Iran Cities

Cities and sites

  • Tehran – The Gateway to Iran
  • Isfahan – Iran’s Masterpiece
  • Kashan – The Characteristically Iranian
  • Shiraz – The City of Poetry and Nightingales
  • Fars – The Place of Origin of Ancient Persia
  • Hamadan – The Biblical City of Iran
  • Kermanshah – A Cradle of Prehistoric Cultures
  • Yazd – The Center of Zoroastrian Faith
  • Kerman – Cumin, Copper, Mysticism and more…
  • Mashhad – Iran’s Holiest City
  • Ahvaz – Iran’s Hottest Football
  • Zanjan – The City of Carpets, Knives and Silver Jewelry
  • Tabriz – The City of Romantic Ballads and Patriotic 
  • Ardabil – The City of A Great Sufi and his legacy
  • Qom – The Stronghold of Shia

 


Tehran

Tehran is a modern capital and metropolis with some outstanding museums, palaces, and modern hotels and restaurants. The main highlights include: 

·         The Archaeological Section of the National Museum

The Archaeological Section of the National Museum showcases a vast collection of objects from the prehistoric and historic periods.

·         Golestan Palace Complex

Golestan Palace Complex consisting of a charming mirrored reception hall, galleries and royal quarters representing the arts of 19th century Iran.

·         Glass & Ceramic Museum

Glass & Ceramic Museum with beautifully displayed exhibits from the 2nd millennium BC.

·         The Islamic Period Section of the National Museum

The Islamic Period Section of the National Museum exhibits some of the best collections of Persian visual arts that flourished between 9th-18th. 

·         Crown Jewels Museum

Crown Jewels Museum  displays one of the most spectacular collections of treasures in the world.

·         Reza Abbasi Museum

Reza Abbasi Museum  showcases one of the most fabulous collections of Iranian art.

·         Carpet Museum

Carpet Museum  displays some fabulous pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries from all over Iran.

·         Sa'dabad Complex

Sa'dabad Complex  a royal summer residence of the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs set in a spectacular mountainside forested land.

·         Green Palace

Green Palace  an ornate and classical palace built by the Qajars and remodeled by the Pahlavis.

·         White Palace

White Palace  , built by the Pahlavis serving as a summer residence for the last Shah of Iran.

·         Grand Bazaar of Tehran

Grand Bazaar of Tehran  , a truly Persian covered bazaar that controls Iran's entire trade sector, and sets the standard for prices across the country.

·         Gate of Bagh-e Melli

Gate of Bagh-e Melli  , the last surviving of the twelve gates that originally pierced the mud walls of the old citadel of Tehran.

Isfahan

Isfahan is the jewel of ancient Persia, the climax of art and architecture of 17th century Persia, and the greatest physical legacy of Shah Abbas, a capital which he transformed into one of the most splendid monumental cities in the Islamic world. The main highlights include:

·         Jami‘ Mosque of Isfahan

Jami‘ Mosque of Isfahan  , the living testimony of the evolution of Iranian architecture in the Islamic period.

·         Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square  (World Heritage Site) and the centerpiece to the majestic collection of palaces, public mosque, madrasa, and bazaar of the ambitious city planning of Shah Abbas the Great.

·         Shah Abbassi(Imam) Mosque

Shah Abbassi(Imam) Mosque creates a true sense of harmony with its turquoise dome, minarets and ornate portal-cornice.

·         Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque   offers a unique experience of artistic devotion with its superb decorative elements.

·         Ali Qapu Palace

Ali Qapu Palace  , another masterpiece in the collection of 17th-century monuments boasting a richly ornamented interior decoration.

·         Grand Bazaar of Isfahan

Grand Bazaar of Isfahan  adorning the northern side of Naqsh-e Jahan Square, displaying different types of artistically created handicraft items of Isfahan.

·         Chehel Sotun Palace

Chehel Sotun Palace , a highly ornate reception palace where the Safavids entertained the foreign dignitaries.

