Isfahan, the splendid capital of the Safavid dynasty during which Islamic philosophy flourished by the emergence of Isfahan School by Mirdamad and Sheik Bahaei and their students like Mulla Sadra, is known as the city of turquoise domes.
Isfahan, which is situated between the Zagros mountain range and the grand desert, was chosen as the capital more than once and is known as the cultural and civilization capital of Iran. It is also chosen as the Cultural capital of Islamic World in 2006.
Isfahan has become the sister city of 15 cities and is the host city for holding most of international conferences and seminars.
The inhabitants do business and art and organize industry to make a living. Isfahan is registered as the world capital of handicrafts in 2016; more than 10 handicrafts of which has received the Seal of Excellence from UNESCO out of 125.
It joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in crafts and folk art in 2015.
The Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture. It has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city also has a wide variety of historic monuments and is known for the paintings, history and architecture.
The Zayande-rood River starts in the Zagros Mountains, flows from west to east through the heart of Isfahan, and dries up in the Gavkhooni wetland. The bridges over the river include some of the finest architecture in Isfahan. You may enjoy the performances of amateur singers while walking along Khaju Bridge.
Gaz, Poolaki and Sohan are the famous souvenirs of Isfahan which are widely served during Nowruz. You can try Isfahan traditional food such as Biryani, Goosht & loobia (meat and yellow peas), Khoresht-e Mast (yogurt stew), the strange mix of gooshefil, kind of sweet, and dugh, yogurt drink, and Halim Bademjan, a Persian dish made with mashed eggplant, are great choices to have while you are taking a leisurely stroll along Zayande-rood River.
Isfahan is different in each season. During spring and fall while leaves change their colors, visitors will enjoy strolling through Chahar Bagh St. (the main street of Isfahan).
A few kilometers away from Tehran, in the northwest of the busiest city of Iran, Tehran, small calm Safavid city of Qazvin is located at the foothills of the Alborz Mountains. Qazvin bears a strong resemblance to Isfahan that is why it is called the small Isfahan, became the capital of Iran during the reign of Shah Tahmasp before the transfer of imperial seat from Qazvin to Isfahan. Chehel Sotun Palace, Ali Qapu entrance portal and destroyed Shah square foreshadow the style of Safavid monuments exemplified by the pavilion and portal structure in Isfahan.
Qazvin is a great choice for anyone who is interested in history and architecture. Jameh mosque of Qazvin, the oldest mosque of Iran, is constructed on a Sassanid fire-temple. Water reservoirs, which can be seen in various parts of the city, were being used to provide water for the whole city mostly during hot seasons.
Chehl Sotun palace which was built by the order of Safavid king, nowadays is a well-known calligraphy museum. It is a few meters away the first designed street of Iran, Sepah cobblestone St. This street leads to the only remaining building of Naderi royal garden, Ali Qapu.
A quick glance of each building let you be familiar with the history of the city, although you still need to know more about the city.
Strolling through the winding alleys of the great Saad-ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai leads you to a restaurant to try traditional food of Qazvin. Gheymeh Nesar is on the top of order of every traveler who wishes to try traditional food of this city. Diamond Baklava is one the best sweet pastry can be found almost everywhere. You may enjoy your evening tea with pieces of Baklava after a long day of sightseeing.
Qazvin is an appropriate choice to have one or two days away from busy cities, maddening traffic and enjoy time on your own. Although Qazvin is not on the wish list of every traveler but it is going to be included in the wish list of travelers gradually.
Explore Qazvin on foot: walk from Jameh Mosque to traditional water reservoir, from Cantor church, which was built by the Russians during World War II to ancient Sad-ol-Saltaneh Caravanserai. Apparently, Qazvin is where you can meet almost all your expectations.
Yazd, one of the most ancient cities in the world, is shining like an almond in the center of Iran. This city is well known for its traditional architecture, delicious foods, sweets and unique handicrafts.
Some structures in Yazd such as wind towers (a kind of air conditioner which works without electricity and makes the weather of inside cool), bricked ice storage and some other else are the symbol of a desert city. Among the other precious buildings we can name Jame mosque- which has very tall minarets- or Amir chakhmaq Complex. If you take a walk in some districts like Fahadan you will see some nice traditional houses which have been built maybe hundred years ago.
Something which certainly surprises you is to breathe and walk in the nice weather of a beautiful garden at this desert city. Dowlat abad Garden with the tallest wind tower, is among those nine gardens registered in UNESCO, leaves no doubt for you to visit it.
Since Yazd was definitely a Zoroastrian center during Sassanid times, you can visit some structures related to that period like “fire temples” and “tower of silence”. The city is still the residence of many Zoroastrians.
If you come to Yazd, you won’t ever forget the taste of Qottab and Baklava as its traditional sweets and Sholeh as its yummy food. If you stroll in bazaar, you can find Terme and Sharbafi – some special and beautiful clothes- and also potteries which are the unique handicrafts which they could be great souvenirs for your darlings.
