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Yazd Travel Guide: 129 reviews and 431 photos

Yazd

Capital of Yazd province, the focal point for bus journeys south and southeast to Bandar-e Abbas or Kerman and Zahedan, and 677 km southeast of Tehran, right in the center of Iran and almost entirely surrounded by deserts is the city of Yazd. Situated in a long valley just over 1,215 meters above sea level, and occupying an area of 72,000 kilometers, the town can be reached by road, rail and regular flights from Tehran and major towns. The valley is bounded on the southwest by the extensive Shir Kuh range the highest peak of which is 4,075 meters high; to the northeast rises an isolated massif which is nearly 3,000 meters in height
Called Ke-Se and Issa'ees during the ancient period of Iranian history, it was renamed to Farafiz and Yazdan Gerd during the reign of the Sassanian king Yadgerd I (399-421 AD). The name comes from Yazdan and Izad denoting "holiness" and "blessedness". According to some historical documents the history of Yazd goes back to the time of Alexander the Great, or one millennium before the emergence of Islam. It was conquered by the Arabs in 642, and subsequently became an important station on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India, exporting its silks, textiles and carpets far and wide. It was spared destruction by Chengiz Khan and Tamerlane and flourished in the I4th and 15th centuries, but its commercial success and stability were never translated into political status. Like most of the rest of Iran, the town fell into decline after the end of the era, and remained little more than a provincial outpost until the extension of the railway line here under the last Shah.
Until the very recent past, the town used to draw its scanty water supply mainly from the Shir Kuh mountains by means of an elaborate system of qanats or underground conduits, some of which are as much as 45 km long. Inhabitants of Yazd (now over 282,751 according to 1992 census) excel all other Iranians in the making of qanats, and the services of the highly skilled muqannis or qanat-makers of Yazd are often in demand in other parts of the country.
In addition to having written in bold letters some of the chapters of the story of man's incessant struggle against nature, Yazd represents a microcosm of dilemmas and arts, the troubled social and religious harmonies that invigorate Iran. Zoroastrians have always been populous in Yazd. Even now roughly twelve thousand of the town's population adhere to this ancient religion, and though their fire temple was turned into a mosque when the Arabs invaded Iran, a dignified new fire temple was inaugurated thirteen hundred years later.
The architecture of Yazd is unique, combining a proliferation of those graceful bad-girs (wind-towers) seen in central and southern Iran: the houses are surmounted by high turrets with openings oriented toward the dominant winds; these insure the ventilation of the lower parts of the house rather like air-vents on a ship. Enormous domes starting at ground level and also surmounted by air-vents act as protective roofs for deep water-tanks six, eight or ten meters below street level, which were reached by stair-cases. Yazdis of the present day retain their sterling qualities of old. They are strongly religious, whether their faith be Islam or the "Good ,Religion" of ancient Iran.
A desert city reconverting commercially and industrially, as well as a historical city which regrets never having been a national capital, Yazd commemorates by unusual monuments the importance given it by scores of scientists and scholars in the past centuries. In the industrial fields, Yazdis practice carpet-weaving, silk-weaving, shawl-making, the manufacture of the shoes known as giveh and the making of abas or cloaks. Many are engaged in agriculture, the noblest of all employment according to the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism.

Yazd - Zoroaster crypt

Yazd - Jame Mosque

  • Intro Updated Feb 15, 2006
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Reviews (33)

Comments (11)

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    Nice photos and useful info. I have friends who visited Yazd and they were very impressed by the city.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2010 at 11:33 AM

    Rick Steves is a traveler and presents for Televison. He recently was in Iran and loved the friendly culture of the people and the wonders of color and splendor of buildings.

  • tremendopunto's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2009 at 4:18 AM

    Hi Omid, after reading about Yazd I was thinking to add it to my route, but after visiting your page I was sure I have to add it to my route! Great informative page!

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    Nice page with informative tips, Omid. The ancient (pre Islamic) architecture looks very impressive!! Thanks for sharing

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2009 at 10:03 PM

    Facsinating look at a city with lots to offer. Good work,

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2008 at 1:59 AM

    Nice uppdates Omid! I enjoyed my visit to Yazd very much two years ago!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2008 at 1:00 AM

    Omid, your mosques are superb! Masterpiece of architecture!

  • timada's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2008 at 7:56 AM

    Nice page !

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    Nice pictures of Yzd, Omid. Are there still zoroastrian worshippers going to temples and crypts?

  • mvtouring's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Very interesting page, thanks for sharing ;-)

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