·         Hasht Behesht Palace

Hasht Behesht Palace  , an architectural masterpiece which bears witness to the grandeur of Safavid Persia.

·         Sio Se Pol

Sio Se Pol  resting majestically over the widest part of Zayandeh Rud, the longest river of central Iran.

·         Khaju Bridge

Khaju Bridge  , a luxurious bridge, deriving its inspiration from and enhancing many of the features of Sio Se Pol.

·         Shahrestan Bridge

Shahrestan Bridge  , an architectural masterpiece with secondary channels and additional venting systems.

·         Hammam-e Ali Gholi Agha

Hammam-e Ali Gholi Agha  , a superb example of a traditional hammam and its overall spirit.

Kashan – The Characteristically Iranian

Kashan is one of the primary centers of civilization since prehistoric ages, home to human settlements since at least the 4th millennium BC, and the epitome of everything that is typically Persian, from its mosques, caravanserais and stately paradise gardens, to its carpets, ceramics and delicate embroideries. The main highlights include:


·         Tepe Sialk

Tepe Sialk  , an early settlement that has revealed a great variety of pottery shapes found partly in burials.

·         Jami‘ Mosque of Ardestan

Jami‘ Mosque of Ardestan  , a supreme example of 12th-century mosques with splendid patterns and designs, the first mosque constructed on a four-ivan plan from its initial stage of construction.

·         Fin Garden

Fin Garden  , a Royal residence providing an authentic example of the Iranian garden design and architecture.

·         Jami‘ Mosque of Natanz

Jami‘ Mosque of Natanz  , among the finest 14th-century mosques in Iran adjoining the stunning portal to a once Sufi shrine complex of the same period with a unique design that emanates elegance and charm.

·         Tabatabaei’s House

Tabatabaei’s House  , a fine example of 19th-century traditional house focusing on its individual courtyards contrived to be invisible from the street.

·         Jami‘ Mosque of Nain

Jami‘ Mosque of Nain  , a marvelous 10th century mosque with original brick columns and decorative stucco in the heart of the ancient town of Nain, an important center renowned for its elegant carpets.

·         Borujerdi’s House

Borujerdi’s House  , a 19th-century residence with a beautiful stucco dome and superb wall paintings, inlaid mirror work, and best surviving wind-towers.

·         The Historical Village of Abyaneh

The Historical Village of Abyaneh known for the warmth and hospitality of its people living a traditional way of life with little cultural interaction with the outside world.

Shiraz – The City of Poetry and Nightingales

Shiraz is the capital of Fars Province. The fundamental structure of the old Shiraz is known as The Zandiyeh Ensemble (Prospective World Heritage Site) which contains elements from different periods, chiefly recognized as a comprehensive model of Iranian current architecture. Shiraz is also proudly the motherland of preeminent masters of Persian classical literature. The main highlights include:



·         The Zandiyeh Ensemble

The Zandiyeh Ensemble  (Prospective World Heritage Site) with the imposing structure of Karim Khan Citadel dominating the city centre.

·         Old Jami‘ Mosque of

Old Jami‘ Mosque of  contains a unique structure in its courtyard with outstanding brick calligraphy on turquoise back-ground dating back to 14th century.

·         Tomb of Saadi

Tomb of Saadi , the highest figure in classical Persian literature, and the creator of two of the world's greatest masterpieces. 

·         Tomb of Hafez

Tomb of Hafez , the pre-eminent master of Persian lyric poetry whose heart (cup) is filled with the love (wine) of the Beloved (God). 

·         Eram Garden

Eram Garden , a delightful garden centered around a reflecting pool by a charming 19th-century pavilion. 

·         Nasir ol-Mulk Mosque

Nasir ol-Mulk Mosque , a unique mosque renowned for its architectural techniques and decorative themes. 

