C. and an important Elamite city) reached peak under the reign of Untash Gal, who built Susa as his administrative capital and founded Tchogha Zanbil as his religious center. Tchogba Zanbil remains the best surviving example of Elamite architecture.
Overnight: Pars Hotel, Ahwaz (1 night) (B, D)

Day 06: Ahwaz/Shiraz (Drive 351miles / 568kms)
After breakfast and a cup of “chai”, we depart for Shiraz visiting also the famous Sassanid Reliefs and Palace of Bishapour. Shiraz is traditionally known as city of Roses and Nightingales.
Overnight: Pars Hotel, Shiraz (3 nights) (B, D)

Day 07: Persepolis
Persepolis is the last and ultimate expression of the ancient Middle East. Nearly 2500 years ago, construction for its magnificent structure was begun by Darius the Great with the intent to make it the focus of the mighty Achemenian Empire. Our tour will also include the Naqsh-e-Rustam where hewn out of a cliff rest the tombs believed to be of Darius I and II, Atraxerxes and Xerxes I. (B, D)

Day 08: Shiraz
Our day is spent exploring Shiraz where we start with a visit to the picturesque Eram Garden, famous for its cypress trees. Next we visit the tombs of Persia’s best-known poets: Saadi and Hafiz. While there, why not enjoy a cup of chai at the wonderful atmospheric teahouse where one sit on a floor of cushions and mingle with the locals. Our next stop takes us to the “modern” Nasirol-Molk mosque and the pretty Afif-Abad Garden followed by a visit to the Church of Saint Simmon the Zealot with the famed stained glass windows. This wonderful day culminates with a trip to a labyrinthine bazaar.
(B, D)

Day 09: Shiraz/Yazd (Drive255miles / 409kms)
This morning depart for Yazd with stop at Pasargadae, where we view the six-tiered tomb of Cyrus the Great.
Overnight: Daad Hotel, Yazd (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 10: Yazd
As Yazd is home of the more traditional Persian architecture, we begin our day with a visit to the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence and Fire Temple (where a fire is still kept burning from 5 century AD). We continue to the magnificent Masjed-e Jameh and Amir-Chakhmaq Mosques and then tour Doulat Abad Garden with its traditional ventilation shaft (wind tower). (B, D)

Day 11: Yazd/Esfahan (Drive 195miles / 316kms)
In the morning we depart on a beautiful drive to Esfahan, which was a vibrant trade center, and its glorious Islamic architecture and beautiful gardens captured the hearts of many with the saying: “Esfahan is half the World”.
Overnight: Abbasi Hotel, Esfahan (4 nights) (B, D)

Day 12: Esfahan
Our morning tour begins with a visit to the Emam Khomeini Square. This majestic square, built in 1612, is constantly bustling with activity. Then, we take in the beautifully proportioned and decorated 17th century Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah and then off to see the magnificent Emam Mosque – one of the most stunning buildings in Iran. We will try to include a visit to a local school. (B, D)

Day 13: Esfahan
Morning tour includes a visit to the 6 stories Ali Qapu Palace followed by a tour of the most impressive pavilion and garden, Chehel Sutoon Palace (40 pillars palace - in reality there are 20 pillars with 20 water reflections) built with 40 pillars by Shah Abbas. We finish off this day of exploration with a trip to the most famous bazaar in Iran. (B, D)

Day 14: Esfahan
Esfahan is a city one can never forget. Today’s tour of this magnificent medina begins with Hacht Behesht Palace, a charming garden palace, built in 1680, with impressive mosaics and stalactite moldings. Then we are off to see the richly decorated and serene Armenian Vank Church followed by the glorious Friday Mosque. No trip to Esfahan is complete without visiting the famous old bridges that cross the Zayande River. We take some time here to stroll along the riverbanks, mingle with the friendly residents and join the local folks for the famous Esfahani tea. (B, D)

Day 15: Esfahan/Tehran (Drive 256m / 414 Km)
On our scenic drive to Tehran we stop at Kashan, an attractive oasis town, and take in its attractive sights. We visit Tabatabaie Houses and Khan-e Borujerdi, built as a private residence, now a charming museum with a lovely courtyard. We then take in the famous Fin Garden and witness its breathtaking pools, orchards and natural springs. Next we visit Agha Bozorg Mosque famous for its lovely portals and minarets. After lunch, we visit the exquisite Shrine of Fatima in Qum and later we view the Tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Overnight: Laleh Hotel, Tehran (2 nights) (B, D)

Day 16: Tehran
Our culminating tour of Tehran begins with the impressive Glass and Ceramic Museum, continues in the Sa’dabad Garden Museum (with its 18 opulent Palaces) and the world-renowned Carpet Museum that houses a spectacular collection of Iranian hand woven carpets. Our next museum is the Reza Abbasi’s. Its artifacts date back to the 14th century and the museum exhibits stunning examples of Islamic calligraphy and exquisite jewelry from several dynasties. The day ends with a visit to the bazaar to pick up some last minute gifts and souvenirs followed by a special Iranian farewell dinner at a traditional local restaurant.
(B, D)

Day 17: Depart Tehran
Today we exchange addresses with our new friends and bid farewell to ancient Persia. Check out time is by 1100 hrs. (B)
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

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Departure Dates

2016
May 13, Sep 23 & Oct 21


Prices
Departure Tour Price US$ Single Sup US$
2016 5750 780
Tour Price Includes Tour Price Does Not Include:
• Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
• Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast
D
=Dinner)
• All sightseeing and transfers
• Services of local English speaking guide
• Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
• Visa Support as required
• International Airfare / Departure Taxes
• Travel Insurances
• Visa Fees
• Drinks / Beverages with meals
• Tips / Gratuities to Drivers & Guides
Domestic / Regional Airfare INCLUDED in Tour Price
Tehran / Kerman & Shiraz / Esfahan.

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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