Yazd, a mud-brick city that has risen from Iran’s central desert is considered the first adobe city in the world. With magnificent golden sunsets and unique architecture, Yazd is the city of Zoroastrians, wind-catchers, and Qanats and must-see destination for tourists in Iran. Yazd is best known for its desert architecture and groundwater engineering. The locals keep to themselves and most events happen indoors away from the sights of strangers. Things are calm and life moves at a slow pace giving a relaxed vibe to the adobe city. Yazd has plenty of places to see and lots of small villages at its surrounding that are perfect for day trips. But here is a list of 10 places you definitely need to visit while you’re in the city.
#1 Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Zoroastrianism is an ancient monotheistic religion that dates back to around 3500 years ago and is one of the world’s oldest continuing religions. Zoroastrianism was the principal religion in Iran before the Islamic conquests. Some of its festivals still have a big part in Iranian culture. Yazd is the center of Zoroastrianism in Iran and home to the most sacred Zoroastrian temple. The Zoroastrian fire temple of Yazd holds a 1,500-year-old flame visible through a window from the entrance hall for visitors. It’s a humble and simple building but an important sight if you’d like to learn more about the religion.
#2 Amir Chakhmaq Complex
Amir Chakhmaq complex is a heritage of Timurid architecture that is located in the heart of Yazd. The imposing three-story facade shows symmetrical iwans, which light up and glow after sunset and making it a perfect gathering spot for locals in the evenings.
There are plenty of sweet and ice cream shops around the square to grab a bite and it’s at walking distance to many of the city’s top attractions.
#3 Jame Mosque
Jame Mosque of Yazd with it tall minarets is visible from almost every rooftop in town. This 14th–century structure exemplifies Iranian-Islamic architecture and is home to some of the most exquisite tile work in Iran.
#4 Dowlat-Abad Garden
This beautiful Persian Garden used to be the house of the governor of Yazd. The construction of Dowlat-Abad Garden is inspired by the architecture of Afshari and Zandi eras.
To enter the garden, you have to cross a relatively large porch where Yazdi handicrafts are sold. The central Badgir (windcatcher) is the tallest in Iran and the stained-glass windows are some
of the most intricate. Dowlat-Abad garden is a great place to hang out after a hot summer day and temperatures are slightly lower in the area.
#5 Khan Bazaar
Khan Bazaar was built during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar and is in the heart of the old town. The roof of the bazaar decorated with bricks, has different heights, and the different width of the bazaar indicates its gradual construction. The gold and jewelry line is one of the most noticeable sections of Khan Bazaar as it’s one of the few places in Iran that sells 20 and 24-carat gold.
Following the sound of pounding hammers will lead you to the coppers’ section of the bazaar where you’ll find old men busily working with fire, hammer, and copper sheets to make copper utensils and artwork. The copper bazaar is actually the oldest part of the bazaar and probably the most attractive for tourists.
#6 Towers of Silence
The tower of silence is an 80-meter circular structure built on a hilltop. These towers were used for funerary purposes by Zoroastrians.
Soil is considered holy in Zoroastrians and therefore dead bodies were not buried in the ground. The corpses of the dead were exposed on the top of these flat-topped towers called “dakhmeh” in the desert, to be feasted by birds – a tradition that has not been practiced for the past century.
The towers of silence have remained mostly unaffected to battles and destruction of wars due to their remote location in the middle of the desert. Today they are popular attraction in Yazd and offer a great 360 view of the city from the top.
#7 Yazd Water Museum
In a desert city like Yazd, water has always been the first concern for the locals and the lack of water has inspired the citizens of Iran’s central desert to come up with the most intelligent architectural masterpieces. The hidden world of water tunnels is the reason why people were able to survive in conditions such as Yazd. These aqueducts are called Qanat in Persian and Yazd is home to the largest number of Qanats.
The water museum of Yazd is located in a beautiful Qajar dynasty mansion and covers the history of Qanats in the city for the past 2000 years. There’s also a large Qanat under the mansion that’s open to visit.
#8 Wandering Thorough the Old Town and Watching Sunset from Rooftop Cafes
The Yazd old town is a marvel. It’s a mud-brick maze that is still inhabited and is adorned with wind-catchers, historical houses, and beautiful wooden doors. Among an area of about 800
hectares, the old town of Yazd is UNESCO world heritage site and is the perfect location to go for a stroll.
While you’re wandering through the old town, make sure you find a rooftop cafe to watch the sun set on the city on the adobe city.
#9 Saheb Zaman Zoorkhaneh
Zoorkhaneh is a traditional gym traditionally built to train warriors along with reading the epic stories of the Shahnameh.
The Saheb Zaman Zurkhaneh resides in an old water reservoir and is located on the northern side of Amir Chakhmaq Square. You can visit the gym in the afternoon and watch them workout to heroic songs in the traditional way.
When you travel to Yazd, you will realize how intelligently the flow of air and water has been used in architecture to make life easier in the desert. The “Sabat” is one of the architectural elements that is found in many streets of Yazf. Sabat provides shadow for pedestrians on hot summer days and cools the sidewalk space.