Rating in Iran
$ 3786

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour)

min $ 3786
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Tehran, Hamadan Province, Kermanshah, Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan, Tehran
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 3786
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  • Overview & dates
  • Itinerary
  • What's included

Overview & dates


NOTE: Iranian visa authorisation code is included for all those booking on this tour.

Discover Iran’s illustrious history including its four ancient capitals - Susa (Elamite), Ecbatana (Achaemenid/Median), Pasargadae (built by Cyrus the Great) and of course Persepolis - as well as its unique Zoroastrian heritage and the classical beauty of Isfahan. Trace the roots of Achaemenids, Elamites, Sassanians and Parthians as you traverse this ancient land. Iran is a country with a profound and intriguing history, a vibrant culture and a warm and welcoming people. Explore the architectural wonders of ancient Persia and uncover the layers of history at the heart of modern Iran.

Iran Visa Information>>


  • 06 Oct 2018 to 21 Oct 2018 - £ 2,995 - AV
  • 13 Apr 2019 to 28 Apr 2019 - £ 2,995 - AV
  • 05 Oct 2019 to 20 Oct 2019 - £ 2,995 - AV

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

AV - Available
GD - Guaranteed
LM - Limited places left
OR - On request (contact us for status)
CL - Closed for bookings

All tours in Iran


The Classical City of Hamadan

Susa, the ancient Elamite capital

Chogha Zanbil, a vast Ziggurat of ancient Mesopotamia

The famous gardens & bazaar of Shiraz

Stunning limestone carvings of Tang-e-Chogan

Ancient heritage and sublime stone carvings of Persepolis

Visit the ancient site of Pasargadae

The Zoroastrian Heartland of Yazd

The palaces, mosques & plazas of Isfahan

UNESCO heritage sites of Sheikh Lotfollah & Shah Mosques


Tehran - Hamadan - Bisotun - Tagh-e-Bostan - Dezful - Susa - Chogha Zanbil - Ahvaz - Bishapour - Shiraz - Persepolis - Pasargadae - Yazd - Isfahan - Kashan - Sialk Mounds Tehran
Chogha Zanbil
Sialk Mounds



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Choose departure date06 Oct 2018 -- 21 Oct 201813 Apr 2019 -- 28 Apr 201905 Oct 2019 -- 20 Oct 2019

Day 1 : Departure

Depart your home country. On arrival a hotel room will be available to you.

Depart your home country. On arrival a hotel room will be available to you. 

NOTE: If you arrive on this day (as opposed to the early hours of the following day) it is not a problem. The hotel room will be available from 2pm.

Meal plan : n/a

Day 2 : Tehran

Arrive in Tehran and explore the National Museum and Crown Jewels Museum. Overnight in Tehran.

Arrive at Tehran Airport. Transfer to your hotel. Meet in the hotel lobby at 11am. Visit Iran's National Museum and the Crown Jewels museum. Overnight in Tehran.

NOTE: The time spent in Tehran on this tour is necessarily short (especially given the typical flight arrival times of 1am-4am) but the city has much more to offer than this tour can showcase. If you would like to stay longer, please do ask us about options for spending more time in Tehran. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Tehran has been Iran's capital since 1778 and is its biggest city, with over 14 million people living within its metropolitan area. It also boasts countless museums and is at the heart of most of Iran's cultural and artistic events. The city is on an upwards slope going North, with the city centre at about 1,200m and parts of North Tehran rising up to 1,700m. 

The National Archaeology Museum of Iran was completed in 1928 by the French architect Andre Godard. It contains ceramics, pottery and other archaeological gems from excavations all over Iran, including Persepolis, Susa and many other significant sites. The exhibition displays are charmingly chaotic, but stuffed with authentic artifacts, including pottery dating back to 6-7th millennium BC. Striking finds include a human-headed capital from Persepolis and some stunning friezes from the Apadana Palace. The museum is an absolute must for anyone interested in archaeology or the history of Iran.

