Iran World Heritage Trail Tour

Shiraz, Shush, Kermanshah, Urmia, and more


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TOUR CODE: TP7216

 

Thousands of years of history, rise and fall of great empires, the creative genius of ambitious artistes along with a hunger for immortality has bestowed Persia with some of the greatest monuments ever built in the world. Though Persia enjoys hundreds of universally valuable sites, it just has 19 sites registered on UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. In this trip we visit 16 out of 19 world heritage sites designated from Iran. The trip starts from Shiraz in south; we get to know different sites from various historical periods ranging from Elamite in Southwest to Qajar in Tehran. The variety in this list is amazing! We have the chance to see the ruins of ancient temples and palaces, mind-boggling mosques and churches, busy bazaars and soulful Persian Gardens.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visiting 16 world heritage sites in Iran
  • Learning about the Elamites, a 5 millennium civilization in Susa (SHUSH) 
  • Feeling the glory of Achaemenid Empire in Persepolis and Pasargadae 
  • Learning about Armenian religious heritage in Northwest as well as Isfahan 
  • Experiencing local lifestyle with amazing bazaars in Tabriz, Isfahan and Shiraz 
  • Learning about Sufism in Sheikh Safi Shirne in Ardabil 

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Day 1 Full day city tour of Shiraz

Having arrived in SHIRAZ, we are transferred to hotel. Today, we have a full day city tour of Shiraz. We begin our tour with Nasir al-Mulk Mosque where we have one of the most photogenic mosques in the world to frame! Then, we visit the heritage from 18th century when Karim Khan Zand chose Shiraz as his capital: Karim Khan Zand Citadel, a castle and the Zand dynasty seat of government; Vakil Complex including a colorful and somehow romantic  Vakil mosque, a hamamm now functions as a ethnographic museum, and the lively busy Vakil Bazaar; to have some relaxing moments we go to Eram Garden, registered as world heritage site under the title of Persian Garden. Peace and life are two words best describing the garden.

Day 2 Excursion to Persepolis and Pasargadae

The monumental remains of Persepolis, a world heritage site, the mysterious stand-alone Cyrus the Great tomb in Pasargadae, a world heritage site, and astonishing royal tombs carved into the cliffs in Naqsh-e Rostam and the adjacent Sassanid bas-reliefs of Naqsh-e Rajab takes us back to some thousands years ago when the first Persian Empire rose to power and for two centuries was the absolute power in the world. Then, we drive back to Shiraz.

Day 3 Visiting Bishpour and Tang-e Chogan

In the morning, we drive to Southwest Iran, the cradle of Iranian civilization where the Elamites founded the first kingdom in Iran, in the present day Khuzestan Province some 5000 years ago. It is now the heart of Iranian oil industry and home to the largest river in Iran. En route to AHVAZ (the capital city of Khuzestan) we visit the remains of BISHAPOUR City and Tang-e Chogan (the Valley of Polo) where a collection of bas-reliefs recount us the stories from Sassanid Empire, the second great Persian Empire.

Day 4 Visiting Shushtar and Shush

We don’t stay much in Ahvaz. In the morning we have an excursion to ancient cities of SHUSHTAR and SHUSH (historically known as SUSA). A masterpiece of ancient engineering awaits us in SHUSHTAR: the Hydraulic System of Shushtar shows how Iranian managed water for various purposes centuries ago. This world heritage site is visually spectacular as well. Then, we visit the remains of Haft Tappeh, an Elamite city. After having lunch, we hit the road again to see the colossal Elamite temple, Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, one of the first sites listed as world heritage in Iran. Our last site to see is the Tomb of Daniel the Prophet. Susa is one of the places claiming to have the Daniel Tomb. Then, we drive back to Ahvaz.

Day 5 Drive to Kermannshah

In the morning, we drive to KERMANSHAH. En route, we have some stops to enjoy the landscape. The topography changes when we drive out of Khuzestan Province and its fertile plain. As we move northwards, Zagros Mountains appear and we face a sea of mountains.

