|03 Sep - 20 Sep|
Fly to Tabriz, via Istanbul on an overnight flight.
After an early morning arrival into Tabriz transfer to the hotel for a rest. After a late breakfast enjoy a city tour of Tabriz. Visit the informative Azerbaijan Museum before exploring the highlight of the city the truly stunning Blue Mosque. Constructed in 1465 the site suffered huge damage in two earthquakes before being reconstructed from 1951. End with a visit to the popular covered bazaar which was once an important trading site on the historic Silk Road. Overnight Tabriz. (B,D)
Drive to the border city of Jolfa. Visit the Aras Valley and the river border between Iran and Azerbaijan and the Church of St Stephanos, a UNESCO World Heritage site which dates as far back as AD 62. Return to Tabriz for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
A long day’s travel today towards Zanjan. Journey south to explore the troglodyte homes of Kandovan which have been carved out of the rocks and is often compared to Cappadocia. Continue to Visit UNESCO World Heritage Soltaniyeh which dates back to the early 13th century. One of the best preserved structures, the Mausoleum of Oljaytu, is a classic example of early Islamic architecture. Overnight Zanjan. (B,D)
Drive to Tehran, the bustling capital of Iran. En-route visit Qazvin, once an ancient capital in the Safavid dynasty. Visit Jameh Mosque and Shazdeh Hossein Shrine. End the day in Tehran with dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Spend today exploring Tehran. Visit the gloriously lavish Golestan Palace complex, once the royal residence and seat of power in the country. The site comprises several grand buildings set around a perfectly manicured garden and offers the chance to discover architectural gems from the Qajar era. Enjoy a stroll in the gardens followed by lunch in the garden café. Continue to visit the popular Jewels Treasury which houses a jewel collection dating back to the Safavid Empire. Look for the Darya-ye Nur, the ‘Sea of Light’, a pink diamond weighing an impressive 182 carats and the largest uncut diamond in the world. (B,D)
Further exploration of Tehran is the order of the day. Visit the Azadi Tower which was built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian empire. If possible we will jump on the modern Tehran Metro for a journey to the National Museum of Iran. The museum is the largest History and Archaeology Museum in the country and offers a real insight into Iran’s colourful history. The collection includes stone figures, pottery and ceramics. End the day at the Grand Bazaar and enjoy a wander around the hustle and bustle of the many and varied stalls before heading to the popular area of Darband for dinner. (B,D)
Board a local train for the journey south to Kashan, a great way of travelling through the country. Enjoy the passing Iranian scenery. Arrive into Kashan and enjoy a visit to a local merchant house to get an idea of life as a wealthy 19th-century trader. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Persian Gardens which date back as far as the 6th century and feature sophisticated irrigation systems, buildings and pavilions. Also, visit the popular bazaar which is a great place for a cup of tea and a spot of people watching. (B,D)
Depart Kashan and drive to visit historic Abyaneh village which is well known for its twisting, warren-like lanes of red pigmented mud-brick homes. Continue on to one of the highlights of the trip, Isfahan. This evening head out to discover this beautiful city and what better introduction than with a walk along one of the famous Zayandeh River Bridges. This is a popular place for visitors and locals to enjoy an early evening stroll. (B,D)
Enjoy a further full day in beautiful Isfahan. Visit Kakh-e Chehel Sotun, Kakh-e Ali Qapu and Imam and Lotfullah Mosques. Time will also be spent taking in the awe inspiring Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second largest square in the world, second only to Tiananmen Square in Beijing. This afternoon visit Vank Cathedral, also known as the ‘Church of the Saintly Sisters’, located in Jolfa, the Armenian Quarter of the city. The interior of the building contains a fascinating mix of Christian and Islamic architectural styles and remains the focal point of the Armenian Christian community. (B,D)
This morning explore the Masjed-e Jameh which is the oldest preserved structure of its type in the country, a focal point of the city and an important place of worship. Discover over a thousand years worth of Islamic art including the ablutions fountain and some Mongol-era stalactite mouldings. After lunch enjoy free time in the city to explore at your own pace. (B,D)
Drive to Yazd, a historic trade city and home to a large population of Zoroastrians. Make a couple of stops along the way, the first at the town of Na'in. Home to one of the oldest mosques in Iran, this unassuming 10th century stone mosque is a small peaceful building with some intricately carved pillars. From here you can also see the ruins of the castle. Continue on to Meybod where you can visit the Sassanian Narin Castle and the Safavid ice house before arriving into Yazd. (B,D)
Begin today with a visit to the Zoroastrian sites. Start early to avoid the crowds and visit the Towers of Silence. Located at the edge of the city these were used for traditional sky burials for the Zoroastrian community. Return to the city and head to the Fire Temple of Ateshkadeh which is said to have been burning since AD 470. Visit the Water Museum to learn about the development of the qanats, used to channel water from the mountains to the city and the nearby Amir Chakhmaq Complex, one of the largest structures in Iran with a mosque and bazaar. This afternoon visit the old city of Yazd, built with high mudbrick walls shielding the houses from the desert winds but with wind towers across the skyline to cool the houses below them. In the old city you will find the Jameh e Masjid, with its tall minarets towering over the city. Visit the Alexander Prison, whether or not it was used as a prison is not known but it was once a centre for learning and now is home to craftsmen and a tea shop. In the early evening visit the Dolati Gardens to see the largest windtower in Yazd. (B,D)
Morning at leisure before a late afternoon departure from the city. Drive to Zein-o-Din and your unique accommodation the night, a traditional caravanserai. The property, built as part hostel, part fortress to protect traders, dates back to the 16th century and sits along the ancient Silk Road route: experience the life of a Silk Road trader, even if just for one night! Enjoy a spot of star gazing away from the glare of the city lights. (B,D)
Drive towards Shiraz, the cultural heartland of the country. En-route visit Pasargadae, a smaller and less well known site built in the style of Persepolis. Also, visit Abarkuh and see the ancient icehouse. End the day in Shiraz with a stroll around Eram Gardens. (B,D)
This morning is dedicated to one of the highlights of Iran: Persepolis. Founded in 518 BC, Persepolis, originally called Parsa and once the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Also included are visits to Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab, the nearby rock tombs. Return to Shiraz for a tour of the city. Visit Naranjestan which is also referred to as Qavam Orangery and boasts a large courtyard of orange and palm trees and seemingly out of place Victorian era European paintings. Also, visit the beautiful Nasir Ol Molk Mosque - the delightfully decorated façade is blue however when the sun streams into the side rooms through the stained glass windows beautiful patterns are created. (B,D)
Today is entirely free at leisure. Why not explore the historic Bazar-e Vakil for some last minute souvenir shopping?
Enjoy dinner before departing for the airport for the late flight home to the UK.
(Late check-out is included) (B)
Take an early morning flight to the UK via Istanbul.
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
03 Sep 2018
20 Sep 2018