14 Days/13 Nights Program
Rates: Per Person in Double Room*
*Rates and Itineraries subject to change without notice.
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- Guaranteed Departures
- Single Supplement.- $728.00
- 13 Nights accommodations in selected hotels.
- Meal plan available upon request (12 dinners in restaurant +240.00; 24 meals in restaurant +470.00).
- Transfer and sightseeing as per itinerary.
- Domestic Airfares within Iran additional 79.00
- Services of Local English speaking guide.
- Four & Five Star Hotel accommodations.
Rays of Splendor
Arrive in Imam Khomeini international airport, after greetings you will transfer to the hotel and overnight there.
Tehran, the capital city from 19th century is now home to 12 million residents. It is situated in the foothills of the Alborz Mt. where 60 km to the northeast is the highest peak, Damavand 18,000 foot. We begin the capital tour with a visit to Golestan Palace. The complex houses the Versailles-inspired mirror – encrusted Marble Throne Hall used for the coronation of the last Shah, and a well-laid out Ethnographic Museum. This palace is located beside Tehran’s bazaar which is famous for its history and architecture. You will have a short stroll there. After lunch we visit another palace, the last home of the last Shah of the last dynasty, the Pahlavis. At Sa’adabad Palace we visit the Mellat Palace (if open) and the Green House. We end the day with a visit to the National Jewels Museum which houses a staggering array of crown jewels that were used by the Qajar and Pahlavid royalty and court members, as well as jewels brought from India by Nader Shah. Dinner this evening is at a traditional restaurant mainly frequented by locals.
Tehran is famous for its museums and today we visit three of the best. One of the most acclaimed is the outstanding National Museum which displays finds from the 7th millennium BC through the Sassanid era. Many artifacts and large stone reliefs from Persepolis are here, as well as a fine collection of items from prehistoric times up to the Sassanid Dynasty. The next is the Carpet Museum which you visit the most magnificent art of Iran. The Carpet Museum of Iran exhibits a variety of Persian carpets from all over Iran, dating from 18th century to present.
The third one will be Music museum. This museum in 2 floors provides you a complete collection of traditional music instruments of Iran. You could taste the sound of Iranian music everywhere in this museum. At the end we fly to Shiraz and overnight there.
Today, explore Shiraz, the City of Roses and Nightingales. Visit the tomb of Hafez, Iran's greatest lyric poet and the tomb of Sa’adi who his poems and tales rills in every Iranian life. Quran gate, the entrance of Shiraz will be our next stop. After visit Quran gate, we continue the tour to see illuminated Shah Cheragh sanctuary at night (from outside) or Ali ebne Hamzeh Mosque with its excellent mirror tiles interior. Today you will have free time to leisure in Shiraz. At the end we come back to hotel and overnight in Shiraz.
Tomb of Hafez Tomb of Sa'adi Quran Gate
The day will start by visit the Eram Garden, with its beautiful cypress-lined avenues leading to an elegant summer palace. Continue to the pink-tiled nineteenth-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque and the Narenjestan Gardens, with the richly decorated pa-vilion featuring a mirrored porch set among graceful trees. Late this afternoon, spend some time in the famous Shiraz bazaar and overnight in Shiraz.
