Many travellers opt to bypass Kashan on their journeys between Tehran, Esfahan and Yazd, but we counsel you not to do the same. In fact, this delightful oasis city on the edge of the Dasht-e Kavir gets our vote as one of the most alluring destinations in Iran, boasting a highly atmospheric covered bazaar, a cluster of architecturally significant 19th-century houses and three excellent accommodation options.
Shah Abbas I agreed with our assessment – he was so enamoured with Kashan that he insisted on being buried here rather than in Esfahan. Other historical figures of note who are associated with the town include Abu Musa al-Ashari, a soldier and companion of the Prophet Mohammed whose army took the town in the 7th century AD. Legend has it that his troops tossed thousands of scorpions from the surrounding desert over the city walls, causing the terrified Kashanis to capitulate.
During the Seljuk period (AD 1051–1220) the town became famous for its textiles, pottery and tiles. Today it is a major centre for the production of textiles, rugs and rose water, and a great place to stock up on quality souvenirs. The most popular time of the year to visit is April, when the fields of rose bushes outside town are in full and fragrant bloom.