25 Amazing Sites Americans Are Missing Out On In Iran

Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, travel for Americans to the country has been incredibly difficult. Too bad, since there are so many gems.

With a possibility of thawing in Iranian–American relations, soon enough Americans may be able to visit all of Iran’s amazing national treasures. There’s so much to see!

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1. Gate of all Nations

The Gate of All Nations was built by the Persian Emperor Xerxes as an entrance into the royal capital of Persepolis in the 5th century B.C.

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2. The Ruins of Persepolis

Persepolis was the ancient Persian capital from the 6th to 4th century B.C. Extensive ruins of the city remain to this day.

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The palace of Persepolis

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3. Naqsh-e Rostam

Although looted by Alexander the Great, these tombs are the final resting place of a series of Persian emperors. They’re also believed to be the burial site of the Persian hero Rostam.

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4. Khajoo Bridge

The Khajoo in Isfahan spans the Zayandeh River and dates to 1650. It also functions as a building in and of itself.

Javarman / Shutterstock
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5. Vank Armenian Cathedral

The Vank Cathedral is one of the first cathedrals built in Isfahan’s Armenian quarter. It is a perfect display of Armenian Orthodox art and architecture.

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Inside the Cathedral

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6. Jameh Mosque

The Jameh Mosque dates to the 12th century, and has been in continuous use since then. Its minarets are the tallest in Iran.

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Jameh Mosque

A rooftop view of the entire mosque complex.

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7. Masouleh

Set by the Caspian Sea, Masouleh is a terraced village dating to the 10th century A.D. The city is know for its fogginess and green mountain setting.

Nick Taylor / Via Flickr: indigoprime
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8. Kharanaq

Kharanaq is a tiny mud brick village outside the city of Yazd. A number of the houses are believed to be 1,000 years old and the area has been continuously inhabited for at least 4,000 years.

Örlygur Hnefill / Via Flickr: hnefill
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9. Golestan Palace

A World Heritage Site and the oldest building in Tehran, Golestan Palace has been built in stages since the 15th century.

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Inside Golestan Palace

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10. Tombs of Esther and Mordechai

The Jewish Biblical heroes Esther and Mordechai are buried in Hamadan, Iran. Their grave is an important place of pilgrimage for Iranian Jews.

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11. Tabriz’s Bazaar Complez

The Bazaar of Tabriz is amongst the oldest and largest in the world. It’s also a prime spot to buy rugs, jewelry, and clothing, or to meet the locals.

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12. Tower of Silence

Before the coming of Islam to Iran, the majority of the population was Zoroastrian. Zoroastrians never buried their dead, but instead left them exposed to the elements in Towers of Silence.

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13. Chak Chak Temple

Chak Chak is a pilgrimage site for Zoroastrians, and is the holiest of the mountain shrines. The man-made grotto is flanked by massive bronze doors.

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14. Amir Chakhmaq Complex

The Amir Chakhmaq Complex is the largest single building in Iran. It was built to be perfectly symmetrical, and the oldest part of the building is over 600 years old.

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15. Zein-o-Din Caravansarai

The Zein-o-Din Caravansarai was originally built in the 16th century to aid travelers and merchants along the Silk Road. Today it has been refurbished and still functions as an inn.

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The inside of the Zein-o-din Caravansarai

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16. Azadi Tower

The Azadi Tower, or Freedom Tower, marks the western entrance into Tehran. It was built in 1971 and is the symbol of Iran’s capital.

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17. Nasr al-Mulk Mosque

The Nasr al-Mulk Mosque was completed in 1888. It is known for its extensive use of colored glass and bright facades.

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Inside the Nasr al-Mulk Mosque

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18. The Tomb of Firdowsi

Firdowsi, in the 11th century, is largely credited with saving the Persian language from being replaced by Arabic by writing the epic story The Shahname entirely in Persian. His tomb is a pace of extreme cultural pride.

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19. The Tomb of Hafez

Hafez is the Iranian equivalent of Shakespeare, if everyone in the English speaking world treated Shakespeare as a rock star. His tomb is a major pilgrimage point, and is beautifully kept.

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20. Chehel Sotoun Pavilion

Chehel Sotoun, literally “Forty Columns,” was used as a reception point for foreign dignitaries. Now you can frolic through it as you remember it’s also a UNESCO site.

Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock
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21. Imam Square

Imam Square, a UNESCO site, dates from the 17th century. It is a massive square surrounded by three mosques.

Anna Azimi / Shutterstock
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22. Abanyeh Village

Abanyeh Village is a historic mud brick village. It is completely authentic, and little modern additions have been added to it.

Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock
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23. Soleyman-tange Dam

The Soleyman-tange Dam lies close to the Caspian sea, surrounded by forested mountains.

Behdad Esfabod / Via Flickr: behdad
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24. Dasht-e Kavir, Desert of Salt

Dasht-e Kavir, or desert of salt, is a sparsely inhabited, but savagely beautiful, plateau in the center of the country.

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25. Alamut Valley, Birthplace of the Assassins

Alamut Valley was once home to Fort Alamut, birthplace and home of the Assassins. The fort was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in the 12th century, but the ruins still remain.

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So, interested in visiting Iran?

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