Silk Road Tour
The Iran Silk Road Tour is a time-travel through the Silk Road in Iran. The Silk Road Tour is a tour to step into the shoes of international merchants from ancient times to the modern period. The Iran Silk Road Tour includes visits to Islamic holy shrines, Persian caravanserais, Persian cuisine, Persian Sufism, Persian Literature, Alamut Assassins, Iran Churches, and the Iran Desert.
- Cultural Tours
- Duration: Days 15 / Nights 14
- City: Mashhad-Sabzevar-Semnan-Tehran-Qazvin-Zanjan-Kandevan-Tabriz
Arrive at Shahid Hasheminejad International Airport in Mashhad. Transfer to the hotel and rest. The early arrival includes a hotel booking for the night. Mashhad Overnight
After breakfast, visit Imam Reza’s Holy Shrine, the 8th Shiite Imam. Next, visit Goharshad Jameh Mosque, one of the most glamorous mosques in Iran, built in the early 15th century by the wife of Shah Rukh of the Timurid dynasty. Astan Quds Razavi Museums is the next visited place, filled with numerous valuable objects. After lunch, visit the Anthropology Museum of Mashhad to get to know the lifestyle of ethnic Khorasan people. Next, visit the tomb of Nader Shah (1688–1747), the last great King of Persia, to see his statue and to get to know his victory over his enemies and his effort to unify Persia once more after the fall of the Safavid Dynasty. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Mashhad
Drive north to Radkan village to visit Radkan Tower, a conical spired astronomical brick tower built by Khajeh Nasir Al-Tusi, one of the greatest Persian scholars of the Islamic Golden Age. Drive toward Tous, the birthplace of Abul-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi, the author of Shahnameh (The Kings Book), in which he narrates the history and mythology of Ancient Iran in epic verse. Visit the epic statue inside the Tomb of Ferdowsi to get to know Iran’s history and literature. Next to that, visit the tomb of Mehdi Akhavan Sales, the Iranian modern poet and a passionate follower of Persian history and Ferdowsi. Then visit the
Tous Museum to see the vessels, potteries, bows, arrows, etc. used in the 4th and 5th centuries in Khorasan. Close to the tombs, visit Haroniyeh Mansion, a huge monument which rumor has it was built by order of Harun al-Rashid, the great Caliph of Baghdad, for keeping prisoners. The Bread Museum of Mashhad is the next place where you can see and touch the process and art of making bread. Transfer to Shandiz to have a Persian dinner at a traditional restaurant. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Mashhad
After breakfast, you can check out and drive toward Sabzevar. En route to Sabzevar, stop at Neyshabur, the city of poetry. Visit the Tomb of Khayyam, a marble monument designed by the architect Hooshang Seyhoun, one of the great architects of modern Iran. Read Khayyam poems translated by Edward FitzGerald in 1859 to get to the philosophy of Carper Diem. Walk toward Attar Neyshaburi Tomb, a Persian poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer who had a huge influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. Next to that, visit the Tomb of Kamal-ol-molk, the greatest Persian painter in the 17th century, whose paintings will be seen later at Golestan Palace in Tehran. After lunch, drive toward Sabzevar to visit Jameh Mosque of Sabzevar and Musalla of Sabzevar, built during the rule of Sarbedaran, a group of Persian patriots who fought for Persian culture against Mongol invasion. Step into Faramarz Khan’s Caravansary to see the handicrafts. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Sabzevar
Drive toward Shahroud, stopping for a short time to visit Khosrogerd Minaret, a Seljuk structure functioning as a path-finding lighthouse for caravans in the middle of the desert on the Silk Road. We resume our journey and stop for tea at Miyandasht caravanserai, the Silk Road’s largest caravanserai. Spend some time visiting the nearby brick-mud castle and water reservoir. Continue our trip to Rezaabad village, a unique village situated between the mountains and desert. Walk on the golden sands and spend the night around the fire in the starry night. O/N in Eco-lodge in Rezaabad
After breakfast, drive toward Shahroud to visit the tomb of Abu al-Hassan Kharaqani, one of the master Sufis of Islam and the teacher of great Persian scholars such as Avicenna and Mahmud of Ghazni. Walk into the Persian Garden-like complex to delve into the world of Sufism. Next, visit Bayazid Bastami Tomb, a controversial Persian Sufi with Zoroastrian roots who converted to Islam and reached one of the highest levels of Sufism. Drive toward Semnan. First, delve into the history by getting into the oldest part of Seman, Tepe Hissar, featuring an uninterrupted occupational history from the 5th to the 2nd millennium BCE. Next, visit Wall Barrow, a large wall built to protect the city from invaders. Then, visit Damghan Tarikhaneh Mosque, the second oldest mosque in Iran, which used to be a fire temple before Islam. Visit Pire Alamdar’s dome, a unique architectural style with Kufic epigraphy. Drive toward Semnan and rest in the hotel. O/N in Semnan
After breakfast, head to the city center to visit Semnan Arg Gate, a gate built in the late 18th century by order of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar. The gate’s exterior is covered with seven-colored tiles depicting Rustam, the great Persian warrior of Shahnameh, fighting with the white dragon. Next, visit Pahneh Bath, a Persian bath, to get to know the philosophy and function of different sections of the Hammam. Continue your trip to Garmsar to visit the Salt Mines of Garmsar, the best of its kind in Iran. Pick up your camera to walk through the tunnels formed over a length of 1.5 kilometers to take great pictures. Continue your trip to the ancient city of Rhagae or Rey, a city mentioned in the Bible. Visit Rey Castle, dating back to the Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD). Next to that, visit Fath Ali Shah’s inscription carved on stone, one of the best of its kind in the 18th century. Toghrol Historical Tower is the next important place, built by Seljuq ruler Turul Beg in the 11th century, functioning as a sundial, travelers’ guide and echoing the sound. Last but not least, if there is enough time, visit the most important holy shrine in Tehran, the Shah Abdol-Azim shrine. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Tehran
