The deserted and crumbling village of Kharanaq, on the side of a hill about 90km north of Yazd is an amazing place to wander around and you feel like you stepped back in time. Parts of this place are supposed to be over 1000 years old and it has been occupied for more than 4000 years. There are gorgeous mountains around with an ancient bridge off in the distance and this place is a true highlight of central Iran.
Yazd is one of the best and most interesting cities in the middle east and I did not want to leave after 3 days. WIth its badgirs poking out of a baked brown labyrinth of lanes, the old city of Yazd stands on its own for one of the most amazing places in the Middle East. Yazds old city is one of the oldest towns on earth and is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is a perfect place to get lost and get a feel for the region. This town is out of a storybook and I cant wait to go back!!
The old adobecity of Yazd are a must. It is like a living museum, and in one way it seems that things are unchanged for tousands of years. Here you find a maze of slent street, every casual visitor are bound to get lost. Here is a range of architecturl features like the badgirs or windtowers, the waterreservoirs, the sunken doorways and tunelled alleys. Sometimes you will come across workshops. There is one making mosaiks like those on mosques, another makes stained windows. Also worth looking for are the remaining parts of the old fortfications surrounding part of the old city. On some of the door there are two knockers, one meant for women, the other for men. The sound is different so one could determine who knocked. Vital in earlier days. The long one is the male knocker, the sircular the female.
Amir Chachmaq complex are one of the most spectacular structures in the city. Its wide, threestorey fasad is unlike any other building in the country, despite the identical tilework. During daytime it is majestetic, when floodlighted during nighttime it becomes amazing. Still, maybe the biggest attraction is the possibility to climb to the top where you have the best possible wiew over theold city below.
An institution unique to Iran is the zurkaneh, a house where traditional sport is performed. In Yazd there are daily performances at 9 pm. Here a group of men perfomes a series of different physical ecersises accopagnied by drums. it is like an elegant dance down in the arena, it looks so easy but this is hard work. The almost never ending drumbeating are almost hypnotising. Going here only cost 10000 rial, it is worth it.
Yazd are home to Irans biggest comunity of zoroastrians, followers of the oldest monoethic religion known. In Yazd they have one of their temples of fire, were a fire is constantly burning. The fire burning in Yazd was, according to the records lit in 470 AD and then transfered here later. The zorohastrian people don't worship the fire itself as many believes, instead it is a symbol of purity. Ateshkaderh, as this temple are named, are not an architectural pearl, the attraction of the place lies in the possibility to get a glimpse of a now very rare religion.
In the outskirt of Yazt there is a couple of "tower of silence", earlier used by the zoroastrians to get rid of their dead people in mutch the same way as the tibetan skyburials. Inside this circular buildings bodies was left so the vultures could clean the bones. The remains left was then dissolved by some sort of acid. Close by the houses used for ceremonies and a water reservoir with the caracteristic badgirs, windtowers still largely intact.
I stayed at Silk Road Hotel in Yazd. I paid IR40 000 (Nov 2008) per nite for an underground dorm bed...more