Iran: Holidays, Events, and National Customs
|February 11||Anniversary of the revolution|
|13th February||Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)|
|March, 20||Oil Nationalization Day|
|March 21-25||Iranian New Year|
|the 14th of March||Ashoura|
|April 1||Anniversary of the founding of the republic|
|2nd of April||Public Confession Day|
|May 15||Mouloud (Prophet’s Birthday)|
|June 4||Imam Khomeini’s death anniversary|
|June 5||Anniversary of the rebellion against the Shah|
|June||Anniversary of the Prophet’s dea|
|September 24||Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet)|
|October 12||Birthday of Imam Mahdi|
|November 25-27||Beginning of Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)|
Source: Countryaah – Iran Holidays
Since the dates given above are all calculated according to the lunar calendar, they shift and are on different days from year to year according to our calculation.
The annual Fajr festival in late January/early February is held to commemorate the Islamic Revolution.
The laws of the Koran govern daily life.
Drinking alcohol is
In Iran, only people of the same sex shake hands in greeting. Visitors should address hosts by last name or title. The Iranians are very hospitable. Invitations to tea are common and guests are expected not to decline. In accordance with Islamic customs, clothing should be restrained, this is particularly important for women: headscarves, long skirts or wide trousers and a non-fitted coat belong in the luggage. Sandals or clothing with a neckline should not be worn. Long-sleeved outerwear should be worn in religious places (mosques etc.). Formal attire is appropriate in good restaurants and on special occasions. During Ramadan, smoking, eating and drinking in public are prohibited during the day; in larger hotels, guests are also catered for during Ramadan during the day. Contact between unmarried people is forbidden, and adultery or sexual contact with a local woman can be punishable by the death penalty. Photographing military or public facilities is strictly prohibited. These are not always easy to spot; Particular caution and restraint is also advisable when photographing people.
10-15% is charged in the larger hotels. Change is usually left in restaurants. Tips are not expected in tea houses and small hotels.
The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. For example, cultural travelers see the climate very differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Therefore, our travel time recommendations are divided into the following two categories:
people who tend to be sun-hungry For people who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures do not cause problems, the following seasons are particularly suitable for a stay in the country: In the coastal region in the Persian Gulf it gets very hot between May and September. The plateau is much cooler.
For people who prefer a temperate climate
People who prefer a temperate climate and lower temperatures should better use the following season (s) for a stay in Iran: March/April and October/November, although it is also in summer does not get too hot in the higher regions of Iran. On the other hand, one should avoid the coastal and desert regions.
The following table shows a range of climate data for the country. It should be noted, however, that the climatic conditions in different regions of the country can differ considerably from one another and thus also from the values shown. In addition, such monthly temperature averages say little about the possible current minimum or maximum temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 30 °C to reach maximum values of 40 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.
|Month||Average number of rainy days||Mean maximum temperatures in (°C)||Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)|
|January||03-05||05-07||-03 to -04|
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Presents the way that IR stands for the nation of Iran as a two-letter acronym.
Cities and cultural sites
The Iranian city of Isfahan is thethird largest city in the Islamic Republic of Iranafter Tehran and Mashhad. The capital of the province of the same name is probably the most popular place in the country with tourists. The first sight alone will remain unforgettable when you look at this turquoise-colored urban sea of houses in the middle of the desert and trace back the history that identifies Isfahan as the former seat of the most important ruling dynasties. You can find
detailed information about Isfahan here >>> at Goruma.
Kaschan is located in the Isfahan province on the northern edge of the Kuhrud Mountains on the edge of the central Iranian desert – around 190 km south of Tehran. The city has a significant textile industry, for example most of Iran’s carpet looms are located here. Kashan has about 276,000 residents. The city gave the Kaschan carpets their name. Furthermore, Kashan is one of the centers of rose water production in Iran.
This former trading post on the Silk Road is one of the holy cities of Islam. It is also the second largest city in the country (after Tehran) and a place of numerous fantastic sights.
You can find detailed information about Masachhad here >>> at Goruma.
Persepolis (also Parsa) – the old Persian residence city is also called Tacht-e Jamschid, throne of Jamschid, and thus honors a previous ruler of this name. It once functioned as one of the proud capitals of the ancient Persian Empire. This “city of the Persians” was founded in 520 BC by the famous ruler Dareios I (522-485), who created an urban center for an empire that stretched under him from Egypt to Asia Minor and the Indus.
Qom is one of the holy cities of the Shia. The city is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Iran not only because of its many tombs of Persian kings, but especially because of the graves of Shiite saints. Probably the greatest attraction of the city is the burial mosque, which was built around 1600 and contains the shrine of Fāteme-ye Ma’sūme, the sister of the 8th Imam ‘Alī ar-Ridā. You can find
detailed information about Qom here >>> at Goruma.
