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Kandovan Village

Kandovan Village is One of the few manmade cliff dwellings in the world where people still live the traditional life. The special atmosphere in the Village is mesmerizing, mostly because it is so archaic. People’s lifestyle in this particular village is different from many other villages in Iran. The climate, natural environment, and the mountainous environment is another reason to travel to this amazing village.
Due to the geographical condition of Iran, there is diversity in every aspect of life. The vegetation, animals, and climate alongside with architectural, agricultural and lifestyle aspects. The specific characteristics of each region have affected its architecture and construction, making the north, south, center and mountainous regions of Iran different in terms of shape in proportion to their surroundings. Of course, today, due to new architectural methods, most of the buildings in our country have become similar in appearance. The chaos of luxury houses, shopping malls, hotels, has spread to most of the cities in Iran but hearing that people are still living traditionally and without luxuries and glamor of today’s life is very strange and interesting.

Kandovan Village
We want to talk about a village that is spectacular and interesting in every aspect. Our destination is the historic Kandovan village; a vibrant exhibition of life among rocks and, the birthplace of man and nature, and the best example of companionship and simplicity.
East Azerbaijan province is full of wonders and attractions; from the monuments of Tabriz, Maragheh and Jolfa to the rivers, forests and mountainous forests that immerse the province in beauty and glory. Meanwhile, Kandovan has another story. A village in Osku County that goes back quite a lot, and a special architecture that makes it a wonder.
Kandovan village is located on the slopes of Mount Sultan Daghi, in the heart of Sahand mountain range. This village was created over time due to lava and molten materials left over from the volcanic eruptions of Sahand Mountain, and of course human interference. Kandovan is one of the few villages in Iran and the world, along with Cappadocia villages in Turkey, Dakota in the United States, and Meymand village in Kerman that have this particular form of architecture. However, today only the two villages of Meymand and Kandovan have residents, and the rest are mostly vacant. Kandovan has a height of 2,200 meters from the sea level, Kandovan River flows along the village and it is part of the Sahand Rural District.
Kandovan village was registered on the list of Iran’s national monuments due to its architecture and the lifestyle of its people with the registration number 1857, on May 15, 1997.

Kandovan Village

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

It is Iran’s 10th cultural heritage site which is also listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
An island city that is considered to have the largest industrial complex irrigation system in the world, before the industrial revolution.
A work of art from the Achaemenid period.
The irrigation system is considered to be a masterpiece of engineering in the world, given that it was the first at that particular time. Iran has quite a lot of history, each special in its own. The Achaemenid period was particularly remembered for its focus on engineering and architecture. Most people think that Persepolis is the only thing left from the Achaemenid period but there are other historic sites that are just as fascinating.
This historical site is located in the south of Iran. Darius I is considered to be the founder of this island city. This astounding structure is located in Khuzestan province. The structure has stayed intact through all these years. Simply put it is a reminder of Iran’s rich history.

The site is easily reachable and well known in the area. it is a complex irrigation system that dates back to the era of Darius the Great and in 5th century BC.
The Achaemenes and Sassanids built a complex set of dams, barrages, water mills, waterfalls, canals, and tunnels to control the flow of the water in order to make more use of it.
Only some small parts of this complex structure have stood the test of time, but the water coming from the water mills have created beautiful artificial waterfalls that create amazing scenery within the city.
This complex system can be considered as a reminder of how intelligent people were in that time, and it shows that water engineering sciences were quite advanced in that time period. They closed off Karun River and at the same time built a dam over it. Then they managed to raise the surface of the water and level it while sending it to agricultural areas in the province. This was done more than 1700 years ago using the tools available in that time period. This was no easy task.


Citadel of Karim Khan

The citadel of Karim Khan is located in the north-east of Shiraz city. At that time Shiraz was Iran’s capital. It was built as a part of a complex and is named after Karim Khan, it served as his living quarters. In shape, it resembles a medieval fortress. Karim Khan invited the best architects and artists of the time and bought the best materials from other cities and abroad for the construction of the citadel which was quickly constructed.

Citadel of Karim Khan

During the Zand dynasty, Citadel of Karim Khan was used by the king as living quarters. During the Qajar era, it was used as the governor’s seat. The governor ordered the miniatures in the citadel to be renovated. After the fall of the Qajar dynasty, it was converted into a prison and the paintings were plastered over.

Citadel of Karim Khan

The Citadel of Karim Khan is in the center of a compound. It consists of four high walls. The walls are connected by four circular brick towers at a 90-degree angle. Recently, the southern tower has a noticeable lean. Inside the citadel lies the inner court with citrus trees. Each wall is three meters thick at the base and 2.8 meters at the top. The surface of the walls and towers are decorated with the brick in simple, geometric relief pattern which makes you think about design elements on the carpets and kilims. The design of the Citadel of Karim-khan combines military and residential architecture, for example, it was the home of Karim Khan and later on, it was a military center.
Today, this historical and beautiful place is a museum operated by Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization.

