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27 Day Itinerary









27 Day Itinerary:


Day 01 – Arrival in Tehran

  Early morning arrival in Tehran, meet the guide, transfer to the hotel, rest, meet again your guide at around 10.00 AM in the lobby…, then start the city tour including a glance at Iran’s bustling capital of twelve million population, the Carpet Museum containing the collection of precious Persian carpets, the Archeological (National) Museum (6th millennium B.C. , pre-historic, Median, Achamenid, Selucid, Parthian, Sassanid up to Islamic era items), and  Jewelry museum (possibly the best in the world, open: Sat. to Tue.), Lunch in a local restaurant, back to the hotel.  


Day 02 – Tehran

 After our buffet breakfast we’ll begin a morning tour of Sa’ad Abad Palace Complex, the former residence and working office of the Pahlavi kings (Shahs) which after Islamic revolution in 1979, the palaces were changed into various museums. Walking through the hills of this huge complex of palaces you’ll feel the difference in temperature between here and the main city. Later, we’ll take the freeway to Reza Abbasi Museum, where you’ll find the best gold and silver collections of Achamenid and Sassanid artifacts. Calligraphy and miniatures are also featured in this museum. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant before returning to the hotel to rest and pack for tomorrow’s departure.


Day 03 – Tehran-Alamut-Qazvin

  We take the high-way to reach Qazvin, then divert to the Alborz mountains towards the inaccessible castle of Assasins, Alamut,nick-named as “eagle-nest” from 11th century, Seljuq period. On the way we pass by the villages in hillsides of Alborz, and near the village of Gazorkhan we start a short step climbing to the castle, lunch in the village, back to Qazvin visiting the local traditional bazaar in the town, O/N.  


Day 04 – Qazvin-Rasht-Masuleh-Anzali

  Morning visit of Qazvin including:  a typical mausoleum of Shazdeh Hussein with dazzling colorful tile & miror-works, Chehelsotun palace from 16th century Safavid period, then an 11th century Jame’ Mosque of Qavin, continue to drive through the Alborz mountain ranges, on to pass by Rasht the capital of Gilan (Caspian Sea) province, visiting an ancient medieval nearby village of Masuleh, one of the unique scenic villages in Iran,  O/N in a seaside hotel near Anzali coastal town.


Day 05 – Anzali-Ardabil-Tabriz

Drive through the scenic natural passes to visit the tomb of 13th century Sufi, Sheykh Safyeddin Ardebili complex with its magnificent tile-works, and the tomb of Shah Ismail, the first Safavid king and Chini-Khaneh in Ardabil, on to cross the Azabaijan mountains and Sabalan peak, coming to Tabirz, the bazaar of which was visited by Marco polo.


Day 06 – Tabriz (Excursion to Qara Kelisa & Saint Stephanos monastery)

  Morning visit of  the ruins of Arg-e Alishah, the biggest Jame’ mosque in town, dating from the 13th century Mongol period, after that proceed to Azarbayjan Museum, and the 15th-century Kaboud (blue) mosque (Turquoise of Islam), then we drive to the border town of Jolfa, picnic lunch or lunch in a local restaurant.  On to visit Saint Stephanos monastery, a flash-back to the Middle Ages, passing by an 11th-century Seljuq tomb tower, we’ll encounter the ruins of a sizeable 16th century Safavid caravanserai, and we’ll see an early Christian chapel, the Nakheirchi (literally cattle herder or shepherd) Chapel, built by a cattle herder so that shepherds and other cattle herders would not be deprived of the blessing of prayer taken within a church while tending their animals outside the village. The Saint Stephanos church is one of the architectural masterpieces of northwestern Iran which is constructed entirely of stone. Afternoon drive passing by Aras (Araxes) river and the lake, to visit Qara Kelisa (Black Church) the martyrdom place of Saint Tadeos attributed to 60 A.D. near Turkish border, back to Tabriz, dinner tonight in the 17th- century pavilion park restaurant, El-Goli.


Day 07 – Tabriz-Kandovan-Maraqeh

  After breakfast, in a 30 miles drive from Tabriz we arrive at the scenic valley of Kandovan in the foothills of Mount Sahand in the Osku district of eastern Azerbaijan, some rock dwellings reminiscent of Turkey’s Cappadocia, dating back to 800 years ago, en-route, Then drive to the south towards Marageh passing by the ancient Orumiya (Chichast) lake, arrive in Marageh visting a series of Seljuq and Mongol period tomb towers from 11th to 14th centuries.


