And, it seems that it is somewhere far away, far away, which was said in the Chronicle. Coming to the unknowing country, everyone is interested to get acquainted not only with historical monuments, but also with national cuisine, lifestyle, character and traditions of local residents. Are you ready for this exciting and unforgettable journey?
Isfahan, Iran: Visiting Half of the World
Well then, welcome, through our company! Day 2 - Wednesday. Turfan — Urumqi — Hotan. Yarkent - Kashgar. Kashgar — Urumqi — Almaty Kazakhstan. Almaty — Tashkent Uzbekistan. Tashkent — Samarkand. Samarkand — Bukhara. Bukhara — Mary Turkmenistan. Mary — Ashgabat. Ashgabat — Mashhad. Mashhad — Shiraz. Persepolis — Shiraz — Isfahan. Abyaneh — Kashan — Tehran. Urumqi is a growing metropolis inhabited mainly by Han Chinese and serves as a transport hub for those crossing to Tibet , Pakistan and Central Asia.
Meeting at airport and transfer to Turfan km. Turfan Basin not only sits in the second largest depression in the world, but it is one of the hottest places of China. Despite its desert location, Turfan boasts fertile land producing cotton and grapes, thanks to the karez, an ancient irrigation system. Upon your arrival you will visit the Ruins of Gaochang — is also called Karakhoja , served as an important commercial and cultural center of the Silk Road.
Legend has it that a group of soldiers stopped here in the 1st century BC on their way to Afghanistan , found that water was plentiful, and decided to stay. By the 7th century the city was flourishing capital of the Kingdom of Gaochang that ruled over 21 other towns, and by the 9th century the Uighurs had moved into the area from Mongolia , establishing the Kingdom of Kharakoja. In the 14th century Mongols conquered and destroyed the kingdom, leaving only the ruins of walls and buildings that are here today.
Visit the Bezeklik. Thousand Buddha Caves , located in Mutou Valley , at the north-east of the Taklamakan Desert and in the middle section of Flaming Mountain , have a history of over years. The oldest caves were chiseled in the 5th century A. Currently, a total of 57 caves exist. Among them, over 40 have murals. The high quality murals are considered to be masterpieces of religious art and provide valuable information for researching the history, Buddhist background, culture and art of this area as well as the relationship between the West and ancient China.
Than you will go to admire the Grape valley and to take beautiful pictures of the Flaming Mountain — which located in the middle of the Turfan Depression, that is also named Red Mountain. Return to Turfan. It was built on a high plateau on a sharp curve of a river-a natural fortification. Civil was and lack of water at the time of Yuan Dynasty in the early 13th century brought the town to ruins. The central sacred site and the remnants of Buddhist monasteries and stupas in the northwest, which are most prominent among the ruins, are still well preserved. The remains of underground dwellings, which offered protection from the summer heat and the freezing winter, are of special interest.
Than you will visit the Karez - ancient and fantastic underground irrigation system, which is still greatly in practice today. To provide enough water to the oasis, the ancient residents invented the Karez. After lunch visit of Emin Minaret Sugong Temple , which was built with clay bricks in and finished in , and the sparsely furnished mosque next to it are the symbols of the town, and have been designated a historical monument.
Route to Urumqi airport. Flight to Hotan. Hotan was one of the important places on the ancient Silk Road. Hotel accommodation upon your arrival. All-day desert excursion to Yurturgan , site of a pre Islamic kingdom dating from the 8th century and visit the r uins of Malik Abad , this site is at the fringe of the Taklimakan Desert , on the west bank of the Jade Dragon Kashgar River. This city, formerly an important regional capital on the Silk Road , was abandoned well over a thousand years ago. Also visit this region's jade and precious gem mines.
Hotan is the main jade production center of the world for 2, years. The Hotan white jade is in big demand among the jade products of the world. Since early years the Hotan jade has been transported to mainland China and Eurasian markets in a steady stream. All the seven counties and one city of Hotan district can naturally produce jade , but it is mostly produced from the Yorungkash and Karakash rivers. We visit also the Hotan carpets factory , known by the oriental style. Drive to Yarkend km through beautiful views of high mountains and desert via oasis cities and villages.
Accommodation at hotel upon arrival. Lunch at local restaurant in Yarkent. Overnight in hotel. Route to Kashgar km and before arriving to Yengisar you will have the magnificent views of the highest summit of Pamir Mountains , the Muztagh Ata m and Konur m Peaks. Visit of the knife market of Yengisar. Arrival in the afternoon in Kashgar. Accommodation at hotel. In the afternoon we visit historic Eidkah Mosque , built in and still China's largest mosque. Mausoleum of Abakhoja , a venerated Sufi leader lived in 17th century.
