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A week-long, short & sweet summary of Iran’s cultural and historical heritage. Dive into cosmopolitan Tehran, before heading off to the city of poetry, Shiraz. Wonder through the former capital of Isfahan and finish with the prehistoric city of Kashan.
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With over 15 million residents, Tehran is Iran’s melting pot, the center of its national identity. Check out local shopping experiences in the maze-like Grand Bazaar of Tehran, before heading off to the World Heritage-listed Golestan Palace, in Central Tehran. The 18th c. Qajar-era complex is a masterpiece of hand-painted tiles, set within a lush garden. After a quick stroll through Shahr Park, arrive at the National Museum of Iran, which holds artifacts from ancient and medieval Iranian antiquities.
Start the day with the celebrated Sa’dabad Palace Complex in Northern Tehran, a 300-hectare complex built by the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs, next to the house of the current president. After this, stroll through Tajrish Bazaar for an organic and lively shopping experience. Depending on your departure, you could also either visit Milad Tower, Tehran’s tallest highrise, or the iconic Azadi Tower, an amalgam of classic and modern Iranian art. Fly overnight to Shiraz for a trip back in time the next day.
Arrive before 8 am for the best views of sunlight hitting the glass-mosaic windows of the Nasir ol-Molk Mosque, or the “Pink Mosque”. After taking photos, explore the 11th c. Bazaar of Shiraz. Then it’s on to the Vakil Complex, a popular desert stop for Asian and European merchants on ancient trade routes. The complex features the Vakil Mosque, Vakil Bathhouse, and the historic caravansary. Dive into the Citadel of Karim Khan. Finish the night with the 14th c Tomb of Hafez the poet.
Start the day with the world-renowned Persepolis, once the center of the Persian Empire, and one of the great capitals of the ancient world. The towering columns, remarkable relief carvings, and massive gateways are still imposing. Then it’s off to see the Naqsh-e Rostam Necropolis, massive tombs, carved straight into the mountainside. Spend some time at the final resting place of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid dynasty, at Pasargadae. Rest the night in Isfahan.
After a night’s sleep, visit the 16th c. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the seat of Iran’s Safavid dynasty. Dive deep into the earthen pathways, hidden courtyards, and boutique shops of Qeysariye Bazaar. Marvel at Sheykh Lotfollah Mosque’s mesmerizing dome, Shah Mosque’s enchanting courtyard, & Ali Qapu Palace’s view. A quick walk and you’ll arrive at Chehel-Sotun Palace, the royal Safavid reception for foreign dignitaries. Finish the day with a Persian Cooking Class at a local homestay.
In the early morning, visit the 8th c. Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, a former Zoroastrian fire temple that was continually built upon over the centuries. Dive deep into local Iranian culture with a Persian Carpet Workshop. Learn about the process and history of Iran’s most famous handicraft. Finish off with the bright frescos of Vank Cathedral in the Armenian quarter of New Jolfa. End the night with local Zayandeh Rud river hangouts Khaju Bridge & Si-o-Se Pol Bridge. Spend the night in Isfahan.
In the morning, make your way to Kashan. Visit the Agha Bozorg Mosque, a multilevel theological school that served as the center of Kashani life. Visit the Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse for a lesson in classic bathing. You also get to see the fascinating Abbasian House & Tabatabaei House, two examples of opulent homes with exceptional attention paid to every architectural detail, designed specifically for the desert. After a quick stop in Fin Garden, head towards Tehran for IKIA.