I’ve tried to cut the number down to 5 to keep the article size manageable but there is so much more to see in Iran. I might have to make a part 2 🙂
In no particular order, here are the top 5 places I went to during my stay in Iran:
Yazd is a 5000 year old city of just over 1 million people that is located in the middle of Iran. It is a fascinating and beautiful city, famous for its confectionery, gardens and very strenuous strength training techniques. I loved to wander around the city’s bazaar and all the little winding streets.
I spent a while just sitting in a park watching kids play football. At first they were a bit shy but after a while their natural curiosity took over. These 2 walked away with a print of their picture. 🙂
I also loved the Dowlat Abad gardens. The engineering required to channel water from the far mountains into the city is amazing. Small qanats (channels) were dug by hand by men who wore white shrouds in case they were buried alive. I’m struck by a mixture of awe and terror at the work they did.
Isfahan is a city in which I wish I’d spent more time. It is a city of around 2 million people and is home to the Naghsh-e Jahan Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The square with the mosques, bazaar and palace that surround it are enough to spend at least a day or two visiting.
Once you have seen that, you have barely scratched the surface of the city. One highly recommended place to see is the Khaju Bridge. Local people gather under this bridge at sunset to sing and relax after the day’s work. I would highly recommend it.
If you want to see something a little less typical, you can head to one of the city’s many pigeon towers. Pigeon guano used to be a very important source of fertiliser for the fields around Isfahan. The importance of the pigeons has decreased but some of the towers are still open and have been restored to their full glory. Worth a trip.
Ah, Shiraz, I will admit this is my favourite place in Iran and I don’t really know why. It has a certain vibe that makes me feel right at home as well as some pretty stunning architecture.
This is the city where you can spend an evening in a coffee shop talking to the singer of an Iranian heavy metal band. It’s a place where the police ask if you need help finding your hotel and end up having a bite of your meal because you insist it’s really good.
I feel like they are the Spaniards of Iran and that is one of the highest compliments I can give them.
Persepolis, home of Cyrus the great and Xerxes, this was probably the highlight of my trip. I have always loved the tales and stories of ancient greece. To think I was standing in the same spot where Xerxes probably planned the attack on greece.
I walked around the site flabbergasted, having a hard tome taking it all in. It was also empty of other tourists which still amazes me to this day.
And then when the sun was setting I was in the right place and I think I had a little nerdgasm.
The city of Yazd is somewhat remote and you can go out and spend a night at one of the old caravanserais. These were the small forts where the caravans would stop to spend the night, water the camels and try to sell some of their wares.
The setting is beautiful but what is stunning is the night sky out in the desert. Even with clouds it takes my breath away!