Must-See Tourist Destinations in Iran
Takht-e-Jamshid or Parseh (Persopolis) is one of the ancient cities of Iran that was the magnificent ceremonial capital of Iranian Kingdom for successive years in Achaemenid Empire. There is a palace called Persepolis in this ancient city that was built in the reign of Darius the Great, Xerxes I, and Artaxerxes I, and was intact for 200 years. On the first days of the New Year, many groups from different countries would gather in Persepolis.
In 518 BC, the construction of Persepolis as the new capital of Achaemenids started in Parseh. Darius the Great was the founder of Takht-e-Jamshid. Historians believe that Alexander III of Macedon, the Greek king, attacked Iran in 330 BC, fired Persepolis and probably destroyed most of the Achaemenid inscriptions, culture and art. However, the ruins of this place are still there and archeologists have confirmed the signs of fire and attacks in it. This monument was registered in UNESCO World Heritage in 1979.
Khajeh Shams al-Din Mohammad Shirazi known as “Hafez”, was one of the great poets of Iran. He learned science and technology in the classes of the professors at his time and got high levels in literature of his time. He pondered a lot in theology and memorized Quran in fourteen different narrations. “Goethe”, the great German scientist, poet and orator was inspired by his thoughts and produced Eastern Court in his name. His tomb in Shiraz is a shrine for pundits and Persian literature and poetry lovers.
Hafezieh (Hafez Tomb) is a complex of tomb in the north of Shiraz and south of Qur’an Gate. The complex is called Hafezieh for having Hafez Shirazi’s tomb in it.
Arg e Bam
Arg-e Bam was the largest adobe building in the world located near Bam, a city in Kerman province southeast of Iran. On December 26, 2003, a devastating earthquake struck Bam City and its suburbs and sadly Arg-e Bam was entirely demolished.
"Bam and its Cultural Landscape" has been registered on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. This enormous citadel, located along the Silk Road, was constructed in century 5 BC and was still in use until 1850 AD. It is not exactly clear why it was not used anymore thereafter. The whole monument is a huge fortress in the center of which the citadel is located. However, due to the glorious appearance of the Arg which is also the highest part of the complex, the entire fortress building is known as "Arg-e Bam".
The building of Arg-e Bam, in its expanded form, consists of two parts: the "rulers' part" and the "ruled-over part". The former part, which lies in the most internal wall, consists of the citadel, a four-season mansion, barracks, a 40-meter water well and a stable large enough for 200 horses. "The ruled-over part", on the other hand, is located around "the ruler's part" and contains the main entrance of the city.
Bisotun Inscription is the greatest inscription in the world, the first known Iranian text and a relief from Achaemenid era (520 years BC.) located in Bistoon City, a suburb of Harsin City, 30 kilometers from Kermanshah and on the outskirts of Bistoon Mountain. Bistoon Inscription is one of the most important and famous historical documents of the world.
Major points of Bistoon inscription include introduction of Darius in his own words, Achaemenid dynasty, restoration of monarchy to Achaemenid, Darius’s governance, death of Cambyses, Gaumata rebellion and his death, rebellion in many lands and their repression, restoration of lands that had refused submission, Darius’s nineteen war victories such as the important and difficult victory over Scythians, the establishment of peace and safety in the vast empire, rejection of anti—government outlaw’ claims, warning against lying, defending truth and honesty, praying for the country and its nation, Darius’s thank to Ahouramazda for his help in overcoming opponents and retrieving peace, advice to future kings who will read Bistoon inscription, name of those who supported Darius in overcoming Gaumata and reference to the publication of inscription throughout the Achaemenid territory in cuneiform and in three languages of Persian, Babylonian and Elamite.
This one-of-a-kind monument belongs to Sassanid period and it has been recorded on the list of the Iran's National Heritage under the registration number of 883. There is no accurate information about when and by whom it was built. We just know that the monument is remains from "Shāpūr-Khwāst" ancient city. The initial building of the castle is attributed to the reign of Sassanid Shapur. The beauty and wonderful architecture of Falak-ol-Aflak Castle has convinced many experts to consider this ancient historical castle of Lorestan Province as one of the engineering and architectural masterpieces.
Major points of Bistoon inscription include introduction of Darius in his own words, Achaemenid dynasty, restoration of monarchy to Owing to its strategic position, this castle was selected the treasurer in Buyid dynasty in the 4th century AH. Since the 6th century AH when the new city of Khorramabad was built, the castle became also known as Khorramabad. The name of Falak-ol-Aflak might have been given to it in Qajar dynasty.
There are two museums of anthropology and archeology in Falak-ol-Aflak Castle Complex that are considered as the attractions of Khorramabad.
Lake Urmia, previously known as Lake Rezaiyeh, is located in the northwest of Azerbaijan District. According to the latest country subdivisions, Lake Urmia lies between East and West Azerbaijan Provinces.
After Anzali Lagoon, The National Park of Lake Urmia is one of the most interesting natural habitats in Iran. This ecosystem has been registered internationally by UNESCO as a protected area. Iranian Department of Environment has identified most parts of this lake as national park. Lake Urmia is the biggest inland lake in Iran and the second Salt Lake in the world. It is the largest water of Western Asia which is located in the northwest of Iranian Plateau with too salty water.
Naqsh-e Jahan Square
Naqsh-e Jahan Square or Meidan-e Imam also known as Shah Square and Imam Square, is the main tourist spot of Isfahan and one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This square is the first place to see while visiting Isfahan and it is full of tourists throughout the year. Naqsh-e Jahan in Farsi means, “The image of the world”. The square is surrounded by different architectures along with the main bazaar of Isfahan.