Shiraz, the city of blossoms and poems is located in south of Iran, neighboring with Yazd and Isfahan from north, makes it desirable city for every tourist.
From long time ago Shiraz was selected as the capital of Iran by different governors. Achaemenid chose Pasargadae by Cyrus the great as one of their capital and later Darious the great ordered to build Persepolis in Marvadasht as their ceremonial capital. Both sites are inscribed by UNESCO. Many years later, after Islam Karim Khan Zand, the founder of Zand dynasty selected this enchanted region as his political capital.
Karim Khan which is known as the Vakil-al Roaya erected numerous monuments. Karim Khan Citadel where he governed through the country, Vakil complex which consists of bathhouse, bazaar and mosque are among the outstanding one.
Eram Persian Garden is one of those nine gardens that is registered by UNESCO and attributed to Seljuk era is the perfect garden to get you familiar with the structure of Persian gardens and enjoy the beauty of indigenous and nonindigenous plants. Beside this famous site, Afif Abad and Golshan gardens are other gardens in Shiraz that are worth to visit.
Shiraz also is the land of preeminent poets, Hafez and Sa’di. Mostly every night lovers of poem and Hafez gather and read verses of his precious book. Sa’di tomb which is designed by the well-known Iranian architect, Mohsen Foroughi, is another tourist site to visit in Shiraz and enjoy the best of it.
As Fars is a reach land in terms of beauty and historical buildings, variety of food and ethnic dishes makes it richer. Faloodeh shirazi, kind of local ice-cream, alongside Kalam polo (mix of white cabbage and rice) are on the top choices of everyone who wish to taste the true flavor of this region.
Fars is a valuable land with art-work from various eras, pre-historic to the historic time and post-Islam, so it offers sites with regarding to each visitor’s taste.
Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (IFTGA) Signs an Agreement with HAMRAHVAS
The 17th World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) Attendees will enjoy easy access to telecommunications system in Iran. With the aim of facilitating communications within participants’ sojourn in the country, they will be offered the following service: Tourism Sim card package (prepaid) including Internet access
Foods are interesting individually and when they are served with the appropriate drink, they are more delicious. Stunning variety of culinary makes it possible for everyone to choose the right food according to taste.
Iranian foods are different from the North to the South even you can taste different kind of fishes with various savor which is shown that Caspian Sea in the North and Persian Gulf in the South have completely different ecosystems.
Iranian main courses are comprised with rice. As a lunch or as a dinner, rice with other foodstuffs is the most important Iranian course. In every small and big restaurants, at all small and major cities, a plate of rice is served with your request.
Kebabs are on the list of every tourist who wants to visit Iran. Different kinds of Kebabs cook in various part of the country. Bakhtiari Kebab, Chenjeh Kebab, Bonab Kebab and Loghmeh Kebab are among the most delicious ones. If you are lucky enough, you can eat each of them in its original city.
Next amazing Iranian food is stew. Colorful stews are categorized into a wide range and mostly are served with rice. You can have the best of them at Qazvin, Yazd and Tehran.
It is common to eat Dizi on holidays in Iran when all members of family gather together and enjoy a healthy delicious food. Dizi usually serves with onion, Sangak bread (a kind of bread which is baked traditionally only in Iran), fresh vegetable and pickles. In every city you can enjoy the best Dizi. Do not miss it.
These are the main traditional dishes of Iran which are mostly served with Doogh (mix of yogurt, water and mint) as a local beverage. This traditional drink can be served as a healthy beverage with meals. Whenever Dizi is served, Doogh is counted as an inseparable beverage.
Aromatic group of beverage are distilled liquids which have medicinal and therapeutic properties.
Iranian desserts are noticeable too. Shole Zard (mix of rice, Saffron and sugar), Baghlava Yazdi (kind of traditional sweet), Shir Berenj (mix of rice and milk) and traditional ice-creams like Faloode and Saffron ice-cream are on the top of the list.
It is good to mention that alcoholic drinks and any kind of wine and beer is forbidden in Iran and according to the Islamic rules, no bacon, ham, smoked pork are served in restaurants. So, do not look for any of them, instead enjoy an Iranian one! Keep in touch with us, to read more about traditional dishes in each city.
Tranquil city of Zanjan located about 300 km northwest of Tehran with a population of 300000 people. Soltanieh is a great city, situated in the province of Zanjan, the capital of llkhanid dynasty during the reign of Oljaytu King who commissioned Soltanieh Dome and made several modifications to it. Uljaytu, brother of Ghazan Khan, the former Ilkhanid king, founded royal citadel of Soltanieh with numerous mosques, schools, guesthouses and surely the turquoise dome of Soltanieh that in comparison to other structures that demolished time by time is still standing.
UNESCO registered world heritage site of Soltanieh is a well-known structure in the world in terms of having the biggest brick dome, the design of which inspired Filippo Brunelleschi to build the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral in Florence.
