Dare Dream Discover

Travels in Iran – Yazd

Travels in Iran – Yazd

Yazd is a historic and very pretty town. The Old Town with its mud-brick buildings and it’s labyrinth of winding alleyways is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is also the centre of the Zoroastrian religion in Iran.

Lynn Stephenson in Yazd

Old City of Yazd

I’m staying in a hotel in the Old City, arriving late last night by train. Breakfast was a joy with the usual array of treats with an added extra. One of the local breakfast dishes is spicy eggs with tomato, cooked fresh to order, it was amazing. Breakfast was on the rooftop with lovely views, a marvelous way to start the day.

my spicy egg breakfast in Yazd

Temple and Hills of Silence

First stop today was the Temple and Hills of Silence. In the Zoroastrian religion the dead we’re sent for decontamination before going to their final resting place. They used the sky burial method. Here bodies were placed on top of stone towers called dakhmas where their bodies were picked clean by vultures and bleached by the elements.

The bodies were arranged in 3 rings, men in the outer circle, women in the middle and children in the centre. When the bodies had been stripped they were put into a pit dug out of the top of the mountain. For dignitaries tombs were carved out of the rock.

If you look closely you will see me tracking up to the top of the tower.

Lynn trekking in Yazd

The 4 Elements

The Zoroastrian worshipped the 4 elements, earth, water, air and fire. To bury a body meant to spoil the earth. Also one of the main causes of death was infectious and respiratory diseases, passed from person to person through infectious particles in the air. A large part of such diseases were destroyed due to an enzyme that exists in vultures saliva, which has been scientifically proven by testing their droppings.

The burning of corpses was considered inappropriate. When there were large numbers of casualties through outbreaks of plague, cholera or typhoid or through wars, burying the corpses was a challenge, so they used the sky burial method to prevent contamination.


The Zoroastrian religion is one of the oldest religions still in existence. It was the main religion in Iran until the introduction of Islam after the Arab invasion of Persia. The sky burial method was still used in the 1960s before being made illegal in the 1970s. Many Zoroastrians now bury their dead beneath concrete to prevent contamination.

Below the towers are the remains of old dwellings. As the burial towers were a long way from the villages, each village had its own dwelling where they could perform their rituals and rest before beginning their journey home. It makes quite a contrast to the modern city behind.

Yazd old village and modern city

Lynn Stephenson at an old village

The Fire Temple of Yazd

Also extremely important in Zoroastrianism is the Fire Temple which contains a flame which has been burning continuously since the 5th century.

fire temple in Yazd

The symbol of the Zoroastrian religion is, the Frahvahar.

symbol of the Zoroastrian religion, the Frahvahar

Each part of the symbol has a meaning. For example each wing has 3 parts which are symbols of good thoughts, good words and good deeds. The stronger our wings of good thoughts, words and deeds, the higher we soar in the universe.

Frahvahar meanings

Marriage in Zoroastrianism

Marriage is considered holy by Zoroastrians and is a union between 2 wise people. A person can only have 1 husband or wife. On the wedding day the bride wears a green dress and the groom wears a green hat with a green napkin hanging over his left shoulder. 7 people should be present as witnesses. Lines are spoken from the holy book and the priest asks the couple if they love each other.

There is also museum and on the bottom floor a gallery with an excellent photography exhibition.

Alleyways in the Old City

This afternoon was spent wandering around the maze of alleyways that make up the old city, very atmospheric. Some places offer rooftop viewpoints and there are craft shops and cafes. A great place to stop off for fresh pomegranate juice topped with ice cream.

I love walking around on my own. Here like everywhere I’ve had a very warm welcome. This afternoon a very old lady said some words to me in Persian, she then proceeded to give me a hug and then started tickling me under the chin, I felt like I was 5 years old again. A middle aged man and his nephew stopped to chat with me. They asked if I liked wearing the headscarf. I said I would prefer not to as it’s hot and sometimes gets in the way, but it is law so I respect that.

They then told me of a movement that they support to stop the compulsory wearing of the headscarf . It is led by a woman named Masih Alinejad and they showed me her Instagram page. I had so many handshakes and welcome to Irans. Everyone wants to know what I think of Iran and do I like it – I love it!

An Important Day 

Tomorrow is a very important day in the Islamic calendar. It is commemorates the martydom of the grandson of the prophet Mohammed after his death 1,300 years ago and ends a period of mourning. Black flags adorned the mosques, many wear black clothing and free food is given out.

Tonight myself and Karen had dinner in a rooftop restaurant in the old town. As always the food was fantastic. Outside the mosque a huge stall had been erected giving away free saffron tea. I walked around and did a little shopping. I bought a new outfit. The shirt was £3 and the scarf £2. Again many people wanted to chat. One young woman gave me a heart on which was a little crepe flower, welcome to Iran, her name and love.