Shiraz, the capital of the Fars Province, is one of the five largest cities in Iran with around 1.3 million residents. It spreads about 700 km south of Tehran and about 380 km south of Isfahan and is located in the middle of the southern Zagros Mountains.
The city is known for its garden culture and is therefore also known as the “Garden of Iran”. You can find
detailed information about Shiras here >>> at Goruma.
The present 70,000 resident city Shush (or Susa) was once an important Elamite city, which was founded in the 3rd millennium BC. Was founded. Among the most outstanding sights of Susa are the tomb of the prophet Daniel, who is venerated by Jews and Christians as well as Muslims.
If you want to travel to Susa, we recommend the Hotel Apadana (US $ 20 per night, including a modest breakfast). All major sights of the city are close to the hotel.
Today’s Tehran, the largest industrial and commercial center of Iran, is a pulsating city at the foot of the Elburs Mountains, which rise northeast of Tehran and has the highest mountain in the Near and Middle East in its vicinity, the Demawend (5,610 m). An incredible network of highways brings the city close to typical Asian metropolises. Numerous museums, art centers, palace complexes and cultural centers give their additional cultural life. All kinds of ethnic groups live here. There are Armenians, Kurds and Jews, among others, and gave and give the city a partially multi-religious charm, which is architecturally reflected in various mosques, churches and even synagogues. Tehran was also called the “City of 72 Nations”.
You can find detailed information about Tehran here >>> at Goruma.
Yazd, the capital of the province of the same name, is one of the oldest Iranian cities. The oasis city, about 250 km east of Isfahan, was built mostly from adobe bricks and was once the center of Zoroastrianism. You can find
detailed information about Yazd here >>> at Goruma.
The golden triangle stands for the region bordered by the cities of Hamadan, Kermanshah (Bakhtaran) and Khorrambad. This part of the country has a rich history, so the remains of 6,000 year old settlements can be visited.
Tagh-e Bostan attracts with its reliefs from the Sassanid period, in Hamadan there is an impressive stone lion from the time of Alexander the Great
In Kerman there is a very old bazaar, old baths and the ruins of a citadel
Special buildings and gardens
Amir Chakhmakh Complex in Yazd
Even if this imposing building is only known as the entrance gate of a bazaar, the Amir Chakhmakh complex is one of the most wonderful and important structures in Yazd. It was named after Amir Jalal al-Din Chakhmakh, a governor who ruled the city’s affairs in the 15th century Yazd. The breathtaking construction is used as a kind of grandstand for funeral spectacles reminiscent of the Ashura that took place on the market square in front of the complex. The complex, which is located near the mosque of the same name, could previously be climbed. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible.
Bagh-e Dolat Abad in Yazd
The Bagh-e Dolat Abad is a beautiful garden that once belonged to the residence of the Persian ruler Karim Khan Zand. The garden was laid out in 1750 and consists of a small pavilion, the interior of which is particularly worth seeing because of the latticework and glass paintings. The highest badgir in Iran also belongs to the pavilion. It reaches a full 33 meters into the sky and dates from the 1960s.
Palace / Peacock Throne in Tehran This palace building is the former government palace of the Qajars. It was built at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. The palace is home to a museum that displays jewelry, weapons and ceramics. The most famous exhibit is certainly the Takht-e Tawous, the so-called “Peacock Throne”, a throne chair decorated with gold leaf and over 26,500 precious stones. The founder of the Afsharid dynasty, Nadir Shah, is said to have captured it in India in 1739 and brought it to Tehran. The coronations of the respective Shahs were made on this throne chair.
Shahyad Tower (Azadi Tower) in Tehran
This 45 meter high tower stands in Azadi Square, from which the Iranian revolution began in 1978. In 1971 the tower was completed in memory of the 2,500th birthday of the Persian Empire. Mohandes Hossein Amanat distinguished himself for the design of the tower. The Azadi Tower is now a landmark in Tehran. It can be accessed with a lift that takes you to a viewing platform from which you can enjoy a wonderful view over Tehran.
Tomb of Imam Khomeini in Tehran
The mausoleum of the great Shiite cleric, political and spiritual leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran (1978-1979) is located in southern Tehran. It has four towers, each 91 meters high. The height reflects the age of Khomeini at his death.
33-Arch Bridge in Isfahan
This bridge, which was built under Shah Abbas the Great, has 33 arches. It connects Isfahan with the Armenian district of Jolfa.
At 295 meters, it is by far the longest bridge in Isfahan.
Citadel of Shiras
The imposing and somehow likeable citadel of Karim Khan spreads out in the center of Shiras on Schohada Square and was built in the 18th century. It extends over an area of 4,000 square meters and consists of four high walls, which are interrupted by four corner towers, each 14 meters high. The entrance gate shows tiles on which mythical stories were depicted during the Qajar era. While the citadel of Karim Khan initially served as a government and residential palace, it was later used as a prison and mausoleum. Today’s visitors will find it a museum run by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization.