·         Quran Gate

Quran Gate  , a monumental gateway to Shiraz blessing travelers before embarking on a journey

·         Narenjestan Museum

Narenjestan Museum  , a pavilion richly decorated with a breathtaking combination of decorative elements.

Fars – The Place of Origin of Ancient Persia

Fars Province, better known in the West as Persia, is the state that was once the homeland of the glorious Persian civilization, making it one of the richest parts of the wider region for unparalleled cultural heritage. The main highlights include:

Pasargadae – the first capital of Persia (World Heritage Site) The first capital of Ancient Persia and the resting place of Cyrus the Great.

Persepolis – the jewel of ancient Persia (World Heritage Site) the spectacular ruins that testify to the grandeur that was Persia.

The pre-Islamic remains in this part of Iran embodies the political, historical, cultural and artistic developments of the Sassanid period known as The Ensemble of Historical Sassanid Cities (Prospective World Heritage Site).

·         Tomb of Cyrus the Great

Tomb of Cyrus the Great , a sanctuary which held Cyrus' gilded sarcophagus with dignity, and simplicity. 

·         Guardian relief

Guardian relief  , a four-winged guardian figure wearing an Egyptian crown, Elamite dress and Assyrian wings.

·         Palace P

Palace P  , Cyrus’ private garden pavilion, described as the earliest example of Persian paradise gardens.

·         Palace S

Palace S  , white stone columns, black capitals and column bases, combined in one harmonious design.

·         Prison of Solomon

Prison of Solomon  , a rectangular stone tower possibly a temporary tomb, a fire temple, a Royal treasury.

·         Tall-e Takht Citadel

Tall-e Takht Citadel  , a huge platform possibly intended as a fortified plinth to hold palaces and temples.

·         Apadana Palace

Apadana Palace  , the earliest and the grandest of all palaces of Persepolis.

·         Eastern Staircase

Eastern Staircase shows the delegations from subject nations bearing tribute to the Persian king. 

·         Tachara

Tachara  , or the Winter Palace, with imaginary creatures in battle with the king.

·         Hadish

Hadish  , or the Palace of Xerxes, three times the size of that of Darius's with a similar setting.

·         Gate of all Lands

Gate of all Lands allowed delegates to rest and wait their turn for audience with the king. 

·         Throne Hall

Throne Hall  , or the Palace of One Hundred Columns, the largest covered area in Persepolis.

·         Naqsh-e Rostam

Naqsh-e Rostam  with four Achaemenid tombs, some Sassanid rock-relief panels, and an Elamite bas-relief.

·         Naqsh-e Rajab

Naqsh-e Rajab  four very well-preserved Sassanid bas-relief panels within a small ensemble.

·         Bishapur

Bishapur  , an interesting Sassanid complex of a central chamber, a courtyard, a temple, and six rock carvings commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans.

·         Sarvestan Palace

Sarvestan Palace  , an architecturally unique 5th century AD palace, with a central courtyard, three ivans, a vast square based dome chamber, and long narrow rooms.

·         Palace of Ardashir

Palace of Ardashir  , a captivating historical structure with two intact typically Iranian domes, porticos and a natural reflecting pool enhancing its elegance.

·         Qaleh Dukhtar

Qaleh Dukhtar  Fortress Palace an architecturally ingenious fortress standing on top of a mountain, on three levels with a spiral ramp leading to the courtyard.

 

Hamadan – The Biblical City of Iran

Hamadan is a prosperous city in the foothills of the Alvand Mountain renowned for its vast historical heritage, among the world’s oldest cities that has witnessed the rise and fall of many regional powers. The main highlights include:



·         Hegmataneh Ensemble

Hegmataneh Ensemble  (Prospective World Heritage Site), once the center of the Median and later the Persian Empires with remains of ancient palaces and great temples.

·         Tomb of Ibn Sina

Tomb of Ibn Sina  , known in the West by his Latinized name Avicenna, the foremost thinker and philosopher that Persia has ever produced, and one of the greatest medical scholars in human history.

