Yazd is one of the oldest cities in the world (it has a 3000-year history) and has always been a crossroads for trade, as well as an access point to the Silk Road.

The old part looks like a little jewel with intricate alleys, ochre-coloured houses and old mosques covered in blue majolica. Most notable is the Masjed-e Jameh, which dominates the entire ancient city with its two 48-metre-high minarets:

Today, the city has almost half a million inhabitants and is located in the centre of Iran, in the middle of a vast desert. Yazd is known for its traditional Persian architecture, its sprawling old town with its mud houses and towers reaching into the sky. The city can be reached by highway in about 6 hours from Shiraz and 4 hours from Isfahan.

The underground aqueducts, called qanats, still transport the underground water from the mountains to the plains. They still supply 75% of Yazd’s water.

The city was already a Zoroastrian centre in the Sassanid period. After the Islamic conquest of Persia, many Zoroastrians from the surrounding provinces found refuge in Yazd. However, the city remained Zoroastrian even after the conquest.

Due to its remote location in the desert and the difficulty of reaching it, Yazd has remained almost intact through the destruction of wars, such as during the invasion of Genghis Khan. In 1272 it was visited by Marco Polo, who reported on its refined silk weaving.

ATTRACTIONS

ZAROASTRIAN TEMPLE:

The construction of the “Fire Temple of the Zoroastrians”, also known as the “Fire of Varhram of Yazd”, took place in October 1934, with the funds raised by the Indian association Anjoman-e Parsiyan, on a specially donated land . According to some accounts, the fire present in this temple was kept for more than 1515 years in the Fire Temple of Nahid Pars, later it was transported to the place and until now it has never been extinguished. Religious ceremonies, holidays and meetings of the Zoroastrians of Yazd take place in this temple.

THE TEMPLE FIRE CHAK CHAK

The Chak Chak sanctuary or fire temple is located in the Kharānaq district, in the city of Ardakān (Yazd region). The construction and maintenance of this complex is due to the Zoroastrians inside and outside the country. The Chak Chak fire temple or “ChakChaku” which is one of the important pilgrimage sites of the Zoroastrians from which it is also called “Pir-e Sabz “, Is located in the mountains between Ardakān and Anjireh. It includes a courtyard, a set of buildings and the building of the fire temple which was built in staircases on five non-aligned floors so that the roof of each floor constitutes the courtyard of the upper floor.To enter the temple it is necessary to climb many steps. The entrance is through a gilded metal door with the image of an Achaemenid soldier with a spear in his hand. The covered area of ​​the sanctuary is a small building with a stone ceiling in the center of which you can see a chandelier. Inside there is an ancient plane tree trunk. The floor is covered with marble and from a part of the stone ceiling drops of water fall on the floor – probably the attribution of the name to the place is due to this reason – which are collected in some containers to offer as a blessing to pilgrims. center of the temple is a hearth whose flames must never be extinguished and there is also a place to burn incense or sacred wood. The small area of ​​the sanctuary has been embellished with images of the great protagonists of the Zoroastrian religion.In one of the rooms of this building there is a well over 50 meters deep and the Zoroastrians believe that by tying a thread to the rope of it their wishes will be fulfilled . In the external area of ​​the temple there are also other buildings that are used as accommodation and to welcome pilgrims.

DOLAT ABAD GARDEN

The Dowlat Ābād garden is located in the city of Yazd (region of the same name) and its construction for residential use and seat of government offices dates back to the year 1160 of the lunar Hegira, at the end of the Afsharide era. by a high adobe wall and a watchtower, it consisted of two main parts: 1-the andaruni (the interior), the private and residential part which included: the octagonal construction or summer windbreak tower (in the shape of a eight sides) which included: 3 shāhneshin (secluded place suitable for sitting and often reserved for guests) with reticulated doors / small room of the bādgir, the vestibule and two pantries, a harem (part reserved for women and children), the behesht āyyin ( winter residence), the kitchen, the watchtower, the private cistern, the service rooms, the summer and winter stable, the doroshkeh-khāneh (space where transport horses are kept (the bādgir of the palace with a height 33 and 80 meters centimeters is the tallest known adobe ventilation tower in the world).

THE FRIDAY MOSQUE

it is the great congregational mosque of Yazd, built in Azerbaijani Persian style and represented on national banknotes. Its two minarets are the tallest that can be found in Iran. The facade of its portal is decorated with sophisticated tiles with a dazzling surface, almost all of which are blue. The sanctuary inside is covered with splendid mosaic tiles.

AMIR CHAKGMAQ COMPLEX

The Amir Chakhmaq complex is perhaps the most iconic structure in Yazd, overlooking a large square of the same name and containing various other structures, including a caravanserai, an ancient well and thermal baths, although it is mainly a mosque. Its facade is impressive, characterized by three floors with arched niches: it is the largest building in the country. At night the complex is illuminated creating a very scenographic effect.

TOWERS OF ZAROASTRIAN SILENCE
The Yazd Towers of Silence are related to the cult of Zoroaster and are located on two hills south of the city. They were used to destroy the bodies of the dead, which were disintegrated by birds and the forces of nature, a practice foreseen by the Zoroastrian religion. In the seventies they were closed by the Iranian government and today they are an important tourist attraction.

ALESSANDRO PRISON
Another very important building in Yazd, the Alexander prison takes the title of a poem by the famous Iranian poet Hafez in which it speaks of a terrible prison, although it is not certain that the building was really used by Alexander the Great to imprison the opponents. According to some historical versions, it was even the prison where Alexander the Great was held. The structure features a clay dome decorated with gold and blue paintings.

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Sandra Haarmann

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