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Essence of Persia

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Quick Overview

‘Essence of Persia’ explores three ancient capitals: Ecbatana, Susa, and Pasargadae.
It uncovers some of the fascinating highlights of this country, such as the Temple of Anahita at Kangavar (believed to date back to 200 BC), the 3rd Century building complex at Bishapur with remains of another temple dedicated to Anahita, and six outstanding Sassanian rock reliefs commemorating Emperor Shapur’s victories over the Romans.
Other major attractions include five of the outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Iran: the 5th Century BC rock relief at Bisotun accompanied by a trilingual inscription (one of the most important historical documents of ancient Persia), cut on a high cliff by Darius the Great to commemorate his victory over nine rebel kings; the world’s best preserved and architecturally unique ziggurat of the 13th Century BC – the religious complex of Tchoqa Zanbil, jointly dedicated to Lord of Susa and Lord of Anshan; the 5th Century BC palatial complex of Persepolis - a colossal stage on which the Achaemenids displayed the glories of Ancient Persia; the 6th Century BC capital of Pasargadae, from where Cyrus the Great ruled an empire that touched the boundaries of the known world; and the Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan, representing the climax of Islamic architecture of the 17th Century Persia.

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Trip Type: Custom & Private Trips
Group Size: 1-5 Travelers limit
Trip Length: 13 Days
Trip Dates:
(January 21, 2015 – February 2, 2015), (January 20, 2016 – February 1, 2016)
Trip in Detail: Tehran (2), Hamedan (1), Kermanshah (1), Ahvaz (2), Shiraz (2), Isfahan (3), Tehran (1)

Day 01. TEHRAN
Arrive in Tehran. Morning to rest in the hotel. Afternoon visit to the archaeological section of the National Museum, and the Glass and Ceramics Museum. Overnight in Tehran.

Day 02. TEHRAN
Full day city tour of Tehran includes the Carpet Museum, Golestan Palace, lunch at a local restaurant, and the Crown Jewels Museum. Overnight in Tehran.

Morning drive to Hamedan. Afternoon city tour includes Ecbatana, the Alaviyan Tomb Tower, the tomb of Esther and Mordecai, the tomb of Avicenna, Ganjnameh, and dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Hamedan.

Drive to Kermanshah. We stop en route at Kangavar to see the Temple of Anahita, then wedrive on to Bisotun, eat lunch at a local restaurant, and tour Tagh-i Bostan. Overnight in Kermanshah.

Drive to Ahvaz over and across the Zagros Mountains down to the lowlands of Khuzestan plain. En route we stop at Pol Dokhtar to see the 3rd Century Sassanian bridge. Overnight in Ahvaz.

Day 06. Excursion to SUSA
Full day excursion to Haft Teppe, Susa, including lunch at a local restaurant, the Ziggurat of Choqa Zanbil, and Shushtar. Overnight in Ahvaz.

Drive to Shiraz. En route we will visit Sarab-i Bahram and eat a picnic lunch. Then we will see Kurangoon, Bishapur, and Tang-i Chogan. Overnight in Shiraz.

Day 08. Excursion to PERSEPOLIS and PASARGADAE
Full day excursion to Persepolis, Naqsh-i Rostam, and Naqsh-i Rajab. We eat lunch at a local restaurant, and then conclude with tours of Pasargadae and Vakil Bazaar. Overnight in Shiraz.
Full day city tour to explore the main highlights of the city of Shiraz. These include the Eram Gardens, the Citadel of Karim Khan Zand, the Pars Museum, the Vakil Mosque, lunch at a local restaurant, the Nasir ol-Mulk Mosque, the Naranjestan Museum, and the tombs of Hafez and Sa’di. Evening flight to Isfahan. Overnight in Isfahan.

Full day city tour to explore the monumental capital of Safavid Persia. We have the opportunity to visit most of the main attractions of Isfahan, including the palace pavilions of Hasht Behesht and Chehel Sutun, the Shahrestan Bridge, the Khaju Bridge, and Sio-Se Pol. We will eat lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the monuments surrounding the vast Naqsh-i Jahan Square, including Ali Qapu Pavilion, the Shaikh Lutfollah Mosque, the Abbasi Mosque, and the monumental entrance to Qayssarieh Bazaar. Overnight in Isfahan.

Half day city tour of Isfahan to see the great 12th Century Jami‘ Mosque of Isfahan, then on to the Armenian Quarter to visit Vank Cathedral, eat lunch at a local restaurant, and enjoy the rest of the day at Naqsh-i Jahan Square for shopping and dinner at a traditional restaurant. Overnight in Isfahan.

Drive to Tehran via Natanz to see its monumental portal to a Sufi shrine complex of the 13th Century and the 14th Century Jami‘ Mosque of Natanz. In Kashan visit Tabatabai’s House and Borujerdi’s House, drive past Teppe Sialk, eat lunch at a local restaurant, and see the Fin Gardens. Drive on to Tehran with a tea break en route and a photo stop at the Imam Khomeini Mausoleum. Overnight in Tehran.

Day 13. TEHRAN
Return flight to home.

Price includes:
- Iran visa authorization
- All domestic flights within Iran
- All hotel accommodations in deluxe or best-available hotels based on double-occupancy
- All land transportations in A/C sedan or van
- All group transfers to/from airport, from/to hotel
- Highly-qualified English-speaking guide
- Meals (B,L,D), breakfast at hotels, lunch and dinner at best available local restaurants, or hotels (with the exception of alcohol and caviar)
- All tours, sightseeing, portages and entrance fees for main sites and excursions
- Gratuities to local guides and drivers, porters, and other staff
Price does not include:
- Round trip international airfare
- Visa and processing fee
- Personal expenses such as room service, telephone/fax calls, laundry, dry cleaning, etc.
- Optional tours or entrance fees not shown on the itinerary
- Refreshments, snacks, en-route or during meals, caviar at any meals
- Trip insurance, baggage loss insurance, trip cancellation, travel delay, and charge - incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of us
- Trip Price based on double occupancy for the single supplement fee/single occupancy, please add $1,800
NOTE: You will probably have to leave your home country on the previous day to arrive in the early morning on the first day. If flight arrives earlier or later than the rest of the group, private transfers are $75 per transfer. Extra nights at the hotel in Tehran for early arrival or late departure are $110 per person sharing a double room and $165 for a single room.

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