IRAN UNVEILED. A special tour, April 4 thru April 13, 2014 or October 17 thru 26, 2014.
Be a Participant in Cultural Engagement!
“I invite you to experience the warmth of the Iranian people. From Tehran, to the south in Shiraz, the desert town of Yazd and in Isfahan, you will have the opportunity to see this country of endless historical sites, cultural interest and warm people. Hopefully, exchanges through travel and cultural programs can help bridge a wall of suspicion on both sides…while enjoying Persian cuisine and first class hotels. Join TunisUSA on this special tour to Iran.”
Jerry Sorkin, Founder, TunisUSA
Friday – Tehran
Upon your arrival in Tehran, very early in the morning, you will clear customs and meet with your English speaking guide and then transfer to your hotel in central Tehran. Remainder of overnight in Tehran…
Tehran is not where one finds the roots of Persian history. However, in the Iran of the 20th century, as the world has come to know Iran, it is the heart and soul of the image Iran projects to the world. It was not until the end of the 18th century and early 19th century, under the Qajar dynastry, that Tehran began an ascent which ultimately has led to it being Iran’s capital. In 1900, the city had some quarter-of-a-million inhabitants.
Today, estimates are that Tehran has some 15 million people, spreading the city to much more expansive geographic boundaries, with tightly crowded residential areas, traffic jams in streets designed for less than half of its population. No one will visit Tehran and call it a beautiful city, but visiting Iran and not visiting Tehran would be overlooking the modern heartbeat of this country. Despite the revolution in 1979 and the political isolation and radical image that Iran projects to the West, when you strip away the political leadership, daily life in Tehran seems as normal and friendly as many large cities in the world.
Following breakfast, touring in Iran will include visting the the Glass and Ceramics Museum. A well designed museum housed in what was once a private home for a prominent Persian family during the Qajar dynasty (1795-1925), it subsequently became the Egyptian embassy and in 1976, converted into a museum. Today it houses an extensive collection of earthenware, glassware, ceramics, chinaware and crystal objects. Today’s touring will also include the Iran Carpet Museum.
Beautifully displayed, the carpet museum displays that illustrates their status of an art form Persian history. The carpets, primarily 19th and 20th century, are well selected reprsenting both urban and village weaving. Additional touring will include the National Museum of Iran, housing artifacts from many archaeological sites around the country, providing a wonderful historical backdrop to your subsequent days of exploring Iran. Dinner and overnight in Tehran. (B, L, D)
“This was an extraordinary, eye-opening trip to a county that most Americans know little about.
What we in America do “know” about Iran is often wrong.
For one thing, the people of Iran love Americans. Yes, their government doesn’t, but the people do. They are wonderfully warm and welcoming and since many, many, speak English, we were often pleasantly besieged by Iranians wanting to speak with us and having their pictures taken with us.
Iran’s impressive, historical and cultural heritage is enormous. The ruins of ancient civilizations, as well as the mosques, are awesome.
Despite what many Americans expect, Iran is safer than most American cities – women feel completely safe wandering by themselves and chatting with the friendliest merchants in the world.
The TunisUSA trip provided an exceptional guide who was remarkably knowledgeable, spoke perfect English and went out of his way to make this tour an unforgettable experience. He succeeded beyond everyone’s hopes.
Jerry Sorkin’s all-inclusive tour brought us to the best restaurants and hotels in the country.
In every respect, this was a remarkable journey that we will never forget.
And we hope to share with Americans the true Iran.”
Saturday – Tehran/Shiraz
Today your touring of Tehran continues with a visit to the National Jewels Museum, where the highlight of many highlights is the Peacock Throne, as well as many jewels of Iran’s rulers going back to the 18th century through the extensive collection amassed under the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife, Queen Farah. Your day continues with the Niyavaran Palace Museum, a complex amidst beautiful landscaped grounds where the late Shah and his family spent much of their last decade in Iran. A visit will also be made to the Tehran Bazar, a maze of alleyways that serves not only as the economic heart of the city, but with this economic importance, the merchants of the bazaar have become a major political force in modern Iran, so much so that the bazaris are an important consitutency for anyone who intends to govern Iran. Late afternoon transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Shiraz, where upon arrival, you transfer to your hotel. Dinner and overnight in Shiraz. (B, L, D)
“Iran is a fascinating country.
