Highlights of Iran

Two and half weeks in Iran resulted in 27 blog posts, which I admit is rather a lot to get through. So for those short on time or interest here are my highlights of this wonderful place.

Kharanak isn’t somewhere many people will have heard of, but it is a quite astonishing and evocative abandoned mud village on the way from Yazd to Esfahan.

Another evocative and abandoned, but now restored place was the Spice Road era Caravanserai Zein-o-din, giving a taster of the endless Iranian desert.

By a very slim margin (over Shiraz) the Old City of Yazd was my favourite urban place in Iran, an older and far drier version of Venice, which I loved exploring and getting lost in. It had some quite wonderful mosques, and some of the best Zoroastrian sites in the country.

Shiraz had a real buzz, and was home to some of the most spectacular mosques I visited, in particular the Jame Atiq Mosque and Mausoleum of Shah Cheragh and Ali Ibn Hamzeh Holy Shrine (Mirror Mosque). It is also a handy base to visit the famous ancient palaces of Persepolis, and the impressive tombs at Naqsh-e Rostam.

The city of Esfahan didn’t interest as much as I thought it would, but it was home to some of the most amazing architecture, particularly in Iman Square, and the historic bridges seen at sunset and night.

Tehran, Iran’s capital, like many disproportionately large cities (like London, Istanbul, Auckland), feels quite different to the rest of the country. There is far more obvious wealth, even more traffic, and a buzz and cosmopolitan feel I didn’t find elsewhere in Iran. It is a city of contrasts, from the modern Nature Bridge to the historic Golestan Palace, and the holy shrine of Imam Khomeni to the Western Art filled Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.Between these main cities were more low key but no less affecting and fascinating places, the nomadic homestay of Kahran, panoramic views over Eghlid, the relaxed mountain village of Ghalat, a beautiful Pigeon Tower in Meybod, the wonderful Khan-e Tabatabei in Kashan, and the recently restored spectacular mosque in Abarqu.

For some less specifically location based posts I also wrote about street art, running, sketching, and eating in Iran, as well as things I learnt about Iran.

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