Citadel of Karim Khan

Review by: Masoud Farhad

Countryside Caravansaries

Numerous books have been written about caravansaries, introducing almost every specimen for a deeper, more accurate, understanding of the architecture of Iranian caravansaries. This text focuses on countryside caravansaries. Urban caravansaries, which often occur in combination with bazaars buildings. Countryside caravansaries are built beside desert roads and bear essential differences with urban ones as regards their architectural features, spatial organization, function and environment.

Iran countryside caravansaries
Iran’s location at the heart of the ancient world, as the major link between the orient and the occident. And made the travelling a highly important issue in this country. As powerful centralized government, economic prosperity and flourishing trade depend on safe and comfortable travelling, the Iranians soon come up with various solution in this domain. One such solution was to build and constantly maintain, a multitude of caravansaries throughout the country. Travelers have commented on the vital role of caravansaries and attested to the secure and restful abodes they had offered them against sandstorms, scorching desert heats, snow tempests and brigands.
Caravansaries were commissioned by rulers, governments and benevolent individuals. They were usually built beside busy roads, using locally available materials such as mud, raw bricks, fired bricks and stones, alone or in combination. Water was a vital element in a caravansary’s life and easy access to water played a major role in the choice of its site. A water cistern was built inside or nearby every caravansary.

Iran countryside caravansariesThey were simple and unpretentious buildings. Four long, tall, windowless walls and occasionally two towers in the middle of its long walls, gave the caravansary a fort-like appearance. The building’s only decorated exterior element was it’s distinguishing entrance. Walls had simple arcades. These arcades provided shaded platforms where passerby could rest for a while. At the center of the caravansary was the main courtyard, which had a regular geometric and it was usually rectangular in shape. The courtyard was encircled by chambers, and each chamber was usually fronted by a semi-open area. Behind the attractive regular facades of the courtyard stood stables, which were usually accessed from the corners of the courtyard. Rooms for animal-keepers existed at these entry points. In this way, the travelers could rest in their chambers away from the animal-keepers’ company. Iran countryside caravansariesThe development of caravansaries is correctly regarded as the great victory of Iranian civilization. Also without doubt, which a study of these forsaken structures clearly reveals, is that Iranian architects have devoted their utmost capabilities to create stunning buildings out of simple, rough materials.

Vank Cathedral

Grand and glorious in the heart of Iran

Vank Cathedral is located in Isfahan province. Many tourists visit the complex every year. The Vank Cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in Isfahan by Armenian immigrants settled by Shah Abbas. Among the churches built in the Jolfa district, Vank cathedral is the most famous and exemplary specimen of Armenian architectural achievements. The cathedral represents different stages of political, economic and social status of this monitory community in Iran since the mid-seventeenth century.Vank Cathedral


One of Iran’s most spectacular villages.Abyaneh is one of the few villages where its inhabitants have retained their traditional clothing to this day. It is also of interest to tourists. It has good facilities provided for local travelers and tourists alike. The long time ago the locals moved out of the village not knowing that someday it will indeed become a tourist attraction. Nowadays, for various reasons villages are considered to be points of interest in terms of tourism. The reason might be the cultural heritage found in these types of places or the monuments found in them or even religious attractions located in the villages.Abyaneh
All over Iran, there are spectacular villages that can be considered a tourist attraction. Some of them are quite famous and people visit them year round, while some of them are yet unknown. Abyaneh is one of the famous ones; a village located within Isfahan Province, in Natanz County.
On the Persian Gulf freeway, there is a sign in the middle of Kashan-Natanz road, which leads you to the village, when you see it, that’s your cue to exit the freeway. As you follow the road, a narrow and twisted path appears before you, be careful but at the same time try to enjoy the scenery. Eventually, after that, you will reach the village. It is located 35 km northeast of Natanz County, on the slopes of Karkas Mountains. The height of the village from the sea level is 2222 meters, and therefore it is referred to as one of the highest residential areas in Iran. The length of the village’s historical section is 900 meters and its width is about 3 meters.Abyaneh
Architecture is interesting and its monuments are very diverse. You also see various religious elements in this village: the remnants of a fire temple, a congregational mosque, and a shrine. The local’s traditional clothing is also one of the things that attract the attention of visitors.
There is no real evidence indicating the exact time of the formation of the village. According to some, the village dates back to 1500 years ago. They consider Abyaneh as one of the oldest settlements found in the Dasht-e Kavir. There are works from Sassanid, Seljuq, Safavid, and Qajar periods found in the village. They can certify as to how old the village really is. It is said that back then Safavid kings preferred Abyaneh as an overnight stay for when they traveled as part of the Natanz Yaylak. The existence of historical and cultural monuments and their spiritual value has added to the importance of this village. Abyaneh was listed as a national monument in the year 1975.


