In this article I will post my top attractions from a 16 day trip in Iran from the capital city in the north down to Shiraz.
1. Puppet Museum & Guesthouse, Kashan
This is a magic place that will take you back to your childhood. Nested in the historic quarter of the town of Kashan, the Puppet Museum displays a colorful collection of antique dolls and puppets from Iran and abroad. A traditional puppet theater show is organized for the visitors several times a day. The language barrier is not a problem at all as Amir Sohrabi is playing the mediator role between the dolls above the curtain and the audience using story telling and playing instruments. Advice: if you plan coming here please bring a traditional doll/puppet from your country. It will join a wonderful family and grow the magic of this place.
2. Tochal Mountain Hike, Tehran
I don’t know another capital in the world that is located at the foothills of a 4,000 m height mountain. You can escape the bustling streets of the Iranian capital and at the end of a 5-6 hours hike you can get on the summit of this mountain. There is a telecabin and a cable-chair service to different heights. Once you get over the first mountain that splits the heights and the city you can admire and listen to the nature unfolding: waterfalls, rock formations, wild flowers and grass.
3. The View of the Mountain Range Behind Vakil Mosque, Shiraz
Imagine the square court yard of a beautifully decorated mosque. If you visit it in the later afternoon hours when the sun is low and colours melt, you turn and you get a magic visual effect: the surrounding mountains peaks seem to complement in a harmonious way the eastern side of the mosque, just like a lace collar immersed in tones of violet.
4. Fancy Drinks, Shiraz
Alcohol is not served in bars or restaurants in Iran, so the drinks offer may end on a short list. But not in Shiraz where just opposite the Vakil Baths, in the upstairs bar they serve the most ingenious, pleasant & sugar free drinks with sour orange blossom petals, basil or lavender. The view to the square is spectacular too.
5. Persepolis & Necropolis
I would come back to Iran only to see these two historic places! Persepolis was built as the capital of the very first empire in the history of humanity (550BC) as a showroom of the very best architects around the empire could offer. The stairs to the greatest palace for audiences depict delegations of all nations from across the empire who bring gifts to the king. You can spend many hours checking out the different clothes, footwear, hair dresses and presents from Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Priceless!
Necropolis is situated 12 km away from Persepolis and displays the kings tombs carved in the mountain along a beautiful temple of fire that features Art Deco-like decorations.
6. Naqsh-e Jahan Square & Grand Bazaar, Isfahan
This is probably the most beautiful square in the world, second in size after Tiananmen in Beijing. Part of UNESCO World Heritage it is home of gardens, fountains, mosques, palaces, restaurants, shops and a grand bazaar where shopping is an unforgettable experience, equaled perhaps only in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
7. Play Hide-and-Seek in the Historic Palaces of Kashan
The historic palaces and houses in Kashan are a great location for a treasure hunt or hide-and-seek as they feature endless rooms, terraces, gardens, domes above and under ground. Don’t miss the old Sultan Amir Ahmad bathhouse (hammam). It is not active but it features the most beautiful decorations in Iran.
8. Sip Tea in Iran’s Most Dramatic Bazaar, Kashan
Kashan’s bazaar seemed to me like a huge theatre scene with huge ceilings, domes and living scenography. In the heart of this bazaar you will spot a tiny kiosk selling tea. Sit on a pile of carpets and watch the world go by.
9. Zurkhane, or the Traditional Iranian Gym, Yazd
Traditional gym? Yes! A gym supervisor beating the drums for the rhythm of the training, clubs, wood panels, chains as props for sportmen of all ages that perform an one hour training: warm-up, push-ups, spinning, triceps and core exercises, all on fiery drum beats.
10. Cool Under a Wind Tower, Yazd
Wind towers are an Iranian invention going back thousands of years. Literally the grandma of today’s air conditioning system, they are wind catchers, driving the current of air down into the house to cool the lower floors spaces and where the wind current meets a water pool the chill effect is guaranteed. The desert city of Yazd is dotted with wind towers. The tallest of all is in the historic pavilion of Dowlat Abad Garden, in Yazd. Cannot describe the cooling feeling. It is simply magic.
11. Shaking minarets, Isfahan
A little mosque in the outskirts of Isfahan display an hourly show: a man in the right hand minaret (tower) starts shaking the tower sending vibrations to the left hand tower that starts moving too. Apparently not everyone is able to do this, as the shaking master needs to go into a lower mind frequency and get in-tune with the frequency of the building. A beautiful lesson of vibe in things and people and how to align all these energies.
12. High Class Tea at Abassi Hotel, Isfahan
You can sniff the high class air and rub shoulders with important people in the impressive Abassi Hotel’s garden in Isfahan. Go there for a tea sipping experience when the sun goes down.
13. Rose Picking & Rose Water Making, Qamsar/Niyasar
The 2,500 year old rose picking and rose water making festival is a unique event happening at the beginning of May in Qamsar and Niyasar, outside of Kashan.