YAZD TRAVEL GUIDE

Understand

Yazd is a city in central Iran and the capital of the Yazd province. It is an ancient city dating back to the Sassanian Period (224-651 AD). Yazd is located midway between Isfahan and Kerman, 689 km (427 miles) southeast of Tehran. Yazd is well connected to the rest of the country by planes, trains and buses.

Yazd, located between the Dasht-e Kavir and the Dasht-e Lut deserts, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is known for the wind towers, or badgirs, built on its houses and for the beautiful weavings created by its craftspeople.

Yazd is also the original home of the Zoroastrian religion. Zoroastrians believe in an all-powerful god called Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda is represented by fire, which Zoroastrians believe he created. A holy fire enclosed in the Zoroastrian temple in Yazd is believed to have burned continuously since 470 B.C. It is tended by temple priests and protected from the public by glass.

The city of Yazd is unique among Iranian desert cities which although much changed by reconstruction during the 1340s—1960s, but still presents the features of a traditional Iranian city in the Islamic period. In the 1960s, there were still some indications of traditional crafts having survived throughout the ages, commerce, and remarkable skill of craftsmen and the hierarchy of guild organizations.

Investigations show that up to one century ago there were six Zoroastrian quarters in the city of Yazd. The city was famous for having the largest Zoroastrian population. Today these quarters Still survive. Zoroastrian occupations were mainly farming, and they owned cultivated fields. The remains of these areas still exist and constitute the majority of wastelands within their quarters. Altogether, except economic relations, the Zoroastrian community was a closed community, as is evident in the physical structure Of the city.

Amir_Chakhmaq_Mosque_Yazd

Get around

There are at least two flights daily to Yazd from Tehran and once a week to Baghdad and Najaf in Iraq. Flying time from Tehran is only an hour. There are daily overnight buses and train connections from the Iranian capital and most major population centres to Yazd. Within the town, walking is possible in the historic centre. To travel to and from the airport (10km away from the city), bus terminal and railway station, as well as for excursions to the hinterland, taxis are available. It is not recommended, in particular for single female travellers, to walk unaccompanied in the old town quarter after dark.

Most places in the old town are within easy walking distance from each other.

See

  • Masjid-e Jameh (Friday Mosque), dating back to the fourteenth century, is well worth a visit. It is an example of finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its minarets are the highest in the country. Admire it at night when it is lit up.
  • Atashkadeh is the Zoroastrian fire temple. The fire on the inside has supposedly been burning since 470 AD. Entrance is 80.000 rials , visiting hours 8.00-11.45 and 16.00-19.00.
  • Yazd Tower of silence (Zoroastrian's Dakhmeh) – the name tower is misleading as they consist of huge circular walls on top of two hills, within those the dead were left to be picked clean by the vultures. This is done in accordance with Zoroastrian belief. However, the towers are not in use anymore and open to the public. A quiet, serene place. The modern Zoroastrian cemetery is just there as well. Entrance for those who can't pass as Iranian: 80.000 rial. To get there using public transport, you can take the bus going south on Imam Khomeini from the bus stop across the street of Amir Chakhmaq Complex. Get down on the last stop, end of the line at an interchange terminal, and then from there ask people for another bus going to “Dakhme” (pronounced like German “Dach”), might need to wait a bit and be sure that the people will tell the bus driver to drop you on the correct bus stop, bus tickets should be 5.000 rial each [Feb 2016]. Once you are off the bus, it's a corner of a 4-way intersection and you go right, you will see the towers, its a 10-minute walk [Sep 2012]. One option is bus line 436 (Farsi numerals only); you should get off at the intersection just south of Yazd university, then walk west, towards the mountains.
  • Yazd Water Museum lots of interesting information about the Canat water distribution system. Entrance fee 150.000 rial [Jan 2017]. Visiting time 8.00-19.30.
  • Amir Chakhmakh complex, a breathtaking construction and a must-see. Visitors can climb to the top. Not possible most of the time.
  • Amir Chakmakh mosque, not to be confused with the complex of the same name, but nearby and easily visited when visiting the more famous complex.
  • water reservoir with its four badgirs (wind towers)
  • Khan-e-Lari, a historical house
  • Alexanders prison, which was neither built by Alexander the Great nor a prison, but a 15th-century domed school which is quite an interesting sight with a cafe in the ‘prison room'. Often guides tell you the deep well in the middle of its courtyard was built by Alexander the Great and was used as a dungeon, but this seems doubtful. Entrance fee 150.000 rials. Not worth the money.
  • Tomb of the 12 imams which dates back to the early 11th century, has inscriptions inside bear the names of the twelve Shiite Imams, though none are actually buried here. It is now badly deteriorated.
  • Madrasse-e-Kamalieh
  • Bogeh-ye Seyed Rokamdin mosque
  • Dowlat Abad Gardens with a building with a beautiful large wind catcher (badgir), built in the 1960s. There is a fruit tree garden best visited in early summer. Has oranges, grapes, pomegranates and wheat. According to some, the wind catcher is the tallest in the world (33m). Entrance fee [as of Jan. 2016]: Iranians: 30,000 rial, foreigners (Kharejis): 150,000 rial.

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