Day 08 – Maraqeh-Takab

  Drive via the Zagros mountains of Azarbaijan and Kurdistan visiting the Sassanid Takht-e Soleyman citadel then called Azar-Goshnasb, one of the main fire temples in the time of Sassanid dynasty which was looted by Heraclius the Roman emperor. Mongol kings chose and used this site as their summer resort with a huge spring (80 x 120 ms), in the course of excavations, items of Achamenid, Parthian, Sassanid and Mongol origin have been discovered in this spectacular site, some of the finds can be visited in the location’s storage, overnight in Takab a Kurdish populated small town.


Day 09 - Takab-Kataleh Khor Cave/Alisadr Cave

  We drive to Zanjan to visit the 13th century Mongol period Soltaniyeh tomb tower, the world tallest religious building in 13th century with its massive calligraphies, and decorative designs, on to pass by the remote villages arriving at Qeydar, the burial place of the son of Samuel the son of Ibraham, although the building is a Seljuq design. From here we explore the immaculate  nature , Kataleh Khor cave, reminding the dreamful star wars, after visiting this we continue to visit Alisadr cave.


Day 10 – Kataleh Khor Cave/Alisadr Cave-Hamedan

  Today morning is allocated to walking and taking boat underground to explore Alisadr cave’s some  among hundreds of labyrinth corridors, a unique, magnificent piece of nature, on our way to Hamedan we will visit Lalajin pottery town, which was started as a ceramic workshop since Safavid period and they used to make Laleh (tulip) of China, the word has been converted to Lalajin in present Persian language, then arriving at Hamedan you’ll stroll in a fruit and vegetable market,  O/N Hamedan,


Day 11 - Hamedan

  Full day city tour of Hamedan, including the 12th century Seljuq Gonbad Alavian tomb tower, then the eternal resting place of Avecina a well known middle ages scientist, Ganj-Nameh the Achamenid high-relieves and the water fall, after that the excavated site of the ancient city of Ecbatana, the site of the first median kingdom in Iran in late 8th century B.C., the Biblical tombs of Ester and Mordcai the Jewish queen of Iran who married Xerxes, then visiting the gold market nearby.


Day 12 – Hamedan-Kermansh

  Drive to Kermanshah crossing Assad-Abad the main pass to western Iran, to visit first, the remains of the Parthian period Anahita temple in Kangavar en-route, and then the most important and the largest Achamenid inscription and high-relief in Bisotun from 6th century B.C., lunch in a local restaurant, arrive at Kermanshah to visit the Sassanid Taq-e Bostan high-relieves and grottoes, and the wonderful, dazzling 19th century tile-works in Tekiye Mo’aven–ol-molk, afternoon stroll in the local covered bazaar of the town to watch the Kurdish colorful dresses and taste.


Day 13 – Kermanshan-Andimeshk

  Drive through the Zagross mountains, passing by Zagros settled tribes, on the way to visit Falak Ol Aflak the 19th century citadel remaining from Sassanid period in Khorram Abad, then the ruins of Pol-e Dokhtar the Sassanid bridge.


Day 14– Andimeshk-Ahwaz

  Morning drive to have a short visit of Dezful and its market, on to visit the remains of ancient biblical Susa including the archeological mounds, Achamenid Dariush palace where the story of Ster and Mordecai took place, and later the shrine of Daniel the prophet, on to visit Chogazanbil Zigggurat a 2nd millennium B.C. Elamite temple, lunch, continue to visit the Shadorvan Sassanid dam and Shushtar waters falls and mills, arrive at Ahwaz.


Day 15 – Ahwaz-Kazeroun

  Pass by the oil-rich fields of Khuzestan province (south-west) of Iran, on to drive to Kazeroun , visiting Sarab Bahram from Sassanid period (3rd to 7th centuries A.D.), a high relief and Bishapur : the remains of 3rd century town, Anahita temple, and 6 Tang Chogan high reliefs,  


Day 16– Kazeroun-Shiraz

   Morning visit of a 19th century Qajar high-relief and passing by oak tree covered mountainous forests,  arrive at Shiraz, once famed for its vineyards of Shiraz grapes, and known as the “City of Poets & Roses and Nightingales”,  upon arrival we start our city tour, including 19th century Eram garden, 17th century Khan theological school, colorful nomdic bazaar of Haji, 19th century Nasir ol Molk mosque famous as pink mosque, Narenjestan Qavam the residence of the 19th century governor of Shiraz, Tombs of poets Hafez and Saadi.


