In the evening after exploring Esfahan, we caught a bus to the city of Yazd, which took five hours and got us there at 1 AM. Exhausted from lack of sleep from the last couple of days and both of us getting a cold, we slept until 10 AM the next morning. It was nice to finally be able to catch up on sleep and feel fresh to explore again. We stayed two nights in Yazd, and one full day was spent exploring the city.
Yazd is a large-ish city in the middle of the desert with 1 million inhabitants. It dates back to the Sassanian Period (224-651 AD). Because of its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique architecture which reflects this.
Of the cities that we had seen thus far in Iran, Yazd was one of my favourites. The city of Yazd is made up of mostly mudbrick buildings, giving the city a certain charm that I had actually hoped to find in Esfahan, which unfortunately, I didn’t. Other than that, Yazd has a lot to offer, including some of the most beautiful mosques in Iran (in my opinion at least!) and the incredible Towers of Silence, which are located 19 kilometres from the city center.
The Towers of Silence
The Towers of Silence (also known as ‘Dakmeh’) are two Zoroastrian towers that are set on two lonely, barren hilltops on the southern outskirts of the city. A Tower of Silence is a circular, raised structure used by the Zoroastrians for excarnation. When the towers in Yazd were in use, they were known as “a place for the dead”, as the dead were left there to be picked clean by desert vultures, before going to their final resting place.
Steve and I spent a good two hours exploring the two towers and the surrounding ruined buildings. The view from the top of the towers was amazing and it was by far my favourite place in Yazd. A definite must-see!
After exploring the towers, we went back to the very center of the city, where all of the other points of interest are located, so exploring them didn’t take long.
Masjid-e Jame Mosque
The Masjid-e Jame Mosque dates back to the Al-e Bouyeh dynasty in the 12th century and is a beautiful example of Persian architecture with its dazzling and colourful mosaics and its fine pair of minarets, which are rich in detail and colour. The towering minarets date back to the Safavid dynasty in the 16th-18th century and measure 52 meters in height and 6 meters in diameter, making them the tallest minarets in Iran.
Amir Chakhmakh Complex
The Amir Chakhmakh Complex is one of the most popular sights in Yazd, famous for its outstanding prominent structure, which has a three-storey elaborate facade of symmetrical sunken alcoves. This structure is a mosque, which is located on a square of the same name. The complex also contains a caravanserai, a 600-year-old bathhouse and a confectionery, among other buildings.
The complex was built between 1418 and 1438 during the Timurid era, by Jalal-al-Din Amir-Chakhmaq, who was the governor of Yazd.
Because of our tight itinerary in Iran, we only had a day to explore Yazd. We saw many of the things that we wanted to see, and got a feel of the special atmosphere of the city, but I could’ve spent many more days there. There is still a lot left to see, and for some reason, I don’t feel like we did justice to the city by only spending one day there. Hopefully someday I can go back to Yazd and really get to know the beautiful city.
Here’s some useful information on travelling to Yazd:
- To get a bus from Esfahan to Yazd, go to the Kaveh Passenger Terminal and buy a ticket for 155,000 rial (5 USD). The bus leaves approximately every 1-2 hours. The ride takes about 4½ hours. You’ll get dropped off at a remote bus station 12 kilometres from the city center, so a taxi is necessary. This should cost 100,000 rial (3 USD).
- In Yazd, we stayed at Dalan e Behesht, which we paid 10 USD for each per night for a private room with two single beds. The breakfast is pretty good, the Wi-Fi decent and the showers are somewhat hot.
- To get to the Tower of Silence, catch a bus to Mehrab Terminal for 5000 rial (a few cents) and then one to Dakmeh for 5000 rial. There are no numbers on the busses, so ask the driver or locals for help. Taxis are also an option and it should cost 70,000 rial (2 USD).
- It’s possible to book tours out of the city from the hostel or other tour operators in town. There are many options for tours and the prices can be negotiated.