18 Days Iran Archeological Tour

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Duration

18 Days 17 Nights

Tour Type

Private Tour

Group Size

Min:1 - Max:15 Pax

Languages

English

Start in

Tehran

End in

Tehran

Availability

All Months

About this tour

Join us on a captivating journey through the “Iran Archeological Tour” and delve into the rich history, art, and architecture of our extraordinary country. From the multilingual inscription in Bisotun, carved into a cliff face by Darius the Great in the 5th century B.C., to the awe-inspiring ancient hydraulic system in Shushtar, this tour takes you on a mesmerizing exploration of some of Iran’s most remarkable archaeological sites.

Discover the ancient city of Susa, an important center of the Elamite, Persian, and Parthian empires, and marvel at the impressive ziggurat at Tchogha Zanbil, which dates back to 1250 BC. Explore the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great, Pasargadae, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Persian Qanat, a unique water control system.

Experience the enchanting hospitality of the Iranian people and admire the exquisite local handicrafts, including intricate carpets, fine ceramics, ornate miniatures, and spectacular metalwork. Unravel the stories behind the Persian Gardens, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and witness the breathtaking grandeur of Persepolis, an awe-inspiring testament to ancient international relations.

With expert guides providing you with fascinating insights into Iran’s rich history and culture, this tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Book your trip now and immerse yourself in the captivating world of Iran’s archaeological treasures.

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Highlights

  • The Iran Archaeology Tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's rich history and archaeological treasures, providing a unique and memorable travel experience.
  • Visit no fewer than eleven UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Visit the UNESCO-listed ancient city of Susa an archaeological site and learn about the Elamite and Persian civilizations
  • Visit the Ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil, Iran’s largest surviving ancient ziggurat and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the ruins of the ancient city of Bishapur, founded by the Sassanian king Shapur I in the 3rd century AD and impressive rock carving in Tang-e Chogan.
  • Discover the well-preserved ruins of the Achaemenid city of Pasargadae, the first capital of the Persian Empire
  • Visit the stunning Persepolis complex, one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Iran and a symbol of Persian civilization.
  • See the Zoroastrian fire temple of Yazd, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Zoroastrianism
  • Discover the rich history of the city of Isfahan, home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the Jame Mosque, and the Chehel Sotoun Palace.
  • Explore the 7,000-year-old archaeological site of Sialk, which contains the remains of a prehistoric civilization.
  • See the impressive Achaemenid rock reliefs at Bisotun, which depict the king Darius the Great and his army.
  • Visit the brilliant turquoise-brick dome sitting on the Soltaniyeh and the mysterious Takht-e Soleyman a world Heritage site.
  • Learn about the history of the ancient Persian civilization by visiting the National Museum of Iran and the National Museum of Western Iran.

Included/Excluded

  • 17 nights in 4* hotel/traditional house
  • All transportations in private vehicle
  • All airport transfers
  • Professional licensed English-speaking tour guide/driver
  • Meals: half-board
  • Daily refreshment (2 bottles of water/ fruits/ snacks)
  • Visa authorization code fee
  • Travel insurance
  • SIM card
  • International Flights
  • Visa Stamp Fee
  • Personal Expenses
  • Entrance Fees
  • Tips for the tour guide/driver

Itinerary

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

After an introductory lecture in the morning, we visit the National Archaeological Museum, which collected many Objects from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Copper, and Iron ages and 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

Today we drive to Zanjan. In the archaeology museum, we visit the mummified remains of three miners that are discovered in one of the salt mines in Zanjan. These “salt men” are in fact ancient corpses who 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

We take you to a World Heritage Site, Takht-e Soleyman (Solomon’s Throne) this morning. The holiest shrine of Zoroastrianism and the most significant relic of the former Sassanid Empire. Its temple homed one of the three great fires of Zoroastrianism, which is 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 as Takht-e Soleyman with its fire temple and Anahita temple, the small hill Zendan-e Soleyman (‘Solomon’s prison’), and Belqeis Mountain with a citadel. After lunch, we will go to Hamedan for a night’s rest.