Day 17 - Shiraz,(Excusion to Persepolis and Naqshe Rostam)

  Today may very well be the highlight of our trip, with an excursion to the 6th century B.C. Persepolis, the ancient ceremonial capital of Achaemenids, 30 miles from the city, and on to the royal necropolis in Naqsh-e Rostam, just a few miles northwest of Persepolis. Persepolis was home of the King of Kings for over 200 years. It is consisted of the remains of several monumental buildings including the Gate of All Nations, Palace of 100 Columns, Palace of Darius, Xerxes’ Palace, Central Palace, and Apadana Palace. Lunch in a local restaurant (nest of peacock restaurant) and relax before returning to Shiraz. Back in Shiraz have a free time in the 18th-century colorful, traditional, and crowded Vakil Bazaar, where you’ll find textiles, spices, copper handicrafts, and antiques. We’ll end in Saray-e Moshir, an urban caravanserai at the south entrance of the bazaar that now functions as an exhibition space for Iranian handicrafts.


Day 18 – Shiraz-Kerman

  The pleasant drive will take us to  pass by Maharlu lake,  and  Sarvestan town visiting a Sufi shrine, and the Sassanid Palace nearby en-route,  crossing a beautiful desert scenery, passing by Neyriz salt lake and fig tree forests, several photo stops, arrive at Kerman.


Day 19 - Kerman

  An excursion to Bam or Rayen citadel, on the way back you will visit Mahan town and the 15th century Shah Ne'mat ollah Vali Sufi shrine, and 19th century Baghe Shazdeh (prince garden).


Day 20 – Kerman-Yazd

  Morning visit of the 14th century Jame' mosque, the 17th century Ghanj Ali Khan Bath-house and the paintings and tileworks of Vakil tea house within the bustling bazaar with its originality in Kerman, drive to Yazd  to have a glimpse at the unique round 17th century caravanserai, the miracle of desert en-route called Zeynoddin.


Day 21 - Yazd

  Yazd is considered as having very studious and religious people and is also a center of Zoroastrian culture in Iran. Our first visit here is in Dakhmeh, the “Tower of Silence”—a circular, raised structure used to expose their dead, much like the traditional Tibetan “sky burial.”  Then we’ll visit the Zoroastrian fire-temple. Still in use today, it holds a fire that has been kept alight continuously since 470 A.D.!  On to explore the 15th-century Mirchakhmaq square and the façade of the old Bazaar of Yazd, followed by a visit to the 14th century Jame’ mosque. Yazd mosques are very well known for their high and lofty minarets and you can find the tallest one on the Jame’ mosque, on to visit the 14th century Seyyed Roknoddin holy shrine.  From here, we’ll stroll through the spiral back alleys of the old quarters of the city, visiting the prison of Alexander, the 12-Imam mosque, and Lariha traditional House. Built in 1286, Lariha House was built as a house for a fabric merchant. Lunch in an 18th-century public bath-house, recently converted into a traditional Persian restaurant. The 18th-century Dowlat Abad garden and its lofty wind tower (badgir) is another wonder of Yazd that we’ll visit today. Wind towers, also referred to as wind trappers or ventilation towers, are an inseparable part of the architecture of central and southern Iran, and have provided natural air conditioning in this hot climate for thousands of years. The wind tower in this garden stands almost 110 feet tall, and is considered an architectural masterpiece. We’ll experience first-hand how one can be deeply in harmony with nature.


Day 22– Yazd-Garmeh

  Pass through the huge Kavir (desert) of Iran, arriving at the manorial house near the village of Garmeh  watching the clear desert sky full of stars, driving inside the huge desert of the region visiting the legendary villages of the location.


Day 23 – Garmeh (an excursion to Mesr)

  Drive to visit a salt lak (Daryache Namak) with its magnificent dried out natural patterns, then drive to desert village of Mesr (literally Egypt) to experience the desert village life and food, camel-riding (no driving license required!!!),  and having a walk in the rural area to observe the desert agriculture, sand dunes, and the silence., back to Garmeh to rest.


