Things to Do in Yazd – Activities & Attractions


The historic city of Yazd attests to the ongoing efforts of the hardworking people of desert over the course of its long history. In order to overcome the harsh nature of desert, locals have resorted to ingenious innovations resulting in the introduction of magnificent architectural and urban planning masterpieces to the world.

Among them mention can be made of qanats, badgirs, goudal-baqchehs, sabats, gozars, Abanbars and several other architectural phenomena.

The diligent residents of Yazd have extracted water from heart of the central desert of the Iranian plateau and mixing it with the cheapest material available namely soil, have artistically created the richest mud-brick architecture possible such as portals erected high into the sky, wind-catchers harnessing violent winds, turquoise-colored tiles shining in the kahgel background of the city, dome-like roofs, tall minarets, ayvans and cupolas showing off against mountainous and desert landscapes each manifesting the rich architectural identity of homes, mosques, madraseh, hammams and other historical urban structures.

Although Yazd is the cradle of art, its residents are most skilled in the art of life; living and struggling to live through interaction with the merciless desert environment. As a matter of fact, the art of these people is to transform restrictions into possibilities; the art of recognition, recognizing human and nature; the art of taming a brutal nature and turning it into an environment full of vitality and serenity appropriate for living and creating.

Such an art mingles with science and technology and produces the most precious architecture exceptional on the face of the earth out of mud. Moreover, Yazd is the reservoir of Persian culture in the heart of desert. High values of Persian culture have been honestly preserved in this land and have been transferred to future generations.

Special public and social relations, unique intangible heritage, colorful rituals and ceremonies at this part of the desert located in the central Iranian plateau are regarded as a cornerstone in the geographical culture of Iran. The Yazdi dialect and the original Persian literature have been truly saved in the memory of residents to be handed over to future generations. Many of the fine words and phrases of Persian literature have been precisely maintained in this ancient dialect.

Yazd is an icon of social peace of human beings. Residents have been receptive to various divine religions with a patience that is characteristic of desert dwellers. Peaceful coexistence of followers of Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Islam with the passage of time can serve as a good example for humankind.

The strategic location of Yazd as a major intersection during various episodes of its history beside the wonderful juxtaposition of nature, tangible and intangible heritage in addition to traditional architectural and urban planning techniques, specific neighborhood organizations as well as excellent social and human relations have together shaped the structure of the historical city of Yazd.

For these reasons, Yazd has always been considered as an attractive center for generating appropriate religious and cultural prototypes as well as for engaging in industrial, agricultural, commercial, artistic and architectural activities.

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. The elegant patterns of brick work and the priceless inscription of mosaic tiles bearing angular kufic all create a sense of beauty. The main prayer niche, the one which is located below the dome, is decorated with elegant mosaic tiles. On the two star-shaped inlaid tiles, the name of the builder and the time of construction of the prayer niche sparkle beautifully. The two towering minarets dating back to the Safavid era measure 52 meters in height and 6 meters in diameter.
  • Atashkadeh is the Zoroastrian fire temple. The fire on the inside has supposedly been burning since 470 AD. The fire temple is one of the most important centers of
    Zoroastrians and still an important pilgrimage destination for Zoroastrians.
  • 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. This Museum displays the tool, techniques used for the past 4000 years in Iran in creating underground waterways (called Qanats) and connecting them to the city and field locations for agricultural and other uses. Before the Romans built their aqueducts, Iranians had built an extensive system of underground qanats (aqueduct). A lot of these systems are still functioning today.
  • 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. It is a mosque located on a square of the same name. It also contains a caravanserai, a tekyeh, a bathhouse, a cold water well, and a confectionery. At night, the building is lit up after twilight hours after sun set with orange lighting in the arched alcoves which makes it a spectacle.
  • 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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