Iran: Persian Palaces & Gardens

Resort: Iran: Persian Palaces & Gardens
Operator: Cox and Kings
Destination: Iran
Price From: £4545.00

Overview

The fantastically rich and varied history
of Iran has left behind an unparalleled
cultural heritage. This tour reveals
the best of that legacy, including the
supreme Islamic architecture of Isfahan
and Shiraz, the ancient Achaemenian
capital of Pasargadae and the splendid
bas-reliefs of the Palace of Persepolis.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Tehran

Board the overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Tehran with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. (N)

Day 2: Tehran

Early morning arrival and transfer to the Espinas Hotel (or similar, including immediate occupancy) for 2 nights. After an introductory lecture and welcome lunch, visit some of Tehrans highlights, including the fabulous National Jewels Museum, housed in the vaults of the Central Bank of Iran, and the extensive collection of the Carpet Museum. (B, L)

Day 3: Tehran

Full-day visit to some of Tehrans major museums including the National Museum, displaying prehistoric, ancient and Islamic artefacts; the Golestan Palace, a former royal residence; and the Glass and Ceramics Museum, located in an elegant early 20th-century mansion. (B)

Day 4: Fly to Kerman

Morning flight to Kerman and spend the rest of the day visiting this desert trading city. Visits include the 14th-century Friday Mosque, the 17th-century Safavid-era Ganjali Khan complex and the Harandi museum, which contains artefacts from the important Bronze Age site at Jiroft, discovered by chance as recently as 2000. Stay 2 nights at the Pars Hotel (or similar). (B, D)

Day 5: Rayen Mahan

Full-day excursion to the village of Rayen to visit the citadel, a medieval mudbrick construction with all the architectural features of a desert citadel. On the return journey stop at Mahan to visit the blue-tiled Mausoleum of Shah Nematollah-e-Vali and the beautiful Shahzadeh garden. (B)

Day 6: Yazd

Drive to Yazd, en route visiting the castle of Saryazd, one of the largest defensive castles in Iran’s central desert. Stay at the Dad Hotel (or similar) for 2 nights. (B, D)

Day 7: Yazd

Full-day sightseeing in Yazd, the centre for Irans
Zoroastrian community. Visit an abandoned
Zoroastrian Tower of Silence; the active
Zoroastrian fire temple; the Friday Mosque,
with the highest portal and minarets in Iran;
and Dowlat-Abad, one of the many beautiful
old houses in Yazd, with an 18th-century feudal
hexagonal house, the highest wind tower in Iran
and an authentic Iranian garden. (B)

Day 8: Abarkuh Pasargadae Shiraz

Drive to Shiraz, en route visiting Abarkuh, a charming desert town, to see the old cyprus tree. Continue to Pasargadae, the site of the impressive tomb and remains of the palaces of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The mausoleum of Cyrus, the palaces and the remains of the ancient gardens are outstanding examples of the first phase of Achaemenid art and architecture. Arrive in Shiraz and stay 3 nights at the Homa Hotel (or similar). (B, D)

Day 9: Persepolis Naghsh-e-Rostam

Visit Naqsh-e-Rostam to see the KabeZardosht square tower and royal tombs, plus magnificent Sasanian rock reliefs. Continue to Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the Ancient World and the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings, with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Admire its bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers. (B)

Day 10: Shiraz

Full-day city tour of Shiraz to visit some of the celebrated gardens of this city of roses and nightingales, including the Narenjestan garden and the Eram garden; the tomb of one of Irans greatest lyric poets, Hafez; the pink-tiled 19thcentury Nasir-ol-Molk mosque; the exterior of the Arg-e-Karim Khan (18th-century citadel); and the shrine of either Shah Cheragh or Ali Ibn Hamzeh. (B)

Day 11: Izadkhast Isfahan

Drive to Isfahan, en route visiting the Unesco site of Izadkhast. This ruined castle fort includes a caravanserai and a Safavid-period bridge. Continue to Isfahan and stay 3 nights at the Abbasi Hotel (or similar). (B, D)

Day 12: Isfahan

Full-day tour of Isfahan, the 17th-century capital of the Safavids. Visit the Hasht Behesht, the Pavilion of Eight Paradises, also called the Palace of Nightingales. Drive to the Chehel Sotoun Palace, then continue to the Pigeon Tower and the famous covered bridges. Tour the Armenian quarter and visit the Isfahan Music Museum and possibly attend a recital (subject to confirmation). (B)

Day 13: Isfahan

Visit the magnificent Friday Mosque, considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture. Visit one of the worlds grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naqshe-Jahan, to see the Qeisarieh bazaar, Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, and two of the worlds greatest mosques the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam with magnificent architecture and tile work. (B)

Day 14: Natanz Kashan Tehran

Return to Tehran, en route visiting shrines at Natanz and Kashan to see the Fin gardens and the former merchant’s house of Taba-Tabai. Farewell dinner and overnight at Novotel Hotel (or similar) near the airport for early departure the following morning. (B, D)

Day 15: Fly to London

Transfer to the airport and fly to London with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. (B)

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