The world “Yazd” is derived from Yazdgerd the First, the Sassanid king.
“Yazd” literally means sacred and pure. It was formerly pronounced as “Yezd”. It is the first city of Iran, listed as one of the world’s heritages by UNESCO. UNESCO considers Yazd as one of the oldest villages in the world.
In Sassanid times, Yazd has been the center of Zoroastrians. After Arabs’ invasion to Iran, in late Sassanid Era people of this city managed to remain Zoroastrian by paying levy to the rulers. Consequently many Iranians immigrated to there to keep their religion. But gradually most of Iranians even the people of Yazd became Moslem. Still it is the center of Zoroastrians of Iran. Marco Polo has visited Yazd in 1272, and has mentioned it in his “the Travels of Marco Polo”. In 14th century Yazd was established as the capital of Mozafarid dynasty for a short period of time. Because of its climate and limited water resources, Yazd has the largest networks of Qanats (aqueduct) in the world.
Yazd has a global reputation because of its Zorostrian fire temples, its special and unique architecture with several complicated windcatchers, cisterns, Qanats (aqueduct), ancient buildings and narrow lanes with covered walkways, old mud-brick buildings, unique roofs, and its several elements of Islamic-Iranian architecture.
Yazd is a dry city in the center on Iran. It is located in 270 kilometers southeast of Esfahan. It is cold in winter and very hot in summer (mostly above 40 °C) because of its desert climate. It is located between two deserts, Dashte Kavir and Dashte lut. Many tourists from all over the world travel to Yazd to enjoy the beauty of a desert night, its unique silence and its vast, clean sky full of brilliant stars.
Yazd had been geographically hard to reach, so this city has survived many invasions and conquests during its history. Also the lack of water resources has been a main reason for conquerors to lose their interest in conquering the city.
People of Yazd are typically religious and respect family values seriously, consequently the rate of divorce in Yazd is the lowest in Iran.
Jame Mosque of Yazd is the congregational mosque of Yazd. Historians believe that this mosque has been constructed in a place where previously a fire temple existed. It was first built in Al-e Bouyeh dynasty, but rebuilt and renewed in 14th century. The building as it stands today was built under the command of Seyyed Rokn al-Din Muhammad Qazi.
This mosque has a pair of minarets that are the tallest in Iran. The entrance and the minarets are covered with eye-catching tiles, mostly blue. Inscriptions on the wall of the building date back to 15th century.
The dome of this mosque was decorated by delicate mosaics. The symbol of Gardoneh Mehr (Chalipa) is seen in ornamentation of this mosque. It shows the four elements of water, wind, soil and fire which stand for birth, death, eternity, and infiniteness. It shows the former believes of Iranians before becoming Moslem.
Amir Chakhmaq Complex is a three-floor building (Hosseinieh) but only the first floor is accessible. The structure of this place is fascinating. The building include has arched alcoves. Two very tall minarets are located at the center of the building.
This square was built by Jalal al-Din Amir Chakhmagh, the governor of Yazd in 15th century. It was built near an old mosque currently known as Amir Chakhmagh mosque. The next governor of Yazd added bazaar, caravanserai and a bath house to complete the complex.
Most parts of the square were destroyed in modernization processes of Reza Shah’s rule, the king of Pahlavi dynasty.
This Atashkadeh is a holy place for Zoroastrians. This fire temple keeps the holy fire of Bahram. There are nine holy fires of Bahram in the world; eight are located in India and one located in Yazd. This fire has been kept lit for more than 1500 years by Zoroastrians. The fire is kept in a big Bronze firebox and always kept lit by a person who is called Hirbod.
The building is built in 1934. It is a 21 meters high building with 4 stone pillars in its faced. The statue of Fravahar, is engraved on top of the building faced. An almost big pool is located in front of the building, because Zoroastrians' believe there should always exist water near the holy fire.
Visiting the building is possible for non- Zoroastrians since about 1985.
Dowlat Abad Garden with an area of 70000 square meters is built in 1781 by the command of Muhammad Taghi Khan-e Bafghy, the ruler of Yazd and one of the main land owners of the city.
To build this garden, he first ordered the digging and constructing of a 65 Kilometers Qanat to bring water from Mehriz to his land. Then he started the construction of the mansion. It is an octagonal building with a very tall windcather which is the tallest clay windcather of the world. This mansion is considered a residenti.al-governmental building. Dowlat Abad Garden is one of the nine Iranian gardens registered as a world heritage by UNESCO. There are several pomegranate, grape, cedar and pine trees in the garden.
Previously this garden was located outside yazd, but gradually in Pahlavid era, through expansion of city, Dowlat Abad Garden was connected to the city.
The story of this place is really unclear. But this is a very sacred place for Zoroastrians all over the world. 5 specific days a year, Zoroastrians gather in this holy place, pray for those who have lost their lives, sing happy songs and get to know each other. This place is the symbol of unity for Zoroastrians all over the world.
There is a myth regarding this place. It is said that Nik Banou, the daughter of Yazdgerd the king of Sassanid Era, had sheltered there from their enemies, and later a shepherd dreamed about her asking to build a pantheon there.
According to Zoroastrians burying the dead bodies polluted the sacred soil, so they built some special places usually on top of the hills outside the cities or villages. These Dakhmes were cylinder towers without door or roof. They had to climb using a ladder. Zoroastrians put their dead bodies in these places, so that wild animals could reach them and eat the flesh. Then they throw the remaining bones in the cylinder tower.
There are several Zoroastrian Towers of Silence located in the hilltops of Yazd suburb. Nowadays Zoroastrians don’t use this method.
Zein al- Din Caravanserai is an architectural masterpiece of 16th century. In the times of Shah Abbas, many Caravanserais were constructed every 20 to 30 miles in the trade routes to provide required facilities for travelers and traders. Zein al- Din Caravanserai was built on the way of the ancient Silk Road. It has two floors, a courtyard and a water pool.
This Caravanserai is professionally renovated. It obtained the award of best repair in 2006. It is currently used as a hotel while the owners have kept the historical style and design. It receives 60 to 80 tourists per day.
There are several 8 square meters chambers with no doors. The only thing that separates the chambers from corridor is a curtain. Rooms are covered with Iranian carpets.
Tourists from all over the world visit this place and experience at least a one night stay in a real caravanserai enjoying the beauty of desert sky and its shiny stars.
Below is the list of historical and natural sites of Yazd. We list them merely for your knowledge. Surfing Persia selects the most important and outstanding ones and manages to cover them in its itinerary. However, if there is a site which you insist on visiting but not included in your tour, please let us know. We will consider adding this item to your tour or replacing it with another site included in your itinerary.