Containing multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites, Yazd is a city built in a desert. However, this doesn’t make it any less habitable. Multiple cultures have thrived here, including Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Islamic ones. All this is evident in the unique mix of architecture in the city. Read on for places to visit and things to do so you can fully enjoy your trip to the “City of Windcatchers”.
The old town of Yazd, known as Kharanaq, is a definite must-see for anyone and everyone visiting the area. Perhaps one of the oldest human settlements ever, Kharanaq is a labyrinth of cool mud walls and adobe roofs hidden under the scalding Persian sun. Once you get inside though, you won’t feel any heat thanks to the traditional air conditioning Bagdirs (rooftop windcatchers). Get lost in the maze and then try to find your way to the central mosque with its high minaret. If you’d rather have a quick look without losing yourself, find a tour guide from the link provided.
Old town of Yazd
Address: 80 km environ de Yazd, Yazd, Iran
Website: Tour with Syno Trip
2. Jame Mosque
Come back to the new city and visit the site depicted on the 200 Rial banknote in your wallet. More than 7 centuries old, this mosque evolved from three mosques built successfully on the same site. The exterior you see including the tallest minarets of Iran were restored in 1324 CE, but the interior tile and Quranic inscription works range from the beginning of the Islamic era to the restoration in the 14th-century. Ask around to understand how the decoration work displays the rich culture and diversity of the area.
Address: Imam Khomeini Street, Yazd, Iran
Website: Jame Mosque
3. Yazd Art House
Spend a laid back evening at this art gallery where you can do much more than gaze at paintings. Have tea and cake while enjoying the grand view of the city and the mountains beyond from the roof garden just a couple of flights of stairs up. Alternatively, you can even go downstairs to a store of local crafts and traditional trinkets for you to purchase as souvenirs.
Yazd Art House
Address: Next to Chehel Mehrab Mosque, Fahadan Quarter, Yazd, Iran
Facebook page: Yazd Art House
4. Khan Bazaar
The Khan Bazaar is the oldest bazaar in the city, dating back to the 9th-century. Here you will find textiles and handwoven cloth made traditionally in Yazd for centuries. More recently, the bazaar has expanded into the Yazd Bazaar, with multiple sections of which the Khan Bazaar is just the oldest. If you wanna do some serious shopping, you’ll find everything you need throughout the multiple parts of the Yazd Bazaar.
Address: Imam Khomeini Street, Yazd, Iran
Website: Khan Bazaar
5. Atash Kadeh
Although now very dominantly Islamic, Iran was once heavily Zoroastrian. The Zoroastrian culture can be found and admired all over Yazd. You can visit the Atash Kadeh, the fire temple of the Zoroastrians whose fire is said to have been burning for over 1,500 years. Although a functioning place of worship, the Atash Kadeh is a National Heritage site and open for tourists. When visiting, make sure to be respectful and wear white or light colored clothing, including a cap (for males) or a scarf (for females).
Address: Kashani Rd, Yazd, Iran
Website: Atash Kadeh
6. Towers of Silence
Another Zoroastrian attraction is the Dakhma, or the Towers of Silence. In Zoroastrian tradition, after a person dies, the body must be taken away from human life and left to the elements in order to ensure purity and peace for the person’s final resting place. Until only 50 years ago, these towers were still in use, however now they have been cleared for visitors. When you visit, you’ll find small houses for relatives of the deceased to stay and mourn in while selected individuals took the body to the tower. Make sure to dress lightly, because unlike most places in the city, the towers aren’t protected from the intense sun.
Towers of Silence
Address: Yazd, Iran
Website: Towers of Silence
7. Yazd Water Museum
Being a historically prominent city that lasted through many civilizations, Yazd has a lot to offer in terms of historical infrastructure. When you visit the Yazd Water Museum, you’ll learn of techniques used for the past 4,000 years of irrigation and water transport. Iranians had an extensive underground qanat (aqueduct) system long before the Romans. The museum explains how these aqueducts work, and even shows a visible system underneath the museum. Although not functioning throughout the modern city, the qanats are still in use in many wealthy parts of Yazd, including the Amir Chakhmaq Square whose fountain you can visit to quench your thirst for seeing qanats in action outside the museum.
Yazd Water Museum
Address: Amir Chakhmaq Square, Yazd, Iran
Website: Yazd Water Museum
8. Dolat Abad Garden
Built in 1750, this garden was once the residence of Mohammad Taghi Khan-e Bafghi, a ruler during the Zand dynasty. One thing that you’ll notice from miles away is the bagdir of the garden, the reason for that is that this is the tallest bagdir in Iran (and the world). Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, you can relax and admire the stained glass art from inside the building, or walk around the garden following the Persian design of symmetry and dotted with various fruit trees.
Dolat Abad Garden
Address: Iran Shahr St, Mojahedin Square, Yazd, Iran
Website: Dolat Abad Garden
9. Mirror and Lighting Museum
Taking a break from all the Persian history, you can visit the Mirror and Lighting Museum. Built in the early 20th-century by European imperialists and confiscated after the 1979 revolution, the site now displays many quirky items not limited to just mirrors or lights. You can gaze at different shapes and arrangements of mirrors, learn of the different forms of lighting used through the ages, gawk at works of plaster art, and admire a collection of matches from all over the world.
Mirror and Lighting Museum
Address: Ayatollah Kashani Street, Yazd, Iran
Website: Mirror and Lighting Museum
10. A night in the desert
If you’ve come to the desert city, it makes no sense to leave without visiting the desert. Just outside the city borders, the Bafgh Desert is a sight of great, soft, sand dunes; contrasting with the high and rigid buildings in the city. Make sure to visit at night because the daytime sun makes it impossible to enjoy, even in the coldest of seasons. You can ride camels up the sand dunes, and surf on your way down, but the best experience would be to spend the night and enjoy the beautiful desert sunrise in the morning. It’d be best to have a tour guide with you, so contact Masoud Jaladat and his team of experienced tour guides here: [email protected].
Overnight Desert Tour
Address: South East of Yazd, Iran
Website: Overnight Desert Tour
Desert and gardens together
As you can see, Yazd has everything from gardens and desert to beautiful architecture and quirky art. Just make sure to stay safe from the Persian sun and enjoy the ride.
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