Yazd, the city of wind-catchers (Shahr-e-Baadgirha) and the ancient location on the Silk Road, emerging like a phoenix from the desert in the center of Iran. Due to its neighborhood with the deserts, Yezd has taken a unique adorable architecture. Dating back to the Sassanian period, Yazd is very well known for its Zoroastrian attractions, Qanats, Yakhchals (ice houses), ab-anbars, and many other features such as Persian handicrafts, and its well-known delicious Yazdi confectionery. The province of Yazd is well connected to the rest of the main Iranian cities by planes, buses, and also trains.
Lengthen your stay in Yazd and experience the following attractions and activities inside the city and surroundings.
1. The Old Town of Yazd according to UNESCO is the perfect place to see the region’s rich history. This place is where the modern life meets the ancient history when you watch cars and bikes passing the covered narrow alleys of this charming ancient district or standing on the fantastic Rooftops and gazing at the ancient domes and minarets. Most of the old town highlights are within easy walking distance from each other located in the labyrinth of small streets surrounded by the silence of the mud-brick walls with incredible oriental architecture, a combination of Persian and Islamic architecture style. It’s better to visit the old part in groups of at least two people for not getting lost, although you may want to get lost in for a while…
2. Zoroastrianism Treasures: After Arabs invasion, many Zoroastrians migrated to Yazd. Yazd means God and Zoroastrian religion presents itself in different parts of the city within fabulous attractions such as Towers of silence or Zoroastrians’ Crypt which have been the burial place of Zoroastrians according to their religious burial ceremonies in the past. Nowadays they bury their dead people in the graves like Muslims. There is an Ossuary in the middle of the crypt where some bones have been discovered belonging to the corpses. Towers of silence or as local say “Gur Dakhma” breathes history and It’s got an amazing view over the adobe city.
Another holy Zoroastrian Building surrounded by pine and cypress trees is Atashkade or Fire temple. Beautiful ancient architecture turned this place into one of the main attractions of Yazd. People believe that the fire inside this temple has been burning for more than 1,500 years. Zoroastrians hold special ceremonies near this fire and had to wear white or light-colored clothing to enter the building. Chak Chak or Pir-e Sabz Fire Temple is another pilgrimage site located 70 kilometers from Yazd in the middle of a mountain. There is a legend about this village says that “one piece of rock of this cliff open its mouth up and Nikbanu took shelter from the invasion of Arabs”. “Chak Chak” has an eternal spring, according to the legend, is still crying to commemorate the Princess Nikbanu. Markar Historical Complex helps you to know more about this unique culture, before visiting the above attractions.
3. Yazd Jameh Mosque, the most beautiful tiled mosque of 12th century with a splendid architecture and the highest minarets in the country. The other attractive point about this mosque is its eye-catching colored tiles of the façade; blue, gray and white tiles have elegantly decorated inside the long-arcaded courtyard. You can take marvelously beautiful pictures there when the sun sets. The Jame mosque is located near Yazd traditional bazar where you can go shopping in the beautifully lit, vibrant market and taste Yazdi cakes and sweets.
4. Amir Chakhmagh Square is probably the image that travelers have in mind about Yazd, it attracts every passengers’ especially at night when it is lit up and decorated. This three-storey façade is a highlight of Iranian architecture dates back to 19th century. There is also a spiral staircase that provides the most beautiful view of the city. Amirchakhmaq is a complex consist of a mosque, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, a cold-water well and a tekyeh. Beneath the complex, there is a bazaar where you can also eat a unique Persian food named Jigar Kebab (grilled liver). There is also a huge wooden palm tree used for Ashura commemorations.
5. Dowlat-Abad Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest gardens of the region owns a colossal wind-catcher, the tallest wind tower in the country which is visible from meters away. This traditional air-conditioning system invented for desert areas is the essential elements at the residential structures. The garden area covers as big as 70000 square meters and the founder of the pavilion had built a Qanat of 65 kilometers to bring water from Mehriz city.
6. Yazd Specific Handicrafts and Sweets, the best souvenirs you can bring back home. Termeh is a specialty cloth woven by hand with silk, wool and fiber. It may take the forms of fabric, sheets, panels and other shapes and used to make clothes for weddings, table cloths and floor spread sheets. Around Yazd Grand Bazaar, you will see lots of shops selling Termeh.
Sweets such as Sohan, Pashmak, Baklava and Qottab are famous sweets of the city that many visitors, Iranians or foreigners, are really interested. Haj Kalifeh Rahbar and Yazd traditional sweet (shirini sonati) are two most famous confectioneries in the city with different branches.
7. Surrounding Deserts and villages are great choices if you are a desert lover. Within 15km drive from Yazd, desert landscape is a great escape from the city noise and watching the sun set across the sand dunes would be a great ending. Here are some of the specific features and attractions close to Yazd and easily accessible.
Kharanaq village located About an hour from Yazd has a great view of an ancient village and its Jame mosque dates back to the first century AH. Fahraj is another highlight near Yazd with a lovely desert inn. Bafgh Desert is located within 2 hours drive from Yazd and is a big sand desert. Hotel Alamdar is a great option if you would like to stay the night in Bafgh.
8. Zurkhaneh, the sacred place for Persian heroic sport, is going to be a unique experience for foreigners to see athletes using wooden clubs and doing specific exercises. before entering, practitioners kneel and bless the ground. The Zoorkhaneh exercises are accompanied by rhythmic drumming and spiritual songs. Saheb Al Zaman Zurkhaneh or Panj Badgiri is a great option for visitors to experience this Persian traditional sport in a short visit, it is located in Amir Chakhmagh Square and was built on a 500-year-old water reservoir.
9. Shirkooh, located in the south part of Yazd, is one of the most famous summits of Iran central mountain chains. One-day ascent to the peak of Mount. Shirkooh (4000 meters) is possible in all seasons, although it’s going to be hard for inexperienced ones. For experts 6 to 7 hours is enough to reach the top and early spring is the best time to plan your Shirkuh mountaineering. Deh-bala is the village you need to start your hiking from, there is a hotel inside the village, Mahtab Hotel, a great option for travelers who are eager to stay the night there.
10. Henna Grinding is one of the ancient professions of Yazd related to the Iranians who did business with merchants from different neighboring countries such as Persian Gulf countries and India. Henna or Hina, a dye prepared from the plant Lawsonia inermis, is used to color hair, skin, fingernails, and etc. A few henna mills are located near the Yazd Mirror Museum where you can pay a visit.