We take lunch in the old city in a local family compound in order to experience contemporary Uyghur culture and have dinner at a fruit orchard restaurant. Sunday Bazaar - Today our main objective is the legendary Kashgar Sunday Bazaar where each Sunday the country comes to town at the colorful covered Bazaar as villagers and towns people mix to trade, barter and buy.
It is said locally that "you can find everything at Kashgar Bazaar but not rooster's milk". This lively tradition is a carry over from ancient times when Silk Road trade goods flooded into Kashgar from the four corners of central Asia. In the afternoon flight to Urumqi and then flight CZ to Almaty at and arrival at Meet by Kazakh guide and driver.
Transfer to the hotel and check in. Almaty is the former capital of Kazakhstan situated in the south-east of Kazakhstan ; Almaty was founded in as a Russian frontier fort and today is Central Asia's most cosmopolitan city with a population of approximately 2,, people, having a wealth of shops, restaurants, hotels and casinos. Formerly known as Alma Ata , for its abundance of apple orchards, it lies between the Zailiysky Alatau Mountains and the plains. Since independence in , the city has experienced a significant transformation from its sudden exposure to western markets.
Almaty , formerly the capital of Kazakhstan , remains the business, financial and cultural center of the country. During the excursion you will get acquainted with Kazakh people culture and history, with architecture and historical monuments of Almaty.
Lunch at local restaurant. Transfer to airport and flight to Tashkent at , arrival at Meeting at the airport by Uzbek guide and transfer to the hotel. Check in. Dinner and overnight in hotel. It came to prominence in the political machinations at the end of the 19th century when the Great Game was being played out between Russia and England as rival powers jostled for strategic advantage, and gradually assumed its present role as a regional hub. Afternoon transfer to Samarkand km.
Arrival and accommodation at hotel. Dinner and overnight. Beautiful Samarkand. You will have your first glimpse of the extraordinary empire built by Tamerlane — the one man who dominated his epoch and a great swathe of the globe. The unadulterated splendor of the towers, domes and glittering ceramic facades of these Islamic seminaries or universities are guaranteed to quicken the pulse of even the most jaded traveler. Tamerlane now lies buried, with his spiritual leader, two sons, and two grandsons, in unexpectedly modest style in the Gur Emir , the mausoleum originally built for one of his grandsons who died before him.
You will visit also the Bibi Khanum mosque. Kussam-ibn-Abbas , a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad is said to rule beyond death from the earth. The oldest site in the city, it contains some of the finest glazed tile work to be seen in Central Asia. The remains of his observatory stand atop a hill to the north of Samarkand.
On arrival the rest of the afternoon will be free for you to relax. Overnight stay in Shiraz. You will also have the chance to visit the tomb of the famous Iranian poet Hafez and to take a walk through Vakil Bazaar. Early you will begin the journey to Yazd, on the way stopping at the former Persian capitals of Persepolis and Pasargadae. Arrive late. Overnight stay in Yazd.
Overnight in Dad International, Yazd. Time permitting there will also be a visit to Dowlabad Gardens. Overnight in Yazd. In the morning drive to Isfahan via Meybod and Na'in. In Na'in visit the 10th century Friday Mosque, and the 17th century Pirnia House which is now also an Ethnographic Museum if it is open. After lunch continue to Isfahan for an overnight stay. Overnight in Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan. Finish by admiring the local crafts of the Qeisarieh Bazaar.
Overnight in Isfahan. There will also be free time to spend in the Bazaar. The rest of the day is for you to spend as you please. Morning drive to Kashan. En route visit the ancient village of Abyaneh.
Overnight in Kashan. Overnight in Negin Hotel, Kashan. After breakfast drive to Hamadan. Overnight in Hamadan. After breakfast you will drive to Takab, stopping on the way to visit Takht-e-Soleiman. Overnight stay in Takab. Overnight in Tabriz. Take a day trip to St. Return to Tabriz for overnight. All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking. Semnan Tourist Inn is about 3 kms from the city. The hotel provides basic facilities for a comfortable stay.
Boasting a traditional Persian restaurant and a breakfast bar which commands wonderful views among the treetops of Keshavarz Boulevard. The hotel also has a fitness centre with sauna, steam room and swimming pool for guests use. The hotel offers both garden and mountain view rooms. The Homa Hotel boasts several restaurants serving various cuisines, including Iranian and Western. A tennis court, swimming pool and shopping arcade provide guests with ample activities to fill their leisure time.
