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Yazd

Yazd Overview

The ancient city of Yazd has many unique attractions such as gardens, lofty wind catchers, beautifully decorated mosques and mud brick houses some of which have been converted into boutique hotels. The view of old parts of the city atop the roofs of the houses really spectacular and worth a try. Moreover, the birth place of Zoroastrian religion is filled with many ancient, historic and eye catching fire temples. In the city of Yazd you can buy Termeh, which is a kind of fabric used for decoration and so many kinds of yummy sweets to take home as souvenirs. This recently registered UNESCO world heritage city has a marvelously unique architecture which is a subject to be examined by the tourists and make them busy during their tour and travel to this city.

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Yazd tourist attractions

Yazd is one of the desert cities of Iran and its unique and distinguished architecture  , Yazd tourist attractions will definitely make you one of the lovers of this marvelous city. The city of Yazd which is famous as the city of wind catchers has been registered by the UNESCO as World Heritage due to its fantastic architecture. Thatched (mud and straw) houses with Persian architecture which have been converted into boutique hotels and traditional hotels today, can be your choice in this city. Most hotels and accommodating places of Yazd, are boutique hotels and they are often located near the major attractions of the city and are attractions by themselves. In this city with houses made of mud bricks you can visit many ancient attractions such as Dowat Abad Garden, Pir-e Chak Chak, the Jame Mosque of the city and so many other monuments. Another feature of this city is the lofty wind towers of this desert city that worked as ventilation systems to make the houses cooler during the hot summer days.Another advantage of this city and its attractions for the visitors is that most of the main sites can be visited on foot.

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Travel to Yazd

City Walls

In ancient Iran there were many types of public structures, from among which one may mention the achievement represented by city walls. The twelfth to fourteenth century walls of Yazd, which are still standing, are perhaps the most interesting, imposing and skillfully planned. In Yazd, sections of the old walls and moat remain, providing an interesting example of a medieval wall, fortified by moat, towers and barbicans, now buried deep within a town which has long since expanded beyond its old limits. These walls were begun, it is said, in 1119 and rebuilt and extended during the 14th century. In places, they were 15 meters high; being nicely decorated with ornamental devices such as those employed on not glazed pottery.

Irantravelingcenter-Yazd tourist attractions

Qanats, Water Reservoir (Ab-Anbar) and Windcatcher: Extraordinary Architectural Attractions in Iran {June 2020}

When you are surrounded by infinite deserts as far as the eye can see, water will definitely become your main concern. Long ago when tap water was still meaningless in this country, the dry climate, seasonal rivers, and low rainfall forced residents to employ their art and intelligence to pull water out of the ground and lead the water from mountainous areas to their cities. This was the lifestyle of those who lived in desert cities in Iran. And this was how water reservoir (Ab Anbãr) came to play a key role in dry areas of Iran like  South of  Fars province ,Hormozgan , Bushehr, Khozestan  , YazdKermanKishIsfahan , Sistan Baluchestan , South Khorasan and many other dry cities in Iran.

Qanat

{July 2020}

Qanãts: Best Way to Reach Water
A sloping channel under the ground which transport water from the wells to the surface is what Iranians call Kariz or Qanat (Iranian aqueduct). In other words, a qanat is constructed by a chain of wells (similar to shafts) that are connected together by a gentle sloping. It has been an ancient way in arid areas to reach the underground water for drinking, irrigation, etc.
The point for drilling wells was definitely selected in a watery area. In this case, the specialists would reach the water after digging a few meters (usually 10 to 15 meters). At a distance of a few meters (about 20 meters) from the first well (mother well), the second one was dug with a lower height considered not to reach the water, because the first well should have been connected to the second. Few wells were drilled every 20 to 25 meters and were connected to each other sloping from the mother well to the one closest to the surface. The connection of all the wells to the mother well was done in the last stage so that water would not flow in them during their drilling and would not prevent the drilling operation. The canal, then, could last for many kilometers until it reaches the ground. The slope of the ground and the depth of the mother well determine the length of the canal. The lower the groundwater level, the deeper the mother well. The point where water appears on the earth’s surface is the best place to store water which usually has 5 meters depth.
Having done the Qanat, the water either is stored in Ab-Anbar or channeled to a special building called Yakhchãl.
Why Keeping Water Reservoir in the Ground?
For Iranians, the next stage after creating the Qanat, was to store water for all seasons, because most of the Qanats were dug far from the city center and native people had no access to them. The heat evaporated water on the surface of the earth and the open air polluted the water. That’s why people were provoked by the thought of storing water in the ground which eventually resulted in creating a “water reservoir.”