O/N Hamedan

Today we will move toward Hamedan. This city is a strategic location and resources probably made it a popular site even before the 1st millennium B.C.E. According to Herodotus, Ecbatana was chosen as the Medes’ capital in 678 BC by Deioces, the first ruler of the Medes. His intention was to build a palace worthy of the dignity of a king. After the Median era, this city became a summer royal residence and treasury until 330 BC during the Achaemenid empire. Later, it became the capital of the Parthian and Sassanid kings and was used as a summer residence (whereas Ctesiphon was used as the winter residence. The wealth and importance of the city in the Persian Empire are attributed to its location on a crucial crossroads that made it a staging post on the main east–west highway called High Road. Hamedan is still an important city, having re-established itself under the planning of a German engineer in the 19th century. In classical times. We start our day by visiting the Hegmataneh Archeological site. Consist of Archaeological excavation and a city in a parallel and symmetrical way, a museum, and two Armenian churches. 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

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 decedents. In front of it, there is a porch with two meters wide, 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 gifts for the decedents. Depending on the shape of the rocks, this Goor Dakhma belongs to the Medes or Achaemenids era.

O/N Sahneh

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 which is located on Mount Bisotun. It was written in three different cuneiform script languages: Old Persian, Elamite, and New Babylonian. On the 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 its 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 which 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 Bostanin 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

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 visiting. On the way to Sarpol-e Zahab, we visit Taq-e Gara (Taq-e Shirin), a stone structure that belongs to the Sasanian Empire. It is built in the Patagh pass at the heights where is known as the Gate of Zagros in the Kermanshah Province of Iran. Then we continue to Qasr-e Shirin to visit another historical monument of the Sassanid era 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

Today we drive to Khoramabad, the center of Lorestan province. 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 large Anthropology and Archaeological museum on site. We continue our 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. Susa was the Administrative capital during the Achaemenid empire and it was built by the order of Dariush the Great (521-515 B.C). Across the river, visit the tomb of Daniel, said to hold the remains of the Jewish prophet, and is still a place of pilgrimage.

O/N Shushtar

We start our day tour by visiting the ancient city of Shushtar which 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 and was 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. 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 chogha 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. Later, we continue our way to Ahvaz City.

O/N Ahvaz

After breakfast, we move forward to Izeh County is named the “Petroglyph City” of Iran and today we explore this city and its surrounding. Izeh has had a significant and important role in Elamite civilization. This cultural- the natural-historical city encompasses Eshkaft Salman, Koul Farah, Khoung Azhdar, Stone Lion Cemetery, and relief of Shahsavar and many other properties dating back to 1300 to 700 years ago. Kul-e Farah petroglyph includes 6 embosses from the Elamite era (the ancient Ilam). 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. Khoung Azhdar which also is known as Khong-e Nowruzi has two opposite relief faces.

O/N Izeh

We have a full day of driving today to reach our destination of Shiraz. We cross 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

After breakfast, we start our day tour of Shiraz. 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 (a 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

We take a day trip from Shiraz to a part of the Sassanid archaeological landscape of the Fars Region to visit several Sassanid monuments; including Qaleh Dokhtar (Ardashir I Castle), on a hillside mountain slope overlooking the road, two Sasanian rock arts, including the scene of presenting the royal ring circle from by Ahura Mazda (Great God of Zoroastrian) and the victory Relief of Ardashir, the largest remained of relief in Iran. In the Ardeshir Babakan Palace, we can see the greatness of the Sassanid architecture that dazzles the eyes of every visitor that is also called Fire Temple” due to the vicinity of this palace to a water fountain called name “Ghomp Fire Temple”. the ancient town of Firouzabad is the current name of Ardeshir Khurrah (Glory of Ardashir) city. This city was the capital of Ardashir I (A.D. 224-241), the founder of the Sasanian Empire. Goor or Ardeshir Khoreh city was built in a circular plan two kilometers in diameter and encircled by double walls and state-owned buildings and the residents of countries were located there. Then we head back to Shiraz.

O/N Shiraz

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 investments 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

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 Izad Khast Castle. Izad khast 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, are the Islamic world’s most impressive mosques, the Masjid-e Sheikh Lotfollah and the Masjid-e Shah. Both of them contain magnificent architecture and tilework. 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, the Si-o-Se Pol as well as the ornate Pol-e Khaju.

O/N Isfahan

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, Tepe Sialk. consist of two hills and two cemeteries and a small museum. a wandering site for archeology enthusiasts to wonder at it. One of the oldest human settlements in the Iranian plateau from 8000- 2600 years ago. Late afternoon, we drive to Tehran.

