Enchanting Persia | 15 days

Imam-Reza-Mashad

Tehran ➛ Mashad ➛ Shiraz ➛ Kerman ➛ Yazd ➛ Isfahan ➛ Tehran

This tour takes in the main highlights of Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Persepolis, then visiting north-eastern Iran to see the holy shrine of Imam Reza in Mashad – where Muslim’s from all over the world make their pilgrimage – and the tomb of Omar Khayyam in Neishabur. Finally, a chance to see Kerman  in south-eastern Iran.

Day 1
London

Tehran
Depart from London Heathrow.
Day 2
Tehran
Arrive early morning and transfer to hotel. Morning rest. After lunch, visit Sa’ad-abad Palace complex, one of the royal family and court’s former residences. On to the Carpet Museum. Evening meal at traditional Persian restaurant with live music and storytelling.
Day 3
Tehran
Visit Archaeological & Glass Museums with their fine collection of antiques. Lunch at a traditional tea house. On to see the stunning Crown Jewels in the vaults of Central Bank.
Day 4
Tehran

Mashad
Early morning flight to Mashad. Visit Imam Reza’s shrine. Visit the labyrinthine bazaar and its turquoise cutting workshops. Excursion to the town of Tous, once destroyed by the Mongols and home to the mausoleum of the famous and best loved poet Ferdowsi. On to the shrine of Khajeh-Rabii with its exceptional 17th century tile works.
Day 5
Mashad

Neishabur
Tehran
Excursion to the ancient city of Neishabur, to visit the tomb of Omar Khayyam. Back to Mashad. Evening flight to Tehran.
Day 6
Tehran

Shiraz
Morning flight to Shiraz. Visit Narenjestan Palace, Shah Cheraq (King of the Light) mosque and Eram Gardens. On to the tomb of the Persian mystic poet Hafez with its beautiful gardens and traditional tea house. Take tea and ice cream, accompanied by poetry recitals from Hafez’s works.
Day 7
Shiraz

Persepolis
Shiraz
Excursion to Persepolis & Naghsh-e-Rostam, the tomb of the three powerful Achaemenian Kings carved into huge rocks overlooking one of the oldest Zoroastrian fire temples.
Day 8
Shiraz

Kerman
All day drive to Kerman via Sarvestan, through vast fig, almond and Pistachio plantations. On route and in the correct season, stop to visit the Qashqaii tents.
Day 9
Kerman

Mahan
Visit Mahan’s beautiful Bagh-e-Shahzdeh (garden of the prince), the Ganj-Ali Khan bath and the Bazaar in  Kerman.
Day 10
Kerman

Yazd
Morning drive to Yazd, an ancient city with unique desert architecture and wind towers. In the evening a visit to Ateshkadeh (House of Eternal Fire). Although the temple is modern (built in the 1940s), the sacred fire has been burning since 470 AD.
Day 11
Yazd

Isfahan
Morning visit to the Towers of Silence, the Zoroastrian burial grounds nearby, and Jame’h Mosque. Drive on to Isfahan, via Naii’n with a chance to visit a private home where weaving of Persian carpets are in progress.
Day 12
Isfahan
Tour of Isfahan’s magnificent buildings: some of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture including the Royal (Imam) square, the Shah & Seikh Lotfolah mosques, Ali-Qapu Palace. After dinner, evening tour of Isfahan including Si-o-Se & Khaju bridges and then a visit to a Zoorkhaneh (House of Strength) to watch this traditional Iranian sport : a combination of physical and spiritual aerobics, with participants chanting to the powerful drums of their master.
Day 13
Isfahan
Visit Chehel Sotun (Forty Columns) and Hasht Behesht (Eighth Heaven) palaces. On to Jolfa, Armenian quarters south west of the city, to see Vank Cathedral. Visit the Shaking Minarets, and the 4500-year-old Zoroastrian fire temple on top of a nearby mountain, providing a fabulous panoramic view of Isfahan.
Day 14
Isfahan

Tehran
Free time to shop or explore the city. Evening flight to Tehran. Finish the evening with a traditional Persian dinner.
Day 15
Tehran

London
Depart from Tehran to London early morning.