Ab-Anbar and its Influence on Native Culture and Lifestyle
Water reservoirs have dramatically impacted on the indigenous culture of hot and dry areas. We have witnessed an extraordinary connection between water and rituals. In addition, researches also show that groundwater storage is rooted in the ancient civilizations of Iran and Egypt. As an instance, Choghaznabil (Khuzestan Province) is region with the oldest example of a water reservoir dating back to the second millennium BC.
Furthermore, the architecture of Yazd water reservoirs, on the one hand, expresses the identity of its inhabitants and, is considered a social, economic and civilization element, on the other hand. In ancient Yazd, for example, there is the evidence of proximity of water reservoirs to Zoroastrian fire temples in the center of neighborhoods; in post-Islamic period, you can see this coexistence with mosques. In addition to its main role as water storage, reservoirs were also influential factors in the formation of urban fabric and the accumulation of people in the same area.
Since water has always been valuable in Iranian culture and “Anahita”, the goddess of water, has a high position, Zoroastrianism has emphasized on keeping water clean. The same belief later appeared in Islam which asserts that water is the spring of life. That is why a large number of Yazd reservoirs were built or endowed (a long-standing tradition in which people give their money or land to a particular person or place and take the benefits from it to a specific purpose) by Zoroastrians.
In the past, most people who built or endowed a building or an Ab Anbar had no children (sons in specific). In this way, they could keep their name remembered for several generations. In other words, it can be said that people considered the construction or endowment of the water reservoir to be equivalent to the continuation of that person’s generation. Examples of these kinds are Ali Akbar Reservoir in Meybod (Yazd Province), Bibi Fatemeh Golshan Reservoir and Haji Tayebeh Reservoir in Yazd city.

Nature of Water Reservoir
Water reservoirs are ponds or indoor pools that are usually built to store water underground in cities, villages, forts, caravan routes (Caravanserais), and in the heart of the mountains. This made it easier to access water during the drought days, the siege by the enemy, and the use of cool water in summer days.

The significance of Ab-Anbar in Different Periods
During the Qajar period, agriculture was of great importance, therefore, many reservoirs were built during this period. Despite the advent of modernism during the reign of Reza Pahlavi, many merchants and traders were still looking for an opportunity to build and endow water reservoirs. Many of these reservoirs continued to flourish and were active until 1970. Perhaps one of the reasons for people’s interest in building and endowing water reservoirs is the preservation of the ancient culture and customs, avoiding the emergence of machine life.

What Is a Water Reservoir Made of?
Reservoirs were often made of bricks and sometimes stone (example: water reservoirs in Chak Chak (Yazd Province), the Zoroastrian shrine). They also used bricks to cover other parts including the stairs. However, the materials employed, varied according to the different parts of the reservoir. For example, lime was used for the tank wall, a mixture of ash, sand and lime was used to lay the bricks and seal the building and prevent the water from rotting.
The most difficult part of building a water reservoir is the dome-shaped roof over the tank, because the architect must be able to build a roof with of15 meters height without employing iron and concrete.