There is also free wireless internet. Hotel Dad is located at the heart of the historic city of Yazd and is among Yazd's most famous structures and establishments. Dating back to almost a century ago, Hotel Dad was designed by Haj Abdolkhalegh Dad who created the site in The bedrooms include air-conditioning, satellite television and a fridge. Wifi available. The Negin Hotel is located in the heart of old city next to the ancient and famous Bazar and within minutes walk of multiple historic mosques, houses and districts in Kashan.
The on-site restaurant and coffee shop serve a range of traditional Persian dishes. Wi-fi is available at this hotel. Three restaurants within the hotel serve both traditional Iranian and Western food, with the main tower containing a revolving restaurant. This was my first experience with Travel the Unknown, and it exceeded my expectations.
The itinerary was comprehensive, the local guide exceedingly knowledgeable, and hotels carefully selected for convenience and comfort. Staff were readily accessible to answer pre-trip queries, and the visa application efficiently handled.
This is the first time I have journeyed with Travel The Unknown. We had a hitch in the itinerary and we contacted David - he was immediately on the phone to sort it out despite the fact we were in Iran. That is what I call serivce and I was very impressed. Very moving, life-changing experience. Iran is a fascinating, complex place with a long, dramatic history. The itinerary of three days in each significant city Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan follows the chronology of the empires beautifully. Three days in each place gives you time to relax and explore. The hotels are first class and quite spectacular.
A small group gives you the chance to respond to group ideas, and also to go to local restaurants, off the beaten track from the large tour groups. We have recently returned from a wonderful trip to Iran. The size of the group 12 was just right and staying several nights in each place a bonus. An interesting and varied itinerary and our experience of the welcoming people made for a very memorable holiday. When people say "Why Iran? We will never forget all of the amazing sites we saw and the beauty of the countryside but the enduring thing we will take away from this trip is the warmth and friendliness of the people we met.
We sat down after an amazing tour around Persepolis and were immediately part of an Iranian picnic. We don't speak Persian, they had little English but we were welcomed like old friends.
Not only is Iran the cradle of civilisation it is also the most welcoming place we have ever been. A thoughtfully organised and fully educative trip into, what was for me, substantially the 'unknown'. We wanted a holiday with a difference and Travel the Unknown gave us it. From our holiday experience I would recommend not only Iran, but also Travel the Unknown to anyone.
This was probably the best holiday I have ever had. There was so much to see and do and we received the warmest of welcomes everywhere we went. Every aspect of the trip worked out as planned with no delays or changes. It was again a hugely successful and enjoyable time for us - thank you for all your suggestions and organisation. This time, we were more keen to experience slightly different things having seen and enthused about architecture and art in mosques, houses and ancient monuments on our first trip. And this is exactly what we did: our guide went to great lengths to research and source our more off-the-tourist-trail requests, such as: shisha smoking, seeing carpet making and wool dying, tutorial on carpet design etc, rose picking and rose water processing, evening at bridge in Isfahan, music museum and concert, picnic in Isfahan square.
All an absolute delight and fascinating. Thanks to you too for suggesting going to Darband in Tehran, which we loved, and the trip to Varzaneh and the desert which was one of the highlights. Once again, thank you for setting up another great tour for us. What an amazing tour.
There was just so much to enjoy - the wonderful historical sites, the intriguing layers of culture and politics, the delicious food, the lovely people and stunning landscapes. I'm still processing it all! Marina our guide was super-good and I think made the tour such a success. I'm sure everybody is impressed as I was by Persepolis, the necropolis, and wonderful mosques and gardens, but the little things also stay with me, such as the picnics that Marina put together for us, looking out at the landscape as we drove between cities whilst everyone else was asleep, seeing a very small!
I just loved the whole experience. Thanks again, I've got so many lovely memories and when I've saved up again I'm sure I'll be booking my next trip with you! This was our second tailored trip to Iran with Travel the Unknown who kindly arranged for us to have Hamid and Reza as guide and driver again. Highlights in Tehran were the breathtaking Treasury of National Jewels, the serene Negarestan Gardens and the mountain resort of Darband.
What to pack as a female traveler in Isfahan
During the trip we met a farmer who sings to his ox to make it draw well-water, lovely lady weavers in Kashan and so many children eager to practice their English lessons on us. For me the outstanding experience of the trip was picking blooms on a rose farm to distil rose-water. Delightful hotels, exquisite cuisine and welcoming people.
