Yazd Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran.
It is in the centre of the country, and its administrative center is the city of Yazd.
In 2014, it was placed in Region 5.
The desert city of Yazd is as picturesque as Middle Eastern cities come.
Its well-preserved mud brick old town, distinctive badgirs, or wind-catchers, dotted around the skyline,
and numerous historical sites make it a necessary destination for any tourist visiting Iran.
Masjid-e Jame (Friday Mosque), dating back to the fourteenth century, is well worth a visit.
It is an example of finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its minarets are the highest in the country.
Admire it at night when it is lit up.
Atashkadeh is the Zoroastrian fire temple.
The fire on the inside has supposedly been burning since 470 AD.
Entrance is 80.000 rials [Jan 2017], visiting hours 8.00-11.45 and 16.00-19.00.
Yazd Tower of silence (Zoroastrian’s Dakhmeh) – the name tower is misleading as they consist of huge circular walls on top of two hills, within those the dead were left to be picked clean by the vultures.
This is done in accordance with Zoroastrian belief. However, the towers are not in use anymore and open to the public. A quiet, serene place.
The modern Zoroastrian cemetery is just there as well. Entrance for those who can’t pass as Iranian: 150.000 rial [Sep 2017].
To get there using public transport, you can take the bus going south on Imam Khomeini from the bus stop across the street of Amir Chakhmaq Complex.
Get down on the last stop, end of the line at an interchange terminal,
and then from there ask people for another bus going to “Dakhme” (pronounced like German “Dach”), might need to wait a bit and be sure that the people will tell the bus driver to drop you on the correct bus stop, bus tickets should be 5.000 rial each [Sep 2017].
Once you are off the bus, it’s a corner of a 4-way intersection and you go right, you will see the towers, its a 10-minute walk [Sep 2017].
One option is bus line 436 (Farsi numerals only); you should get off at the intersection just south of Yazd university, then walk west, towards the mountains.
Yazd Water Museum lots of interesting information about the Canat water distribution system.
Entrance fee 150.000 rial [Jan 2017]. Visiting time 8.00-19.30.
Yazd Market Square’s ClockThe cistern of Fatemeh-ye-GolshanAmir Chakhmakh complex, a breathtaking construction and a must-see. Visitors can climb to the top.
Not possible most of the time Amir Chakmakh mosque, not to be confused with the complex of the same name, but nearby and easily visited when visiting the more famous complex.
Hazireh mosquewater reservoir with its four badgirs (wind towers)Khan-e-Lari, a historical houseAlexanders prison, which was neither built by Alexander the Great nor a prison,
but a 15th-century domed school which is quite an interesting sight with a cafe in the ‘prison room’.
Often guides tell you the deep well in the middle of its courtyard was built by Alexander the Great and was used as a dungeon, but this seems doubtful. Entrance fee 150.000 rials [Jan 2017].
Not worth the money – just a shopping center.
Tomb of the 12 imams which dates back to the early 11th century, has inscriptions inside bear the names of the twelve Shiite Imams, though none are actually buried here. It is now badly deteriorated.
With an abundance of fountains, cypress trees, and pomegranates, the Bagh-e Dowlatabad can be said to capture the quintessence of the Persian garden.
The 18th-century residence offers an abundance of shade and some beautiful buildings, attracting tourists all year round.
The 33-metre central badgir, as well as the kaleidoscopic array of stained-glass windows, make for a magically idiosyncratic aesthetic, the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere or soon forget.
Out in the desert, about 70 kilometres from Yazd, is Iran’s most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage site, Chak Chak.
A tiny cliff-side village, according to legend the rock face opened up and offered refuge to Nikbanu, the daughter of the last pre-Islamic ruler, from the encroaching Arab invaders.
The temple of Chak Chak, which is the Persian for ‘drip drip,’ contains an ever-dripping spring, said to be the mountain weeping in remembrance of Princess Nikbanu.
Address: Ardakan, Yazd
Zoroastrianism, an ancient monotheistic religion that dates back to around 3500 years ago, was the principal religion in Iran before the Islamic conquests, and the community still lives on in some parts of the country.
Yazd is the centre of Zoroastrianism in Iran, and is home to several sites of religious and historic interest. The Ateshkadeh, or Fire Temple,
is the most important, containing a central fire that has allegedly been burning since the 5th century A.D.
Address: Mosala Street, Yazd
This popular Zurkhaneh (which literally translates to House of Strength) resides in a historic building on the northern side of Amir Chakhmaq Square.
Often open to tourists, not only can you observe practitioners of this curious dancing-cum-weightlifting activity that is steeped in Shi’ite mysticism,
but also investigate the 15th-century water tank housed beneath the building,
and experience the cooling effects of Yazdi badgirs (wind-catchers) first-hand.
Yazd’s architectural centrepiece, the Amir Chakhmaq complex is located in the heart of the city, in a square of the same name. The imposing three-storey façade flaunts a number of beautifully symmetrical iwans, which light up and glow after sunset.
It is one of the largest hosseiniehs in the country (buildings used in the commemorative ceremonies for Imam Hossein’s death),
and dates back to the 15th century, although it has undergone numerous renovations. The surrounding square has a number of good sweet and ice cream shops.
Address: Amir Chakhmaq Square, Yazd
The Malek-o Tojjar Hotel is Yazd’s premier example of a traditional Qajar-era home, and provides a memorable setting in which to dine.
Converted to the highest of standards, the 19th century residence boasts an impressive central courtyard restaurant.
You can soak up your surroundings lounging on carpeted and cushioned platforms, often shaded by a canopy during the scorching summer months.
The food is hearty and the service top-notch. Located just off the main bazaar, the Malek-o Tojjar is as convenient as it is pleasant.
Located right in the old town, the underground restaurant-teahouse of Hammam-e Khan, a converted traditional bathhouse, rewards those who manage to locate it within the warren-like streets (watch out for signs).
Offering an excellent range of classic Iranian fare (the dizi, a lamb, chickpea, and potato soup, is especially good), the restaurant is cosy, cool, and relaxing.
Whilst the echoing chambers and turquoise and white tile work exude a slight swimming pool vibe, the arched and vaulted ceilings are delightful. Prices can be a little steep, but are worth it.
About 30-minutes drive from Yazd city centre is the small town of Taft.
One of its highlights is the 12,000 square meters of the Sadri Garden (bagh-e sadr), which is home to a wonderful 19th century Qajar residency turned restaurant.
Standard Iranian fare is on offer and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Taft.
Taft, Yazd, Iran