We will take a tour of the capital including its breath-taking palaces such as the Ahmad Shahi Pavilion situated in the great wooded Niavaran complex in the north of the city; home to the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. We will also visit the Golestan Palace and other royal buildings in the gardens of royal Qajar complex of the preceding dynasty before heading to the Grand Bazaar!
Dizin is Iran’s largest ski resort, situated in the Alborz mountain range just north of Tehran. It was established in 1969 by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was fond of skiing in Switzerland. The ski season in Dizin lasts longer than in European ski resorts - from December to May - due to the resort's high altitude. The highest ski lift reaches 3600m making it one of the 40 highest ski resorts in the world.
From the two highest lifts there is an absolutely incredible view along the range to the symmetrical Mt. Damavand, at 5100m the highest mountain in The Middle East. The Dizin ski complex has been officially recognized by the International Ski Federation to hold international competitions, is meticulously maintained and with considerably less crowds than other international resorts, it is simply a hidden gem of a ski destination!
Depending on the amount of snowfall, if the high road is open from the top of the resort we can catch a cab down to the neighbouring resort of Shemshack, which although much smaller, boasts some excellent technical runs. Both skiers and snowboarders are welcome in both resorts.
The snow quality at Dizin is fantastic powder and rivals that of many European and Rocky Mountain snow areas. There are a number of restaurants in the area and on the piste; itself very large so there is no danger of things becoming repetitive in four days of full skiing.
We wave goodbye to the mountains as we drive back to Tehran, hop on a local train, and enjoy the view as we head to Yazd. Because of its unique Persian architecture, it is known as the ‘City of Windcatchers’; these built to deal with the extremely hot summers. Yazd has a history of over 5000 years and continues to this day to be a centre for Zoroastrianism.
We will take a tour of the city to visit its Zoroastrian fire temples and an ateshkadeh that holds a fire that has been kept alight continuously since 470AD. Built in 12th Century and also still in use, we will also visit Jame Mosque of Yazd, an example of the finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture; its minarets souring up to be the highest in the country. In the evening we will drive to Isfahan.
Isfahan, once one of the largest cities in the world, flourished in the 16th and 17th Centuries under the Safavid dynasty, when it became the capital of Persia for the second time in its history. Still today the city retains much of its past glory, and is world-renowned as the pinnacle of Persian–Islamic architecture. We will tour its many beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets before returning to Tehran for our final group dinner together in the city.