Top 10 historical sites to see in Iran

Ben Crowley
Nov. 11, 2023

Iran has it all – amazing cosmopolitan cities, great food, amazing nature, some of the most hospitable people on earth, modern art, fascinating and confronting politics, beaches and of course history. You could easily come to Iran and immerse yourself in modern society and get a feel for the real Iran, not just the Iran you see in the news. However, most people will delve into the country’s extremely long history, from ancient ruins to historic buildings and monuments, there is no shortage of places to explore in Iran, and if you’re one of them, here are 10 historical sites you must see when visiting the Islamic Republic. If you don’t trust us, every single sight on this list is UNESCO World Heritage listed!

  1. Persepolis

Persepolis is probably the most famous historical site in Iran and a must-see for any traveller. This ancient city was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire and is known for its impressive ruins, including the Apadana Palace, the Hall of a Hundred Columns, and the Tachara Palace. The site is located a one hour drive from Shiraz.

Persepolis, Iran

  1. Naqsh-e Jahan Square

Naqsh-e Jahan Square, also known as Imam Square, is located in Isfahan. This massive square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, including the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the Imam Mosque, and the Ali Qapu Palace. The square is also home to a bazaar, where visitors can shop for traditional Iranian goods. The centre of the square was originally a polo field, and the polo goals are still in place to remind us of this unique fact.

  1. Bam Citadel

The Bam Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the city of Bam in the Kerman province. This ancient fortress was built in the 6th century BC and is known for its unique architecture and beautiful views. The citadel is made of mud brick and is considered one of the most well-preserved examples of this type of architecture.

Bam Fortress, Iran

Shushtar Hydraulic System, Iran

  1. Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System

The Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System is located in Khuzestan province. This ancient system of canals and bridges was built in the 3rd century BC and is still in use today. Visitors can explore the canals, dams, and watermills, and learn about the advanced engineering techniques used to build this system.

  1. Pasargadae

Pasargadae is an ancient city located in the Fars province and is the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, as well as other ruins including the palace, fortifications, and gardens. Pasargadae is considered one of the most important historical sites in Iran.

Pasargadae Palace, Iran

Bazaar, Iran

  1. Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex

The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex is located in the city of Tabriz. This complex is made up of several interconnected bazaars and is known for its beautiful architecture and traditional goods. Visitors can explore the bazaars, shop for traditional Iranian goods, and experience the local culture.

  1. Chogha Zanbil

Chogha Zanbil is an ancient city located in the Khuzestan province. This city was built in the 13th century BC and is known for its ziggurat (a type of pyramid – that’s right, pyramids aren’t just in Egypt), which is one of the best-preserved examples of this type of architecture. Visitors can explore the ruins of the city and learn about its history and culture. The pyramid dates back to a whopping 1250BC. This was actually the first place in Iran to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Chogha Zanbil, Iran

The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

  1. The Jameh Mosque of Isfahan

The Jameh Mosque is located in the city of Isfahan. This mosque is known for its beautiful architecture and intricate tilework.

  1. The Chehel Sotoun Palace

The Chehel Sotoun Palace is also located in the city of Isfahan. This palace was built in the 17th century and is known for its stunning architecture, gardens, and beautiful frescoes. Visitors can explore the palace, learn about its history, and admire the intricate decorations.

The Chehel Sotoun Palace, Iran

Golestan Palace, Tehran, Iran

  1. The Golestan Palace

The Golestan Palace is located in the city of Tehran. This palace was the residence of the Qajar dynasty and is known for its beautiful architecture, gardens, and intricate tilework.

Ben Crowley

Ben Crowley

Co-founder of SAIGAtours, Ben is known for his extensive trivia knowledge, which comes in very handy for long bus rides! He loves a good road trip and has a passion for driving some of the most dangerous and exciting roads in the world. When not traveling he loves playing and watching sport, and is an excellent squash player.

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