YAZD TRAVEL GUIDE

EXPERT TIPS, AND INSPIRATION TO HELP YOU DISCOVER YAZD

YAZD TRAVEL GUIDE

Things to Do in Yazd – Activities & Attractions

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.

Get Around Yazd

There are at least five 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.

What to See in Yazd

  • Masjid-e Jameh Yazd (Yazd 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.
  • 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.
  • Yazd Water Museum lots of interesting information about the Qanat water distribution system.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Yazd Travel Guide

What to Do in Yazd

Take a day trip to Kharanaq (must visit place – one of the last remaining mud cities of Iran), Chak Chak (a plgrimage center for Zoroastrians, rather underwhelming) and Narin Castle, Meybod (probably the oldest bulding in Iran, dating back to atleast 2000 BC). Usually visited together, these places take around 7 or 8 hours including travel. The Tourist Information office near Alexander's Prison offers this tour for IRR 1,500,000 per head. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi for the same (cheaper if you are 4 people or more).

Take an evening trip to the lake (Jafar's Pond) in the nearby desert (highly recommended). There you can walk in the desert to the lake, go dune bashing, ride quad bikes and/or camel. All inclusive, it is about IRR 1,450,000. The Tourist Information office near Alexander's Prison offers this tour, as does a small office located between the Silk Road Gallery and Cafe Irani.

Walk around in the historic neighborhoods and relax in the parks.

Hike up in the beautiful mountains of Yazd and enjoy a spectacular view of the city.

Varzesh-e Pahlavani, (near Amir Chaqmaq Square). 18:30. Watch the fascinating performance of Persian ancient “heroic sport” which is a combination of martial arts, strength training and aerobic to the rhythm of traditional Persian singing and drumming. The sports centre (which alone is a fascinating building) is located in one of the side streets near Amir Chaqmaq Square. Ask around and everybody will show you the direction. It's a popular show among tourists and the rooms fills up with them so come earlier to secure a place. If you're into this kind of performances / sport, come even earlier (at 5pm) to watch the warm-up without any other tourists present 40000.

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