The perfect summer adventure! “Essence of Persia” Tour is the best way to explore Iran in generally hot weather. You will go to the majestic North of Iran. The green land of stunning UNESCO Heritage sights, gorgeous natural landmarks, authentic culture, strong yet gentle Northern people, and the most delicious food ever.
Smaller historical cities, remote mountain villages, churches on mountain tops, lush greenery with hot water springs… If these locations intrigue you, “Essence of Persia” is the travel package you must experience!
Day 1: Tehran
Day 2: Soltanieh
Day 3: Takht-e Soleyman / Mahabad
Day 4: Tappeh Hassanlu / Urmia
Day 5: Urmia / Jolfa / Tabriz
Day 6: Tabriz / Kandovan village
Day 7: Ardabil
Day 8: Sareyn / Talesh
Day 9: Masouleh
Day 10: Gilan / Fuman
Day 11: Eshkevarat
Day 12: Alamut village
Day 13: Qazvin / Departure
● Enjoy a fascinating nature of West & North of Iran
● The UNESCO-registered sites
● Experience the pristine nature of Iran
● The vibrant taste of Persian cuisine
● Visiting a ruined mountain fortress
Grand Bazaar / Golestan Palace / The National Museum of Iran / IRANomad House / Katale Khor Cave / Soltanieh / Takht-e Soleyman / Prison of Solomon / Sahoulan Cave / Teppe Hasanlu / Assyrian Churches / Kazem Dashi Castle / Khan Takhti / Shams-e Tabrizi Tomb / St Thaddeus / St Stepanos / Tabriz Historic Bazaar / Kandovan village / Sheikh Safi in Ardabil / Nomads around Mt. Sabalan / Sarein hot water spot / Talish Summer Pastures / Masuleh / Gilan Rural Heritage Museum /Rasht / Fuman / Eshkevarat / Cultural Landscape of Alamout / Old Bazaar of Qazvin / Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh / Chehel Sotoun Palace / Jameh Mosque of Qazvin / AliQapu Portal
Anthropology Sites / Sightseeing
● Grand Bazaar
● Golestan Palace
● The National Museum of Iran
● IRANomad House
Tehran is steeped in various cultures with its ancient monuments dating back to hundreds of years ago. Highlights of the city include Golestan Palace, the old Bazaar of Tehran & the museums. The old downtown alleys are also perfect to explore.
First, we will go to a spectacular gem in the heart of Tehran, Golestan Palace. One of the top experiences in Tehran is a visit to the historical Grand Bazaar where you will find yourself among traditional architecture & local people. We will have a very famous crispy rice dish, Tahchin, in one of the old well-known restaurants in the bazaar. Finally, we will gather in our office; IRANomad House, which is an old 130-year-old house with Persian architecture, to get to know more about the Persian lifestyle.
● Soltaniye (UNESCO-registered)
● Katale Khor Cave
The mausoleum of Oljaytu is in the city of Soltaniyeh، in the province of Zanjan. Soltaniyeh is 7000 years old and the mausoleum is one of the outstanding examples of the achievements of Persian architecture. For the lunch, we are in Soltaniyeh, then we’ll go to Katale Khor (meaning ‘mount of the sun’) which is a cave dating back to the Jurassic period. For the night, we will be in Ater Ecolodge in Takab near Takht-e Soleiman.
● Takht-e Soleyman (UNESCO-registered)
● Prison of Solomon
● Sahoulan Cave
In a volcanic mountain in north-western Iran, there is the archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (“Throne of Solomon”) which is the principal sanctuary of Zoroastrianism. Inside this magnificent site, we will see an artesian lake, a Zoroastrian fire temple, a temple dedicated to Anahita (the divinity of the waters), and a Sasanian royal sanctuary, all of them of high symbolic & spiritual importance. Then, we will go to the remains of the Prison of Solomon (Zendan-e Soleiman) which is a natural hollow cone and an extinct volcano with remains of temple structures surrounding the peak. Sahoulan Cave is our next destination. Sahoulan is a Water cave and it is believed that people used to live there since 2000 B.C. We will ride on a boat to discover its attractions and in some parts, we’ll walk through the cave.
● Teppe Hasanlu
● Assyrian Churches
● Kazem Dashi Castle
● Khan Takhti
● Shams-e Tabrizi Tomb
● Saint Sarkis Church
Today, we’re going to visit some must-sees of Urmia. First, we’ll go around lake Urmia & then the archeological site of the ancient city of Teppe Hasanlu & its 3000-year old cemetery. The Assyrian churches in the area are our next destination where we’d delve into some interesting historic sites. Another historic monument in Lake Urmia is Kazem Dashi Castle which is located on a rocky island and it’s more than 2000 years old. In Khan Takhti village, we’ll see the huge flat slab of stone with its unique carvings. Finally, we will go to Khoy where we visit the Tomb of Shams Tabrizi & Saint Sarkis Church. The tomb has been recently nominated as a World Cultural Heritage Center by UNESCO.