Isfahan Grand Bazaar
One of the most magnificent bazaars of Iran and one of the oldest and largest in the Middle East is the 17th century Isfahan Bazaar. Having located in the northern part of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, this two-kilometer vaulted street links the old and new texture of the city by connecting the main entrance.
The history of this palace goes back to the reign of Safavid Shah Tahmasp I and consists of some separate palaces and mansions that the most important of which was built in Qajar period as the Qajar kings’ place of residence.
Golestan Palace has been the place of residence for some Qajar kings like Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar. The other Qajar and Pahlavi kings mostly resided in the other Palaces of Tehran.
This palace was registered on the list of World Heritage in the 37th annual convention of UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
Kandovan village is an up-country area of Sahand Mountains that its natural and specific architecture has made it globally popular. Historical village of Kandovan is one of the three rocky villages in the world.
Antiquity of this touristy village gets backs to 6000 years ago. Researches of archeology has estimated its age up to 7000 years old.
What gives Kandovan an antique nature is the presence of 117 families and houses inside rocky cone and pyramid-shaped masses in which villagers have made houses, corral, warehouse and workshops. The weather inside the houses is warm in winter and cold in summer. About traditional architecture of Kandovan, some researchers and geographers believe that Kandovan has no similar in Iran and its architecture is rocky architecture.
Existence of tasty mineral water, unique rocky and conic houses, green valley, desirable mountainous weather, pleasant dairies, natural honey as well as sedative environment, evening silence and a graceful breeze have put this village under the attention of followers.
Margoon is the name of a waterfall located in the western valleys of Sepidan County, Fars province. The height of this waterfall is 70 meters and its width is 100 meters.
Margoon Waterfall is located in Margoon Village. This village is a part of Komehr Village in Sepidan County, previously known as Ardakan. This waterfall is one of the greatest and most glorious waterfalls in Iran that is comparable to Shevi Waterfall in Lorestan in terms of beauty, greatness and water release volume.
This waterfall is in fact the source of a river but there are no rivers at the top of the mountain. Amazingly, there are several thousand springs on the mountain body from which water comes out.
Taq-e Bostan series is one of the unprecedented historical monuments in Iran and the first stone animation in the world with fine reliefs of the Ancient Iranian greatness and glory. Based on the findings, this building was made before Christ and according to some other archeologists, it was made after Christ and has great historical and artistic value. Several historical scenes such as Khosrow Parviz coronation, Artaxerxes II coronation, Shapur II and III coronations, some inscriptions and epigraphs have been carved in it. The mountains and springs in this area have made it a spiriting promenade that has always been the center of attention from the old days till now.
Iran has numerous castles. However, most of them are in dry areas. Rudkhan Castle is one of a few castles that is located in the forest.
Rudkhan Castle or Hesami Castle is the name of a historical castle, 20 kilometers from the south west of Fuman in Gilan Province. Some experts believe that the castle was built in Sassanid period at the time of Arabs attack to Iran.
This castle is located at a height of 665 to 715 meters from the sea level and a river with the same name runs beside it.
The castle was recorded on the list of national and historical monuments of Iran on the 30th of Mordad 1354 for its historical value, structure, architecture, strategic and martial properties.
Ali-Sadr Cave is one of the tourist attractions of Hamadan Province and it is the world's largest cave. According to geologists, the stones of this mountain belong to the second geologic period, i.e. Jurassic Era (136-190 million years ago). Evidence from the cave indicates that Ali-Sadr Cave was used as a shelter by primitive men. Extraordinary natural patterns such as Statue of Liberty and name of Allah have been carved on the limestone walls of the cave.
The magnificent, labyrinthine and UNESCO-listed Tabriz bazaar covers 7 km2 with 24 caravanserais, sets of rooms arranged around a courtyard and 22 impressive timches, meaning domed halls. Construction of the place began over a millennium ago. But much of the fine brick vaulting dates back to the 15th century.
Behram Fire Temple of Yazd
Zoroastrian fire temple is located in the center of Yazd Province where Atash Bahram is maintained. Atash Bahram is a fire that comes from Karyan Fire Temple in Fars Province, one of the three largest fire temples in Sassanid dynasty. Its fire, which has been burning for years, is currently maintained in Yazd Fire temple.
This fire temple belongs to Zoroastrians who offered their prayers there for years. It was constructed in 1934 by a Persian person residing in India. The fire of this temple has been continuously burning since before Islam.
This monument was recorded in Iran’s National Heritage on September 13, 1999 under the registration number of 2431.
Niavaran cultural-historical complex is located in a large garden with an area of 11 hectares in the north of Tehran, which is a significant natural-historical attraction. The monuments of this complex belong to Qajar and Safavid periods. This garden contains several historical royal monuments including Ahmad Shahi Pavilion, Sahebqaranie Palace and Niavaran Palace. There is exquisite artwork from Iranian artists and valuable objects gifted by foreign governments as well as admirable architecture of Iran’s history that attract every tourist and visitor. This cultural-artistic complex is one of the honors of the art history of Iran and the world.
Sa’dabad Complex is a majestic museum in north of Tehran, the prominent heritage of Qajar Era, built in 19th century. The complex consists of several palaces, as well as forests, streets and museums. The general area of the complex is more than 1 km2. Museums cover different aspects of Iranian mythology, art and culture and is a complex introduction into Iranian history and life of the last Shahs of Iran in 19th and 20th centuries.
The garden and its mansion are the most beautiful and precious monuments of Qajar period. It was known as “Birouni” in Qajar period and was an alley away from the internal mansion. They were connected through an underground path. Because of the magnificent artwork such as mirrorwork, glassware, designing, wood-carving, carving and plastering used in it, this mansion is one of the most beautiful monuments of that period in Shiraz.
This garden was recorded in Iran’s National Heritage in 1974 under the registration number of 1073.