Day 6 Excursion to Bisotun

In the morning, we have an excursion to Bisotun bas-relief and inscription, a world heritage site. This is a world-renowned historic document narrating how Darius the Great took the throne and how he crushed his rivals and enemies. Close to the relief and the inscription there is a small statue called Hercules Statue carved more than 2000 years ago. Then, we drive back to Kermanshah where we visit Taq-e Bostan, one of the best preserved Sassanid reliefs and inscriptions.

Day 7 Drive to Urmia 

From Kermanshah itself up to the north we encounter Kurdish population. Kurds, who are said to be the descendant of the Medes, have been settlers of this region for thousands of years. Due to the time constraints deeper interaction with Kurdish population is difficult, but we may recognize their different costumes and their language. To reach URMIA, the capital city of West Azerbaijan, we pass through two major Kurdish cities of SANANDAJ and MAHABAD.

Day 8 Visiting Khoy and Maku

We spend the night in Urmia. In the morning we drive to the regions populated completely by the Azeri people. Azeris compose the largest minority population in Iran having different language, customs and even historical background. TABRIZ, the capital city of East Azerbaijan, is our next main destination. To reach Tabriz we have exciting sites to visit: The tomb of a famous mystic, Shams Tabrizi, and Armenian Monastic Ensemble, a world heritage site. This ensemble is a collection of old Armenian churches in the Northwest Iran each enjoying high religious, social and cultural values. Then, we drive on to Tabriz.

Day 9 City tour of Tabriz

We spent our morning in Tabriz to see its only world heritage site, TabrizHistoric Bazaar complex, the largest vaulted bazaar in the world. Exploring the bazaar with its numerous labyrinthine alleys, gives us a sense of being lost! The architecture, decorations, crowd and a variety of goods are enough to take our whole morning. In the afternoon, we drive some 60km out of Tabriz to visit the Kandovan, a unique village where people live in houses carved into rocks. Then, we drive back to Tabriz.

Day 10 Visiting Ardabil and Sarein

We drive from Tabriz to ARDABIL and then to SAREIN. In Ardabil, another Azeri city, we visit Sheikh Safi Al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble. This world heritage site is the largest and the most comprehensive Khanqah (Sufi monastery) and the most notable shrine for Sufis built for Sheikh Safi, the great grandfather of Shah Ismail, the Safavid dynasty founder. After visiting Ardabil Ethnographic Museum and having lunch, we drive on to Sarein, the Iranian city of spas.

Day 11 Visiting Zanjan

In the morning, we drive to ZANJAN to visit the Gonbad-e Soltaniyeh (Soltaniyeh dome), a world heritage site, one of the tallest adobe domes in the world with 50m height built in the 14th century. In the afternoon, we go shopping in the bazaar and we visit Ethnographic museum of Zanjan.

Day 12 Visiting Takab

From Zanjan we drive to the TAKAB where another world heritage site welcomes us, i.e. Takht-e Soleyman (the throne of Solomon) was one of the three most important Zoroastrian fire temples in Sassanid era. The remains of this ancient fire temple are still sacred for Zoroastrian followers. Close to the Takht-e Soleyman there is Belgheis Mountain where exciting stories await us.

Day 13 Visiting Tehran

In the morning we drive to the TEHRAN, the current capital of Iran. In the afternoon we visit one of the contemporary royal palaces in Iran where the last monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah, used to live in. Niavarn Palace is a set of cozy mansions now functioning as museums. To have some relaxing time, we head towards the mountainous recreational area of Darband where many restaurants have been developed on the foot of the mountain attracting many Tehran residents on the weekends and in the evenings.