Korantor in Shiras
The historical Koran gate stands at the northeast entrance of Shiras. It rises on the road to Isfahan and was created in the 10th century under ‘Adud ad-Dawla. Over the course of its centuries it was destroyed, rebuilt and partially supplemented several times – for example with a small room in which two handwritten Korans by Sultan Ibrahim Bin Shahrukh Gurekani were kept, but they can now be seen in the Pars Museum. The current gate has replaced the old one and is a child of the 20th century.
It forms a kind of entrance to the city park, where the Shirazi and visitors relax and have a picnic.
Kaiserbrücke in Shuster
The Kaiserbrücke in Shuster (Polband-e Quaysar) was built by the captured Romans and with a length of around 500 m is one of the longest bridges in Iran.
Imam Square in Isfahan
This over 500 meter long square with an area of 90,000 m² is the most famous square in the city and one of the greatest sights in the Middle East. It is also one of the largest places on earth. The two magnificent mosques Masjede Emam and Sheikh Lotfollah are located here. In addition, the Ali Qapu stands here on the western side. At the northern end is the Great Bazaar, the Bazaar Qaisarieh. Imam Square was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.
Bāgh-e Eram (Eram Garden) in Shiraz
The Eram Gardens are nothing less than the most famous gardens in Shiraz. They are a botanical garden, the history of which goes back to the Seljuks, that is, to the 12th century. The main attraction of the garden is the beautiful Qavam house, magnificent and from the 19th century. It spreads behind an idyllic pool and once belonged to the Qavam merchant family, who soon gained great influence in politics. The paintings on the lower ceiling of the house were inspired by the Victorian era. The mirrored portal overlooks the Eram Gardens, which are a wonderful oasis with date palms, flowers and fountains. Unfortunately, the Qavam House is not open to the public.
The Zoroastrianism (also known as Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism) had been the dominant religion in Persia before the Arabs brought Islam to the country.
This religion originated in what is now Iran and goes back to the prophet Zoroaster (Zartosht, Zaradesht or Zarathustra), who lived around the year 550 BC. Was born in Mazar El-sharif (today Afghanistan).
His teaching centered around the idea of a god who was omnipotent and invisible and who is represented as an eternal flame in Zoroastrian temples. Unfortunately, very little of what Zoroaster wrote has survived the centuries.
What has been preserved, however, is the collection of songs (Gahthas) in the Avesta or Zendavesta (the sacred book of the Zoroastrians), which probably originate from Zoroaster himself or from his disciples.
The basic idea is dualism, i.e. the eternal battle between good and bad, between good thoughts (Vohu Mano) and bad ones (Ahem Nano). These are responsible for day and night, i.e. life and death. Both opposites are contained in the highest being, the Ahura Mazda, as well as in all living things.
The Zoroastrians believe in the purity of the elements, so they refuse to bury or burn their dead because that pollutes either the earth or the air. Instead, the dead were placed on lonely so-called ” towers of silence ” (Dakhmahs), where their bones served as food for the vultures. Nowadays, however, they bury their dead in graves, enclosing them in concrete to avoid poisoning the earth.
The most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage site in modern-day Iran is Chak Chak (also Pir-e Sabz), a mountain village about 70 kilometers from Yazd, which attracts thousands of pilgrims between June 14 and 18 for the annual festival. To reach Chak Chak, for reasons of cost and time, it is best to join a guided tour in Yazd and visit Kharanaq and Assr Abad in addition to Chak Chak.
Such a day tour currently costs between US $ 13 and US $ 15 per day, depending on the number of travelers. The best thing to do is to ask about this tour at the Silk Road Hotel in Yazd, which is highly recommended.
Mosques and mausoleums
Goharschad Mosque in Mashhad
The oldest mosque in Mashhad by far is an architectural child of the 15th century. It covers an area of around 6,050 square meters, has 28 entrances, two minarets and eight prayer niches. The building bears the name of Goharshad, the daughter of Amir Ghiyase al-Din Tarchan. It was also she who once donated the mosque. The building, which has been rebuilt several times in the course of its history, rises in the southern part of the mausoleum of Imam Reza and is completely enclosed by it.
Hazrat-e Masumeh (Holy Shrine of Fatima) in Qom
The imposing shrine complex for Fatima al Masumeh near the lively Astane Square is the religious heart and spiritual center of Qom. If Fatima herself is also rather insignificant, her religious worship is owed to the fact that Fatima, who died in 817, was the sister of the eighth Imam (Imam Reza) and also the daughter of the seventh Imam (Musaye Kazem). Fatima al-Masumeh, the “sinless one”, wanted to be brought to Qom at that time to die.