The Crown Jewels Museum houses the largest set of crown jewels in the world. Its displays include splendid crowns and expensively decorated thrones, swords and shields, aigrettes and a vast number of precious gemstones used to make exquisite jewellery. Highlights include the world's largest pink diamond and the famous Peacock Throne. Open Saturday to Tuesday (afternoons only).

Ladies clothes shopping opportunity - as clothing in Iran can be difficult for ladies we will take you for a short visit to a market to pick up some items of clothing appropriate to the local customs, fashions and, of course, restrictions. 

Day 3 : Tehran - Hamadan

After breakfast drive to Hamadan. Afternoon sightseeing in Hamadan. Overnight in Hamadan.

After breakfast drive to Hamadan. Visit the Tomb of Ester & Modecai, the Stone Lion and the Sacred Defense Museum. Overnight in Hamadan.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Hamadan was the summer capital for the Achaemenid kings in the 5th century BC. The town is raised on a high plain which escapes the heat in summer but is mercilessly cold in winter, attracting snow and harsh winds. In classical times, Hamadan was known as ‘Ecbatana’ or ‘Hegmataneh’ and held a legendary reputation. In 728 BC, the Median King Deiokes claimed the city with a splendid palace and in the years that followed it, established itself as a crucial settlement under different leaders. Hamadan then finally collapsed after the Arab invasion at the end of the 7th century AD. Today, Hamadan is still an important city, having re-established itself under the planning of a German engineer in the 19th century. With its Grecian style, the stone lion was likely built in honour of one of Alexander’s slain generals.

Dating to the 14th century, the Tomb of Esther & Mordecai was once Iran's premier Jewish pilgrimage site. They are believed to have averted a massacre of Jews planned by Xerxes' commander, Haman, and instead had Xerxes have him killed.

The Stone Lion, an intriguing lone statue, is thought to date to Alexander the Great’s invasion of Iran in the Hellenistic period. With its Grecian style, the stone lion is believed to have been built by Alexander in honour of his close companion and one of his top generals, Hephaestion. 

Hamadan's Sacred Defense Museum was built in 1997 in collaboration with North Korean engineers, using modern technologies but keeping to traditional architecture. It was opened only in 2010. The museum contains a plethora of valuable information about contemporary war history, especially relating to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. You will be able to see various realistic wax scenes, military equipment, fighter aircraft replicas and an outdoor sculpture garden featuring martyrs and war heroes.

Day 4 : Hamadan - Kermanshah

Spend the morning visiting the archaeological sites of Hamadan. In the afternoon drive to Kermanshah via the Temple of Anahita and Bisotun. Overnight in Kermanshah.

Spend the morning visiting Ecbatana, the Alavyan Dome and Ganjmaneh. In the afternoon drive to Kermanshah stopping at the Temple of Anahita at Kangavar and Bisotun en route. Overnight in Kermanshah. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Bisotun’s bas-relief cliff carvings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The carvings were created around 521 BC and their highlight is the bas-relief of Darius I. Darius I is shown in confrontation with the nine rebel kings he suppressed before becoming ruler of the Achaemenid Empire. He appears holding a bow (a symbol of sovereignty) and an angel figure, likely blessing his reign, hovers overhead. Also remarkable about the relief are the trilingual inscriptions that tell the story of the scene in three lost languages: Elamite, Akkadian and Old Persian.

NOTE: The most interesting relief at Bisotun can only be seen from a distance at the present time.

The Temple of Anahita, located in the town of Kangavar, is a shrine to Anahita, the goddess of waters and fertility. Appropriately, the stairway of the temple leads underground to a large, tranquil pool which was the site of prayer for her worshippers. Anahita was worshipped in ancient Persia alongside Ahura-Mazda, the supreme creator goddess in Zoroastrian religious practice. The temple still contains remnants of some fascinating Irano-Roman mosaics.

