Yazd is one of the destinations in Iran that is highly recommended to visit. It is a city that has preserved its historical spaces through the centuries and offers exceptional sceneries to the visitors.
Yazd is one of the oldest human settlements on Earth, which is described as “a very fine and splendid city” by the world most famous explorer, Marco Polo. It is also home to many Zoroastrians, concentrated in Persia in the past.
Yazd, the city of wind-catchers, with its hidden beauties and wonders, is now listed among the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Iranviva Group has provided a variety of articles about the city of Yazd, as well as various tour packages around Iran, including the city of Yazd.
Yazd, a city full of places of interest, draws many tourists from around the world to travel to Iran every year. Here are some examples of these tourist spots in Yazd you can visit on your trip to Iran.
The Historic City of Yazd (a Jewel in the Desert)
Walking through the maze of its narrow adobe streets, with 5000 years of history, is one of those rare experiences one can have in a lifetime.
According to the UNESCO, Yazd is one of the most ancient settlements on Earth and it, thus, has witnessed the inhabitants’ way of life in a harsh desertic area. The extraordinary underground water canals (qanat), along with the amazing wind-catchers (Badgirs), represent the ingenuity of these people.
The beautiful historic houses from Qajar era, residential palaces, and picturesque shops of the Khan Bazaar are hidden in the labyrinth of its winding alleys.
No buses and almost no cars are allowed to disturb the tranquility of this timeless part of city, which is best explored by wandering through its alleys.
The Jameh Mosque
Yazd Jameh Mosque, the Friday Mosque, is an architectural splendor, which attracts many visitors to this city. This outstanding mosque, which was formerly a Zoroastrian fire temple in the 12th-century and was rebuilt in the 14th century as a mosque, impresses any visitor who enters this glorious monument.
Its entrance, covered with exquisite blue tiles, is one of the highest mosque portals in Iran. Its peaceful courtyard is overlooked by the stunning dome, surrounded by two minarets. The finest tilework, with calligraphy patterns and colorful designs, are displayed all around the monument.
Dowlat Abad Garden
Dowlat Abad Garden, with its cypress, pomegranates and sour orange trees, was built around 1750 in Yazd and was once the residence of the Persian regent Karim Khan Zand. This garden, listed as the UNESCO world heritage site, is a magnificent example of Persian gardens and its central pavilion is extremely remarkable, with its perfectly symmetrical design and its 33-meter-high central wind-catcher which is known as the highest in the world. The interior walls of the building are decorated by a delicate latticework and colored stained-glass windows.
Yazd Atash Behram (the Zoroastrian Fire Temple)
Yazd Atash Behram is one of the holiest sites for Zoroastrianism followers, and today it is one of the tourist attractions of the city of Yazd. The “victorious fire” is burning eternally inside this neoclassical building, crowned by a splendid Faravahar figure.
Yazd is home to the second biggest population of Zoroastrians in Iran. Fire, in the Zoroastrian religion, is a sacred element, and this building is a place for worshiping. It is believed that this burning fire has been lit on since the 5th century and was brought to Yazd in 1474. It is one of the nine fires of this type in the world and the only one outside India. There is a small museum beside the temple displaying the Zoroastrians’ customs and traditions.
Towers of Silence
Dakhma or funerary tower, located a little far from the city center, is one of the most remarkable Zoroastrian sites in Iran. Two circular raised structures are built on two barren hilltops, which had a significant role for Zoroastrians in Iran.
Towers of silence used to be the final resting place for Zoroastrians whose dead bodies were left in the towers’ pits and were exposed to carrion birds, like vultures. The site has preserved its incredible serene atmosphere, and overlooks the city over the hilltops.
Amir Chakhmaq Complex
Amir Chakhmaq square is one of most iconic landmarks in the city of Yazd. The prominent structure has a three-storey elaborate facade of symmetrical sunken arched alcoves with two elegant minarets. It was built by the governor of Yazd in the 15th century, and is the largest “hussainia” in Iran, to commemorate the death of Imam Hossein during Ashura.
There is a small bazaar, along with an old caravanserai and a bathhouse in the square. Some nice cafes are also located around the complex for visitors to take some rest and taste a “Faloodeh” ice-cream. Indeed, Amir Chakmaq Complex is most striking at night, the lights reflecting the perfect proportions of the building.
Zurkhaneh sport, literally meant “House of Strength”, is another name for Iranian traditional heroic sport. Zurkhaneh Saheb-al-Zaman is the greatest zurkhaneh in Yazd, located in a small street near Amir Chakmaq square. It is the best place to watch Zurkhaneh rituals, a Persian old sport which can be considered as the ancestor of the gym which used to be practiced by the Persian warriors.
Dating back to before the arrival of Islam in Iran, Zurkhaneh rituals then were mixed with religion and now it is done under the rhythm of religious songs.
Yazd Water Museum
One of the most astonishing wonders of the city of Yazd is its ancient underground water system, named Qanats. Some of the oldest well-preserved qanats of the country, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage, are located in Yazd. The best place to get acquainted with the functioning of this ingenious system is Yazd Water Museum. Visitors can access the system of some of these qanats and discover their features and functions in this museum in a beautifully restored mansion. They unravel the mystery of the flourishing life inside the traditional houses of the desert city of Yazd.
Top Places to Visit outside the City of Yazd
Chak Chak is a village, located about 100 km away from the city Yazd, and holds one of the most sacred Zoroastrian sanctuaries. Every year, thousands of Zoroastrian believers from all around the world come in pilgrimage to this village to Pir-e Sabz Fire Temple, perched in the mountain.
Visitors have to climb 230 steps to reach this holy place, with a stunning view over the desert. In Zoroastrian belief, it is the place where Nikbanou, the second daughter of the last pre-Islamic Persian ruler, Yazdegerd III of the Sassanid Empire, found refuge during the Arab invasion in 640 CE.
Chased by her enemies, she reached the mountain, and there, asked the God, Ahura Mazda, to protect her. Miraculously, the mountain opened up and sheltered her from her attackers. There is an ever-dripping spring on the mountain in Chak Chak. According to the legend, these drops are tears of grief of the mountain in remembrance of Nikbanou.
Taft is a small town, located in 20 km southwest of Yazd, on the road to Abarquh, at an altitude of 1,560 m. A Zoroastrian family stayed in the small village of Taft and so the real life of Zoroastrians can be seen here nowadays.
There is a small Fire Temple in a narrow alley of the village, crowned by a sculpted Faravahar figure. Sharing the life of local people, while enjoying the extraordinary natural scenery, is the best way to get familiar with the ancestral traditions and customs of Zoroastrians.
Along with being the highest peak in central Iranian plateau (4075m), the extraordinary mountain of Shir-Kuh, near Taft village, draws a great number of adventure lovers to an unprecedented landscape with sanctuary of wildlife and pure nature in the middle of arid lands.
Climbing up the Shir-Kuh Peak, one could be immersed in the pure darkness full of stars in the desert sky. Shir-Kuh Peak is the highest peak in the heart of desert and it is even more attractive in winter when two gorgeous peaks, Aseman-nama (3870m) and Barfkhane (4005m) are covered by snow.
For more information about the city of Yazd, read different articles provided by Iranviva Group and take one of the variable tour packages around the city of Yazd.