Wind Catcher and its Role in Water Reservoirs
Wind catchers (Badgir) in various forms played a major role in cooling water reservoirs as well as homes. They has a column and above it there are 1 to 8 sided valves. Inside these valves, thin blades divide the interior space of the wind catcher into several vertical sections to draw the wind in, from the outside and bring it to the surface of the tank water. After touching water, the cold wind directs the hot air collected under the roof out of the tank through other wind catchers or valves above the roof. In this way, the wind catchers or Badgirs flow the air in the tank. In the reservoirs without wind catchers, they created one or more holes on the roof, usually in the form of a hemisphere, to make a natural ventilator so as to prevent water from decaying.
Due to the importance of wind catchers in air conditioning, most water reservoirs enjoyed having one to four Badgirs to cool the water.
In Yazd province, there are more than 100 urban water reservoirs with the special architectural features of their time and era.
Being a multi-religious city (especially Islam and Zoroastrianism) in Yazd city, most of the water reservoirs had two separate openings for the use of Muslims and other religions.

There is a possibility to have Qanat walking tour in some seasons . 

Yakhchal

Yakhchãl (Ice House): A Natural Freezer at the Heart of Desert

Have you ever expected a restaurant or a movie theater right in the middle of a desert? The answer might be positive because the technology is widespread nowadays everywhere in the world.

Now, imagine you turn back in time, you end up in a desert and you feel thirsty after this long and exhausting trip! If you stop in central Iran in an arid area you definitely find an ice house to drink water! This is the miracle long time ago Iranian intelligence created; interestingly, it serves a passenger travelling either back in time or coming to see this fantastic construction, called Yakhchal.

Yakhchal is a heat-resistant construction that smart Persian architects built hundreds of years ago when there was no idea of a cooler or an electric fridge to keep ice and to prevent food corruption.

There is hardly any evidence of a Yakhchal before the Safavid era though some estimate it came to Iran before that.

Yakhchals have a conical shape. They are almost 18 meters high. Their basement was used to store food, cool the air, make and store ice. In fact, the basement has a kind of insulation while the thickness of the walls keeps the cold air in and prevents heat from entering. This way, imagine, our ancestors were able to use the ice and cold water all over the seasons.

These constructions were quite helpful specifically during the summertime as they could prevent food corruptions under the heatwave so that the chiefs could make famous Iranian Kebab out of frozen meat or ice cream men could provide individuals with delicious Persian deserts like Faloudeh.

 

How Did They Make Ice in Yakhchals?

Ice was not made in the summer! Instead, it used to make during the winter because in the winter the environment was suitable for ice formation. The process begins with the flow of water out of underground canals known as Qanats or sometimes it was supplied by the melted snow over the top of mountains. When the flowing water out of Qanats came to the surface, it was led to small streams or pools close to Yakhchals. During winter nights when the weather was deadly chilly, the water was frozen. They used to break that ice, put the pieces in the Yakhchal to take advantage of them during the long days of summer. In order to reach the ice in that deep conical shape, small steps prepared to lead you down the cone.

Now, let’s take a look at the conical wall that comes up to form the ceiling as well. The conical shape of the Yakhchal is not only for beautification, but also for a practical aspect. There is a chimney-shaped hole at the top of the cone that directs wind currents into the building. The whol wall is made of a type of insulating material called Sarooj. The air coming in from the chimney cools the ice down and keeps the inside space fresh and pleasant during the summer. Even when the sun shines directly on Yakhchals, the insulation layers do their job properly and the ice stays unchanged.

Yakhchals exist almost everywhere in Iran especially in the arid regions like Kerman and Yazd. The largest, it is said, has been constructed in Kerman which is famous as Moayedi. Other popular ones are located in Abarkooh and Meybod, Yazd Province.

ITC invites you to enjoy these incredible buildings that date back to our Persian ancestors.

Windcatcher

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 Windcatchers in Iran which are symbols of some desert cities like Yazd is another fantastic structures that show Iranian intelligence since ancient times. Windcatchers are made in different shapes in the central and southern cities of Iran, each of which is designed according to the desired height and direction of the wind.

The wind catchers have been made in different forms in the central and southern cities of Iran.

