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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
/ Susa / Ahwaz
13 & 14
World Heritage Sites Visited
This tour has been tailored to include the following World
World Heritage Sites in Iran covered on this tour
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.
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.
Emam, Esfahan (1979)
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
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.
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
Overnight: Azadi Hotel, Hamadan (1 night)
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)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 13, Sep 23 & Oct 21
Price Does Not Include:
Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast
All sightseeing and transfers
Services of local English speaking guide
Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the
Visa Support as required
International Airfare / Departure Taxes
Drinks / Beverages with meals
Tips / Gratuities to Drivers & Guides
/ Regional Airfare INCLUDED in Tour Price
/ Kerman & Shiraz / Esfahan.
International Airfare (not
included in tour price)
note: This tour operates with a minimum of 02 and a maximum
of 08 participants.
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
Customized tours can be conducted in English, French,
German, Spanish or Italian. Each departure is conducted
in the designated language only.
Free (US & Canada): 1-800-663-0844
years in small group journeys