Why not travel to Iran? The Middle East is one of the most fascinating and extraordinary travel destinations on the planet. The region offers so many ancient cities and historic monuments, all of which reflect its astonishing history. Unfortunately, some of the areas are war-torn or simply too dangerous to travel through. Yet, many of them are reasonably safe to explore, including Turkey, Jordan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, and parts of Iran and Lebanon.
The best time to travel to the Middle East is between March and May. The temperatures are comfortable and the landscapes are green, with blooming wildlife flowers. In this article, I will be highlighting a destination that is known for its dramatic landscapes and its many awe-inspiring attractions: Iran.
Iran is a vast and ancient land that contains several thousand years of history within its borders. Home to one of the oldest civilizations, the country has no shortage of sites to see. When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it boasts an impressive 19 registered cultural sites.
Safety is a common concern for Middle East travelers. With the exception of Israel, the countries of the Middle East are predominantly Muslim, and as with any other part of the world, you should dress appropriately and familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquette before you travel to Iran.
In the main, though, you are far more likely to be overwhelmed by welcome than worry. Iran is a land inhabited by various groups like the Greeks, Arab, Turkish, and Mongol occupiers, whose hospitality is no myth. Simply sitting down and interacting with the locals is such a pleasure. You can often get offered tea or invited to share a meal by the warm-hearted Iranians as a hospitable gesture.
Here are some amazing spots that you definitely don’t want to miss while visiting this lovely country.
Kish is a resort island off the coast of Hormozgan province in Iran. It is one of the most mesmerizing sites to visit when you travel to Iran, as it features some of the most arresting ancient architecture found in South-West Asia.
The Kariz underground city is a cultural tourism complex that wows the millions of visitors that visit Kish Island every year. Tunnels once used to transport water to the citizens here have now been transformed and turned into a city.
For those of you who are fond of scuba diving, the Kish Diving center is the perfect place to stop over to take in the beautiful aquatic life.
Tehran is the capital and the largest city in Iran. It serves as the country’s major economic and cultural hub. The National Museum of Iran is a must-visit, as it holds various well-preserved artifacts, monuments, and collections from ancient and medieval times.
The Chitgar Baag or Chitgar Park is an equally exquisite place located on the outskirts of Tehran that is actually an artificial forest. The park is famous for its picturesque landscapes and its beautiful lush green hills. It is a popular picnic spot for local residents.
Isfahan is a wonderful place that tourists mainly visit to learn about Iranian history and paintings. It has a lot of large city squares. One of them is the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square is surrounded by many incredible buildings and historic monuments that all add to its beauty.
Another place to check out is the Vank Cathedral, which is also known as The Church of the Saintly Sisters. There are numerous scenes from the Bible that have been carved in the stones outside the building, as well as a library with numerous handwritten books.
You can't miss Shiraz when you travel to Iran! Known for its wine, poetry, literature, and flowers, it is the oldest Persian city. One of the best attractions is the Eram Garden, a Persian garden that was built in the 13th century and is also a World Heritage Site. There is a small museum of mineralogy on the grounds. However, the garden is mostly known for its cypress trees.
There are also many beautiful mosques to visit, one of them being the majestic Nasir ol Molk Mosque or Pink Mosque, so-named because of the pink-colored tiles used in the interior. The architecture and design of this marvelous mosque will definitely leave you dazzled.
Iran is home to many delicious cuisines and different varieties of kebabs and dates. Their kebabs are truly to die for; the chelo kabab and the juje kabab are both must-tries. The cheapest, most common version of them is the kubide kabab made of minced mutton, breadcrumbs, and onion ground together.
For all the sweet-toothed travelers, Iran also produces heavenly sweet dishes. Make sure to taste the Esfahan, a rosewater–flavored nougat often paired with pistachio.
Iran bazaars are astonishing tourist attractions that will amaze tourists and travelers with their various colors, flavors, and fragrances. The origin of the term “bazaar” is linked to the ancient Persian word “Wazar”. It is defined as a place for trade with two rows of shops connected to each other by a vaulted roof.
The UNESCO-listed Tabriz Bazaar is the oldest bazaar in Iran. It is one of the best traditional bazaars, and is well known both as a place for commerce and a spot for social gatherings, religious practices, and political movements. It also consists of many sub-bazaars, like the Amir Bazaar which is dedicated to gold and jewelry, or the Mozzafarieh for carpets.
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Have you been to Iran? Do you have more places and attractions to highlight to help those looking to travel to Iran? Leave a comment below!