Ganjnameh is a set of trilingual rock carvings in cuneiform engraved on the mountain by Darius I and his son, Xerxes. They were once believed to hold the key to hidden Median treasure.  They were, however, instrumental in the decoding of these ancient scripts (which later lead to the decoding of Sumerian as well) thanks to work by the English army officer, Henry Rawlinson. The Median treasure was, alas, not what they described. 

The Alavyan Dome no longer has a dome, but it does house some floral stucco from the Ilkhanid era, the most interesting of which represent a poem by Atar about thirty birds that move through the seven stages of Sufi’ism in their search for a God, a fable that explains the concepts of the religion.

Ecbatana, the first Median capital founded in 612BC, was built along a grid system with a main avenue wide enough for two chariots to pass and even a sewerage system. The city walls were allegedly composed of seven layers, enclosing two walls lined with gold and silver in the centre. Houses boasted wind badgirs similar to those at Yazd today as well as clay ovens. There is also a small but interesting museum on site.

Day 5 : Kermanshah - Tagh-e-Bostan - Dezful

Visit Tagh-e-Bostan. Drive to Dezful via Falik ol Aflik Castle. Overnight in Dezful.

Visit Tagh-e-Bostan. Drive to Dezful stopping at Falik ol Aflik Castle en route. Overnight in Dezful.

Meal plan : Breakfast

The Sassanian rock-carvings at Tagh-e-Bostan depict a series of royal hunting scenes and investitures of Sassanian Kings. Some of these rock carvings are sheltered in a grotto. Khosrow II, king from 591-628 AD, has the most dramatic portrait - a gigantic equestrian statue, with the ruler mounted on his favourite charger, Shabdiz. 

Falik ol Aflik Castle in Khorammbad was built by Shapour I in the 3rd century BC. Built originally as a fortified caravanserai, first a town, and later a city, grew up around it. It is believed to have held up the Mongol invasion for about seven years. There is also a small museum on site.

Day 6 : Dezful - Susa - Ahvaz.

Explore ancient site of Susa, the UNESCO heritage site of Choga Zanbil and Shushtar Water Mills. Continue to Ahvaz.

Short visit to the bridge in Dezful and continue to Susa. Visit the ancient site of Susa, one of the oldest in the Khuzestani Province. See nearby Chogha Zanbil and the Shushtar Water Mills. Continue to Ahvaz for overnight. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Archaeologists have traced signs of life at Susa as far back as 7000 BC, but the first settlements were probably established around 4000 BC. Painted pottery from 5000 BC is however scattered around the site. Susa was once the capital of the Elamite Empire and is mentioned in the Bible as the home of prophet Daniel. First mentioned in early Sumerian records, the town was significant under Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires. Much of what can be seen today at the site dates back to the time of Darius’ reign, including the Apadana Palace. Its 72 columns reflect the 72 chapters of Ghath Ha, the Zoroastrian holy book. The palace was a feat of logistics for the time with stone from the Zagros Mountains located 200km away and cedar wood for the roof coming from Lebanon. The cedar was also used for the pit where Darius fed traitors to lions. It remained the winter capital for subsequent Achaemenid kings. Much of the stone from the site was plundered by the British during the First World War to build a train line to service an oil refinery at Abadan, though some of the stones were later recovered by Reza Shah.

Chogha Zanbil, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the few remaining ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia. Literally translating to ‘basket mound,’ the Chogha Zanbil temple complex was built around 1250 BC by King Untash Napirisha, in honour of the great god Inshshinak. The majority of people who lived there were probably either priests or their servants. Originally five storeys high, there were four separate entrances giving different levels of access. Only priests and royalty had access to the highest level. The site also features an offering platform where bulls and goats would have been sacrificed. The complex would have been served by what is believed to be the world's first water refinery. There are numerous hand-carved Elamite cuneiform inscriptions around the building. The site was abandoned after Assyrian attack.