This morning, after a short leisure walk at the National Garden, Tehran, the only remaining Tehran gate, venture into the history of Persia from Paleolithic Time to early settlement in the villages and from the Elamite Empire to the Sassanid Empire at the National Museum of Iran. After having a Persian meal for lunch, spend the afternoon exploring the labyrinthine alleys of the Tehran Grand Bazaar, the economic heart of Iran. Stop at Haj Ali Darvish Tea House, the smallest tea house in the world, to taste traditional saffron and mint tea. Then take a guided walk through the extraordinary Golestan Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 16th century). Hear the story of Tehran’s settlement from a small village to a metropolis while visiting the main stunning palaces merging Persian art with European architecture. Transfer to the hotel and rest. In the evening, we will go to Darband Mountain for dinner. O/N in Tehran
After breakfast, head to Uptown to visit the Sa’dabad Complex (Green Palace Museum & White Palace, and Master Farshchian Miniature Museum), home to the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs. The complex includes more than 180 hectares of natural forest, streets, galleries, mansions, palaces, and museums. The National Jewelry Treasury (open from Saturday to Tuesday) houses the priceless and most unique jewelry collection in the world. Then visit the Carpet Museum of Iran to see the best collection of Persian carpets from the 16th century to the present. Then visit Milad Tower, the sixth-tallest tower and the 24th-tallest freestanding structure in the world. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Tehran
Drive toward Alamut, a notorious spot for rebels and assassins. Trek to the famous castle of the Assassins, Alamut Castle, in the Alborz Mountains. Get to know the history of the great leader, Hassan-e Sabbh, and his ideology behind the assassinations, and enjoy the beautiful trekking path from Qazvin to Mazandaran. Drive back to Qazvin to taste an ethnic dish of Gheymeh Nesar. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Qazvin
In the morning, head to Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Tahmasp I Safavid for his residence as the second capital of Persia in the Safavid Era. The palace is decorated with colorful stain glasses and stucco. Enjoy a leisurely walk in the Safavieh Garden & Historical Complex. Pass Ali Qapu to enter the first street of Iran, Sepah Street. Continue walking to the Tomb of the Four Prophets, a burial of Jewish prophets: Sahuli, Salam, Alqia, and Saloum. They are said to be the prophets who brought the news of the birth of Christ from Jerusalem to the East. Head to visit Sardar Bozorg Cistern, the greatest water reservoir in the east of Iran. Then take a walk in Aminiha Hosseiniyeh, a Persian house-style ornamented with colorful glasses, subtle woodwork, and stunning stucco design. After lunch, drive toward Zanjan. Visit the only Chinese temple in Iran, built in the early 14th century. Dashkasan Dragon Temple is decorated with two raised dragons and some Islamic Mihrabs on two sides of it. Our next stop is the Dome of Soltaniyeh (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the third largest dome in the world after the domes of Florence Cathedral and Hagia Sophia. Drive toward Zanjan to visit the Rakhtshoykhaneh Museum. The museum shows the lifestyle of locals washing their clothes in the river and the story behind it. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Zanjan
Drive toward Takab. Spend the day discovering the symbolic and spiritual significance of fire and water in the archaeological ensemble of Takht-e Soleyman, aka Azar Goshnasp Fire Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Built during the Sassanid Empire, the fire temple is an exclusive home for “Kings’ Warriors” to bow before the holy fire and make sacrifice to the Persian goddess of water and rain, Anahita. Before entering into this main sanctuary, which is the foremost religious architecture in Zoroastrianism, take a walk around the fortified oval lake to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the valley. Next, climb up the zig-zag pathway toward the conical peak known by locals as Zendan-e Soleyman (Solomon’s Prison), where sacrifices were made by religious leaders of Mannaeans, dating back to the 1st millennium B.C. Stay in a local eco-lodge in Takab. Drive toward Kandovan village, the exotic conical houses carved into the mountain. O/N in Kandovan.
Drive toward Tabriz, the first capital of the Safavid Dynasty. Take a light walking tour of the Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (UNESCO World Heritage Site), where a series of interconnected, covered, brick structures and buildings are joined to each other to form the largest covered traditional bazaar in the world. Next, visit the Blue Mosque, known as the Turquoise of Islam for its turquoise-colored exterior and interior. Built by the order of Jahan Shah, the ruler of Kara Koyunlu in the 15th century, the mosque displays Kufic and Thulth scripts, exquisite arabesque patterns, and admirable choramatic facade compositions. Our next visiting place is the Constitution House of Tabriz, where prominent figures such as Sattar Khan fought for the Persian Constitutional Revolution during the Qajar Dynasty. The house displays the sculptures of famous Iranian constitution revolutionaries and their personal belongings, such as weapons, underground published newspapers, and letters. Transfer to the hotel and rest. O/N in Tabriz.
Set off by a private car for a Christian-themed full-day excursion. Visit St. Thaddeus Monastery (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) dating back to the 7th century. A monument bears testimony to very important interchanges with the other regional cultures, in particular the Byzantine, Orthodox, and Persian. Then explore Jolfa and pay a visit to Saint Stepanos Monastery (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its long story and history. Back to Tabriz and rest in a hotel. O/N in Tabriz.
Transfer to the airport. The end of the tour