Leave your preconceived ideas about Iran at home and don't be surprised at the beauty of the mountains, sea and desert, the relaxed atmosphere in Tehran and the friendliness of the people. Iran is a country which combines sophistication with ancient treasures.
Tehran may not be the cultural heart of the country but you will find palaces, mosques, museums and bazaars as well as trendy cafés and upmarket shopping malls. Hop into a horse-drawn carriage and ride through Esfahan's graceful Imam Square with the sensational blue-tiled Masjed-e Imam. Meander through the peaceful gardens of Shiraz and visit the tombs of great poets. Take in the ruins of nearby Persepolis, once a great city in the powerful Achaemenid Empire.
Join the pilgrims who flock to the holy shrines of Qom and Mashhad and wander along the winding, dusty streets of Yazd dotted with ancient wind towers. Make sure you get to know the locals by taking tea with them if invited; women can join in the fun by bathing fully clothed from the beaches of the Persian Gulf or Caspian Sea. Don't leave without bargaining for an exquisite rug in the bazaar.
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