● St Thaddeus (Qare Church)
● St Stepanos
The scenic, genuine beauty of this landscape is so eye-catching, especially in Spring when we will see the fantastic waterfall & the wild almond and berries on our way. We will go to Jolfa in the north of Tabriz where we’ll visit the UNESCO-registered Saint Stepanos situated in a deep canyon & Saint Thaddeus Monastery which is believed to be one of the oldest church buildings in the world. Here we also have the chance to see the Aras, a river that flows between Iran and both Azerbaijan and Armenia. For the night, we will stay in the troglodyte village of Kandovan.
● Tabriz Historic Bazaar
● Kandovan village
Today, we will go around Kandovan to see how ash and debris from Mount Sahand when the now-dormant volcano erupted sometime in the last 11,000 years have made the village. Then, we will go to Tabriz. Tabriz’s historic bazaar complex is one of the most important commercial centers on the Silk Road and there is a lot to be seen in this UNESCO-registered site. In the evening, we’ll be in a nomadic eco-camp Meshgin Shahr.
● Nomads around Mt. Sabalan
● Sheikh Safi in Ardabil
In the morning, we will go to the nomads of Meshgin Shahr, and also we’d pass Meshgin Shahr Suspended Bridge. Then, we will go to Ardabil where we are going to visit Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh; a spiritual retreat in the Sufi tradition, where we can find a rare ensemble of elements of medieval Islamic architecture. Today, we will have the chance to know more about medieval Islamic architecture & see collections of antique artifacts. For the night, we’ll be in Sarein.
● The Hot Water Springs of Sarein
● Talish Summer Pastures
The water that comes from Sabalan mountain, makes for many Volcanic swimming pools in Sarein. Many believe the sulfur particles of the springs are good for bone and joint pains. We will also try its local food ‘Ash-e-Doogh’ (yogurt soup). Talesh and its scenic areas in the Alborz mountain range, with intact natural habitats, are our next destination. According to archaeological studies, the Talishi peoples are one of the oldest inhabitants of the western littoral Caspian Sea areas and are amongst the native inhabitants of Iran. There a lot of historical monuments and natural sites to be seen in Talesh.
In the morning, we will be with the nomads of the area to experience how the shepherds of the area live, and then after lunch, we’ll move to our next destination. Among the Alborz mountain ranges, near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, there is the most scenic village of Iran: Masuleh. The age of this UNESCO-registered site goes back to eight hundred to a thousand years. The unique architecture of the village plus the natural beauty of the area & the lush green sceneries are the highlights of the area.
● Gilan Rural Heritage Museum
● Rudkhan Castle
Nothing more than Rasht; the picturesque capital city of Gilan, represents Gilan. Its picturesque town square & the two rivers that run through the city and out to the Caspian Sea are the highlights of the city, not to mention the scenic beauty & nature of the area. Rasht is also well-known as one of the best destinations when it comes to culinary experiences. Gilan rural heritage museum; the biggest eco-museum of the middle east is our next destination where we can get an accurate depiction of different cultures and vogues of traditional Guilanian people. In 9 different sections, 9 villages & their cultures and lifestyle are depicted and it would be a complete encyclopedia of the whole area & its unique culture. Rudkhan castle; the brick and stone medieval fortress that was built by the Gilaks to defend against the Arab invaders during the Muslim conquest of Persia, is our next destination.
● Bojaq National Park
● Lahijan Tea Farms
● Eshkevarat Village
From urban excitement to wandering in its nature, Gilan is a gem. Bojaq National Park makes a great introduction to the nature of the area. We’d also have a chance for bird-watching. Then, wander around tea farms in Lahijan offers a unique, near-complete overview of Iran’s green landscape. In a mountainous area in Rudsar, there’s a heavenly beautiful village of Eshkevarat which is one of the must-sees of the Gilan province. Its springs, rivers, caves, gardens of walnuts & hazelnuts are just some of its beauties. We will rest in the eco-camp and have a food tour to make an Iranian dish. Then, in the afternoon we will go to a homestay in the village of Eshkevarat. If it is in august we will harvest some hazelnuts.
● Cultural Landscape of Alamout
● Ovan lake
Today, on a gorgeous road, we’ll pass Alborz ridge and devour the beauty of the area. Then, we are going to the Alamut region in Roudbar of Alamout. First, we’ll have the chance to wander around in blueberry gardens. Then, we will go to a ruined mountain fortress to see the relics of the castle; Alamut Castle – Castle of the Assassins. This spectacular architecture is one of the headquarters of the Assassins in Iran. You’ll listen to the story of the Old Man of the Mountain & delve into the history. The Alpine lake in the Alamut region of the Alborz mountain range is where we will have a taste of the scenic beauty of its nature.
● Old Bazaar of Qazvin
● Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh
● Chehel Sotoun Palace
● Jameh Mosque of Qazvin
● Ali Qapu Portal
On the last day of our trip, we’ll go to the calligraphy capital of Iran: Qazvin province. There are some historical and religious monuments in the city: the historical mosques, bazaars, traditional houses, holy shrines, gates, tombs, caravansaries, and mansions. Finally, we’ll go to the airport.
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