Imam Hassan Mosque in Qom
The imposing Hassan Mosque is one of the oldest Shiite churches and the most wonderful buildings in Qom. It rises on Astane Avenue and dates back to the 3rd century Islamic calendar. But there is no longer any sign of the original structure of the house of God.
Tomb of Saadi in Shiraz
Saadi was a celebrated poet who is inextricably linked with the name of Shiraz. We are talking about Saadi, whose mausoleum has become a kind of pilgrimage site. The tomb was restored by Karim Khan Zand in 1808 and again in the early 1950s. The portal is supported by large marble columns and is very imposing.
Hafezieh – Mausoleum for Hafez in Shiraz
The mausoleum for the poet Hafiz (1324-1391) honors Iran’s most popular and famous poets. He was born in Shiraz and lived there all his life. The poet was buried in a garden known as Hafezieh, located in northeastern Shiraz. Because of its popularity, his tomb, renovated in the early 1950s, attracts all people of Iran who visit his tomb to show their respect. You reach the tomb via stairs and then find an idyllic pavilion that resembles a dervish hat.
Imam Reza Complex (Haram) in Mashhad The
main and often only reason why visitors grace the city is this huge building complex (Haram), which covers an incredible area of almost 600,000 square meters and is constantly growing. The largest sanctuary in the complex is the mausoleum of Imam Reza, the 8th Imam of the Twelve Shiites. He is the only imam who has been buried on Iranian soil. According to Shiite sources, Reza was allegedly poisoned in 818 at the behest of the caliph al-Maʾmūn. After Imam Reza was buried next to the grave of Hārūn ar-Raschīd, the previously insignificant city of Sanābād was given the name Maschhad ar-Rida, which means “place of the martyr”. Towards the end of the 9th century, the grave was given a dome and numerous buildings and bazaars were built around it.
Jamkaran Mosque near Qom
Jamkaran is a village in the Qanavat district and about six kilometers away from Qom. There is the Jamkaran Mosque, an important pilgrimage site for Shiite Muslims. Local belief wants the messianic 12th Imam (Imam Mahdi) to appear in the mosque one day and say prayers. Especially on Tuesdays, large groups of believers gather to pray in the Jamkaran Mosque and to ask the 12th Imam for help.
Masjed-e Jameh (Friday Mosque) in Yazd
The imposing assembly mosque of Yazd dates back to the 14th century and is a fine example of Persian mosaic and architecture. The mosque has two minarets, which are the tallest in Iran. The facade of the portal is also striking: it is decorated over and over with primarily blue tiles. In the mosque itself there is a wonderful cream, a courtyard with arcades. In addition, the Masjed-e Jameh has an altar chamber decorated with faience mosaics. The mosque is so famous in Iran that it can even be seen on the face of the Iranian 200 rial banknote.
Mosque in Isfahan The mosque stands at the southern end of Imam Square and was built during the Safavid period. The mosque is an excellent example of Islamic architecture in Iran. Together with Imam Square, it is on UNESCO’s world cultural list. Construction began in 1611 and was not completed until 27 years later. The mosque’s portal measures 27 meters high and is crowned by two minarets, each 42 meters high. Behind the gate is the main dome (52 m high) of the prayer hall.
Shaikh Lotfullah Mosque in Isfahan
This small mosque is a masterpiece of Iranian Safavid architecture. It is located at the east end of Imam Square. It was built in 1615 on the orders of Shah Abbas I, who dedicated it to his stepfather Sheikh Lotfollah. Muhammad Reza ibn Ustad Hosein Banna Isfahani stood out as an architect. He finished the mosque in 1618. The tiles of the cathedral change their color from cream to pink, depending on the lighting conditions. The mosque, unusually, has no inner courtyard and no minaret. It was once called the “Women’s Mosque” because there was a tunnel that led from the mosque to the Ali Qapu Palace and allowed women of the ancient dynasties to enter the mosques without being seen by the public.
Friday Mosque (Masjid-e Jomeh) in Isfahan
This mosque at the northeast end of a bazaar was built around the year 700. The house of God is a wonderful example of the connection between Islamic and Persian architecture. The main prayer room of the mosque dates from the Abbasid or Bujid era and is supported by 306 columns.
Shah-e Cheragh in Shiraz
Shah-e Cheragh – “King of Light”: This impressive burial place contains the remains of the brothers of Imam Reza – Amir Ahmad and Mir Muhammad. The mausoleum is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for the Shiites in Iran and is located in the vicinity of the New Mosque. The first tomb goes back to the Salghurid Atabeg Saʿd I, who ruled between 1198 and 1226. Over the centuries, several renovations and alterations followed. Today, the interior of the mausoleum is characterized by magnificent mirror work, while finely crafted tiles dominate the dome above the shrine. The Shāh-e Cherāgh Mosque, a splendid example of Iranian architecture, stands proud and blue in front of the shrine.