Dating back to the Sassanid era, the Shushtar Water Mills are composed of a series of dams, canals, tunnels and watermills which form a complex irrigation system. The mills, one of which is still functioning, were used to grind wheat and barley. They were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list in 2009 and described as 'a masterpiece of creative genius'. 

Day 7 : Ahvaz - Bishapour - Shiraz

Early start. Drive to Bishapour. Continue to Shiraz for overnight stay.

Early start. Drive to Bishapour. Visit site and nearby Temple of Anahita. Continue to Shiraz for overnight stay.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Bishapour (meaning 'Shapour's city) was an ancient metropolis built by King Shapour in 266 AD, with the help of about 70,000 captured Roma soldiers. It was home to a community of 50,000-80,000 people before falling to ruin in the 10th century. The remains of this once-magnificent city include the ruins of the Palace of the Sassanid King Shapour and the fragmented structures of a second palace, built  for the defeated Emperor Valerian  in a style similar to that of Persepolis. Shapour’s Palace contains a cruciform-shaped hall and a large court, which still possesses its original paintings, decorations and stones. It is bordered with a series of colourful mosaics that combine Iranian and Roman motifs in images of nobles and ladies, dancers and musicians. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2018 as part of the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region.

The building known as the Temple of Anahita at Bishapour is actually an unidentified structure located deeper than the other rooms of the palace. The structure, with its pleasant, harmonious dimensions, can only be reached by descending a long flight of stairs. Once you've descended the stairs, you will find yourself on a small square surrounded by high walls. This square must have been a pool surrounded by sidewalks. The doors in the walls give access to a corridor that surrounded the square and gave access to the nearby aqueduct. On top of two of the walls there used to be triangle-shaped structure that looked like roof supports. This is not the case, as the sanctuary was open and the triangle-shaped structures supported large bull imposts. One of these can now be seen in the Western Mosaic Hall of the Palace.

Across the river from the city of Bishapour are a series of beautiful carvings from 260AD known as Tang-e-Chogan. They tell the story of Shapour I’s victory over the Romans, including his capture of  Roman Emperor  Valerian and a large number of his soldiers, as well as the surrender of Philip the Arab. Further carvings show scenes from the lives of later kings, Bahram I, II and III and Shapour II. There are also investitures with Azura Mazda and Anahita bestowing legitimacy and further victories over Arab tribes.

Day 8 : Shiraz

Moring tour of the sights of Shiraz. Afternoon visit of the Vakil Bazaar. Overnight in Shiraz.

Morning tour of Shiraz including Nasir Ol Molk mosque, Narenjestan-e-Ghavam and Ali Ebn e-Hamze Shrine. In the afternoon visit Vakil Bazaar. Overnight in Shiraz.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Vakil Bazaar is the most famous of Shiraz’s markets. With its wide brick avenues, it is more roomy than most and was originally intended to enhance Shiraz’s role as a trading centre in the Zand era when it was built by Karim Khan. It acts as a living ethnographic museum and is a great place to people-watch, with frequent visitors from the Persian Gulf, various Nomadic tribes and people from all over Southern Iran. The lovely Serai Mushir is a caravanserai near the Southern Vakil Bazaar that is also worth visiting. 

Shiraz is the capital of Fars province in Iran and the fifth most populous city in the country. The earliest references to the city date back to 2000 BC and it has been an important trading centre for over a thousand years. It was briefly the country's capital on two occasions in the Zand and Saffavid eras. It is famous for its poets, including Hafez and Saadi.

Nasir Ol Molk was a wealthy governor of Shiraz during the Qajar era and built this private mosque to his own personal taste. It is a very colourful affair known as the “Pink Mosque” for its liberal use of pink tiles. Its design follows advanced mathematical and geometrical patterns and the wooden elements are made from expensive walnut wood. Some bricks are also made of wood and were designed to insulate the building from earthquakes. There is also a well that used cows to pull up water. The mosque, however, is most famous for its stained glass windows. 

Imamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze is a 19th century shrine built on the site of older shrines. The current incarnation boasts a huge bulbous Shirazi dome, stained glass windows that allow plenty of light to enter and mirror work that is truly dazzling.