TOUR DATES:

There are no set dates for this tour, which we can arrange on a tailor made basis to suit your individual requirements.

Cost indications for a tailor-made trip based on 2, 4, 6  or 8 persons 

15 day tour price  per person, based on:

  • 2  persons   £4900
  • 4 persons    £3600
  • 6 persons    £3100
  • 8 persons    £2800
  • Single room supplement £650
  • Visa stamp fees for UK passports £170

The cost of the tour includes:

  • Obtaining tourist visa permit (excluding visa stamp fees)
  • All airport/hotel/airport transfers
  • English speaking national guide throughout the trip and all  his expenses
  • Driver with air conditioned private vehicle  throughout the trip
  • 14 nights’ accommodation in best available (three/four/five star) hotels in twin bedded standard rooms with private facilities including breakfast
  • Sightseeing visits & all entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Local taxes

The cost excludes:

  • International flights to Iran
  • Internal flights
  • Meals other than breakfast
  • All personal extras such as laundry, tips and porterage
  • All optional excursions, tours and visits
  • Travel insurance

Cost Indication on British  Airways for return Economy flight £650 per person including airport taxes.

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Persepolis | تخت جمشيد

persepolis-iran

Persepolis (تخت جمشيد Takht-e Jamshid or پارسه Pārseh), literally meaning “city of Persians”, was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE).

Persepolis is situated 60 km northeast of city of Shiraz in Fars Province in Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Construction

Archaeological evidence shows that the earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. André Godard, the French archaeologist who excavated Persepolis in the early 1930s, believed that it was Cyrus the Great (Kūrosh) who chose the site of Persepolis, but that it was Darius I (Daryush) who built the terrace and the great palaces.

Darius ordered the construction of the Apadana Palace and the Council Hall (the Tripylon or three-gated hall), the main imperial Treasury and its surroundings. These were completed during the reign of his son, King Xerxes the Great. Further construction of the buildings on the terrace continued until the downfall of the Achaemenid dynasty.

Geographic location

Persepolis is near the small river Pulvar, which flows into the river Kur (derived from Persian word Cyrus / Kuroush). The site includes a 125,000 square metre terrace, partly artificially constructed and partly cut out of a mountain, with its east side leaning on Kuh-e Rahmet (“the Mountain of Mercy”). The other three sides are formed by retaining walls, which vary in height with the slope of the ground. From 5 to 13 metres on the west side a double stair. From there it gently slopes to the top. To create the level terrace, depressions were filled with soil and heavy rocks, which were joined together with metal clips.

Persepolis2

 

Around 519 BC, construction of a broad stairway was begun. The stairway was planned to be the main entrance to the terrace 20 metres above the ground. The dual stairway, known as the Persepolitan stairway, was built in symmetrically on the western side of the Great Wall. The 111 steps were 6.9 metres wide with treads of 31 centimetres and rises of 10 centimetres. Originally, the steps were believed to have been constructed to allow for nobles and royalty to ascend by horseback. New theories suggest that the shallow risers allowed visiting dignitaries to maintain a regal appearance while ascending. The top of the stairways led to a small yard in the north-eastern side of the terrace, opposite the Gate of Nations.

Grey limestone was the main building material used in Persepolis. After natural rock had been levelled and the depressions filled in, the terrace was prepared. Major tunnels for sewage were dug underground through the rock. A large elevated water storage tank was carved at the eastern foot of the mountain. Professor Olmstead suggested the cistern was constructed at the same time that construction of the towers began.

The uneven plan of the terrace, including the foundation, acted like a castle, whose angled walls enabled its defenders to target any section of the external front. Diodorus writes that Persepolis had three walls with ramparts, which all had towers to provide a protected space for the defense personnel. The first wall was 7 metres tall, the second, 14 metres and the third wall, which covered all four sides, was 27 metres in height, though no presence of the wall exists in modern times.