It is not allowed for non-Muslims to “enter” the shrine. It is possible, however, if you leave a donation at the entrance portal and promise not to take any photos.
Vakil Mosque (Masjed-e Vakil) in Shiraz
To the west of the Vakil Bazaar and next to its entrance rises proudly the mosque of the same name, built between 1751 and 1773 during the Zand dynasty. Vakil, which means “ruler”, refers to Karim Khan, the founder of the Zand dynasty. The Vakil Mosque extends over about 8,700 square meters and is supported by 48 monolithic columns.
Bait-ol Lahm Church
This imposing church stands at the point where the true birthplace of Jesus Christ is believed to be in Iran. That explains the name, because “bait lahm” is Arabic for “house of meat”.
Vank Cathedral in Isfahan
The Vank Cathedral in Isfahan is the historical center of the Armenian Church. The church was built from 1606 to 1655. The cathedral combines Christian architecture with Persian-Islamic ornamentation and their design forms.
Main Museum of Masschhad
In addition to medals from pious athletes and pretty shrine décor, extremely interesting postage stamps, a visual art gallery and many, many paintings are on display. The modern depiction of an afternoon during the Ashura is particularly beautiful – a truly beguiling sorrowful work.
Pars Museum in Shiraz The
Pars Museum is the city museum of Shiraz, a building of the Zand ruler Karim Khan. The imposing octagonal house reveals itself as a kind of garden pavilion in the Nazar garden and is decorated with floral motifs and hunting scenes. The house was converted into a museum in 1852 and lovingly renovated in 1901. Today you can see valuable exhibits that honor the Fars region and its dynasties
Museum in Tehran The museum houses valuable collections from the history of Iran and Persia. There is a “pre-Islamic exhibition” and an “Islamic exhibition”
Museum in Tehran The Crown Jewel Museum was housed in the National Bank. You can see pieces of jewelry and wonderful gemstones. The best known are certainly the richly decorated “sun throne”, the Darja-ye Nur diamond (= “sea of light”) with its 182 carats and the jeweled globe, which is set with more than 51,000 precious stones.
Water Museum (Yazd Water Museum)
In 2000, the Yazd Water Museum opened. It shows containers for holding drinking water as well as historical technology related to water. The information on the Canat system for water distribution is particularly interesting
Bazaar This bazaar is almost ten kilometers long and has more than 10,000 shops, making it the largest covered bazaar in the world. In the sometimes very small shops, everything your heart desires is sold – from precious carpets to food and spices to silver and copper work. Sometimes you can watch the craftsmen at work. The bazaar is open every day except Fridays and religious holidays. The bazaaris played a major role in the overthrow of the Shah and still had a major influence on the politics of Tehran and Iran.
The famous Qom Bazaar consists of two areas, an old and a new one. While the old part of the bazaar clings to Taleqani Avenue in the east and stretches to the north, the new part shows itself in an imposing expansion to the north. The oldest segments of the bazaar go back to the time before the Safavids; the construction of the new part and the street network with all its arcades are testimonies of the Safavid and Qajar rule. The bazaar was and is a lively place for the colorful and everyday Iranian hustle and bustle and an excellent place for visitors to join the people and to get very close to Iranians with casual chat and the obligatory action.
Vakil-Bazaar (Bāsār-e Vakīl) in Shiraz
The largest bazaar in Shiraz spreads out in the historic center and is said to have been established as early as the 10th century. The building is covered by several domes and vaults and supported by 74 well-proportioned arches. The shopping masterpiece of Persian architecture extends over a full 800 meters, and the Vakil Mosque rises nearby. In addition to the actual shopping (especially of spices, antiques and copper handicrafts), the bazaar is full of caravanserais, courtyards and bathhouses. If you get lost, follow the high-arched intersection that separates the main bazaar from the east and west wings.
Ali Sadr Caves
The Ali Sadr Caves (blue caves) are located in western Iran, approx. 100 km north of Hamadan. They were only found by chance by a shepherd 40 years ago. There are several lakes in the caves.
The island of Qeshm attracts with its beautiful coral reefs, mangrove forests, beaches and the Kharbas caves, which were formerly used for religious rites.
This largest lake on earth is located in Western Asia and about 70 km north of
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Old town of Yazd
The desert city of Yazd is located at an altitude of around 1,210 m in the highlands of Iran – around 270 km southeast of Isfahan, near the Silk and Spice Road.
Today’s city with a little less than 490,000 residents is one of the oldest cities in Iran and the capital of the province of the same name.It
is a testimony to the sensible use of limited resources in an inhospitable environment, with the city’s water supply via the so-called qanat irrigation system took place.
A qanat is a traditional form of fresh water pumping in arid or desert areas in order to obtain drinking and industrial water from higher regions. It consists of a mother well, several vertical access shafts and the Qanat Canal, a tunnel that leads with a slight gradient from the mother well over the access shafts to the Qanat outlet.