Narenjestan-e-Ghavam (also known as “Qavam House”) is a beautifully-set historic house built by the Qavam Family who were originally merchants from Qazvin (west of Tehran). The inside is ornately decorated with mirrors, inlay work and hand-painted tiles. The gardens, Bagh-e-Ghavam, boast seven types of orange trees and display beautiful symmetry.

Day 9 : Shiraz - Persepolis - Shiraz

Excursion to Persepolis and nearby sites. Overnight in Shiraz.

An unforgettable excursion to the lost world of Persepolis as well as a visit to Naghsh–e-Rostam and Nagsh-e-Rajab. Overnight in Shiraz.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings that tells the story of the Archaemenid Empire’s magnificence and grandeur, as well as its demise. The city wasn’t recovered until the 1930s, which is partly why it still survives so intact today. Construction of the site began under Darius the Great, but the complex was expanded upon by subsequent rulers and contains the remains of the palaces of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. The Tachara Palace is decorated with famous bas-reliefs depicting kings, courtiers and other gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire. The Persepolis Museum, thought to have once been a harem to the king’s consorts and concubines, displays a stone foundation tablet and other artefacts recovered during excavations.

Naghsh-e-Rostam, a mooted UNESCO world heritage site, is a series of four rock-tombs, fashioned out of a cliff. Archaeologists think the tombs are those of Xerxes I, Artaxeres I, Darius I and Darius II. The tombs copy the model from Persepolis, showing the kings supported by figures of surrounding nations. Also carved into the cliff are seven Sassanian reliefs that show images of imperial conquests and royal processions, including Shapur I’s famous victory over the Roman Emperor Valerian.

Naghsh-e-Rajab is a magnificent archaeological site dating back to the early Sassanid era, located near the ruins of the ancient Achaemenid city of Istakhr. It is the site of four limestone rockface inscriptions and bas-reliefs that feature the investitures of Ardeshir I and Shapur I, as well as Shapur's military victory over the Romans.

Day 10 : Shiraz - Pasargadae - Yazd

Drive to Yazd and visit Pasargadae en route. Visit the Towers of Silence in Yazd. Overnight in Yazd.

Drive to Yazd, and visit Pasargadae en route. Stop at Abarkuh for a short visit to a 4000 year old Cyprus tree. Visit the Towers of Silence in Yazd. Overnight in Yazd. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Pasargadae was established as a city by Cyrus the Great (the founder of the Persian Empire) in about 546 BC, predating the famous site of Persepolis. The city houses Cyrus the Great’s simply-constructed tomb, which consists of six stone tiers supporting a modest rectangular burial chamber. The tomb has an unusually imposing architecture which combines styles of its contemporary civilizations. Also in the serene plain of Dasht-e-Morghab are the remains of Cyrus the Great’s several palaces made of black limestone plinth. Just north of the Palace is the Prison of Solomon, often mistaken for a sundial or fire-temple. 

The Zoroastrian Towers of Silence are an eerie set of flat topped buildings from which the bodies of the dead were placed, to prevent the body from being contaminated by demons - the belief was that by exposing the body to the elements and vultures, the body would be purified. The bodies were arranged in 3 concentric circles - the inner most for children, the middle for women and the outer circle for men. Once the bones had been bleached, they were placed in ossuaries either inside or near the towers - some of which date from the 4th and 5th century. The towers were used up until as recently as the 1970's.

Day 11 : Yazd

Full day tour of Yazd. Visit Dowlabad Gardens, the Old Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Mirchachmagh Complex and Friday Monsque. Overnight in Yazd.