·         Ganjnameh

Ganjnameh  , the famous trilingual inscriptions with praises to Ahuramazda engraved in stone on the pleasant slopes of Mount Alvand recording the legacy of Darius and Xerxes.

·         Alavyan Tomb Tower

Alavyan Tomb Tower  , one of the supreme examples of early Saljuq art in Iran, with whirling floral stucco a fine selection of other designs rendered in stucco.

·         Tepe Nush-e Jan

Tepe Nush-e Jan  , the spectacular remains of a well-preserved Iron Age settlement, believed to have been occupied by the Medes, and interpreted as the earliest identified fire temple of Iran.

·         Tomb of Esther and Mordecai

Tomb of Esther and Mordecai , a Jewish shrine surrounded by a charming garden, a place of pilgrimage for many Jewish people 

Kermanshah – A Cradle of Prehistoric Cultures

Kermanshah is a major cultural and commercial centre in Western Iran and the southern Kurdish region as a whole, considered one of the cradles of prehistoric cultures since the Paleolithic periods and Neolithic times. The main highlights include:

·         Bisotun

Bisotun  (World Heritage Site), cut on a high cliff remains intact one of the most prominent sites in Near Eastern archaeology, the famous rock-relief portraying the Achaemenid king Darius I (r. 522-486) commemorating his victory over his rivals.

·         Tagh-e Bostan

Tagh-e Bostan  (Prospective World Heritage Site), the Sassanid splendor contained in two magnificent grottos of fine Persian sculpture depicting royal hunting scenes, true narrative murals in stone and almost pictographic in detail.

·         Temple of Anahita at Kangavar

Temple of Anahita at Kangavar(Prospective World Heritage Site), a major sanctuary dedicated to the Anahita built of enormous blocks of dressed stone of Iranian construction techniques, according to new historical sources and archaeological evidence. 

·         Tekkiye Mo'aven ol-Molk

Tekkiye Mo'aven ol-Molk , a distinctively Shia dome chamber decorated with an amazing amalgamation of images from the great Karbala battle, Quranic scenes, pre-Islamic deities, Shahnameh kings, European villages and local notables in 19th-century costumes. 

Yazd – The Center of Zoroastrian Faith

Yazd’s Historical Structure (Prospective World Heritage Site) a vast collection of public-religious monuments comprising different Islamic architectural elements of different periods in a harmonious combination with climatic conditions. The main highlights include:


·         Jami‘ Mosque of Yazd

Jami‘ Mosque of Yazd , the magnificent 14th-century masterpiece crowned with two lofty minarets dominated by an exquisitely tiled entrance portal. 

·         Shrine of Seyed Rokneddin

Shrine of Seyed Rokneddin  consists of a most notable blue-tiled dome visible from any elevated point around the city, and impressive interior stucco decorations.

·         Amir Chakhmagh Square

Amir Chakhmagh Square  , a stunning three-storey façade with rows of perfectly proportioned galleries, most photogenic, around sunset and night-time.

·         Dolatabad Gardens

Dolatabad Gardens , renowned for having Iran's loftiest wind-catcher, set amid quiet gardens with intricate latticework and exquisite stained-glass windows. 

·         Alexnader’s Prison

Alexnader’s Prison , a 15th-century madrasa known locally as Alexander's Prison with stucco decoration though highly deteriorated. 

·         Shrine of Twelve Imams

Shrine of Twelve Imams , the well-preserved 11th century Saljuq shrine and one of the leading Islamic brick monuments, with once-fine inscriptions inside bear the names of the Shia Imams. 

·         Fire temple

Fire temple , a temple that holds a perpetual fire maintained by hereditary male priesthood who have learned required prayers to perform ritual duties. 

·         Tower of Silence

Tower of Silence , set on hilltops on the outskirts of Yazd, abandoned since the '60s, with several disused buildings at the foot of the hills near the modern Zoroastrian cemetery. 