The main and most widely used building material in the city was clay, with wind towers, courtyards, and thick mud walls creating a comfortable microclimate. In contrast to many cities that have since been destroyed and were built using traditional clay construction, Yazd has escaped the modernization trend and still exists in its traditional form today – including the Qanat system.
You can also find traditionally built houses, bazaars, hammams (public baths), cisterns, mosques, synagogues, Zoroastrian temples and the historic garden of Dolatabad.
The old town of Yazd was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List at the UNESCO meeting that took place in Krakow, Poland, from July 2nd to 12th, 2017.
The deserts of Iran can be found in the Iranian highlands. Due to the turning circle, you are under the influence of Passatz circulation.
The local great drought (aridity) is also intensified by the surrounding mountains, on which the precipitation is already falling, so that only little precipitation reaches the desert areas.
The Dascht-e Lut desert (dascht = plain, desert; lut = empty) covers an area of 166,000 km², making it the largest desert in Iran.
To the southwest lies the Zagros Mountains and to the north is the Dascht-e Kawir desert. As a result of these conditions, the amount of precipitation per year is less than 50 mm. With temperatures of up to 70 °C, it is also one of the hottest places on earth.
In the southeast of the desert you can find dunes up to 420 m high.
It is worth mentioning that no finds have been made here that would indicate an earlier human settlement. Fossils or other indications of earlier life were also not found.
The desert is deserted to this day due to its hostile conditions. However, nomads live in the mountains south of the Lut Desert in summer, who move towards the Persian Gulf during winter.
Dascht-e Kawir is a large salt desert in the Iranian highlands, which extends north of the Lut and lies in the high basin between the Zagros Mountains in the southwest and the Elburs Mountains in the north.
As with the Lut, these two mountains also prevent precipitation here.
The Lut desert was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 17, 2016 at the Istanbul Conference
Persian qanat irrigation system
On the southern edges of the Lut Desert and Kawir Desert are a series of oases that are irrigated by qanats. Qanats are horizontal wells that draw water from the mountains and then distribute it.
However, they do not allow the irrigated oases to be used in an overly sustainable manner, as they draw their water mainly from the current rainfall in the mountains. They were developed before Christ and had spread to China.
The water supply with the help of qanats was exemplified by the UNESCO at eleven such facilities out of a total of around 37,000 facilities.
The Persian Qanat Irrigation System was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 17, 2016 at the Istanbul Conference
Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world that was continuously settled or inhabited.
Already in the late 5th millennium BC. the city had developed into an important economic center at the junction of the trade route between Mesopotamia and the Iranian plateau.
For a long time the city was under the influence of Elamites, Achaemenids, Macedonians, Parthians and Sassanids. The oldest archaeological remains include the Acropolis and the Elamite royal city.
The palaces of the great king Darius I (549 BC to 486) and his son and successor Xerxes II (519 BC to 465), on the other hand, date from the time of the Achaemenids.
Susa was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015.
Cultural landscape of Maymand
Maymand is a historic cave village dug into the rock, which has been inhabited for around 3,000 years and where around 150 people still live as semi-nomads from farming, cattle breeding and various handicrafts.
The local cave houses are terraced in up to five steps. In the middle of the houses there is an oven for heating and cooking.
It should be noted that parts of the village now serve as a museum and are open to the public. The cave village is located in the province of Kermān – about 35 km from the city of Shahr-e Bābak.
The village is located in a climate zone with little precipitation and is irrigated by qanats. Qanats are a special form of water supply from higher regions. In the landscape around the village you can find pistachio and almond trees.
The animals here are crocodiles, snakes and turtles and in the mountains foxes, deer, leopards, ibexes, wolves and zebras.
Maymand’s cultural landscape was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2015.
Silk Road in the Tian Shan Mountains
Silk Road in the Tian Shan Mountains
The Silk Road crosses borders and includes the following core areas.
– the province of Xinjiang in China
– the north of India
– the northern parts of Pakistan
– Iran’s Khorasan province in the northeast of the country
The Silk Road is an old caravan route. According to our era, it has been known since the year zero.
The Silk Road led from China to West Asia and India, bypassing the Gobi Desert. For example, the cities of Antioch and Damascus became rich through constant trade with other countries – and also gained political importance.
City-states such as Turfan and Chotan emerged along the Silk Road.
A trip from China to the Mediterranean took about three to four years. In this way, China supplied silk, glass and precious metals, among other things. In return, cultivated plants were brought to China from the west.
The tracks of the later railways were largely laid along the old Silk Road. It is hoped that by maintaining and renewing the Silk Road, Afghanistan will become a hub between Central and South Asia and the Middle East. The Silk Road was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2014.