Eram Garden Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque Narenjestan Gardens
An early start takes us to Persepolis (Takht-é Jamshid), the heart of the Persian Empire. Here, walk through a complex of palaces and temples that is said to be one of the architectural wonders of the world. Massive winged bulls, derived from Assyria but given a characteristic Persian stateliness, greet us at the head of a grand stairway wide enough for five horses to ride abreast. The stairway leads up to the vast platform on which the entire site is built. On the stairway up to the Apadana, the reception hall to the palace of King Darius I, survey the hundreds of figures carved in low relief exactly as Darius and Xerxes saw them. They look so fresh they might have been carved yesterday. The small museum at Persepolis has been created from the ruins of a building called the "harem of Xerxes". Nearby, visit Naqsh-e Rajab, where magnificent Sassanian reliefs are located in an alcove in the rocks. At Naqsh-e Rostam, gaze upon the immense memorial carved for the Sassanian Ardashir I after his conquest of the Parthians. The oversize frieze remains a powerful testimony to his victory and subsequent coronation as king of Iran. Hewn into the great vertical bluff of tawny rock are also the four elaborate tombs belonging to the great Achaemenid rulers Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II. Just below these tombs are eight large reliefs from the Sassanian dynasty, depicting imperial conquests and royal investitures. On one of them, the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab is shown kneeling in respect before the renowned Persian king, Shapur I. Then it’s on to Pasargadae to see the impressive, elevated Tomb of Cyrus, and to walk through the different sections of the ancient city: the Residential Palace, the Audience Hall, the Gatehouse, and the curious Zendan-e Soleiman. Drive a short distance to view the fire plinths behind Pasargadae. Continue to Yazd and overnight for two nights in Yazd.
Persepolis Naqsh-e Rostam Pasargadae
Located in the remote desert, the old city of Yazd is built almost entirely of adobe and is an architectural wonder. To deal with the extremely hot summers, many old buildings have magnificent wind towers, with large underground areas to circulate cooling air. It was the second city (after Venice) that was officially recognized by UNESCO for this vernacular style. Yazd has been a Zoroastrian center since Sassanian times. Zoroastrians still make up a significant minority of the population, and the Atashkadeh in Yazd is the most important Zoroastrian fire temple in Iran. The sacred flame visible behind a glass in the interior of the fire temple is said to have been burning for over 1500 years. We visit the temple and its grounds, and then a Tower of Silence, or dakhma, where in Zoroastrian funerary tradition the bodies of the deceased were placed, to avoid contaminating the earth. We continue our walking tour of the city starting at the 12th century Masjid-I-Jame. It is particular noted for the height of its iwan and minarets but it also has startling tile work in a deep turquoise color, and a winter side gallery with transverse vaulting giving the appearance of a European cathedral. Its alabaster panes allow filtered light from clerestory windows which gives it a particularly warm glow. We spend some time here before we cross a square where there are some very good carpet and embroidery shops (for which Yazd is well known) before continuing on to Zendan Iskandar set in a pleasant tree-lined courtyard. There is an excellent atelier here where the artisans can replicate the intricate designs in the mosque in the tables and panels.
In the afternoon visit Bagh-E-Dolatabad, a unique octagonal house with the tallest wind tower in the city. Here we get a demonstration of the effectiveness of these towers first hand. Later we visit the Amir Chakhmaq with its distinct facade. From there we spend some time in the bazaar where we can buy some of the city’s famous cookies and carpets.
We start our day by driving to Isfahan and en route we will visit Meybod. An ancient city with a most popular and remarkable handcraft. In this city we will visit Abbasi Karvansaraye and continue our trip to Nain and visit another masterpiece of Iran’s architecture. The Jame mosque. The initial construction of Jame Mosque dates back to the 8th Century CE, but the whole of the complex has been constructed incrementally.
One of the oldest mosques in Iran, its magnificent plasterwork over the niche, the marvelous brickwork around the yard, and its silent basement - which may have been used as a fire temple before the mosque was built here - are only a few of the remarkable features of this mosque.
This mosque has no Iwan and dome as do the other famous mosques in Esfahan and Yazd. A 28 m tall octagonal minaret was added to the mosque almost 700 years ago.
If you stand in the middle of the yard, you will find yourself surrounded by fourteen columns, each one adorned with a unique and intricate pattern of brickwork. In opposite side of Jame mosque, Pirnia house is awaiting for visit. A perfect example of this region's desert houses in terms of architecture and art which was constructed in the Safavid Period. The house consists of an exterior, an interior, a deep garden, a silo room and all of the facilities that a lord’s house needed to have at the time it was constructed. After visiting this house we continue our way to Isfahan and go to hotel till tomorrow.