Day 14 Full day city tour of Tehran

We have a full day city tour of Tehran to visit its only world heritage site, its main museums and the tallest free-standing structure in Iran. Golestan Palace as the only world heritage site in Tehran is one of the oldest buildings in this city where some major historic events have occurred. Archeological Section of National Museum of Iran containing the most precious archeological and historical artifacts is the second place we will visit. Then, we will see a beautiful 19th century house now used as the museum of ceramics and glass of Iran, Abgine Museum. The final sight is 435m Milad Tower; from its top we can have a bird eye view of Tehran.

Day 15 Visiting Kashan

In the morning, we leave Tehran for KASHAN, a town with long history and great heritage to see. Fin Garden, a world heritage site, is our first stop. This garden is not only beautiful but also historic where one of most well-reputed statesmen in the Iran history, Amir Kabir, was murdered. Our afternoon is dedicated to seeing historical bridges, a carpet show and finally shopping in Isfahan, the crown jewel of Iran heritage.

Day 16 Full day city tour of Isfahan

Today, we have full day city tour of Isfahan to see Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a world heritage site, Chehel Sotoun Palace, Vank Cathedral and Jame Mosque of Isfahan (world heritage site). The most cherished site of Isfahan is Naqsh-e Jahan Square which is surrounded by two amazing Mosques of Imam Mosque and Sheikh Lutfollah and 48m tall Ali Qapu Palace Pavilion. Close to the square is the Safavid reception palace of Chehel Sotoun. We visit its beautiful garden and interesting frescos depicting wars and also 17th century aristocratic and common lives of the time. Then, we visit the main Armenian heritage in Isfahan, Vank Cathedral, and finally Jame Mosque of Isfahan. This 12th century mosque represents the evolution of mosque construction art.

 

Day 17 Fly back home

 

INCLUSION

  • Iran Visa Application Process
  • Night accommodation 
  • All transportation in Iran including transfer from/to hotel, Best quality land vehicle
  • Professional escorted Tour Guide of your choice language and trained driver 
  • All entrance fees, sightseeing, permits, excursions and activities as per the itinerary 
  • Mid-day refreshment including drinking water throughout 
  • Breakfast

 

EXCLUSION

  • International flight
  • Visa fee payable when collecting your visa from an Iranian embassy or consulate or upon arrival
  • Tip for guide and/or driver
  • Entrance fees for sights not included in the itinerary

 

NOTES

  • The price is valid from 5 April 2016 to 15 March. 2017. 
  • Depending on the group size, the tour price will change. Tour size can vary from one person to above 20.
  • You will be accommodated in top-rated hotels, 5 stars.
  • Hotels could be replaced with similar hotel in the same category.
  • Upon your request the itinerary can be extended or shortened.
  • States offices, administration, post office and banks are generally open from 7: 30-12: 00 and reopen after a lunch break until 16:00. Thursdays are the working hours until 12:00.
  • Friday is weekend in Iran.
  • Photos are not contractually binding.

 

Cancellation Policy for Groups:
a. till 60 days before arrival : no charge is applied
b. 50 days before arrival: 10% of the tour cost for the whole group
c. 40 days before arrival: 20% of the tour cost for the whole group
d. 30 days before arrival: 30% of the tour cost for the whole group
e. 20 days before arrival: 40% of the tour cost for the whole group
f. From 19 days before arrival till the arrival date: all tour cost is non-refundable

 

Cancellation Policy for Individuals in Groups:
a. till 30 days before arrival: 20% of the tour cost for the passenger 
b. from 29 days till 20 days before arrival: 30% of the tour cost for the passenger 
c. from 19 days till 15 days before arrival: 40% of the tour cost for the passenger 
d. from 14 days till 10 days before arrival: 50% of the tour cost for the passenger 
e. form 9 days till 5 days before arrival: 60% of the tour cost for the passenger 
f. from 4 days before arrival till the arrival date: 80% of the tour cost for the passenger In case the number of individuals who cancel their trip reduce the group size to a new group category/price, recalculation and requiting is necessary.

 

Settlement Policy: 
a. till 60 days before arrival date: 30% of the total cost needs to be settled
b. till 6 weeks (40 days) before arrival date: complete settlement of the total tour cost

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