Historic castle of Behestan in Mahneshan village is worth to visit. You can also visit Katalekhor cave as this mysterious 7-story cave that only 3 of them has been discovered. This limestone cave is known for its stories, stalactites, crystal structure and beauty. It has been proved that Katalekhor cave is connected to Alisadr cave in Hamedan. Chalapi Ughlu Tomb and Dashkasan temple are among the top tourist attractions located around Zanjan.
The city of Zanjan itself is well-known for Rakhtshoykhaneh (laundry) building where people used to wash their clothes. It was built during the Pahlavi era which in a crowded district was accessible to everyone. Today, it has been turned into a museum.
Zanjan Anthropology Museum, formerly the Zolfaghari House, is where four Salt Men have been exhibited. The building was built during the Qajar era and later turns into the Museum. The salt mummies were found in the salt mine near Zanjan.
After a half day excursion, you can stroll through the Zanjan Bazaar and enjoy buying various handicrafts such as Klim, copper crafts, Jajim and handmade knives.
Various kinds of dishes like Aash, which is a soup that typically consists of beans and noodles, should not be missed while visiting Zanjan.
Translated by: Mahtab Kheiri
Edited by: Maryam Javaherinia
There are so many types of souvenir ideas in Iran, as a vast country, as it offers multitudes of gift ideas to tourists. When you are traveling to Iran do not miss the chance to strolling through winding bazaars and buy a piece of Iranian art as a souvenir.
The handicrafts, among various types of Iranian arts, reflect the ancient history and national identity of Iran. Iranian handicrafts have both aesthetic and practical dimensions. The variety of Iranian handicrafts makes every tourist to buy a valuable handmade product from each corner of Iran.
The first and the most important handicraft of Iran that you can buy with different pattern from mostly everywhere are carpets. The variety of patterns is rooted in distinct art of carpet weaving in different parts of Iran. This art has been changed from rural products into an advanced industry. Herati, Paisley motif, Lachack & Toranj and special nomadic designs are among the famous patterns. You can find other similar handicrafts like Klim, Rug, Jajim and Gabbeh in most old bazaars of Iran. Traditional printing, clay and handmade dishes, miniatures, enamel and glazed potteries and textile production besides Termeh, the soft woolen fabric, copper and brass utensils can be offered as the souvenirs. Surely, you can find the appropriate handicraft according to your taste.
Alongside handicrafts, Nuts are the other souvenirs on the top. Hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds and especially pistachio are among favorites. Local sweets and cookies in various cities are acceptable by every traveler who admires sweet souvenirs.
Traditional clothes are other attractions in Iran that are interesting for everyone. Colourful clothes with local designs are worn mostly by villagers. Common clothes of women are long skirts, scarves and bright blouse and men usually wear trousers with long-sleeved shirt. There are places in most of villages that you can try these clothes and take photos. You can also buy the appropriate clothes for yourself.
The commercial heart of Iran always welcome tourists from all over the world. Tehran is located in the center of Iran, at the foothills of Alborz Mountains. Having had the main airport of the country, Imam Khomeini, Tehran is known as the first entrance for many visitors to Iran.
The capital of Iran also has another airport mainly for domestic flights. Mehrabad is a great place to jump off to other cities in Iran.
Several splendid museums, galleries, ancient palaces, beautiful parks, restaurants and kind people make Tehran worth to visit. At the north of Tehran you can take a walk to Sa’adabad Complex with more than 12 palaces that are different from each other. Most of these palaces date back to Pahlavi time, the dynasty who ruled over Iran till 1977, one year before the revolution. Niavaran complex is another historic place that let you get familiar with Pahlavi family.
At the center of Tehran, we encounter two noticeable museums, carpet museum and contemporary art museum. A few kilometers away, around Khomeini Sq. Iran National Museum, is the first point of the many travelers for starting their visit to Iran. Near this fantastic museum, Abgineh, the museum of ceramic and glassware is located in 30-Teer St. catches the eyes of every visitor.
The Qajar king, Naser-o-din Shah ordered to build the Sun building, the tallest building of Tehran (1785-1925) at that time. Later as Tehran became modern the structures of buildings have been changed and the Sun building known as the symbol of Golestan palace. The colorful palace which is visited by tourists as the Qajar dynasty palace. By leaving the palace you can stroll in the Grand Bazaar of Tehran and eat at one of those famous restaurants in this district.
The latest and the largest capital of Iran is attached with traffic. So, when you are in Tehran considers that you may stuck at traffic for several minutes more than the common time, so you need to leave your place a few minutes sooner for not being late at your favor destination.
Regarding to the rule of capital, Tehran is the main educational center in Iran. Prominent universities of country are located in Tehran, so Tehran welcomed bunch of enthusiastic students each year. Alongside educational center, Tehran is known as the center for international exhibitions that are held in the country and is hosted many people from all over the world.
The facade of Tehran is becoming colorful during New Year, when everyone is ready for the New Year and two weeks holiday. You can see how people try to celebrate Nowruz, vacuum everywhere, buy new clothes and enjoy their holidays by traveling to different part of the country. As well, Iranians celebrate New Year, they visit their relative, and the oldest member of the family gives gift to the younger members.
Tehran has always something to present. Visit this city step by step.