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18 Days Iran Archeological Tour

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18 Days & 17 Nights
Availability : All Month
Tehran
Tehran
Min Age : 15+
Max People : 15
Iran Archeology Tour Details

Join us in “Iran Archeological Tour” and learn about the archaeology, architecture, and the art of our fascinating country. Iran is home to some truly amazing sights and sites:

Bisotun, where an enormous multilingual inscription was carved into a cliff face by Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C.; the Biblical city of Susa; the ziggurat at Tchogha Zanbil, built about 1250 BC; Shushtar’s 2,500-year-old Hydraulic System;  Pasargadae, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great; The Persian Qanat, a unique water control system; several of The Persian Gardens; Persepolis, an amazing testament to ancient international relations; Isfahan’s Jameh Mosque and Naqsh-e Jahan Square; and the many attractions in remote areas ensure that your eye is as engaged as your mind is when learning their stories.

Experience interacting with local people, admire intricate carpets, fine ceramics, ornate miniatures, and spectacular metal work and immerse yourself in the traditions to be found here.

Highlights of Iran Archeology Tour
  • Discover the majesty of Iran’s long-passed empires, early modern dynasties, and timeless scenery
  • Visit no fewer than eleven UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • The Classical City of Hamadan
  • Susa, the ancient Elamite capital
  • Tchogha Zanbil, a vast Ziggurat of ancient Mesopotamia
  • Explore the beauty and glory of Persian garden structure
  • Ancient heritage and sublime stone carvings of Persepolis
  • Visit the ancient site of Pasargadae
  • The palaces, mosques & plazas of Isfahan

Tour Code

OT4118001

Best Time to Visit

All Months

Physical Rating

■ ■ □ □ □

Accommodation grade

3* or 4* Hotels/ Traditional House/ Eco-lodge

Transportation

A.C Minibus / Van / Private car

Included Meals

18 Breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners
2 bottles of water/fruits/snacks per day

Price Includes

  • 17 Nights Hotel or Guest House Accommodation
  • Professional Licensed Guide (Expert archeologist) and Drivers
  • All Transfers and Transportation
  • Meals: B&B

Price Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Visa Stamp/ Label Fee
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Tips to Local Guides and Drivers
  • Entrance Fees
  • Room Service Fees
  • Food Meals: Meals other than those listed in the included service

Important Hints

Accommodation

Hotel check-in time generally is at 2:00 PM. So, according to your arrival time, if you need early check-in you must book an extra day.
The price includes double and twin rooms in Hotels. Obviously, single rooms cost an extra fee.
Private or single rooms are not available in some traditional local houses. No Bed, but sleeping equipment is traditional comfortable Mattresses and Blankets.

Transportation

Use Minibus / Van / Private car depending on your group size

Meals

The number of meals depending on your arrival and departure time may be changed.
Vegetarian dishes are also possible upon request.

Other Notes

The priority in sightseeing may be changed. It is due to the time of your arrival, your guide’s discretion, and official and unofficial holidays of some museums. Also, some activities in the itinerary may be changed depending on the weather conditions.
There is a guide assistant in addition to the tour guide for 16 pax and more.

Itinerary
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18

Landing to Persia (Tehran)

Welcome to Iran. You will Arrival at Tehran’s IKA airport; meet your guide and transfer to the hotel for the rest. In the afternoon, after an introductory lecture, we visit the Reza Abbasi Museum and Nature bridge of Tehran.

O/N Tehran 

Reza Abbasi Museum - by Ninara /Flickr Tabiat Bridge, Tehran - To Iran Tour - Persia Classic tour

Tehran

After an introductory lecture in the morning, we visit the National Archaeological Museum, which collected many famous sculptures of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sasanian Empires. Then we enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Golestan Palace*, part of a complex of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s historic arg, or citadel. The oldest of the historical monuments in Tehran, this opulent palace dates back to the Qajar Dynasty.

O/N Tehran

Iran National Archaeological Museum - by Tony Rocha /Flickr Iran, Tehran, Golestan Palace - To Iran Tour - Persia Classic Tour

Zanjan – Takab

Today we drive to Zanjan. In the archaeology museum, we visit the mummified remains of five miners that are discovered in one of the salt mines in Zanjan. These “salt men” are in fact ancient corpses had been killed in a mining accident and mummified under extreme conditions. It is a disaster for the victims, but a sensation for modern archaeology.

