Susa: 16 Day Tour of Iran
April 9 – 24, 2018
Join us on one of our popular tours of Iran! This itinerary takes us through the western region of Iran to visit Hamadan, (final resting place of Avicenna, the father of modern medical philosophy – he wrote The Book of Healing – a philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, and The Canon of Medicine – a medical encyclopedia), Kermanshah, a mountain city with gorgeous detailed Sassanian rock reliefs, Choga Zanbil, and Susa, an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. We will also visit Persepolis, and the sites of Shiraz, Isfahan, and Yazd before returning to Tehran.
Our groups are small – maximum of 16 people only, and we use only the most knowledgeable guides in the country. We know Iran and have been taking groups there for over 15 years, and we can show you the best it has to offer!
Price: $5600 per person, double occupancy, minimum 6 people, maximum 16
Day 1/Apr 9: ARRIVAL TEHRAN
Welcome to Iran! On arrival you will be transferred to the hotel in Tehran for overnight. (Rooms are booked for evening arrival, if you arrive earlier you may be charged for an extra day at the hotel)
Day 2/Apr 10: TEHRAN
Today spend a full day visiting the beautiful Golestan Palace complex and museum, and the famous Crown Jewels Collection. The Golestan Palace is a former royal Qajar complex consisting of 17 structures including palaces, museums, and halls. Almost all of this complex was built during the 200 years of the rule of the Qajarian kings. These palaces were used for many different occasions such as coronation and other important celebrations. The Crown Jewels collection is located in a special vault in the National Bank. On display at the State Jewels Museum is an impressive collection of some of the most famous and spectacular jewels in the world including many priceless pieces. Many pieces have disappeared over the years but the remaining collection of gemstones, jewelry, royal emblems, ornamental guns and jewel-encrusted furniture is still impressive. The majority of the items on display were given to Safavid kings as gifts but many pieces taken by Nader Shah on his conquest of India are also exhibited. These include the Darya-e Nur diamond, The Peacock Throne and the Jeweled Globe. Other pieces include the crowns of the Qajar and Pahlavi Kings. Overnight in Tehran.
Day 3/ Apr 11: TEHRAN-HAMADAN
Drive to Hamadan and start sightseeing with visits to the Tomb of Esther and Mordecai, a major Jewish pilgrimage center, the 12th century Alavyan Tomb Tower, the Tomb of Avicenna (died in 1034), Iran’s celebrated philosopher/scientist/physician; finishing with a visit to Ganjnameh, the cuneiform inscriptions by Darius I, and his son Xerxes, carved on the mountain face near a wintertime ski resort. Overnight stay in Hamadan.
Day 4/Apr 12: HAMADAN-KERMANSHAH
This morning we will drive to Kermanshah, en-route visit Anahita Temple, which has been attributed to the ancient deity Anahita. Aredvi Sura Anahita is the Avestan language name of an Indo-Iranian cosmological figure, venerated as the divinity of ‘the Waters’ (Aban) and associated with fertility, healing and wisdom. Aredvi Sura Anahita is Ardwisur Anahid or Nahid in Middle- and Modern Persian, Anahit in Armenian. The Greek and Roman historians of classical antiquity refer to her either as Anaïtis or identified her with one of the divinities from their own pantheons. Continue on to Bisotun. Bisotun is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. Our next stop will be at Tagh-e-Bostan to see the Sassanid rock carvings showing Khasrow II, dating from the 4th century AD. Continue to Kermanshah for dinner and overnight.
Day 5/Apr 13: KERMANSHAH-AHWAZ
After breakfast we will drive to Ahwaz, en-route stopping at Pol-e-Dokhtar, to see the remains of the Sassanian Bridge. Continue on to the western city of Ahwaz for dinner and overnight.
Day 6/Apr 14: AHWAZ/EXCURSION TO CHOGHA ZANBIL & SUSA
This morning we depart for a full day excursion to Chogha Zanbil temple complex and ziggurat and then on to the Haft-Tappeh Museum. We will also visit the ancient site of Susa. Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region and indeed the world, and the first traces of an inhabited village have been dated to approximately 7000 BCE. Evidence of a painted-pottery civilization has been dated to about 5000 BCE. In historic times, Susa was the primary capital of the Elamite Empire. We will visit the sites here including the Palace of Darius, known for the winged sphinx carvings. Continue to Shushtar where we will see the bazaar, mosque, caravanserais, and the historic falls. Return to Ahwaz for overnight.
Day 7/Apr 15: AHWAZ-SHIRAZ
Drive to Shiraz, en-route visit Bishapur, remains of the Sassanian city built by Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.), the second Sassanian king. The building complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard which had been covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the Goddess of Water and Fertility; on either side of a narrow gorge, there are also six Sassanian rock-reliefs at Tang-e-Chogan, commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries. Overnight in Shiraz.
Day 8/Apr 16: SHIRAZ
Full day city tour of Shiraz to visit some of the famous gardens of this city of “roses and nightingales”, including the Eram Garden, the tomb of Iran’s greatest lyric poets, Hafez and Sa’adi; the pink tiled 19th-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, the Arg-e-Karim Khan (18th-century citadel), the Madrassa Khan (Theological School), to have interaction with teachers and students, the Qajar-period Narenjestan Garden/House, the Vakil Bazaar of Shiraz (Bazaar is closed on Fridays), and the Holy Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh (not open to non-Moslems and can only be seen from outside). Overnight in Shiraz.
