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Itinerary: Iran’s Ancient Cities

Abercrombie & Kent | Iran Tour

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With a 5,000-year-old history and some of the world’s most extraordinary ancient sights like the ruined cities of Persepolis and Pasargadae, Iran is widely regarded as one of the most cultured nations on earth. On this 16-day journey you will experience Iran’s vibrant cities, which are full of atmospheric teahouses, and bustling with bazaars and beautifully tiled mosques. You’ll be mesmerised by Iran’s rich textile heritage, flavoursome cuisine and desert landscapes, and be wooed by by the warm and welcoming Iranian people, eager to share their homeland.

Day 1

Tehran

Upon arrival to the Iranian capital, you will be met, assisted through immigration, and transferred to your hotel. This evening, meet your fellow travelling companions and Resident Tour Director for a briefing on the journey ahead and a welcome dinner.

Day 2

Tehran

Head out to explore Iran’s most liberal city where it’s fascinating museums will give you an excellent appreciation of the country’s enthralling history and the sights ahead. The first stop is the National Museum where an extensive collection includes ceramics, metal objects, textile remains, rare books and coins plus stone figurines and carvings taken from important excavations at sites such as Persepolis and Susa. Later be prepared to be dazzled at the fabulous National Jewels Museum, housed in the vaults of the Central Bank of Iran. This priceless collection of gems and precious metals represents the astonishing adornments worn by Safavid, Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs. Last of all, admire the extensive collection of old Persian carpets and rugs from the major carpet-weaving centres of Iran at the Carpet Museum.

Day 3

Tehran

You will have a chance to exercise your taste buds this morning on a guided culinary walk through Tajrish Bazaar. Be introduced to the fragrant spices and ingredients used in traditional Iranian cooking before meeting a local chef who will put them all to use in her kitchen. Sit round the table and enjoy a Persian feast with plenty of engaging conversation and local insight. After lunch, an intriguing look at the lavish lifestyle of the shahs on a visit to the Sa’ad Abad Palace & Museum Complex. Your final stop is the Reza Abbasi Museum which showcases Iranian art from ancient times and the Safavid-era paintings of Abbasi.

Day 4

Tehran – Ahwaz

This morning ride like locals on the metro arriving at the Golestan Palace. One of the city’s oldest historic monuments, the complex is set around an elegant garden with reflective pools and marbled fountains. The grand buildings are decorated with beautifully painted tiles, with mirrored halls and ceremonial rooms housing royal portraits, decorative artworks, paintings and sculptures. Later fly south to Ahwaz located on the banks of the Karoun River.

  • Stay at Pars Hotel (Standard Room)
  • Breakfast and lunch

Day 5

Ahwaz

Set off on a day to explore some of the most important archaeological sites in southwestern Iran including the ancient city of Susa, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the nearby Tomb of Daniel. Discover the ziggurat at Chogha-Zanbil, this UNESCO World Heritage site, was built around 1250 BC and is one of the few found outside Mesopotamia. Spend time at the flourishing Bronze Age city of Haft-Tappeh and its necropolis and explore the remains of Achaemenian palaces.

  • Stay at Pars Hotel (Standard Room)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6

Ahwaz – Shiraz

A day on the road heading southeast to Shiraz. Sop on the way at Bishapur, the remains of the Sassanian city built by the second Sassanian king, Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.). The complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard, formerly covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the goddess of water and fertility. On either side of the nearby river gorge, there are also six Sassanian rock-reliefs commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries.

Discover why Shiraz is considered the heartland of Persian culture and sophistication when you explore its famous gardens, tombs and mosques. First stop is Eram Garden, one of the most famous in Iran and included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Next stop is the splendid pink tiled 19th century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, one of the country’s most impressive. Spend time interacting with teachers and students at Madrasa Khan, an important theological school, before heading to Arg-e-Karim Khan, the 18th century citadel. Finish the day exploring the Vakil Bazaar, one of the best places in Shiraz to buy Persian rugs, spices, handicrafts and antiques.

Prepare to be amazed visiting Persepolis and the remains of palaces and tombs of some of the greatest rulers in history. Discover an extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage site, highlights include the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and the famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearers from around the Persian Empire.  Journey to Naghsh-e-Rostam, an ancient necropolis with Royal Tombs cut high into the cliff face. Then back in Shiraz you will have time to relax with a cup of mint tea in the beautiful garden of the celebrated Persian poet Hafez.

Enjoy a morning at leisure, then appreciate one of the most important musical instruments in Iran, with an afternoon visit to a Tar workshop. Learn about this long-necked string instrument followed by a musical performance. This evening you are welcomed into a local home with a cooking demonstration followed by dinner.

Drive to the oasis town of Yazd. On the way, you will stop at another of the great Persian sites – Pasargadae, which pre-dates Persepolis. See the simple but impressive tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, and remains of several of his palaces at this UNESCO World Heritage site. Then stop for lunch at the small desert town of Abarkuh to see the 4,000-year old cypress tree.

Known for its unique Persian architecture and Zoroastrian heritage, spend the day exploring this unique desert town. First, stop the stunning Friday Mosque dating to 1324 followed by a walking tour of the old Fahadan area with its rich sense of history. Then you will experience an active Zoroastrian Fire Temple and hear from a Moubed, a Zoroastrian cleric about this ancient pre-Islamic religion before viewing one of the two abandoned Towers of Silence. Finish the day with a visit to the beautiful Dowlat Abad Garden to admire the 18th century house and the highest badgir (wind-catcher) in Iran. This evening you are a spectator at a zurkhaneh, where you will witness an intriguing 3,000-year-old desert sport peculiar to this area.

Continue west today to Isfahan, home to three of the finest religious buildings anywhere in the Islamic world. On the way, you’ll stop at Na’in, a charming desert town famous for its high quality carpets and woollen textiles and visit the 10th century Friday Mosque and the 17th century Pirnia Traditional House. You will have a chance to stretch your legs on a walk through the old part of the town.

  • Stay at Abbasi Hotel (Standard Room)
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the Islamic world, you’ll have two days to explore Isfahan’s splendid mosques, cathedrals, public squares, bridges, palaces and bazaars. You’ll start off with a stroll around two of the world’s greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam – before visiting the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo matches. This afternoon explore the Qeisarieh Bazaar on foot and wander past hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous. In this city of bridges, you’ll finish the day watching the sun go down at the Khajou and Sio-se-pol bridges.

More astonishing sights in store today. Visit the magnificent Friday Mosque with its famous prayer niche and the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. Head to the Armenian Jolfa area to admire the Vank Cathedral, followed by a visit to the nearby Music Museum for a performance of traditional instruments.

Return by road north to Tehran stopping en route at Abyaneh, one of the oldest and most beautiful villages in Iran. Then continue to Kashan, an attractive oasis town which was famous for its carpets, ceramic tiles and silk. You will then have a stroll through the early 16th century garden of Fin and a 19th century merchant residence known as Taba-Tabai House with its beautiful stucco dome, inlaid mirror work and fine badgirs. Arrive back in Tehran in time for a farewell dinner.

Transfer to the airport for departure flight.

  • Breakfast

Journey Through Ancient Persia

Travel Dates 2018

  • Mar 1, 2019 – Mar 16, 2019
  • Apr 8, 2019 – Apr 23, 2019
  • May 11, 2019 – May 26, 2019
  • Aug 25, 2019 – Sep 9, 2019
  • Oct 5, 2019 – Oct 20, 2019

Prices

  • AU$10,495 per person

For more information and to enquire about this tour visit: www.abercrombiekent.com.au

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