There is so much to see in the way of culture and the arts.
TunisUSA made the process a very simple and not threatening one…they were so helpful!
It’s been a really exciting adventure for us.
It’s really wonderful!”
Sunday – Shiraz
Today’s touring is dedicated to the city of Shiraz, a city of parks and gardens. Iran’s two most famous poets (come from Shiraz, Hafez and Sadi). Their tombs are pilgrimage sites where any visiting Iranian will not fail to visit, nor will you !
An afternoon visit to the Shiraz bazaar will show again, the important role of the bazaar to the city’s commerce, a bazaar that is quite different than that of Tehran. Dinner and overnight in Shiraz. (B, L, D)
Monday – Persepolis, Naqshi-i-Rustam, Pasargad
After breakfast, depart for approximately a one hour drive to Persepolis, what many feel is the greatest embodiment of Persian culture. Established by Darius the Great (522 to 486 B.C.) Persepolis was the showplace under the Achaemenian dynasty (550-330 B.C.). The sheer expanse of Persepolis was awe inspiring to all its visitors, most of whom were subjects from the various part of the Empire who would come to Persepolis bearing gifts and to pay homage to the rulers. While much of Persepolis has been renovated, restored or destroyed, one cannot help being struck by the sheer scale and beauty of what remains.
From Persepolis, you continue to nearby Naqshi-i-Rustam, where one can see the tombs of prior kings built into the rock walls. Continue on with a brief stop in Pasaragad and then on to Yazd, arriving early evening. Dinner and overnight in Yazd. (B, L, D)
“After 9/11, the pervasive attitude was fear. No one would venture forth, no one would travel. That notion confirmed to us that we literally, had to move beyond the fear. We contacted TunisUSA and took a family trip to Tunisia, including our two teenagers. It was a memorable experience.
Upon receiving the descriptive material from TunisUSA about their December 2009 Iran trip, “Iran Unveiled”, we knew the only way to visit Iran would be with Jerry Sorkin and TunisUSA. Besides providing enlightened, enjoyable touring, TunisUSA shares the desire to build bridges, to create friendship and understanding amongst people in unusual places. Meeting the people of Iran on this trip has again emphasized how individuals, separate from governments, share so much commonality, plus joyous, heartfelt connections in meeting and embracing others. Yes…visit Iran!”
Tuesday – Yazd
Yazd is a city of some half a million people in the midst of the desert. One immediately recognizes the architecture as being distinctive from what you have seen thus far in Iran. Much of Yazd’s historical importance stems from its place as a home to what remains, Iran’s largest Zoroastrian community. Zoroastrianism was the primary religion of the region prior to the Arab conquests in the 7th century, bringing conquests which within two centuries, had resulted in the considerable decline of Zoroastrianism. Visits in Yazd will include the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, as well as their Towers of Silence, located on the outskirts of Yazd. Within Yazd, you will visit the Jameh Mosque and the Amir Chakhmaq mosque, both of which are impressive in their architecture, as well as Alexander’s prison and the 11th century Tomb of the 12 Imams, where inscriptions are found in memory of the imams, though they are not buried at the site. Dinner and overnight in Yazd. (B, L, D)
“My friends told me it would be very dangerous,
but I have found the people to be very welcoming.
TunisUSA made the trip to Iran very easy, by assisting and getting the travel visa.
I was impressed by the art and architecture, the poetry is stunning and I can’t say enough about the people…how welcoming they have been!
If you’re planning travel to this part of the world, come on over.
You’ll have a great time.”
Wednesday – Yazd/Nain/Isfahan
This morning you depart of Yazd for a drive of several hours. En route, you will stop in Nain, where you will visit the city’s 10th century mosque, which still has areas where the stucco relief is in its original state. Continue on to Isfahan with evening arrival. Dinner and overnight in Isfahan. (B, L, D)
Thursday – Isfahan
By nearly unanimous opinion, Isfahan is the city that visitors and Iranians alike, will see as Iran’s truly beautiful city. Greenery abounds with tree line streets and beautiful architecture. One does not get the sense of a city with nearly 2 million inhabitants. With the Zayandeh River flowing through Isfahan, crossed by a series of impressive bridges, Isfahan is a visual delight. In a city of highlights, it is hard to say what is the highlight ! The Jameh Mosque, is truly a highlight of Islamic design, encompassing the influence of Seljuk dynasty during the 11th century.