Golestan Palace, Shahr-i Sokhta
Shahr-i Sokhta – the “burned city” in Iran – is located in the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan on the Helmand River, which is watered all year round. The bank of the river is forested. Salt steppes border the forest, where the ruins of Shahr-i Sokhta lie.
Excavations were carried out in the area for the first time in 1967 and have continued to this day. The area to be explored has an area of 3,000 ha = 30 km². The city’s beginnings go back to around 300 years before Christ.
Trade was carried out on Amu Street, which ran to Hormuz. From there, the goods were often brought to Mesopotamia by ship.
They found beads, woolen clothing and rugs, woven baskets, ceramic objects, a backgammon game and even an artificial eye.
Shahr-i Sokhta was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2014.
The palace complex was laid out in the 16th century and brings back memories of the old citadel, which used to be the center of Tehran.
The last kings of Iran made many changes, which destroyed a large part of the citadel. The Persian kings lived in the Golestan Palace in Tehran until the fall of the monarchy in 1979. The palace was built at the end of the 18th century.
In the palace was the so-called peacock throne, a throne chair adorned with over 26,000 precious stones and adorned with gold. The armchair has been missing since the revolution. The most significant things are the marble throne, the mirror and reception hall, the library building and the diamond hall. Several outbuildings belong to the palace. The entire complex is now a museum. The museum’s archive contains rare manuscripts and works of art and photos from the 19th and 20th centuries. One wing of the palace is reserved for Iranian artists. The garden of Kach-e Golestan combines Iranian and European garden architecture.
On June 23, 2013, the Golestan Palace was added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Jameh Mosque in Isfahan
The construction of the Jameh Mosque in Isfahan began in 771 and was renewed again and again until the 20th century. It is the oldest mosque in Iran. The mosque is a free church to which all religions have access. The decorative beam supports are evidence of great Islamic architecture. The ogival beams lie one above the other and create transitions between niches, walls and/or domes. They are also striking due to their sophisticated coloring, their geometry and sculptural design.
The Jame Mosque was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012.
Gonbad-e Qaboos mausoleum
The small city of Gorban in Iran is located approx. 500 km northeast of Tehran. Scholars were often guests at the court of the ruler Qaboos, who ruled the Golestan province from the 10th century to the 11th century. The scholars Ibn Sina and al Biruni are known. Qabus himself did research in many fields, and his passion was astronomy and philosophy. He was exiled from 981 to 987, but returned to Gorgan as ruler in 987. He was murdered in 1012.
The mausoleum was built on a hill for the ruler. It is a 52 m high, cylindrical tower made of bricks with a diameter of approx. 10 m. To stabilize the tower, 10 pillars are attached outside. The tower is kept simple. The only decoration is an inscription above the entrance.
goes something like this: In the name of God the Merciful, this tower belongs to the Emir Shams al-Maali, the emir and son of an emir, the Emir Qabus ibn Wuschmgir.
The glass coffin in which the ruler was buried can no longer be found. The coffin is said to have been hung floating, and light is said to have fallen on the coffin through an opening in the morning. This type of burial corresponded to the religious customs of the time.
The mausoleum was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012.
The Iranian term for a garden is Paradaidha. Later it became “Paradise” in our language. There are different types of Persian gardens. So there is a “Hajat”, with this type the aesthetics are not the priority, but the functionality. The “Bagh” garden type consists of lawns, flowerbeds and shady trees – walkable on white gravel paths.
The sunlight is used to integrate patterns into the gardens that change with the daily routine of the sun. Fountains and ponds are often integrated. The gardens are often connected to the inner courtyards of the residential buildings.
In the gardens – ?? so one believes – the spirit and also the spiritual is promoted. In 2011, nine of these gardens were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are: Bagh-e Shazadeh, Bagh-e Abas-Abah, Bagh-e Akbariyeh, Bagh-e Chehel Sotun, Bagh-e Eram, Bagh-e Fin, Bagh-e Pahlavanpur, Bagh-e Dolat Abat and the Persian Garden.
The beautiful Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram) is located in Shiras and includes the Kadjaren Palace from the 19th century. The Eram Garden is without a doubt the most important and oldest of the botanical gardens in Shiraz and a good example of the nine gardens of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oldest buildings in this park are from the 13th century AD! However, the garden got its present form during the time of the Zand dynasty, which ruled Persia between 1750 and 1794.
Ensemble Sheikh Safi al-din, Khānegāh
Here in Ardabil you will find the shrine and tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din, who gave the Safavid dynasty its name. In the ensemble there is also a center of Sufism (Khānegāh).
Sufism is a mystical movement within Islam that has ascetic tendencies and a strong spirituality.
Ardabil is located in the northwest of the country on the Caspian Sea and has a little less than 485,000 residents.
The Ensemble Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh in Ardabil was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010.