Day 9/Apr 17: SHIRAZ/EXCURSION TO PERSEPOLIS, NAGHSH-E-ROSTAM
After breakfast we depart for a full day excursion to Persepolis, the extensive remains of the palaces of the Achaemenid kings Darius I, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and with magnificent bas-reliefs. After that we visit Naghsh-e-Rostam, site of an Achaemenid-period fire-temple and sanctuary, four Royal Tombs and eight Sassanian rock-reliefs including the impressive victory scene of Shapur I over Roman Emperor Valerian. After visiting the site return to Shiraz for dinner and overnight.
Day 10/Apr 18: SHIRAZ-YAZD VIA PASARGADAE
After breakfast we depart for Yazd. Our first stop along the way is the site of Pasargadae. Pasargadae is the site of the simple, but impressive, tomb of Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian Empire), and the remains of his palaces. We will have some more stops along the way, and then when we arrive in Yazd we will have some sightseeing before dinner. Overnight in Yazd.
Day 11/Apr 19: YAZD-ISFAHAN
Half day visits in Yazd, the center for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, to include the active Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for more than a thousand year; the Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.) with the highest portal and minarets in Iran, and walk through the old Fahadan area; and also visit the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th century hexagonal house; afternoon drive to Isfahan, en-route visit the charming desert town of Na’in, half way between Yazd and Isfahan, to visit the 10th century Friday Mosque, and the 17th century Pirnia House/Ethnographic Museum (closed on Mondays); with a walk through the old part of the town. Continue the drive to Isfahan for overnight.
Day 12/Apr 20: ISFAHAN
Full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources, to visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou, and Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter with several churches, including the important Cathedral of Vank; in the afternoon visit one of the world’s grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan, with several sites (the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games, and two of Islamic world’s greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam – with magnificent architecture and tilework), finishing with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous (Bazaar is closed on Fridays). Overnight in Isfahan.
Day 13/Apr 21: ISFAHAN
Another full day sightseeing in Isfahan to include the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) of the Il-Khanid period. The Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world’s greatest mosques. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century; its twenty wooden columns reflected in the surface of the pool give rise to its name ‘The Palace of Forty Columns’. Final stop of the day is at the Hasht Behesht pavilion built in 1670 by Shah Solayman and known as the Pavilion of Eight Paradises or the Palace of Nightingales. The small but intricate building is set among tree-lined alleys, a reflecting pool and water rills. Return to the Maidan for further visit to handicraft shops and bazaar. Overnight in Isfahan.
Day 14/Apr 22: ISFAHAN-TEHRAN
Morning drive to Tehran, en-route stop over at the charming town of Abyaneh, a historical village at the foot of Karkass mountain. You can see people in the traditional dress dating back centuries here. The village is also known for its use of red clay for construction and its adaptation to the slope of the mountain. After visiting the village continue on to Kashan to visit the historical garden of Fin which was first planted during the Safavid period and kept alive with water from the nearby Sulaimanieh Spring. This beautiful garden was expanded by the Zand and Qajar monarchs, with many open pavilions added. You will also visit a fine example of a 19th century merchant residence known as Taba-Tabai House with its beautiful stucco dome and inlaid mirror work, with some of the best examples of existing “badgirs” (wind-catchers). Continue to Tehran and drive by the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini. Transfer to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 15/Apr 23: TEHRAN
We will have a full day of sightseeing in Tehran to visit several museums and monuments in the city. We will visit the National Museum (Archaeological), the Imam Khomeini Residence, and the Sa’ad Abad Palace Complex. Dinner at the hotel. Prepare for your late transfer to the airport around midnight or after.
Day 16/Apr 24: DEPARTURE
Transfer to IKA airport for departure flight.
- Visa authorization
- Full-board accommodation in 3-5 star (best available in each city) hotels, breakfast at hotels, lunch and dinner at best available local restaurants, or hotels
- All land transportation in air conditioned bus/minivan
- All transfers to/from airport, from/to hotel
- All portages and entrance fees for main sites and excursions
- Highly-qualified English-speaking national guide and local guides in Shiraz and Isfahan
- International air – please note that if you book your own air, arrange it so you arrive in the evening of day 1. If you arrive early you will be charged for an extra night at the hotel. Please ask Caravan-Serai for any assistance you may need in booking your flights.
- Visa and processing fee ($200)
- 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, etc., en route or during meals, caviar at any meals
- Fuel surcharges, if any
- Tips for guides ($20), drivers ($10), and drivers’ assistant ($4-5) – amounts are only suggestions and are per person, per day
- Trip insurance
Price: $5600 per person, double occupancy, minimum 6 people, maximum 16
Single Supplement: $1100
Hotels to be used:
- Tehran: Espinas/Laleh 5*
- Hamadan: Bu-Ali/Azadi 3*
- Kermanshah: Parsian 5*
- Ahwaz: Fajr (Pars) 4*
- Shiraz: Homa/Pars/Zandiyeh 5*
- Yazd: Moshir Garden/Da’ad/Safaieh/Arg 4*
- Isfahan: Abbasi/Kowsar 5*
Please Note: When traveling to Iran, Caravan-Serai Tours and our partner in Iran are responsible for your actions while you are in Iran. In order to obtain the visas for our travelers, it is under condition that you will adhere to all the rules and laws pertaining to foreigners, particularly Americans, traveling in Iran. You are required to stay with the group/guide at all times. Transfers by our coordinator in Iran to and from the airport are required – no taxis are allowed. If you have any questions about this please call us. Thank you for your understanding.