Thank you. We found the entire trip beyond our expectations. The itinerary was well planed and the sights were spectacular. The people of Iran were so gentle and polite and our guide was outstanding. Travel the Unknown made it easy for us from planning the trip to arranging visa and dealing with our circumstances of having to cancel last year just before we were to leave and booking the same trip this year.
We look forward to using them again. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations. Ask us a question. Book now. Please confirm your humanity. View Map. Overview Itinerary Detailed Itinerary. Select a date 11 May to 29 May 05 Oct to 23 Oct His tomb was placed here and after the province of Khorasan was almost completely destroyed by Tamerlane in the late 14th century, Mashhad emerged as the new capital of the province.
The city attracts over 20 million pilgrims a year, from all over Iran as well as the Shia faithful from other countries. Haram-e-Rezavi a. Imam Reza Shrine Complex is a vast and ever-growing complex, where devout pilgrims come to honour the memory and brutal murder of Imam Reza. Emotions run high and heartfelt wailing and mourning are common here. The complex is vast, encompassing numerous mosques, courtyards, domes, minarets, madrasehs and three museums. The main museum is worth a visit to see many pieces of previous shrines, most impressively the 4th shrine encasement, as well as a collection of stamps, one commemorating the takeover of the US Den of Espionage.
Dress must be conservative and clean. A complex guide will be assigned to you for your visit. Most of the Shrine complex is accessible to non-Muslims with the notable exceptions of the main Shrine and the madrasehs. The Gowhar Shad mosque is now open to non-Muslims. This restored the language, and he is seen as the father of the Persian language today. There is also a small museum on site. Nader Shah Mausoleum is located in the heart of Mashhad in a beautiful garden setting.
His tomb is a grey-granite block that is crowned by a statue of King Nader riding a horse. There is also a small museum containing weapons among other archives from the Nader Shah era. With beautiful Iranian blue tile work, delicate floral motifs and Kufic inscriptions by master-calligrapher Ali Reza Abbasi featured on the inside of the tomb, this is a beautiful site that is definitely worth visiting. Overnight in Tourist Inn, Semnan Meal plan: Breakfast The ancient capital of the previously much larger Khorasan province, Neishabur reached its zenith under the Sassanids.
A bustling, cosmopolitan city, famous for its scholars, the city was largely destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th Century and further decimated by an earthquake not long after. One of his greatest achievements was the reform of the Persian calendar still in use in Iran, and familiar to the West as the zodiac calendar and his seminal work on algebra is regarded as hugely significant.
His tomb attempts to capture his wide array of interests and features his verses and geometric shapes in marble with a s feel. Sabzevar is a city in northeastern Iran. The main sights of the city include the brick tower of King Khosrau and the Khosrogerd minaret which is all that remains of the Silk Road town of Khosrogerd, destroyed by the Mongols in AD. Located on the Silk Road, Miyandasht Caravanserai is one of the largest caravanserai complexes in Iran. Built in both the Safavid and Qajar periods, it retains architectural features specific to these eras, and includes traditional water stores and a castle.
Its location, between the Rouran Desert and the Khush Woodland, provides it with uniquely hot summers and snow fall in the winter.
isfahan is half the world travels in iran silk road series book 8 Manual
The city is home to an especially impressive caravanserai build under the reign of Shah Abbas the Second. It hosts the tomb of the mystic philosopher Bayazid Bastami AD who emphasised the importance of religious ecstasy in Islam. In Bastam you can also see a 12th-century minaret and mosque wall, as well as a 15th-century college.
Most of Bastam's old sites were built under the orders of two Mongol rulers, Hahmud Ghazan — and Oljeitu — The city of Shahrud is situated at an altitude of m, surrounded from the north by the Alborz mountains and the south with arid desert land. Dameghan is the capital city of the Dameghan County in northern Iran, which lies at an elevation of 1,m.
The city is famous throughout Iran for trading pistachios and paper almonds. As one of the most ancient Iranian cities it is home to many interesting sights, such as the bomb towers of the Seljuk period and the ancient ruins of Tappeh Hessar, which is a settlement that dates back as far as 7, years. Shahr-e-Rey is one of the oldest existing cities in the province, with a history that spans back some 7, years.
It also boasts countless museums and is at the heart of most of Iran's cultural and artistic events. The Golestan Palace Complex is the oldest of all the historic monuments in Tehran, belonging to a group of buildings once enclosed within the historic Arg of the ancient city.