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Neighbors East and West Announces

Preliminary Plans for a Ten - Day Tour of Iran

October-November 2010
(with a three-day extension possible)

Laira and Friends               Ruth and Friends                V Guys in Abyaneh      

Note:  Neighbors East and West Trips emphasize people-to people interactions.  We have found
that in Iran this  happens naturally, since the Iranian people are inquisitive and welcome
 personal interactions with "guests" to their country, especially Americans.
 There is no need to plan the interactions  - they happen all the time.

Cities (ten - day program):  Tehran (3 days)
                                                Qom, Kashan and Abyaneh (2 days)
                                                Isfahan (4 days) 

                             Extension: Shiraz - Persepolis  (3 days)
Accommodations:  Centrally located Three or Four Star Hotels,  with ample breakfast provided.
Transportation:  Air-conditioned bus, or airplane.

Other Features:  Fully guided tour, with translations;  no additional entry fees for museums, galleries, etc.

Approximate Cost:  $1320 ($1375 after 2/1/2010)   for Travel and accommodations during 10 days in Iran.
                                   (Three day extension $300)
 Note: This does not include cost of visa (appr. $104) or travel cost to and from your home and Tehran.

Day 01 : Arrive Tehran early morning, transfer to hotel Enghelab Hotel , AM free, PM  sightseeing

View of Tehran     Tehran Central Park      Tehran Park
Although human settlement of Tehran dates back to Neolithic times, Tehran is a relatively new city established by the Qajar Dynasty in 1758 and declared the capital of the country in 1794. Today it is a bustling modern metropolis of more than 12 million people situated at the foot of the Alborz Mountains at an average altitude of just over 4000 feet.

Day 02, 03: Tehran;  visits may include the Bazaar, National  Museum, Sa'abad Palace, Laleh Park, or other landmarks

Day 04: Tehran - Qom - Kashan - Abyaneh

                       Qom prayers               Shrine of Fatema                        
The town of Qom is best known for its religious university Howzeh-ye Elmieh. It attracts a lot of students from all over Iran and the rest of the world who want to become a mullah. Imam Khomeini is probably the most famous among those who studied the Quran here. But there are more things in Qom that are significant to Islam. The Holy Shrine of Hazrat-é Ma'sumeh is the burial place of Fatima, the daughter of the 7th Imam and sister of the Reza, the 8th Imam. It is the most important one in Qom. Only the Shrine of Imam Reza himself, in Mashhad, is even more important to the Shi'ites.

          Fin Garden, Kashan                      Kashan Estate

 The city is world famous for its carpets. But besides the carpets, Kashan also has a name for silk, ceramics, copperware and rosewater. The Fin gardens (above left) and the Tabatabai House, (right)  are some of the highlights of Kashan. This garden, with pools and fountains among fruit trees, has a wonderful lazy atmosphere. The house, from the 18th century, is notable  for its stucco decorations and its environmental design.

Day 05:  Abyaneh

                Abyaneh                              Abyaneh Children                                     
 Nestled in the mountains west of Kashan are the red clay houses of Abyaneh.  This village was completely Zoroastrian right until the Safavid era, at which time most of the villagers emigrated to India or to Yazd. Even today their costume, way of life and ancient dialect are still practically unchanged. 
Day 06:  Abyaneh - Esfahan

Isfahan (Esfahan)
Esfahan square    Esfahan Children    Esfahan Bridge
Isfahan is a city of about 1,300,000 inhabitants and is considered by many to be the classical Persian city. It is beautifully situated on the Zayandeh River, which flows through the center of town. There are several exquisite bridges that are fine examples of Safavid Dynasty architecture. The term "Isfahan nesfe-jahan" (Isfahan is half of the world) was coined in the 16th century to reflect the magnificence of the city. During the rule of Shah Abbas I in the 16th century Isfahan became the center of some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring architecture, art and carpets seen anywhere in the Islamic world.

Day 07, 08, 09: Isfahan  Visits to the architecturally unique Jamae Mosque, Imam Mosque and the Sheik Lotfallah Mosque (described by some as the most beautiful room in the world).  Visits to the Armenian Cathedral and (possibly) the Tehran Synagogue.  Also ample time to investigate the bridges on the Zayenda river, and the carpets, miniatures and other handcrafts in the shops  in Nagash e Jahan Square and on Chahar Bargh Avenue.

Day 10:  Return to Tehran, and departure.


Day 10:  Esfahan - Pasargadae - Shiraz

                   Palace Ruins                                       Cyrus' Tomb
The first capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Pasargadae, lies in ruins 43 kilometers from Persepolis, in present-day Fars province of Iran. The capital city was built by Cyrus the Great, beginning in 546 BCE.  Cyrus' tomb, along with the remains of substantial buildings and monuments are still in evidence among the ruins.

Day 11:  Shiraz

Shiraz 1         Shiraz Merchant        Shiraz Bazaar            Shiraz Mosque
Shiraz was one of the most important cities in the Medieval Islamic world and is the cradle of Persian culture and civilization. It was the Iranian capital from 1747-1770. Shiraz has been famous throughout Iranian history as a city of poets, Sufi saints, and rose gardens, and as a seat of learning. Shiraz has a population of about 1,100,000 people and lies in a valley once renowned for its vineyards.

Day 12: Shiraz and Persepolis, return to Tehran

 Persepolis 1    Persepolis 2    Persepolis 3    Persepolis 4
Persepolis was built by Darius I in 518 B.C., was destroyed by Alexander in 330 B.C. and is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and spectacular archaeological sites in the world today. It was the spiritual capital of the ancient Persian Empire ruled over by the Achaemenian kings. 

Day 13: Tehran, and departure


Tehran : Enghelab/Kowsar
Abyaneh:  Hotel Abyaneh
Shiraz : Parsian/Parse
Isfahan : Suite Parsian/Melal