After that, we visit the mausoleum of Uljaitu Khodabandeh, known as the Soltanieh Dome and noted in the UNESCO list as an architectural masterpiece of its period. This brilliant turquoise-brick dome sitting on the plains of Soltaniyeh is a vivid remnant of land once ruled by the Mongols. This unique 700-year-old brick dome is the first double-shelled dome in the world sitting on an octagonal base surrounded by eight minarets and iwans. Then we will continue to Takab and check in to our hotel.

O/N Takab

Saltmen in Zanjan - by Freek Geldof /Flickr Iran Silk Road Tour

Takab, The mysterious Takht-e Soleyman

This morning we take you a World Heritage Site, Takht-e Soleyman* (Solomon’s Throne). The holiest shrine of Zoroastrianism and the most important relic of the former Sassanid Empire. Its temple homed one of the three great fires of Zoroastrianism, which believed to have existed since the start of time.

This archaeological site dates back to the 6th century. It was partially rebuilt during the Ilkhanid period and they added new constructions to it and reused the site as a palace. Folk fiction relates that King Solomon used to imprison monsters inside the crater of the nearby Zendan-e Soleyman “Prison of Solomon”.

Another crater inside Zendan-e Soleyman is filled with spring water and Solomon is said to have created a flowing pond that still exists today. The site officially comprises one location, but there are some sub-locations such Takht-e Soleyman with its fire temple and Anahita temple, the small hill Zendan-e Soleyman (‘Solomon’s prison’), the archaeological mound Tappeh Majid and Belqeis Mountain with a citadel.

O/N Takab

Takht-e Soleyman - by Els Slots /Flickr Takht-e Soleyman, Takab - by Ian Painter

Hamedan

Today we will move toward Hamedan. It was the summer capital for the Achaemenid kings in the 5th century BC. Hamedan then finally collapsed after the Arab invasion at the end of the 7th century AD. Today, Hamedan is still an important city, having re-established itself under the planning of a German engineer in the 19th century.

In classical times, Hamedan was known as ‘Ecbatana’ or ‘Hegmataneh’ and held a legendary reputation. Hegmatane Archeological Palace structure is from the times of the ‘Medes’. It was built along with a grid system and even a sewerage system. The city walls were allegedly composed of seven layers, enclosing two walls lined with gold and silver in the center. Houses boasted wind towers (Badgirs) similar to those at Yazd today as well as clay ovens.

The next fascinating step will be Gonbad-e Alavian (or Alavian Mosque) which is a four-sided interesting 12th-century mausoleum belonging to the late Seljuk period. Alavian Mosque resembles the Gonbad-e Sorkh of Maragheh from the exterior side. Then visit one of the beautiful sightseeing is called Esther and Mordecai Tomb. This is the tomb of Esther, the wife of Xerxes of Iran and Mordecai (Mord Khay) was her uncle. Its structure has been constructed of brick and stone about 11 centuries ago, in order to respect these two personalities. This vicinity is a place for pilgrimage of the Jewish sect and is also held in regard to the Moslems.

Our next site to visit is the Stone Lion. It seems that this statue dates back to Alexander the Great’s invasion of Iran in the Hellenistic period. With its Grecian style, the stone lion is believed to have been built by Alexander in honor of his close companion and one of his top generals, Hephaestion. The last place is Ganjnameh Inscriptions. These inscriptions are a set of trilingual rock carvings in cuneiform engraved on the mountain by Darius I and his son, Xerxes of the Achaemenian era.

O/N Hamedan

Hegmataneh Archeological Site, Hamedan - To Iran tour Tomb of Esther and Mordechai

Hamedan – Kangavar

Today we will drive to Tepe Nushijan, an ancient Iron age settlement. This site is truly an awe-inspiring ruin and will have you all surprised. It is a mud-brick complex that has been excavated by the French on top of a huge mound in the middle of a flat plain about 60 kilometers south of Hamedan. It is said that it belongs to the ‘Medes’.

We will go to an exciting site to explore it. The Anahita Temple is the name of two archaeological sites in Iran that is belonged to the ancient deity, Anahita who is associated mostly with wisdom, fertility, and healing. The one we are going to visit today is the larger one and it is located in Kangavar. Anahita was worshipped in ancient Persia alongside Ahura-Mazda, the supreme creator goddess in Zoroastrian religious practice. The temple still contains remnants of some fascinating Irano-Roman mosaics.

