TOP 10 places to visit in Iran

TOP 10 places to visit in Iran

3 December 2011 | By Pawel

Topics: Iran, Places, Travel Advice

 

Experiencing Iran was for us mostly about interacting with Iranians and hearing what they have to say about their country, however during our stay we also discovered that Iran has a lot to offer both in terms of magnificent natural as well as historical sites.

 

Here’s our TOP 10 favourite places in Iran:

 

10. Historical Houses in Kashan

Enormous mansions that make it easy to imagine the true meaning of luxury in Iran during the Qajar era. This particular mansion Khan-e Tabatabei was built by a wealthy carpet merchant and consisted of over 40 rooms and 4 courtyards!

A courtyard of one of the historical houses in Kashan

A courtyard of one of the historical houses in Kashan

 

9. Shaking Minaret and the abandoned village at Khanrnaq

The minaret in the abandoned village of Khanrnaq (near Yazd) gained its name not without a reason. The mud bricks and wooden elements used in the construction process make it possible to actually shake it even nowadays! Do you know what is the best part? That you can actually climb to the top of it and shake it!
Warning: to climb the minaret you’ll need to go through a VERY narrow staircase so those of you with claustrophobic inclinations should probably be in charge of taking pictures from below :)

Waving from the top of the Shaking Minaret, Khanrnaq

Waving from the top of the Shaking Minaret, Khanrnaq


Abandoned village of Karnak

Abandoned village of Khanrnaq

 

8. Chak-Chak – the holy place of Zoroastrians

Chak-Chak is the place where the Zoroastrian religion was born. It was the main religion of Persia until the Arab invasion. Nowadays it has only a few thousand followers in Iran and the largest community of Zoroastrians currently live in India (known as Parsis).

In the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Chak-Chak

In the Zaroastrian Fire Temble, Chak-Chak


Some people come to Chak-Chak looking for spiritual experience, others just to pose for a photo.

Some people come to Chak-Chak looking for spiritual experience, others just to pose for a photo.

 

7. Colorful Nasr ol Molk Mosque in Shiraz

You can see our ‘Photo of the Week’ and read more about it here.

Morning sun lighting up the interiors of Nasr ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz

Morning sun lighting up the interiors of Nasr ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz

 

6. Alamut Valley and the Castles of the Assassins

Great place for those who enjoy spending time in the mountains. Read more about this place in our post here.

Rapidly changing weather created an amazing spectacle of light in the Alamut Valley

Rapidly changing weather created an amazing spectacle of light in the Alamut Valley


Rain-carved lines on the slope of one of the mountains in Alamut Valley

Rain-carved lines on the slope of one of the mountains in Alamut Valley

 

5. The Bazaar of Tabriz

The largest covered bazaar in the world, divided into parts where you can buy famous Persian carpets, jewelry, spices and much more.

Bazaar in Tabriz - probably the best place to buy a persian carpets of all kinds

Bazaar in Tabriz - probably the best place to buy a persian carpets of all kinds


Light beaming through the holes in the ceiling of the Bazaar in Tabriz

Light beaming through the holes in the ceiling of the Bazaar in Tabriz

 

4. Ancient Persepolis

The well-preserved ruins of the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire that remained buried in sand till 1930s when they were discovered and excavated by French archaeologists.

The grand entrance to the Persepolis city complex

The grand entrance to the Persepolis city complex

 

3. The Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz

The best place to experience Iranian’s emotional attitude to poetry. Read more about it in our post here.

Witnessing strong emotional reactions at the Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz

Witnessing strong emotional reactions at the Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz

 

2. The Old City in Yazd

An incredible maze of narrow streets twining among mudbrick houses often topped with characteristic, impressive windcatchers (natural air conditioning towers).

Famous windcatchers in the old part of Yazd

Famous windcatchers in the old part of Yazd


Narrow winding streets in the Old City of Yazd

Narrow winding streets in the Old City of Yazd

 

1. Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan

Favourite of ours and many Iranian families who come there to spend their weekends gossiping, sipping tea and playing with their children in front of the impressive Shah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace and smaller but splendid Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque.

Woman in chador strolling through the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan

Woman in chador strolling through the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan


Inside the Lotfollah Mosque at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan

Inside the Lotfollah Mosque at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Esfahan

 

While visiting all these places was really worthwhile, both Lavanya and I agreed that it’s a real shame that due to the current political situation in Iran so few travellers decide to come here. If only the Iranian government was more keen on inviting foreign tourists and creating a better infrastructure for them, Iran could easily become a favourite tourist destination in the Middle East.

 

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5 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Denise says:

    Iran is such a fascinating country. If there is one country in the Middle East which I would really like to visit, that would be it. However, I don’t know, I just can’t bring myself to visit countries where I know women are treated as second class citizens, I just wouldn’t bear it.

    • Lavanya says:

      Hi Denise!
      Iran is one of my favourite countries visited till date, I simply loved it and would definitely go back there soon.
      But I must say the most revealing aspect once you visit Iran is the wide gap between the government and its people in everything from ideology, values, how they treat women to how they feel about the western world. The month long visit really changed my previous perception of the country.

    • marzie says:

      Denise,
      It’s a common thought of us about Iranian women. If you come here, u will see yourself that we respect each gender equally!

  2. ashwin says:

    Wow..I’ve always wanted to visit Iran,and the pictures are really well done!!

    • marzie says:

      ashwin, you would have great time here, esp because the value of our money has decreased alot and you can spend easily and have fun with low money!

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