 Prior to the invention of the electric air conditioners and their expansion in various cities, windcatchers were used in various residential and religious buildings, and the remains of these windcatchers can still be found in the hot and humid climate of the south in cities such as Bandar Abbas, Bandar Lengeh, Qeshm, Bushehr as well as the arid hot climate of central areas including Kerman, Nain, Yazd, Tabas, Kashan, Semnan, Isfahan and even the southern areas of Tehran. Windcatchers are one of the most important symbols of original Iranian architecture that have been built and used as great air conditioners in Iran for many years. These windcatchers were designed and applied in different ways in each region based on the location of the cities and the direction of the wind. The highest number of windcatchers in Yazd city is due to its hot and dry climate. In fact, the main efficiency of Yazd wind catchers was to turn the outside heat into cool and pleasant air to be sent to the ground floor and basement rooms.
Another interesting point about Yazd windcatchers is that although these windcatchers are made without any tools and are all handmade, they fully follow the principles of modern engineering. Another advantage of windcatchers in Iran was also the fact that they were used to cool the cellar space to store food and to keep the reservoirs cool. Prior to the advent of the electric refrigerator, many homes kept food in the area under the windcatchers to keep it cool and decay later.

Bazaar

Irantravelingcenter-Yazd tourist attractions

The 12 historic bazaars of Yazd are worth a visit. The most important bazaars here are: Bazaar-e Khan; Goldsmiths Bazaar; and Panjeh Ali Bazaar. The many bazaars here are probably the best places in Iran to buy silk fabric, cashmere, brocades and cloth (taffeta and Yazdi shawl) all the beautiful local designs, motifs, and colors, the products which brought the town its prosperity. Try to take an Iranian guide with you. Yazd is also a good place for cakes and sweets (baghlava, qottab, pashmak), although quite a lot of the tempting tooth-rotters on display arent actually made in the town.

AMIR CHAKHMAQ MOSQUE​

On no account should you miss the fourteenth-century AD Masjid-e Amir Chakhmaq or Masjid-e Jomeh (an exact contemporary of the Masjid-e Jame) next to the bazaar portal, famous for its superb portal ornamented with stucco, and the traditional four-ivan structure on a courtyard a little too small for the ivans. Originally, it was called Masjid-e Now (New Mosque). The frieze on the portal has artistically very valuable calligraphy etched on it, according to which the mosque was built by the zealous efforts of Bibi Fatemeh Khatun, wife of Yazd governor Amir Jalal od-Din Chakhmaq. A marble mihrab has been installed, around which decorative tiles and verses of the Holy Koran have been etched over stone. The mosque is very near to the Takieh-ye Mir Chakhmaq, a 19th century tiled edifice built to serve as a grandstand for the traditional passion play, or Tazieh, recording the martyrdom of the third Imam Hossein, that is acted during the mourning month of Muharram (lunar) in the Takieh, or special theater used for these performances, of which it formed part. At present, the free space in front of the monument has been turned into the central square of the town, and has acquired a new appearance as a result of trees and flowers having been planted. Actually, this represents one of the buildings of a historic complex incorporating a mosque, a public bath, a caravansary, a mausoleum, a takieh, three water reservoirs, and an imposing entrance to one of Yazd’s bazaars.

Irantravelingcenter-Yazd tourist attractions

JAME MOSQUE​

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Masjid-e Jame, also known as the Friday Mosque, like so many important mosques, was the focus of a complex of buildings of various periods and styles in various states of conservation. The site of a Sassanian fire temple, its major features, however, were begun in 1324 and continuously developed for forty years. There is no more impressive gateway in Iran than this great soaring 14th century edifice. Crowned by a pair of minarets, the highest in Iran, the portals facade is decorated from top to bottom in dazzling tile work, predominantly blue in color. Inside there is a long arcaded court where, behind a deep-set southeast ivan, is a sanctuary chamber which, under a squat tiled dome, is exquisitely decorated with faience mosaic: its tall faience mihrab, dated 1365, is one of the finest of its kind in existence. The tile work has recently been skillfully restored and a modern library built to house the mosques valuable collection of books and manuscripts. By the side of the Masjid-e Jame, along a side street to the right was the Vaqt va Saat (Time and Hour) complex, now reduced to the Shrine of Rokn ad-Din, who was responsible for building the complex. The observatory (which gave its name), a library, and a madraseh, have all vanished.