Historical bazaar in Tabriz
The Tabriz bazaar is a historic market in the center of Tabriz and had its heyday in the 16th century. Today’s city of Täbis has a population of around 2.2 million and is located in the northwest of the country.
The market is one of the largest covered bazaars in the world. The bazaar used to be an important trading center on the Silk Road.
The bazaar consists of several individual bazaars, such as the Amir Bazaar for gold and jewelry), the Mozzafarieh for carpets, carpet bazaar), a shoe bazaar and other various goods. The bazaar experienced its heyday in the 16th century AD. when the city was the capital of the Safavids. This is also where the mourning ceremonies at Muharram take place. There is no trading here during this time.
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and during the first ten days the Shiites celebrate their highest funeral festival – the Ashura rites. They commemorate Imam Al-Husain, who died in the battle of Karbala.
In 2000 the facility was extensively restored.
The Historical Bazaar in Tabriz was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
The Achaemenid king Dareios I had the images of the kings carved in front of bound prisoners in a rock massif at a great height. A god hovers over the image. With the help of a board with inscriptions in three languages, the puzzles of cuneiform could be solved. The images and the inscription were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.
Soltaniyeh is a historical city. It was once the capital of the Mongolian Ilkhanid dynasty. There are ruins there, such as the Il-Khan mausoleum Oljaytu from the 14th century. The city of Soltaniyeh was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.
Bam and its cultural landscape
In December 2003, an earthquake shook the city of Bam. The magnitude of the earthquake was 6.6 on the Richter scale and, according to local reports, around 60,000 people died. Almost 70% of the city of Bam was destroyed.
In July 2004, another earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 shook the city. Most of the houses built for survivors of the 2003 earthquake collapsed. Reconstruction was supported with $ 1.1 billion from the international community. The city’s citadel was also destroyed in the 2004 quake. In order to support the reconstruction, the city with the citadel was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and at the same time placed on the Red List of World Heritage in Danger.
Pasargadae was one of the residential cities of the Persian Empire, the Alexander the Greatin the years around 331 BC Chr. Destroyed. Pasargadae is located at an altitude of 1,900 m in the Zagros Mountains on a plateau level. It was the first residence of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenids. Pasargadae was founded by King Cyrus II and his successor Cambyses II between 559 BC. BC and about 525 BC Expanded. You can see the ruins of the palaces with monumental gates, Apadana and the reception palace with rich plastic decorations. The fire temple with altars and the tomb of King Cyrus II are located in the holy district. The tomb is already noticeable on arrival. The cenotaph in the shape of a small stone house is placed on a base made of six stone steps. At that time the city had a sophisticated, underground irrigation system. It was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003.
Persepolis was the capital of the ancient Persian Empire. In Old Persian the city was called Parsa, numerous reliefs of the Achaemenid kings attest to this. The former Pasargadae residence was built at the foot of the Kuh-e Mehr mountain. The palace city became 330 BC. Destroyed by Alexander the Great, but was partially rebuilt afterwards. Around 520 BC The residence of Dareios I was moved about 87 km to the southwest. The restored remains of the new capital are known worldwide under the Greek name Persepolis. The remains of these can still be seen today. In 1979 Persepolis was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ruined city of Choga Zanbil (1979)
Tschoga Zanbil is a Middle Elamite royal seat and was founded 1275 – 1240 BC. Founded. It is surrounded by a wall. The water for the city was drawn from the Karkheh River through a 50 km long canal. The river ended in a large reservoir and was connected to smaller basins that then supplied the city with water. The plant is considered to be the oldest water treatment plant in the world.
In the middle of the city there is a temple complex, the center of which is a 25 m high ziggurat. A ziggurat is a pyramid-like step temple. The entrance is inside and you climb up stairs. Almost life-size clay figures depicting bulls and birds of prey have been found above the entrances. A dedicatory inscription is on the back of the bull. Near the ziggurat are smaller temples that held offerings. There are three other temples, one of which is dedicated to the goddess Kiririsha. In 1979, Choga Zanbil was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Masjede Emam (Imam Mosque) (1979)
The mosque (= Masjede) Eman is located in the south of the 9 ha = 90,000 m² Imam Square in Isfahan and was built during the Safavid period. The mosque is an outstanding example of Iran s architecture.
Construction of the mosque began in 1611 and was not completed until 27 years later. The mosque’s portal measures 27 m high and is crowned by two minarets, each 42 m high. Behind the gate is the 52 m high main dome with the prayer hall. Together with Imam Square, it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.
Hyrcanic Forests (2019)
The Hyrcanic Forests are unique deciduous forests that extend for around 850 kilometers along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and cover around 7% of the country’s area. 25 to 50 million years ago they even covered most of the region.
The biodiversity of the forests is remarkable, as more than 40% of all known vascular plants in Iran are found here. The Persian leopard is also native here. The Hyrcanic Forests were added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2019.