Day 1: Depart London Heathrow early evening and arrive Tehran early morning.
Days 2 and 3: A gentle morning to recover from the late flight. Tehran and late afternoon flight to Shiraz on day 3. Tehran is a huge industrial city with some attractions, and in particular some revealing insights into post-revolutionary Iran. The carpet Bazaar is most worthwhile and there we will begin our introduction to Persian carpets. Christopher and Abbas will show us a wide selection of traditional weaving and explain the wide variety of the carpets we will see. If time allows we will include a visit to the Iranian Carpet Museum.
Days 4 and 5: An excursion to Persepolis and Naksh-e-Rustam. Short tour of Shiraz sights early evening. Day 5 is spent in and around Shiraz. Persepolis, about an hour from Shiraz, was built by the biblical Darius the Great and destroyed in 331 BC by Alexander. It is probably the most impressive pre-Islamic monument in Iran, thoroughly excavated to reveal columns, ceremonial staircases, chambers and stunning reliefs celebrating the triumphs of the Achaemenid dynasty. Naksh-I Rustam nearby is the site of huge rock reliefs dating from five centuries later, telling the stories of Sassanian victories over their neighbors, including the Roman emperor Valerian in 260 AD.
Shiraz is a city dear to the heart of Persian romantics, the home of poets, famous for its roses and vineyards. It is also a center for tribal carpet weaving and while here we are welcomed into the homes of local weavers and are able to see the wool being dyed and the carpets washed and finished. Visits to the Botanical Gardens, the Tomb of the poet, Hafiz, and the colorful Bazaar will provide a day full of contrasts.
Day 6: Drive from Shiraz to Shahr e Kord via Yasuj. The journey from Shiraz up to Shahr e Kord, the capital of the Bakhtiari district, through the Zagros Mountains is unforgettable and not normally taken by tourists. There are 47 peaks over four thousand metres and in places the scenery looks remarkably like New Mexico. On arrival we will have a private view of new carpets made and designed in Shahr e Kord and enjoy local hospitality.
Day 7: Drive from Shar e Kord to Isfahan. We will spend the morning with the local carpet manufacturers viewing both old and new carpets as well as the local felt making traders. After lunch we will transfer to Isfahan (about 2 hours) and in the early evening explore the great square (Maidan-i Imam) which is surrounded by half a dozen scintillating tiled and painted buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries, representing one of Iran’s periods of imperial greatness.
Day 8: Isfahan. Isfahan is the Florence of Iran - full of architectural jewels, and also a great center for trading and handicrafts. Some highlights:
- The Imam and Sheikh Lotfallah mosques, triumphs of turquoise tiling
- Ali Qapu Palace in the Square
- The Forty Column Palace.
An early evening visit to the Si-o-Se and Khaju bridges and the Vank (Armenian) Cathedral.
Day 9: We will leave Isfahan mid morning and drive via Nain to Yadz. We take a morning to visit the Friday mosque - huge and complex, built from the 10th to the 17th centuries, a miracle of space and decoration. From there we will drive to Yazd with a stop for lunch at Nain, a city famous for its Friday mosque, carpets and the workshops making Aba, the traditional clergy robes. In Yazd we make a dusk visit to the Towers of Silence – the Zoroastrian burial grounds before stopping at the hotel.
Day 10: Yazd. The day in Yazd will include some of the following:
- A visit to an Ateshkadeh (Zoroastrian House of Eternal Fire)
- Jame Mosque
- The Old City
- The stunning three storey façade of the Tekiyeh in the Amir Chakmaq complex
- The Dolat Abad Garden
- Water Museum.
Days 11 and 12: Tehran. Morning flight to Tehran. After we check in to the hotel, we will visit the Friday flea market and the National Museum of Iran. On Saturday we will visit the Tehran Bazaar – an exciting and colorful experience. The remaining time provides a chance to choose carpets with the accumulated knowledge of the journey. Christopher and Abbas will be available to help with purchases and valuations in the main bazaar where there is also an excellent jewellery section. If time allows we will also include a visit to the Ceramics museum, and a modern glass showroom.
Day 13: End of service.
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Middle East Iran Local Culture Cultural Journey Sightseeing