From here we will drive a couple of miles to Darband Goor Dakhma. Goor Dakhmas were cemeteries that were dug into the mountains and cliffs. They had a chamber used as a burial place for one or more decedent.

In front of it, there is a porch with two meters width, which has stone columns and a winged sun image above it. There are platforms where the grave is embedded inside it and also places to put up the gifts for the decedents. Depending on the shape of the rocks, this Goor Dakhma belongs to the Medes or Achaemenids era.

O/N Sahneh

Anahita Temple in Kangavar - by Carole Raddato /Flickr Anahita Temple in Kangavar - by Ning Yu Pao /Flickr

Kermanshah

We will proceed to Kermanshah, one of the ancient cities of Iran which used to be an important station on the Silk Road.

On our way, we will visit the Trilingual inscription of Bisotun* that is located on Mount Bisotun. It was written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian.

In Kermanshah city tour, We will go to one of the historical and impressive buildings known as Tekyeh Biglarbeygi. This Tekyeh was built during the Qajar era and its construction is well known for unique mirror decoration. Nowadays it is used as a museum. A part of it is a museum of inscriptions and scripts and the other part is the Zagros Paleolithic museum that is the Middle East’s first museum showcasing antiquities belonging to the Paleolithic era. The museum contains a large collection of stone tools and animal fossil bones from various Paleolithic sites in Iran.

We will end our day exploring the Sassanian Bas-relief at Taq-e Bostan in the heart of the Zagros mountains. The carvings mostly depict a series of royal hunting scenes and victories of Sassanian Kings. What is most interesting is that these carvings have endured hundreds of years of strong winds and rain and yet they are still firmly standing.

O/N Kermanshah

Statue of Hercules, Bisotun, Kermanshah - by AlGraChe - Flickr Taq-e Bostan - by Carole Raddato /Flickr

Kermanshah

We travel to the north of Kermanshah, close to Sarpol-e Zahab to visit a rock relief from the third millennium BC. The Anubanini petroglyph is believed to belong to the Lullubi culture. Although it was damaged during the Iran-Iraq war, it is worth to visit.

On the way to Sarpol-e Zahab, we visit Taq-e Gara (Taq-e Shirin), a stone structure which belongs to the Sasanian Empire. It is built in the Patagh pass in the heights where is known as the Gate of Zagros in Kermanshah Province of Iran.

Then we continue to Qasr-e Shirin to visit another historical monument of the Sassanid era is called Chahar Qapi fire temple. It was constructed of stone and gypsum and was counted as one of the largest five temples of the Sassanid period. After that, we come back to Kermanshah.

O/N Kermanshah

King Anubanini's rock relief at Sarpol-e Zahab, Kermanshah - by dynamosquito /Flickr Taq-e Gara (Shirin), Kermanshah - by Koorosh Nozad Tehrani /Flickr

Ilam – Khorramabad

Today we drive to Khoramabad, the center of Lorestan province. Along the way, we visit the remains of the two Sasanian bridges. One of them, Gavmishan bridge on the Simreh river. Another bridge called Pol-e Dokhtar. It is huge and nearly 900 feet long which is rising 90 feet above water level and with eight arches needed to cover the Kashkan river. The bridge was located on a royal road that connected Istakhr city to Bishapur, and from there into Mesopotamian cities such as Ctesiphon and Hatra.

In the end, we visit Falak-ol Aflak Castle in Khorramabad was built by Shapour I in the 3rd century B.C. Originally as a fortified caravanserai, first a town, and later a city, grew up around it. There is also a small museum on site.

O/N Khorramabad

Falak-ol Aflak Castle - by Ninara /Flickr Gavmishan Bridge, Ilam & Lorestan - by Sana Mosafaei

Shush – Tchogha Zanbil

We start our day tour by visiting Shush or Susa*. Archaeologists have traced signs of life at Susa as far back as 7000 BC, but the first settlements were probably established around 4000 BC. Dating back to around 6000 BC, Susa was one of the great ancient cities of Iran and an important Elamite center until it was destroyed by the Assyrians in the 7th century B.C.