Iranians say that their lovely city is "half the world." The capital of the Safavids from the 16th century on, Isfahan is said to have the most beautiful bridges, and we will view two of them today, as we visit a myriad of spectacular sites. These include one of the world's biggest squares, Naqsh-e Jahan, created in the 17th century as the center of the city. The huge, open plaza is framed by a wall of arches and surrounded by two of the Islamic world's most impressive mosques, the Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfollah and the Masjed-e Emam. Both houses of worship contain magnificent architecture and tile-work. Walk through the Ali Qapu Palace with its enchanting music room and balcony overlooking the Maidan where the Safavid kings sat to watch polo tournaments. Finish our day in the Qeisarieh Bazaar, located just off the Maidan, where hundreds of shops and stalls offer a rich variety of carpets, tiles, block printed cloth, miniature paintings and jewelry. We will overnight for two nights in the Isfahan.
Naqsh-e Jahan Ali Qapu Palace
Today's further exploration of Isfahan takes us to several memorable sites. First, visit the magnificent Friday Mosque with its famous Uljaitu Mihrab of the Il-Khanid Period. Then it’s on to the Armenian Quarter to visit Vank Cathedral, built in the imperial style and one of the first churches to be established in the city's Jolfa district by Armenian immigrants transplanted there by Shah Abbas I after the Ottoman War of 1603-1605. We shall also visit Chehel Sotun, a pavilion constructed as a reception hall for visiting dignitaries by Shah Abbas II, and Hasht Behesht, an octagonal pleasure palace built a few years later. This is our last night in Isfahan.
In the morning we leave Isfahan and drive to Kashan. It is the city of carpet and rose with a rich culture and history. After arriving to Kashan we visit Fin garden. A historical Persian garden that contains Kashan's Fin Bath, where Amir Kabir, the Qajarid chancellor, was murdered by an assassin sent by King Nasereddin Shah in 1852. Completed in 1590, the Fin Garden is the oldest extant garden in Iran. After it we continue the sightseeing in Bojnourdis’ house with a rectangular beautiful courtyard, delightful wall paintings by the royal painter Kamal-ol-molk, and three 40 meter tall wind towers. The tour finish after visiting the house and will go to the hotel.
This morning we start our city tour in Kashan by visiting Agha Bozorg mosque which built in the late 18th century by master-mimar Ustad Haj Sa'ban-ali. The mosque and theological school (madrasah) is located in the center of the city. Agha Bozorh Mosque was constructed for prayers, preaching and teaching held by Molla Mahdi Naraghi II, known as Agha Bozorg. Tabatabaei House is our next stop. We will visit another great house of Kashan. It was built in early 1880s for the affluent Tabatabaei family.
It consists of four courtyards, wall paintings with elegant stained glass windows, and includes other classic features of traditional Persian residential architecture. The tour in Kashan will finish and we continue our way toward Tehran. Tonight we stay in capital again and continue our tour tomorrow morning.
Agha Bozorg Mosque
After breakfast we will start our city tour and visit Niavaran palace, one of the last Shah’s palace. The Niavaran Palace Complex traces its origin to a garden in Niavaran, Tehran, that was used by Nasir edin Shah (16 July 1831 – 1 May 1896) as a summer residence. The palace erected by Nasir al-Din Shah in this garden was originally referred to as The Niavaran Palace and was later renamed The Sahebqraniyeh Palace. During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi all the peripheral buildings of The Sahebqraniyeh Palace, with the exception of The Ahmad-Shahi Pavilion (or Kushk-e Ahmad-Shahi), were demolished and the buildings and the structures of the present-day Niavaran Palace Complex were built to the north of The Sahebqraniyeh Palace. In this period, The Ahmad-Shahi Pavilion served as an exhibition area of the presents of the world leaders to Iran.
This would be the last night in Iran and our tour will finish today.
The group will transfer to the airport for return flight.