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Iran: Wonders of PersiaNovember 7, 2013 - November 20, 2013
November 3, 2014 - November 16, 2014
Priced from: $8,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Nov 7 - Nov 8 USA / Tehran, Iran
Depart from the USA for your independent overnight flight to Tehran. Arrive in Tehran after midnight, transfer to Laleh International Hotel for an overnight.
November 9 Tehran
After breakfast and an introductory briefing, we explore Tehran, Iran’s bustling capital of twelve million people. Included in our tour is a visit to the National Museum of Archaeology, the National Jewels Museum—possibly the best in the world—and the National Carpet Museum. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
November 10 Tehran / Yazd
After breakfast we depart on our flight to Yazd. Regarded by UNESCO as one of the oldest towns on Earth, it was officially recognized for its unique wind-tower architecture, a natural cooling option in this dry, hot climate. Yazd is the center for the Zoroastrian faith, a religion which may predate Judaism. In this faith, fire represents life. In our visit to the Zoroastrian fire temple we view a fire that has been burning continuously for over 1,500 years. In the afternoon we visit the “Towers of Silence,” where in past centuries Zoroastrians left their dead. Dinner and overnight at Moshir Al Mamalek Garden Hotel.
November 11 Yazd
Spend the day exploring Yazd. We pass by the 15th-century Mirchakhmaq Square and visit the 14th-century Masjid-e-Jamé Mosque. Crowned by the highest minarets in Iran, the mosque’s façade is decorated with dazzling blue tile work. Afterward we set out for the old section of the city to what is known as the “Prison of Alexander,” actually a 15th-century domed school where legend has it that Alexander the Great imprisoned Iranian elite; we also visit an 18th-century Lari-ha traditional house. Enjoy lunch in an 18th-century public bathhouse converted into a traditional restaurant and teahouse. In the afternoon we visit the Dowlat Abad Garden and its lofty ventilation tower.
November 12 Yazd / Pasargada / Shiraz
After breakfast we depart Yazd for our drive to Shiraz and visit the desert town of Abarqu on the way. Here we have a picnic lunch under a 4,500-year-old cypress tree. Next, we visit Pasargada, the resting place of Cyrus the Great and one of Iran’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is also the site of Paradises, the ancient Persian royal city-gardens. Arrive in Shiraz this evening with dinner and overnight at Homa International Hotel.
November 13 Shiraz
We enjoy a full day here to explore this truly fascinating city, once famed for its vineyards of Shiraz (or Syrah) grapes, and known as the “City of Poets.” Highlights of our visit include the Tomb and Garden of Hafez, a celebrated Persian poet; the Narenjestan (orangery) Garden; Jame’ Atiq Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran; Khan Theological School; the nomadic bazaar; and the charming Eram Garden where the delightful 19th-century Ghajar Palace lies alongside a beautiful pool. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
November 14 Shiraz / Persepolis
Rediscovered under desert sands in the early 1930s, Persepolis is one of Persia’s greatest treasures. Included in our visit to this Achaemenian showpiece will be Xerxes’ Gateway, the immense Adadna Palace, and the Palace of 100 Columns. We also visit Naghash-é Rostam, housing four tombs believed to be those of Darius I, Artaxerxes, Xerxes I, and Darius II. We return to Shiraz for dinner and overnight.
November 15 Shiraz / Esfahan
After an early breakfast we embark on a scenic drive north to the stunning city of Esfahan, one of the pearls of the Islamic world. Today’s impressive journey takes us through the lovely Zagross Mountains and includes the possibility of seeing nomadic tribes. We arrive in Esfahan late in the afternoon for dinner and overnight at the Abbasi Hotel.
Nov 16 - Nov 17 Esfahan
Built by the Safavids between the 16th and 18th centuries, Esfahan’s great courtyard, adjacent mosques, and towering blue minarets show a lavish delicacy and patience of both design and execution unrivaled by Asian and European craftsmen. Here we explore the imposing Masjed-é Imám, Imám Square, the Chehel Sotun Museum and Park, and the Vank Cathedral, Hasht Behesht (Eight Paradises) Palace, Naqshe-Jahan (the Royal Square), Ali-Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah (Ladies) and Imám Mosques, a traditional Sufi-style teahouse, and the bazaar. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
November 18 Esfahan / Abyaneh / Kashan / Tehran
From Esfahan we drive along a winding rural road through the Karkas (vulture) Mountains to visit Abyaneh, a remote village known for its reddish-hued architecture and people who have maintained their traditional dress and customs. On the way to Tehran we stop in Kashan where we view Bagh-e Fin, a superb example of a Persian garden; the 19th-century tiled mausoleum of Emamzadeh Ebrahim; and a traditional 19th-century house. After lunch in Kashan we continue to Tehran where we have dinner and overnight at our hotel.
November 19 Tehran
After breakfast we depart for a tour of the Sa’ad Abad Palace complex, once the residence and working office of Pahlavi kings (Shahs). Following the Islamic revolution, the palaces were made into ten museums where stunning Iranian and non-Iranian artwork is on display. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Tehran. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner and relaxing evening as we prepare for early morning flights.
November 20 Tehran / USA
Early morning transfer to the airport for independent flights homeward.