Across the river, visit the Tomb of Daniel, said to hold the remains of the Jewish prophet, and still a place of pilgrimage. Our next site is Haft Tepe, the site of an ancient city built about 3,500 years ago and an imposing feature rising about the surrounding plain.

We continue to Tchogha Zanbil*, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is one of the few remaining ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia. Distinctive construction techniques and elaborate glass-based materials were used for this great structure. From here we drive a couple of miles to the ancient city of Shushtar where is popular for watermills.

The historical hydraulic system* can be traced back to Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C. One of them is still functioning, were used to grind wheat and barley. They were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list in 2009 and described as ‘a masterpiece of creative genius’. Later, we continue our way to Izeh city.

O/N Izeh

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System - by CortoMaltese_1999 /Flickr Ancient city of Susa - Tomb of Daniel - by CortoMaltese_1999 /Flickr

Izeh, the Petroglyph City

Izeh county is named the “Petroglyph city” of Iran and today we explore this city and its surrounding. Izeh has had a major and important role in Elamite civilization. This cultural-natural-historical city encompasses Eshkaft Salman, Koul Farah, Khoung Azhdar and many other properties dating back to 1300 to 700 years ago.

Kul-e Farah petroglyph includes 6 embossing from the Elamite era (the ancient Ilam) and according to the pictures on these petroglyphs and reliefs such as tombs, water channels, buildings and scouting areas remaining from people of that era, it can be stated that this place has been the temple of Narsina (one of the Elamite gods).

Eshkaft-e Salman (Tarisha Temple) has embraced the greatest cuneiform script of modern Ilam. Eshkaft-e Salman includes four embossing from the Elamite era and remains of a building of Atabakan. Apart from inscriptions, this area includes a mineral spring and cave from the heart of a mountain.

O/N Izeh

Kul-e Farah, Izeh, Khuzestan - by dynamosquito /Flickr Eshkaft Salman (Tarisha Temple), Archaelogical site of Iran - by dynamosquito /Flickr

Bishapur – Shiraz

We have a full day driving today to reach our destination of Shiraz. We cross of Khuzestan province and the tribal areas of Mamasani and Boyer-Ahmadi. At Bishapur, we explore the remains of the city of King Shapur I and six important rock carvings at nearby Tang-e Chogan.

The temple at Shapur’s palace has been identified by several archaeologists as sacred to Anahita, the Zoroastrian goddess associated with the waters. Bishapour was situated on the ancient road between Persis and Elam. The road linked the Sassanid capitals Istakhr (very close to Persepolis) and Ctesiphon. We are in Shiraz for 2 nights.

O/N Shiraz

Shapur Palace in Bishapur - by youngrobv /Flickr Tang-e Chogan, Bishapur - by Carole Raddato /Flickr

Shiraz

After breakfast, we start our day tour of Shiraz. At first, we begin in Eram Garden*, with its beautiful cypress-lined avenues leading to an elegant summer palace. After that, you will visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque (aka Pink Mosque) few steps far from Vakil Bazaar.

Then you’ll have time to explore and shop in the bustling Vakil Bazaar, home to hundreds of stores, beautiful courtyards, and even an ancient caravanserai. Then we visit Shahcheragh Holly Shrine and feel the intimate atmosphere of this place. Look up at the Shirazi dome to see the full capacity of the artwork. At the end of the day, visit the tomb of Hafez, Iran’s greatest lyric poet.

O/N Shiraz

Fars, Iran destinatins - To Iran Tour - Persia Classic Tour Iran's UNESCO World Heritage sites in Persia classic tour!

Shiraz – Firuzabad

We take a day trip from Shiraz to Firuzabad to visit several Sassanid monuments; including the ancient town of Gor, Ardeshir Babakan Palace, Ghaleh Dokhtar (The Maiden Castle), and two Sasanian rock arts. Firuzabad is the current name of Ardeshir Khoreh (Glory of Ardashir) city. This city was the capital of Ardashir I (A.D. 224-241), founder of the Sasanian Empire. Gor city was built in a circular plan two kilometers in diameter and encircled by double walls, but so far, the scientific excavation has not been done in this city.

In the Palace of Ardeshir Babakan, we can see the greatness of the Sassanid architecture that dazzles the eyes of every visitor. There is also a fire temple next to the palace. Then we head back to Shiraz.

