Episode three sees Joanna continue her adventure following the ancient Silk Road across the Islamic Republic of Iran, home to one of the oldest civilisations on earth. A land of incredible diversity and pronominal beauty, Iran was once the thriving heart of the mighty Persian Empire, now little visited by Westerners.
She begins her journey in the capital Tehran, home to 15 million people to go headscarf shopping and visit the Golestan Palace. Travelling south from the capital, her first stop is in Kashan, an old Silk Road oasis to visit the home of a carpet weaver, similar to the type whom would have travelled with Persian traders beyond their empire.
Travelling south again, Joanna stops in Isfahan, the jewel of ancient Persia. At the centre is Naqshe-e-Jahan, the biggest enclosed square in the work, where she also discovers the palace, mosque and bazaar which surround it.
Heading across the desert to the mud-brick Yazd, a five-hour drive from Isfahan visiting the mysterious Towers of Silence on the outskirts of the city. The next stop Shiraz, the hear of Persian culture for more than 2,000 years, as Joanna strolls around the citadel recalling the time her grandparents spent time in Shiraz in the 1920's.
She ends her journey in Iran in the ruined city of Persepolis, founded in 518BC by Darius the Great.
Iran: Treasures of Persia
From £2595 per person (departures in March, April, May, September, October & November)
Visit Pasargadae, Cyrus the Great's capital
Two full days exploring the boulevards, Persian gardens and Islamic buildings of Isfahan
View the ruins of Persepolis, one of the world's greatest archaeological sites
Small group size, and stay in 4 star accommodation
Day 1: Fly to Iran
Fly overnight from London to Iran.
Day 2: Tehran
Early morning arrival and transfer to Azadi Grand (or similar) for immediate occupancy. Afternoon visit to Tehran's museums. Stay overnight at the Azadi Grand.
Day 3: Fly to Shiraz
This morning, take a flight to Shiraz. Guided tour of Shiraz including visits to the Hafez and Saadi tombs, the Narenjestan-e-Ghavam historical house, the Nasir-ol-Molk mosque and Vakil bazaar. Stay a the Pars International Hotel (or similar) for 2 nights)
Day 4: Persepolis and Naghsh-e-Rostam
Full day visit to Persepolis, Daris the Great's summer capital to visit the magnificent stone terrace and palace. Continue to Naghsh-e-Rostam, the site of the royal tombs and Sassanian rock reliefs.
Day 5: Pasargadae and Yazd
Drive to Yazd, via Pasargadae, the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenian empire, founded by Cyrus the Great in the sixth century BC. View the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, Tall-e-Takht and the presidential palace. Continue to Yazd and stay at the Dad Hotel (or similar) for 2 nights.
Day 6: Yazd
Full day tour to the Dowlat-Abad garden, the Zoroastrian fire temple, an abandoned Zoroastrian 'Tower of Silence' and the Jameh mosque. Other highlights include the Amir Chakhmaq complex.
Day 7: Na'in and Isfahan
Drive to Isfahan, stopping at Na'in to view the Jameh mosque and Pirnia House. Stay at the Abbasi Hotel (or similar) for 3 nights.
Day 8: Isfahan
Full day tour of the city's monuments, including Naghsh-e-Jahan Square, the Imam and Sheikh Lotfollah mosques, and the Khaju Bridge. Conclude with a visit to the Ali Qapu palace.
Day 9: Isfahan
Full day visit to the Vank Cathedral, the Chehel Sotoun palace, and the Jameh mosque of Isfahan, which is inscribed as a Unesco world heritage site.
Day 10: Natanz, Kashan and Tehran
Drive to Tehran, stopping at Natanz and Kashan en route to visit the Fin gardens and the former merchant's house of Taba-Tabai. Stay at the Novotel (or similar) for 1 night
Day 11: Fly to London
Transfer to the airport and fly back to London.
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