Yazd is a city in central Iran and the capital of the Yazd province. It is an ancient city dating back to the Sassanian Period (224-651 AD). Because of generations of adaptations to its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique Persian architecture. It is nicknamed the city of windcatchers because of its ancient Persian windcatchers. It is also very well known for its Zoroastrian fire temples, ab anbars, qanats, yakhchals, Persian handicrafts, Termeh (Iranian handwoven cloth), silkweaving, and its high quality Yazdi confectionery. Yazd has a history of over 5,000 years, dating back to the time of the Median Empire, when it was known as “Ysatis” (or “Issatis”). The present city name, however, is derived from Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler of Persia. The city was definitely a Zoroastrian center during Sassanid times. After the Arab conquest of Iran, many Zoroastrians migrated to Yazd from neighboring provinces. By paying a levy, Yazd was allowed to remain Zoroastrian even after its conquest, and Islam only gradually became the dominant religion in the city.
Yazd’s Top 10 Destinations
1. Masjid-e Jame (Friday Mosque), dating back to the fourteenth century, is well worth a visit. It is an example of finest Persian mosaics and excellent architecture. Its minarets are the highest in the country. Admire it at night when it is lit up.
2. Atashkadeh is the Zoroastrian fire temple. The fire on the inside has supposedly been burning since 470 AD.
3.Tower of silence (Zoroastrian’s Dakhmeh) – the name tower is misleading as they consist of huge circular walls on top of two hills, within those the dead were left to be picked clean by the vultures. This is done in accordance with Zoroastrian belief. However, the towers are not in use anymore and open to the public. A quiet, serene place. The modern Zoroastrian cemetery is just there as well.
4. Water Museum lots of interesting information about the Canat water distribution system.
5. Alexanders prison, which was neither built by Alexander the great nor a prison, but a 15th-century domed school which is quite an interesting sight with a cafe in the ‘prison room’. Often guides would tell you the deep well in the middle of its courtyard was in fact built by Alexander the Great and was used as a dungeon but this seems doubtful.
6. Tomb of the 12 imams which dates back to the early 11th century, has inscriptions inside bear the names of the twelve Shiite Imams, though none are actually buried here. It is now badly deteriorated.
7. Amir Chakhmakh complex, a breathtaking construction and a must-see. Visitors can climb to the top.
8. Amir Chakmakh mosque, not to be confused with the complex of the same name, but nearby and easily visited when visiting the more famous complex.
9. water reservoir with its four badgirs (wind towers)
10. Dowlat Abad Gardens with a building with a beautiful large badgir.