Looking up at the ceiling in the main dome, one can easily see how the carpet designers in the centuries since were influenced and how these designs are reflected in Persian carpets of subsequent centuries. There will be plenty of time to devote to visiting this area, including the Bazar-e Bozorg, Isfahan’s main bazaar, as well as other buildings surrounding the beautifully designed Naghch-E-Jahan square, including the Imam mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah mosque and the Ali Ghapu Palace. In addition, your touring will include a visit to the Tchehel Sotoun Palace built as a pleasure pavilion and reception hall in the 17th century. Dinner and overnight Isfahan. (B, L, D)
Friday – Isfahan
Today touring of Isfahan continues, visiting the bridges of Isfahan; Khadju, Siose and Chahrestan. Following lunch, you will visit the Manar Jomban, also known as the Shaking Minarets, as well as visiting the Armenian quarter to see the Armenian church and the community’s museum. Dinner and overnight in Isfahan. (B, L, D)
Saturday – Natanz/Kashan/Qom/Tehran
This morning you depart Isfahan and drive back to Tehran, with stops en route. Your first stop will be in Natanz, known today for the underground Iranian enrichment facilities outside the city, but your visit will be to see the Jameh Mosque, a well preserved mosque from, built under the Mongol, Ilkhanate rulers of the 13th century. Continue on with a stop in Kashan. Known for the city’s famed carpets, Kashan rose to prominance during the Seljuk period from the 11th to 13th century, where it became legendary for rugs, ceramics and tilework. These crafts were elevated to an even higher art from under Shah Abbas I, during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Following an earthquake in 1779, destroying much of the city, the subsequent Qajar dynastry spent abundantly to rebuild the city. You depart Kashan and continue your drive towards Tehran, making another stop, in Qom. Known as the holiest city in Iran, second only to Mashad, Qom is the seat of the Islamic council that governs Iran today, the city is filled with Mullahs who come to Qom for their religious training. You will have an oportunity to see the mausoleum of Hazrat Masume, the burial place of Imam Reaz’s sister Fatmah, who died in the 9th century. Forbidden for non-Muslims to enter, you will see this structure from the outside. Continue on to Tehran, with a late afternoon arrival. Tonight, your farewell dinner will be in a special setting. Dinner and overnight in Tehran. (B, L, D)
Sunday – Tehran departure
Morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Tehran : Laleh Hotel 5*
From the days prior to the 1979 Revolution, this was known as the Intercontinental Hotel. Centrally located with the amenities of a big city urban hotel, like all large hotels in the city of Tehran, other than some updates, no renovations have taken place for many years. Despite this, the staff is friendly, rooms are modern and spacious, with Internet access available. Still the hotel of choice for business and other visitors looking for the best of Tehran accommodations.
Shiraz : Pars Hotel 5*
Relatively new hotel with attractive decor, friendly staff, spacious rooms and in a very nice area of Shiraz. Internet access.
Yazd : Moshir Garden Hotel
Character, warmth and beautiful interiors would best describe this boutique hotel in the heart of Yazd. Very friendly and hospitable staff and management. Internet access.
Isfahan : Kowsar Hotel 5*
A deluxe hotel well situated in an affluent mixed commercial and residential section of Isfahan, overlooking the Zayandeh River. Very convenient location and friendly staff. Internet access
- All touring, entrance fees, baggage handling, group airport transfers, domestic flight, meals as indicated by B, L and D, with bottled water at all inclusive lunches and dinners.
- Price is based on double occupancy in deluxe/first class hotels. $495. single supplement applies.
|NOTE: Round-trip air from US to Tunis is not included. However, TunisUSA will be happy to assist in finding the best air fares. Post-Iran tours to the U.A.E. are possible!|
VISAS: TunisUSA will obtain visas for all participants who are American citizens. The cost of of the visa and its processing is $150.