Full day tour of Yazd, including the Dowlabad Gardens, the Old Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the Mirchachmagh Complex and the Friday Mosque. Overnight in Yazd.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Yazd, one of the oldest mud-brick cities in Iran, is the centre for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, who first established a settlement there to shelter from the invading Arabs. Having escaped destruction from Genghis Khan, it blossomed into a trade centre in the 14th and 15th centuries, producing silk, textiles and carpets. Named after Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler, the city’s modern-day inhabitants are known as peaceful, hardworking and family-oriented people. Its skyline is famous for wind badgirs, an energy-efficient form of air conditioning that makes use of any little wind to cool building interiors.

Yazd’s Zoroastrian Fire Temple is also known as 'Ateshkadeh', which means 'Eternal Sacred Flame'. It houses an active fire that has burned for about 1,500 years. It was first moved to Yazd in 1174 and to its present site in 1940.  

Yazd’s Jameh Mosque (Friday mosque) is arguably the city's greatest architectural landmark. It dates back to the 15th century and was built on the site of an older mosque, which was most likely built on the site of an even older Fire Temple. Flanked by two 48-metre-high minarets, it boasts a 15th- century inscription and has one of the tallest tiled entrance portals in Iran. The best mosaics can be seen on the dome and mihrab. 

Day 12 : Yazd - Na'in - Isfahan

Early start. Visit Meybod (time-dependent) and Na'in en route to Isfahan. Afternoon visit of the Jameh Mosque in Isfahan. Overnight in Isfahan.

Early start. Visit Meybod if there is time. Continue to Na'in for a visit before driving to Isfahan. Afternoon visit of the Jameh Mosque in Isfahan. Overnight in Isfahan. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Meybod is an ancient desert town composed of mud-brick buildings dating back some 1,800 years. Visitors have the chance to look around a 17th-century caravanserai and witness a weaving demonstration. There is also a 300-year-old postal station and a colossal Safavid-era Ice House with an eccentric cone-shaped roof. Several pottery workshops surround the town’s masterpiece, the Narin Castle. It dates back to Sassannian times and is said to be the oldest mud-brick construction in Iran.

Na’in is a relaxed ancient town situated on a crossroads in the desert between Yazd and Isfahan. Its location has allowed Na’in to act as a trading centre since the Sassanid era. Na’in has long specialized in handicrafts and in past centuries it was famous for spectacular ceramics and textiles. Today it exports skillfully-woven carpets and camel-wool cloaks to all over Iran and beyond. Most striking in the town are the Narin Castle and Jameh Mosque. Narin Castle is a fire temple from the pre-Islamic Parthian and Sassanid eras that  is composed of roughly-shaped mud bricks and boasts a large moat. Na'in's Jameh Mosque is one of the first Iranian mosques and was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. ‘Jameh’ is understood by Persians to refer to the grand mosque of a city where people congregate for Eid and Friday prayers (the word ‘Jam’ means 'gathering'). Defying the style of its time, it has elaborate stucco work inside and an underground prayer hall.  

With a myriad of stunning boulevards, ornate gardens and some of the most impressive architecture Iran has to offer, Isfahan was once the 17th-century Safavid capital of Persia and still retains a high status in the country today. It was referred to as ‘Nesf-e-Jahan’ in ancient Safavid sources, which translates to 'Half of the World'. 

Located in the historic centre of Isfahan, the Masjed-e-Jameh ('Friday mosque') can be seen as a stunning illustration of the evolution of mosque architecture over twelve centuries, starting in 841AD. It is the oldest-preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. The complex, covering more than 20,000 square metres, is also the first Islamic building that adapted the four-courtyard layout of Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture. Its double-shelled ribbed domes represent an architectural innovation that inspired builders throughout the region. The site also features remarkable decorative details representative of stylistic developments over more than a thousand years of Islamic art.

Day 13 : Isfahan

A full day sightseeing in Isfahan. Overnight in Isfahan.

A full day sightseeing in Isfahan, visiting the main sites - including Chehel Sotun, Ali Gopu Palace, the Grand Square, Sheikh Lotfallah and Shah Mosques and Qeisarien Bazaar. Overnight in Isfahan. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

Built by Shah Abbas the Great, the magnificently-tiled Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan. Built between 1603 and 1619, the mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosque is also known as Imam Mosque or Jameh Abbasi Mosque.

