"Yazd and the Towers of Silence" Top 5 Page for this destination Yazd by iwys

Yazd Travel Guide: 143 reviews and 468 photos

One of the Oldest Cities in the World

According to Unesco, who have made it a World Heritage Site, Yazd is one of the oldest cities in the world. It was originally known as Ysatis.

It is believed that there was a settlement here as early as 3000 BC. The city of Yazd has certainly been continuously inhabited for more than 2,350 years, and it has such an isolated location that I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were descendants of the original inhabitants still living here.

Yazd is located on an arid plateau between the Dasht-e Kavir, or Great Salt Desert, and the Dasht-e Lot, or Great Sand Desert.

For centuries, it was an important trading stop for the camel trains travelling across Asia on the silk roads, and Marco Polo passed through here in 1272, on his way to China, describing it as a good and noble city. I share his view.

The people of Yazd are some of the nicest and friendliest that I have met anywhere in the world.


Yazd is the traditional centre of the Zoroastrian faith and twenty per cent of all the Zoroastrians in the world live in and around Yazd.

Zoroastrians are followers of Zoroaster, who was born around 550 BC. They worship fire as a symbol of the first universal god, and keep eternal flames burning in their temples.

They are perhaps best known for their unusual method of disposing of their dead. Because they believe that their bodies will contaminate the purity of the earth, they are not buried. Instead, they are placed at the tops of mountains, in Towers of Silence, where they can be consumed by vultures.

You can see the Towers of Silence just outside the city. The picture on the left is the view of Yazd from the highest Tower of Silence.

The Beautiful Mosques of Yazd

Islam eventually replaced Zoroastrianism as the main religion of the Persians.

The people of Yazd are great craftsmen, and their main mosques, the fourteenth century Amir Chakhmagh Mosque and Masjed-e Jame, are stunningly beautiful.

A distinctive feature of the architecture of Yazd is the number of badgirs, or wind towers, used to ventilate the houses, even in the city centre.

  • Last visit to Yazd: Mar 2001
  • Intro Updated Feb 27, 2007
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Reviews (35)

Comments (13)

  • zlatiq's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2009 at 9:33 PM

    another beautiful place in iran! the mosque looks amazingly peaceful; thanks

  • gubbi1's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2007 at 5:53 AM

    Had great friends from Iran in Sweden, actually the majority of friends. Great people and beautiful country from what I have seen on photos. And some similarities in traditional food in Iran and Germany... bavarian Meatcake and baked egges... lol.

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2006 at 3:52 PM

    I stayed with a Parsi family in Bombay back in '86. There was a Tower of Silence on Valkeshar Rd where I stayed. But the funeral service in Tibet more gory with the priest slicing up the body, crushing the skull then summoning the "Holy vultures.Tim

  • RedEaredPanda's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2005 at 8:27 PM

    Great pages as always.. Another city I'd love to see for myself... Now you've put me in mood to take some time off work and travel to Iran :) Thanks again!!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2005 at 8:50 AM

    Yazd seems to be a lovely place! I hope to visit the town next year.

  • jckim's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2005 at 2:07 AM

    Brilliant photos of Yazd!

  • mariev's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2005 at 10:35 AM

    Absolutely superb photos, and the city looks so... serene. More than interesting

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2005 at 1:00 AM

    Fascinating page Ian. I love the architecture & the Mosque, very unsual. Interesting to learn more about the Zoroastrian faith too. Excellent, as usual ! (~_~)

  • eden_teuling's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2005 at 7:25 AM

    I spent pleasant time reading your description of Yazd, Ian: an OUSTANDING page of a most wonderful city....elisabeth

  • aadil's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2005 at 7:45 AM

    You can see a fully functional Tower of Silence in Mumbai too!!! But you cannot enter it like you did in Yazd!!! I can because I was born a Zoroastrian!!! Loved your fantastic page on this beautiful city!!!


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