·         Water Museum

Water Museum , located an impressive mansion that had a treasured qanat underneath, clearly showing the importance of these ingenious water systems, and every aspect of their use and maintenance. 

·         The Historical City of Maybod

The Historical City of Maybod(Prospective World Heritage Site) a remarkable example of viability and transmission of collective thoughts from different generations into an anatomy and spatial structure. 

Kerman – Cumin, Copper, Mysticism and more…

Kerman’s Historical-Cultural Structure (Prospective World Heritage Site) has had a remarkable influence on the construction and architectural development of its historical nucleus of mosque, bazaar, bathhouse, and caravanserai considered prominent examples of the social, cultural and economic impact of technical architecture. The main highlights include:



·         Jami‘ Mosque of Kerman

Jami‘ Mosque of Kerman , the well-preserved 14-century monument with four lofty ivans of shimmering blue tiles and no minarets, extensively modernized during the Safavid period and later. 

·         Ganj-Ali Khan Ensemble

Ganj-Ali Khan Ensemble , located at a wonderfully frescoed intersection of two main lines of arcades, with caravanserais, a teahouse, and a traditional hammam transformed into a museum. 

·         Shrine of Moshtaq Ali Shah

Shrine of Moshtaq Ali Shah , an attractive mausoleum dedicated to a Sufi mystic renowned for his singing and ability with the setar, a musical instrument. 

·         Jabbalieh

Jabbalieh , a mysterious, octagonal stone structure with a brick dome, whose function is unknown, in a picturesque setting at the foot of the mountains. 

·         Shazdeh Garden

Shazdeh Garden , an attractive, rectangular green oasis and one of the fine examples of historical Persian gardens, ornamented with water cascades, a monumental entrance and a residential pavilion.

·         Shrine of Shah Nematollah Vali

Shrine of Shah Nematollah Vali built in 1436 and embellished and extended by Shah Abbas, set in a delightful garden evoking great harmony, and Iran’s most splendid Islamic monument outside Isfahan. 

·         Bam and its Cultural Landscape

Bam and its Cultural Landscape(World Heritage Site), a vivid impression of a fortified medieval town, a testimony to the develop-ment of a settlement known for underground irrigation canals. 

·         Rayen Citadel

Rayen Citadel , a residential fortress and the largest mud structure of the wider region comprising thick imposing outer walls, public quarter, gymnasium, mosque, barracks, and governor's quarter. 

Mashhad – Iran’s Holiest City

Mashhad is an important place of pilgrimage for Shia Moslems from all over the world, and historically a major center of population of what was once Iran’s most influential province under the entity of the Greater Khorasan, the cradle of the Persian language and civilization and the homeland of many great Iranian poets, writers and scholars. The main highlights include:



·         Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A)

Holy Shrine of Imam Reza (A)showcases 800 years of religious-artistic creation evoking a sensational spiritual atmosphere containing great works of art by renowned artists and calligraphers, and the masterpiece of early 15th century Gowhar Shad mosque. 

·         Tomb of Ferdowsi

Tomb of Ferdowsi , the most highly celebrated epic poet of Persia (940-1020) who completed his ‘Book of Kings’ regarded as a literary work of genius that reflects Iran's cultural values, its ancient religions, and its profound sense of nationhood. 

·         Tomb of Omar Khayyam

Tomb of Omar Khayyam philosophy, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy were among the subjects mastered by this brilliant man, a celebrated poet who became popular in the west after the free translation of Rubaiyat (Quatrains) by Edward FitzGerald. 

·         Tomb of Attar

Tomb of Attar  , a prolific figure of classical Persian literature, a famous mystic poet and a source of inspiration of Rumi and many other poets, and the creator of one of the great masterpieces of Persian literature, Mantegh at-Tayr, or Conference of the Birds.