Day 24 – Garmeh-Na’in-Isfahan

  Drive through the huge desert passing by soaring sand dunes,  lunch in Na’in, visiting an early Islamic period Friday Mosque with its magnificent plaster molding Mehrab and an ancient underground prayer hall which has been referred to as an ex-Mithra temple, and a 17th century traditional house with its miniature wall frescos, enclosing a desert area ethnological museum at the town of Na’in, an ancient Hebrew settlement (538 B.C.) in the center of Iran, on  to visit the the medieval camel wool weaving underground workshops in Mohammadiy-e, the nearby village,  on to Isfahan to visit a 17th century caravanserai and a 5000 years old Qanat (underground water system in ancient Iran) in Bala-bad, arrive at Isfahan.


Day 25 - Isfahan


  Isfahan (also spelled Esfahan) is a wonderful and colorful city filled with Islamic art and architecture. Twice as the capital city of Iran, most recently in the 16th and 17th centuries under Shah Abbas the Great, the Persians called it Nesf-e-Jahan (half the world), meaning that to see it was to see half the world. Our tour begins with the Vank Cathedral, also known as The Church of the Saintly Sisters, which belongs to the Armenian Christians who came to this area in the early 17th century by the order of Shah Abbas the Great. In addition to the cathedral, it houses a museum, a historic printing press, and a large library which includes the first book printed in Iran, as well as an array of Armenian textiles. From here we’ll drive to the Sio-Se-Pol and Khajou bridges and then to Chehel-Sotoun Palace, which we’ll view large frescoes depicting court life, counterbalanced by miniature paintings of the 17th-century Safavid dynasty. Later we’ll visit the Jame’ mosque where you can study and enjoy the thousand-year history of the art and architecture of the Islamic world in Iran. At the end of the day we’ll have some time to watch the beauty of a Persian carpet show in a fantastic carpet shop.


Day 26 - Isfahan

  We’ll begin another fascinating day with a walk in the harem garden of the 17th-century Hasht Behesht (Eight Paradises) Palace, where the family of the king used to live. You’ll be enchanted by the peaceful sound of water fountains and birds throughout the garden. A short walk leads us to Naqshe-Jahan (Royal) Square, the second largest square in the world. The square was an entertainment site and the main polo ground for the Safavid kings, the first place in the world where polo was played at night. You can imagine the neighing of the horses, struggling and pushed to the limit and the roaring applause of the crowds. The eternal eyewitness to these games and parades is Ali-Qapu Palace, with a large platform from which the court boasted the power of their king. Crossing the square, we’ll visit Sheikh Lotfollah, the first ladies’ mosque in the Islamic world. It was a place where women of the court used to come via the underground tunnel to say their prayers in privacy. Inside the dome, we’ll find a magnificent mixture of calligraphy and tiles, with a peaceful ambience created by the soft lighting system. As we depart the ladies’ mosque, you can window-shop your way through the covered bazaar on your way to the Imam Mosque (in Meidan Emam). Shah Abbas built this mosque, his own glorious Jame’ of Abbasi. It is a main gathering place, especially on Fridays, containing an ocean of blue tile work that embodies a spirit of peace and tranquility, with a pool in the center of the courtyard. We’ll relax and meditate for a while, followed by taking a cup of tea at a traditional Sufi teahouse.


Day 27 – Isfahan-IKIA International Airport (Departure)

  We’ll take a very scenic drive today through the central mountains of Iran, the Karkas (Vulture) mountains. En route, we’ll have a look at the façade of a Khanegah (monastery or Dervish-house), then a Sufi tomb with its magnificent stalactite decorations, and observe a skillful artist in a ceramic workshop in Natanz, on to the remote and traditional village of Abyaneh, a village that has maintained its identity over the course of centuries. Closed to the world, the people of Abyaneh have kept their ancient traditions, costumes, and dialect intact for hundreds of years. They converted into Islam 400 years after Islam’s arrival in Persia, but their present costumes date back to the 17th century Safavid era. Then we’ll drive towards Tehran via Kashan, where we’ll visit Bagh-e Fin (Fin Garden), a prime example of Persian style gardens of the 17th century with a huge spring and two pavilions. A short drive will take us to the 19th-century tiled mausoleum of Emamzadeh Ebrahim, where we’ll see exceptional tile and mirror work, unique to Persian art. After this, in the old quarter of town, we’ll visit a traditional 19th-century house.  After lunch in a local restaurant we’ll hit the road and pass by Qom, the main Shia cleric center in Iran and one of the main hubs for Islamic studies, after dinner a dirct drive to the International airport of Tehran for early morning departure.