O/N Tehran

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

Frequently asked questions

You have 2 options to book the tour: click on the book Now button and reserve your tour or send us an inquiry and we get back to you for more information. Also, if you have any questions before making your decision, contact us on WhatsApp: +98 902 017 2888, Online Chat or Email ([email protected])

Except for the visa-free countries (the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Georgia, Armenia, Venezuela, Egypt, Malaysia and China.) other nationalities need to apply for Iran visa before their trip to Iran. If you are buying a tour package from us, do not worry about it at all. We take care of your visa and it's included in your tour package.
The process is like: you send us your documents, we apply for your visa and you collect it upon arrival at the airport or any other collecting point you choose (it can be Iran embassy or consulate anywhere in the world).
For more information about Iran visa visit our blog article for Iran Visa Ultimate Guide.

It’s not compulsory, but since you need to have access to the Internet, having a SIM card will be necessary. This tour includes Special Iran Travel Deal which has a SIM card for travelers.

Yes, having travel insurance is required at passport control when you are entering Iran. This tour includes Special Iran Travel Deal which has travel insurance for travelers. For more information please read about Iran Travel Insurance.

Where to change somehow depends on the amount of money you’d like to exchange. If it’s a small amount you can change at the airport or your hotel after getting to Iran. But for larger amounts, we suggest exchanging at an exchange store in the city, while you are visiting the downtown with your guide. Your guide will also assist you in choosing the best place for doing the exchange.

Yes, To Iran Tour offers airport transfers. The distance from IKA to Tehran downtown is about 50 km and having an airport transfer will be a great solution when you just arrive in Tehran. This tour includes Special Iran Travel Deal which has airport transfers for travelers.

International credit or debit cards are not accepted in Iran, so you must bring cash and conduct frequent exchanges. However, there is a solution to this problem: the “Iran tourist Card”. You can use this prepaid debit card for tourists instead of cash. Upon request, please let our support team know so that they can prepare it for you.

According to To Iran Tour’s terms and conditions, cancellations must be made by the customer in writing to To Iran Tour before the tour departure is confirmed. Applied cancellation fees are mentioned in the cancellation box of each tour. It differs between packages and day tours as in high and low season. You can contact To Iran Tour on WhatsApp: +98 902 017 2888 or by email at [email protected] for more information.

All non-Iranian nationals older than 12 years, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a valid vaccine certificate on arrival. The vaccination certificate must be in English, showing full vaccination of 2 doses. However, there are no obligations regarding the date of the vaccination. Or they should present a negative PCR test.

Based on the group size or the road quality and the tour type, minibuses, vans or VIP buses will be used for the tour which are all private vehicles. All the vehicles are AC equipped and have the standard of EURO5 or EURO4.

Hotels are usually 4* or Traditional resorts with the same quality. Private or single rooms are not available in some traditional local houses. The basic price includes shared beds in double and twin rooms in hotels. Single rooms cost an extra fee.

Considering the locality and having an authentic experience, some traditional hotels or ecolodges do not have beds. But they all have sleeping equipment with comfortable mattresses and blankets.

Important Notes

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

Meals are not included in the package, but if you are a vegetarian or allergic to any food, let us know in advance to take the necessary measures in our arrangements with your guide.

High season (Mar-May & Sep-Oct):

You receive a full refund of the tour price if You cancel at least 45 days before the start date of your tour.
45-30 days prior to arrival: 5%
29-15 days prior to arrival: 15%
14-7 days prior to arrival: 25%
6-3 days prior to arrival: 50%
less than 72 hours prior to arrival: No show

Low season (Nov-Feb & Jun-Aug):

You receive a full refund of the tour price if You cancel at least 30 days before the start date of your tour.
29-15 days prior to arrival: 5%
14-7 days prior to arrival: 15%
6-3 days prior to arrival: 25%
less than 72 hours prior to arrival: 75%

The basic price includes shared beds in double and twin rooms in hotels. Obviously, single rooms cost an extra fee.

The priority in sightseeing may change. 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 change depending on the weather conditions.

Tour's Road Map

Bulk discount (by Percent)

Bulk discount adult
# Discount group From adult To adult Value
1 2 - 15 Pax 2 15 20%

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ToIranTour - Ardeshir Babakan Palace, Firuzabad - Shiraz - 18 Days Iran Archeological Tour
Ivy
11/02/2019

Group Traveller

As an archeology-enthusiast, this tour was a heaven for me! Although 18 days might sound so long, but by experiencing it, you even want more. Elham, our guide, was a archeology expert and the services provided by the ganecy was good. Absolutely recommend it!

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