Tehran becomes the 2nd Fastest Growing City in Travel and Tourism Employment

According to a report published in October by the World Travel and Tourism Council in its latest “City Travel and Tourism Impact”, from the 72 cities reviewed, Tehran was the second fastest growing city in regards to travel and tourism employment during 2007-17, after Abu Dhabi.
Based on the details in the report, Tehran’s average direct travel and tourism employment growth over the 10-year period stood at 6.8% per annum.
Around 58,100 people were employed in the sector in 2007. In 2017 the figure rose to more than 112,200, to account for 3.8% of the city’s overall employment and 20.3% of Iran’s total employment in the tourism sector.
Tehran will have around 133,700 people employed in the tourism sector by 2027. This is the WTTC’s forecast and it may very well be done.

Tehran ranked sixth in the list of cities with the fastest average direct travel and tourism GDP growth over 2007-17, with an average growth of 7% per year. Tehran’s travel and tourism direct GDP share amounted to $1.4 billion in 2007, which increased to $2.7 billion in 2017, this was based on 2017 real prices. The figure will most likely stand at around $3.7 billion by 2027.
Chongqing, Chengdu, and Shanghai in China, Lagos in Nigeria and Guangzhou again in China were preceding Tehran in this category in a descending order.
Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Istanbul in Turkey, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Mumbai in India, were following Iran in the list, respectively.
The other fastest growing cities in terms of travel and tourism GDP over the past decade were less reliant on domestic travel demand, unlike Chinese cities.

Tehran, Ho Chi Minh City, and Mumbai have benefited from a mix of domestic and international travel growth while Abu Dhabi and Istanbul have seen much of their growth from the international travel market.
The Iranian metropolis ranked 11th in the list of fastest growing cities in tourism and travel GDP creation, this was in 2016-17. According to WTTC Tehran’s GDP growth was at 9% in the sector over that period. Cairo led this category with 34.4 percent.

Around 58,100 people were employed in the sector in Tehran during the year 2007. 20.3 percent of Iran’s total employment in the tourism sector rose to more than 112,200 in 2017 to account for 3.8% of the city’s overall employment.
the WTTC report says that with over half a billion trips to cities annually, famous metropolises have become catalysts of global travel, driving significant increases in travel and tourism within city boundaries and for wider country destinations.
Travel to city destinations in the past decade has grown more rapidly than total international travel demand. This growth directly generated $625 billion or 6.7% of total GDP across the 72 cities reviewed in this study, while industry accounted for 3.2% of global GDP.

Tehran54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, so cities have become global economic hubs. These urban centers will continue to attract more people who will come to live, do business and discover them. They are drivers of growth, innovation and job creation. By the year 2050, 68% of the global population is expected to live in cities. This growth can be translated into the rise of city tourism, and it should be because it is forecasted to last.
According to the latest report of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Iran’s tourism industry recorded a negative growth rate in 2017.

Tehran Iran hosted about 4.86 million tourists in 2017 alone, recording a 1.5% fall compared to that of the year before. This was based on the organization’s tourism highlights published in August. Only in the year 2016 alone, the country had been selected as a travel destination by over 4.9 million people.
According to UNWTO, the figure in 2010 was 2.9 million people, which allows a broader comparison.
UNWTO reported that on tourism revenues in Iran, the country had earned $2.43 billion in 2010 and $3.71 billion in 2016, but the earnings in 2017 were not disclosed.


A land of wonders in Iran that is covered with forest and mountains. It is located in the west of the Zagros Mountains, which is why the vegetation of the province is very rich and has created beautiful landscapes, valleys, waterfalls, jungles, mountains, and so on.
Ilam Iran is a historic land and it is rich in it. The existence of many historical monuments is an affirmation of this claim.
Ilam has quite a lot of oil and gas, but the number of unemployed people in this province is high and is the most deprived province in the country. Non-metallic minerals are also part of the province’s exports. Animal husbandry and agriculture constitute the economic bases of the province.
Seimare River
One of the rivers, located in the west of Iran. This particular river is one of the main branches of the Karkheh River, which originates from the northwest of Iran, and after passing through the cities of Darreh Shahr and Chardavol County, at a conjunction called Gavmishan Bridge, it connects to the Kashkan River and creates the Karkheh River.


Qeshm Island

The largest island in Iran and one which attracts a large number of tourists year round.
The natural wonders in Qeshm somehow relate to the mythical narratives and stories told by the locals. In terms of wildlife, Qeshm is the habitat for a number of scarce species of animals. Some of these animals are unfortunately near extinction.
Qeshm has no shortage of wondrous monuments. Some of them have been dubbed as the “seven wonders”, but what is it that really separates them from the rest?
Qeshm Island


Mashhad is a city in the north-eastern part of Iran and it is considered to be the most important religious-tourism destination in the country, as well as the second-largest religious city in the world. The city is located in midst of neighboring cities such as Sarakhs, Drogas, Chenaran, and Neyshabur.  Having a border with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan has given a special military significance to the city. The climate is mostly cold and dry, with hot summers. The winters are also cold and humid.