Discover the welcoming people and rich heritage of Iran on this cultural odyssey with our expert Trip Leader Roger Williams, who has a great affection for Iran's people and rich heritage. No matter what your expectations, Iran will surprise you—and in delightful ways. The first is how warmly we are received everywhere we go, from Isfahan, with its visual feast of turquoise-tiled domes, to the mud-brick homes and winding lanes of Yazd. Another joy is discovering Iran’s strong ties with classical civilization at places like exquisite Persepolis, built by Darius in the 4th century BC and plundered by Alexander, and Pasargadae, capital of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire. Our itinerary includes many of Iran’s World Heritage Sites, from Shiraz’s verdant Bagh-e Eram Garden to the great desert citadel at Bam, and we’ll also explore bustling bazaars, atmospheric teahouses, and unique villages. Bring your spirit of adventure and curiosity on this journey deep into an intriguing and ancient land.
Itinerary for November 2017 Departure
Please call us for information on the March 2018 departure.
In the capital, our visits include the Golestan Palace, residence of the former Qajar rulers and now a World Heritage Site, the elegant Reza Abassi Museum, with its miniatures and illuminated manuscripts, and the Saadabad Palace, built by the Pahlavi dynasty.
Tabriz / Kandovan
After viewing Tabriz' beautiful 15th century Blue Mosque and walking in the city's ancient covered bazaar, we journey out to visit St. Thaddeus Monastery, the oldest Christian monument in Iran. In Kandovan, we discover an incredibly photogenic troglodyte village where houses carved out of tufa rock date back 700 years.
Shiraz / Pasargardae / Persepolis
In the “city of poets,” we enjoy the serene realm of the Bagh-e Eram Garden, a World Heritage Site, the incredible ornate facades of the Vakil Mosque, and the lanes of the Vakil Bazaar. One of our days in Shiraz is devoted to Pasargardae, capital of Cyrus the Great, and majestic Persepolis, where a walk up the grand staircase gives us a glimpse into this former haunt of Persia's great Achaemenid kings.
Kerman / Bam / Yazd
From Kerman, an ancient desert trading city in the Dast-i-Kavir Desert, we journey out to remote Bam, an enormous mud-brick citadel that was once a major Silk Road outpost with a population of 9,000. We'll also visit Rayen, with its spectacular desert fortress, and Mahan, home to the shrine of a famed 15th century Persian poet. Yazd, one of the oldest towns in the world, is the center of the Zoroastrian faith, and we'll visit the picturesque old quarter.
In charming Isfahan, the soul of Iran, we discover a fine place for strolling, meeting people, and relaxing in beautiful gardens. We'll visit the palaces and gardens of Chechel Sotun and soak up the elegance of Isfahan's enormous central square, the Maidan-e-Nagsh-e Jahan. Iran's magnificent, twin-domed Masjed-e Shah Mosque, built in 1611, is set on this square. Just off the square is the Qeisarieh Bazaar, full of fine silks, tribal carpets, and antiques.
Mashhad / Neishabour / Tous / Tehran
In Mashhad, Iran's holiest city, we walk in the courtyards of the grand tomb of Imam Reza, Shi'a Islam's eighth Imam. Heading out to the Silk Road city of Neishabour, we visit the local bazaar and a turquoise workshop. In Tous, we'll see the impressive marble mausoleum of Ferdowsi, the great poet of Persia, before we return to Tehran and fly home on Day 18.