Isfahan’s Grand Bazaar (a.k.a. Quesarieh or Imperial Bazaar) links the Shah mosque in Imam Square with the Jameh Mosque. Parts of it date back over a thousand years, but the majority dates to the Shah Abbas period (16th Century). The bazaar is a maze of alleyways, madrassas and caravanserais and is probably the best place in Iran for souvenir and gift shopping including many arts and crafts for which Isfahan is famous.

The Chehel Sotun Palace was built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. The 20 wooden columns of the palace are reflected in the surface of the pool and give rise to its nickname, 'Palace of Forty Columns'. The Throne Hall has a fascinating series of frescos with imposing historical scenes above them on the upper walls. The perfectly-manicured palace garden Bagh-e Chetal Sotun is UNESCO listed. 

Naqsh-e-Jahan Square (meaning 'pattern of the world', a.k.a. Imam Square) was built at the centre of Isfahan between 1598 and 1629. It measures about 160m wide by 510m long and is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era including the Shah Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and the Ali Qapu palace. The creation of the square by Shah Abbas the Great was key to centralising power in Iran. It was this square that inspired French poet Renier to describe Isfahan as 'half the world', a tag that has stuck with Iranians. It is the second largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square. 

Day 14 : Isfahan

Morning visit of Vank Cathedral and Isfahan's famous bridges. Afternoon free to relax and explore Isfahan at leisure. Overnight in Isfahan.

Morning visit of Vank Cathedral and Isfahan's famous bridges. Afternoon free to relax and explore Isfahan at leisure. Overnight in Isfahan.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Isfahan’s Armenian Quarter (a.k.a Jolfa or New Jolfa) dates back to the era of Shah Abbas I, who transported Christian craftsmen from the town of Jolfa in Northwest Iran. Today it boasts 13 Armenian Churches, the most important and interesting of which is Vank Cathedral. Its interior  mixes Islamic and Christian styles. It  is a riot of Biblical scenes, many of which are gloriously gruesome.

Day 15 : Isfahan - Kashan - Tehran

Explore city of Kashan, then drive to Tehran. Overnight in Tehran.

After breakfast drive to Kashan and explore the city, visiting the Royal Gardens of Fin, a traditional house and the Sialk Mounds. Then continue to Tehran for overnight stay.

Meal plan : Breakfast

Found on the rim of the central Salt Desert, Kashan dates back to prehistoric times. It is the city of carpets, velvets, glazed tiles, pottery and rosewater. Kashan is home to the Royal Gardens of Fin, with their abundant water supply, garden, pool with numerous spouts and an old historical bathing-house. Kashan also boasts numerous old khans (private residences, the Agha Bozorg Mosque, a covered bazaar and the ancient Sialk Mounds - a settlement dating back to approximately 4,500 BC.

The Sialk Mounds, or Sialk Ziggurat, date back to the 6th millenium BC. The mounds which you can see today were built around 2,900BC. The area surrounding the mounds has been linked to the Zayandeh Rud Civilization. There are two hills at this site, about half a kilometre apart, with two cemeteries, where some 5,500 year old skeletons have been unearthed.

Day 16 : Departure

Transfer to Tehran airport for your return flight home.

Transfer to Tehran airport for your return flight home. 

Meal plan : Breakfast

What's included

INCLUDED Visa authorisation code Arrival & departure transfers Ground transport with driver Accommodation Breakfasts (refer to meal plan for full details of all meals) English-speaking guide Entrance fees to sites & parks
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Travel The Unknown
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Artem Kozdrovich, director of Travel Land LLC about his culture-rich trips
From low-key to loud and subtle to extreme The director of Travel Land LLC, Artem Kozdrovich is a guide that makes it his job to possess a vast amount of knowledge about the landscapes he takes travelers to. Being a local and having a first-hand exper…