Ahvaz – Iran’s Hottest Football

Ahvaz is built on the banks of the Karun River, a prosperous city that reached its height of achievement during the Islamic period, soon flourished as a center for the cultivation, and became home to many well-known scholars. The main highlights include:


·         Choqa Zanbil

Choqa Zanbil  – the jewel in the crown of Elamite history (World Heritage Site), Iran’s best preserved and architecturally mesmerizing ziggurat of 1250 BC, decorated with glittering blue and green glazed fire bricks, inlaid ivory mosaics, as well as opaque glass mosaics, and guarded by guardian bulls and winged griffins in glazed terracotta.

·         Susa – once the capital of the world

Susa – once the capital of the world(Prospective World Heritage Site), one of the world's largest archaeological sites, the capital of the world at the height of its importance when the empire touched the boundaries of all the lands under the Persian Empire, with magnificent polychrome glazed brick panels decorating its famous Apadana Palace. 

·         Haft Tepe

Haft Tepe , a mid-2nd millennium BC complex considered the oldest Elamite temple ever discovered in Iran consisting only of religious buildings and tombs. 

·         Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System(World Heritage Site), a masterpiece of creative genius forming spectacular water cascades flowing into a stream basin. 

Zanjan – The city of Carpets, Knives and Silver Jewelry

Zanjan has a history closely connected to that of Azarbaijan which has shaped the main ethnic group of the province, with agriculture as the principal occupation of the entire region of a highland climate characterized by snowy mountains and moderate climate in the plains. The main highlights include:


·         Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh – a great achievements of Persian architecture (World Heritage Site), the handsomely embellished monument with the largest brick dome covered in turquoise-blue faience. 

·         Takht-e Soleyman

Takht-e Soleyman  – a striking archaeological site (World Heritage Site), a massive complex of palaces and temples representing an example of a Zoroastrian sanctuary integrated with Royal Palaces.

Tabriz – The City of Romantic Ballads and Patriotic People

Tabriz was the capital of Iran in the first half of the 16th century with rich cultural and political background extremely influential in the country’s recent history, a pioneer in modern developments, and renowned for its parks, gardens and handicrafts, particularly for its worldwide famous rugs. The main highlights include:


·         Grand Bazaar of Tabriz

Grand Bazaar of Tabriz (Prospective World Heritage Site), a magnificent covered labyrinthine with impressive domed halls and fine brick vaulting. 

·         Azarbaijan Museum

Azarbaijan Museum , with exhibits from the 3rd millennium BC, as well as a re-weave of the famous Chelsea carpet now in London's V&A Museum. 

·         Kaboud Mosque

Kaboud Mosque  , a glorious building with every surface covered with the blue tiles and intricate calligraphy.

·         Arg-e Ali Shah

Arg-e Ali Shah  , a huge brick edifice, a landmark and a remnant of early 14th-century citadel.

Ardabil – The City of A Great Sufi and his legacy

Ardabil is a historical city blessed with splendid natural beauty on an open plain east of Mount Sabalan, and primarily identified as the seat of the sanctuary and tomb of a widely revered Sufi philosopher of the 14th century and the eponym of the Safavid Dynasty. The main highlights include:



·         Tomb of Sheikh Safieddin Ardabili

Tomb of Sheikh Safieddin Ardabili (Prospective World Heritage Site), an exquisite shrine complex of a highly revered 14th-century Sufi, the descendent of the later Safavid kings who embellished the shrine.

Qom – The Stronghold of Shia

Qom has been in constant occupation since the 5th millennium BC with its present status going back to the beginning of the Safavid rule when Qom became an important center of Shia theology, and it is currently Iran’s second major pilgrimage site being the burial place of Hazrat Masoumeh (A). The main highlights include:


·         Holy Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (A)

Holy Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (A)Iran’s second holiest site after that of her brother’s, Imam Reza (A), a magnificent shrine dominating the skyline of Qom built by the Safavids and the later Qajars who covered the dome with gold-plated tiles.