Today we left the city, I was resplendent in my new outfit. Our first stiop was about 70 kms away at Kharanaq. Kharanaq was inhabited for over 1,000 years. The Old Town was built with sun – baked mud bricks. It was once a prosperous farming village, but when the water supplies dried up the inhabitants left, leaving the town to fall to ruins. A new town was built and the government put in water and electricity supplies.

Most people moved here but a few elderly residents refused and live amongst the ruins.

Lynn at Kharanaq


At first there were only the 4 of us, we were then joined by some friendly locals. One of the women removed her headscarf and manteau for her photos. Underneath she had on a sleeveless top. She encouraged me to take off my headscarf too. They asked for photos with me.

In the distance can be seen the blue dome of a mosque.

Lynn at Kharanaq with mosque in the distance

mosque with blue dome


Today is Arba’een it is a day of mourning to commemorate the martydom of Husayn Ib Ali, who was killed at the battle of Karbala 1,500 years ago. In Yazd this morning there were crowds of people, dressed in black, heading for the mosque. From the Old Town we saw a line of people heading for the mosque in the distance, led by someone waving an Iranian flag.

Arba'een in Yazd

Chan Chan (Drip Drip)

Next we visited Chan Chan which literally translated means ‘drip drip’. Nikbanu, daughter of the last Pre-Islamic ruler hid here from Arab invaders. The Arabs found her and, trapped she prayed. A crack in the mountain then opened up and enfolded her.

The ‘drip drip’ is the mountain crying for the princess. Inside the complex is a grotto containing a shrine with fires kept eternally burning. It is an important pilgrimage site for Zoroastrians. Pilgrims and us walk up a trail and flights of stairs. In the cliffs below the shrine are roofed pavilions for pilgrims to shelter and rest.

You can just make me out standing on top!

At the entrance to the temple are 2 amazing doors.

As usual I attracted attention, one women grabbed her daughter and asked her to take a photo of us together.

A huge tree outside the temple is said to have grown from the cane the princess used to ascend the mountain.

After trekking back down, our lovely driver opened the back of the minibus to reveal tea, biscuits and fresh pomegranate.

The drive today was an interesting one.

2 men riding a camel

The Historic Town of Maybod

Next stop was the historic town of Maybod and Narin castle. This is a mud – brick castle, built 2,000 years ago and standing 40 metres high. From the castle walls there are excellent views over the town. Although the castle was built so long ago, it seems to contain the remains of a type of plumbing system. There is also a fabulous mosaic floor in the courtyard.

Narin castle

Narin castle mosaic

Lynn at Narin Castle, Meybod

Iranian Pottery

Iran is also famous for it’s pottery. We got to see how it’s made and as always I’ll have a go at anything.

Iranian pottery

Lynn enjoying pottery

Lynn's pottery efforts in Iran

I was allowed to keep my efforts – probably because it would be impossible to sell, it’s very rustic! It does take pride of place, along with my purchase.

My Return to Yazd

When I returned to Yazd the ceremony at the mosque had finished, people were leaving and food was being handed out. They had opened the stairs to the rooftop of the mosque and I managed to go and have a look before they were closed again.

My Cookery Lesson

This evening we were having another cookery lesson and I couldn’t wait. This time it was with a mother and daughter who had set up a cookery school attached to their home. They were so lovely and full of fun. I was sous chef and we laughed a lot.

Iranians have a fabulous sense of humour. The mother has been running a cooking school for 30 years. I met lots of entrepreneurial women in Iran. When asked if any men come to her cooking school she pulled a face – no translation needed. She then said that men are a pain in the arse. I had so much fun. One of the ingredients they used were yellow split peas. I’m from the north-east of England and we use these to make pease pudding. It reminded me of home. The food looked so beautiful and tasted delicious and there was so much of it, we were full to bursting point.

Lynn's cookery lesson in Yazd

Lynn cooking in Iran

beautiful Iranian food

My Last Day in Yazd

Today I have to leave Yazd. As I had a little time so decided to treat myself to another fresh pomegranate with ice cream. As usual everyone wanted to chat and I never made it. I was stopped by a woman who was an architect and her engineer husband. We chatted and laughed for so long it was time to go back.

This morning at breakfast I was chatting to the hotel owner about my experiences in Iran. When I told him that it is the safest country I’ve travelled in because i could walk around on my own anywhere day or night and feel completely safe, his eyes filled with tears. He couldn’t thank me enough for saying that, it meant so much.

I stayed at the Orient hotel, a lovely hotel in a perfect spot. In the heart of the old town, yet quiet and tranquil.

My Final Thoughts on Yazd

Yazd was very beautiful and incredibly friendly and I felt very at home and very comfortable here.  


This website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience... moregot it