TWELVE IMAMS SHRINE​

Further from the center can be found the splendid early 12th century Shrine of the Twelve Imams (maghbareh-ye Davazdah Emam) properly described as a funerary mosque. It is almost next door to the Zendan-e Eskandar (Alexanders Prison, a deep, circular, brick-lined pit about 10 m in diameter) and has a fine three line Kuffic inscription inside, with the names of each of the Shiite Imams, none of whom is buried here. Although the mausoleum is small, dusty and forgotten, it is nonetheless a well-preserved building of the period. There some interesting plaster moldings on the mihrab, and the brick dome is a good early example of its kind. The Maghbareh is locked, but the door-keeper at Zendan-e Eskandar next door will take you in. Dont forget to give him a tip of at least 500 Rials. It would be also good to have a guide or taxi driver with you.

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TOWERS OF SILENCE​

Irantravelingcenter-Yazd tourist attractions

Dakhmeh or Qaleh-ye Khamushan (Towers of Silence): These are three impressive buildings remaining from several other similar structures on hilltops outside and in the immediate vicinity of the town (about 15 km to the south-west) where the bodies of the dead Zoroastrians would be brought to the foot of the tower so that a ritual ceremony could be held in presence of the relatives and friends of the deceased. The body was then carried by the priests into the tower where it was laid on the flat stones on the ground thus avoiding that earth, water, and fire, the divine elements be contaminated, the soul of the defunct person having already been by Ahura Mazda. In a short time the body would be torn apart by passing vultures and crows. The bones were then thrown into a circular pit in the center of the tower. At the foot of the towers stand the remains of the buildings, which once served for the funerary ceremonies. When the towers were still used for Zoroastrian burials, only the priests were allowed into them. Nowadays, however, some of them have been opened to the public. Beneath the hill there are several other disused Zoroastrian buildings including a defunct well, two small bad-girs, a kitchen and a lavatory. The custom of exposing corpses in a tower of silence largely disappeared throughout the Zoroastrian world around 50 years ago, at about the same time that the eternal flame was transferred to the newly constructed Atashkadeh in the center of Yazd. As a matter of fact, the towers was used until 1978, after which all Zoroastrian dead were buried in the cemetery at the foot of the towers. The site can be reached only by taxi or private car.

CHAK CHAK​

This important Zoroastrian fire-temple is on a hill 52 km to the north-northeast of Yazd. It attracts thousands of pilgrims for an annual festival, which lasts for ten day from the beginning of the third month after Now Ruz. To visit, it is best to get the permission of the religious authorities at the Atashkadeh in Yazd. The return trip, by a difficult stretch of road off the main route to Tababs, will cost around 10,000 to 12,000 Rials by hired taxi.

Bagh-e Dowlat Historic Complex:

This is a complex built according to the original Iranian architectural style and consists of a large garden and some buildings. Being watered by a qanat, until the very recent past it was used for the residence of the provincial governor. The most impressive part of the complex is a 33-meter high bad-gir (wind-tower) on the roof and a water stream in the interior. The air was conducted into the interior and cooled through the action of the flowing water. Lattice doors and windows with stained glass patterns impart a pleasing sight to the complex.

Irantravelingcenter-Yazd tourist attractions
  • Carpets with charming patterns
  • Brocaded silk
  • Velvet
  • Blankets
  • Earthenware
  • Engraving
  • Glassware
  • Leather ware

Yazd is also famous for its various sweets, the most well known are Pashmak, Baghlava and Ghotab!

 

The city of Yazd which is famous as the city of wind catchers has been registered by the UNESCO as World Heritage due to its fantastic architecture. Traditional houses with Persian architecture which have been converted into boutique hotels and traditional hotels today, can be your choice in this city. Most hotels and accommodating places of Yazd, are boutique hotels and they are often located near the major attractions of the city of Yazd. The decorations and embellishments of each of the hotels will amaze you. All the 2- to 5-star hotels of the city of Yazd have beautiful architecture and you can experience a memorable and different stay at these hotels.

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