O/N Shiraz

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape - Qaleh Dokhtar, Firuz Abad - by Alex Newman /Flickr Ardeshir Babakan Palace, Firuzabad - by Koorosh Nozad Tehrani /Flickr

Shiraz – Pasargadae

We visit Persepolis*, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings that tells the story of the Achaemenid Empire’s magnificence and grandeur. Here, we walk through a complex of palaces and temples that is said to be one of the most spectacular surviving archaeological sites in the world and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Nearby, we visit Naqsh-e Rajab, a magnificent archaeological site dating back to the early Sassanid era. This site is located near the ruins of the ancient Achaemenid city of Istakhr. It is the site of four limestone rockface inscriptions and bas-reliefs that feature the investitures of Ardeshir I and Shapur I, as well as Shapur’s military victory over the Romans.

After that, we visit the ancient Achaemenid city of Istakhr. The importance of Istakhr is not only for its close association with Persepolis, but also commanded the western end of an ancient caravan-route that ran from the Indus Valley via Kandahar and Drangiana to Persia.

Then visit Naqsh-e Rostam, where we find the carved tombs of Achaemenid rulers Darius the Great, Xerxes, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II.

From here we will drive a couple of miles to another UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pasargadae* to see the impressive, elevated Tomb of Cyrus and to walk through the different sections of the ancient city: the Residential Palace, the Audience Hall, and the Gatehouse.

O/N Pasargadae

Persepolis, Fars - Persia Classic Tour Pasargadae, Shiraz - by Stefanos Zachariadis /Flickr

Isfahan, Half of the World

Drive this morning to Isfahan. Iranians say that their lovely city is “half the world”. On our way, we have one stop to visit the old Izadkhast castle. Izadkhast fortress city is built on a singular bedrock and once was a part of the Silk Road in the Sassanid era. The fire temple of Izad Khast Castle is the first fire temple in Iran which was turned into a mosque by the advent of Islam to Iran. This castle is very similar to Arg-e Bam in Kerman. It is noteworthy that this ancient castle is the first adobe castle in the world in terms of history and it is the second adobe building in the world after Arg-e Bam in terms of extent.

Upon arrival in Isfahan, check-in to the hotel, then we start the city tour by visiting Naqsh-e Jahan Square*, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This enormous open plaza is framed by a wall of arches and surrounded by four jewels of 17th-century architecture, symbolizing the political, economic, and religious spheres of Safavid Persia. Two of these monuments that we visit, is the Islamic world’s most impressive mosques, the Masjid-e Sheikh Lotfollah* and the Masjid-e Shah*. Both of them contain magnificent architecture and tile-work.

Then we walk through the Ali Qapu Palace* with its enchanting music room and balcony overlooking the Meidan where the Safavid kings sat to watch polo matches. We finish our day in the Qeisarieh Bazaar, located just off the Meidan. Isfahan is said to have the most beautiful bridges. Time permitting, you can view two of them, Si-o-Se Pol as well as the ornate Pol-e Khaju.

O/N Isfahan

Izadkhahst Castle, Shiraz - by katherine hay /Flickr Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Kashan – Tehran

Before leaving Isfahan, we visit the magnificent Jameh Mosque* with its famous Uljaitu Mihrab of the IlKhanid Period and with UNESCO World Heritage status. There are nine gardens in Iran designated UNESCO World Heritage, and we visit two today – Chehel Sotun Palace*, a pavilion constructed as a reception hall for visiting dignitaries by Shah Abbas II.

Leaving lovely Isfahan behind, we travel north to Kashan to walk through the famous Fin Gardens*, another one of the UNESCO Persian Gardens.

We end our day in Kashan by visiting a large ancient archeological site in central Iran, Tappeh Sialk. Tappeh Sialk is a wondering site for archeology enthusiasts to wonder at it. It is the oldest of four ziggurats in Iran constructed by the Elamite civilization. Late afternoon, we drive to Tehran.

O/N Tehran

Jame Mosque of Isfahan, Iran Tappeh Sialk - by Ninara /Flickr

Missing Persia

At the end of the tour, the group will be transferred to the IKA airport for departure flight.

Note: All sites with * sign are submitted in UNESCO World Heritage.

To find out more Iran's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, read this article

Want to read it later?

Download this tour’s PDF brochure and start tour planning offline
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