Bam or Ardabil or Soltaniyeh
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Apr 21, 2013 1:15 PM Last Post By: muellju
Nov 5, 2012 9:49 AM
Bam or Ardabil or SoltaniyehDear all,
I have a packed 11 day trip through Iran in end-Nov covering Tehran (2 days)-Shiraz(1)-Persepolis-Pasargadae-esfahan(2)-Yazd-Kerman(1)-Tabriz(3)St Thaddeus, St Stepanos.
With the current state of restoration going on - would you recommend that I skip Kerman-Bam and instead go to Ardabil or Soltaniyeh? all are UNESCO world heritage sites but in your personal opinion which of these 3 places do you consider as must-see? or do you recommend any other sight such as takht-e-soleyman?
Nov 5, 2012 11:09 AM
1Considering the fact that you will be visiting in a few weeks' time, Takhte Soleiman might be too cold. We were there last week and the surrounding mountains already had snow on the peeks. However, it is an impressive place.
I visited Bam last year and was very impressed by the restauration that has been done. In my opinion it is certainly worth a visit. You can also combine Bam with Rayan, which is not too far off.
We visited Tabriz for the first time two weeks ago and to be honest I was very disappointed, it might have been because of the rainy weather, but we were not impressed at all. I would however recommend Sanandaj for two or three nights to visit Palangan, very nice indeed, lovely fresh fish for lunch there and a lively village with still lots of young people living there (contrary to f.i. the population in Abyaneh) . The people in Sanandaj are absolutely, without any doubt, the friendliest people we have encountered. Even these past few days when we met people in Qom or Meybod who were extremely friendly, they turned out to originate from Sanandaj! On the whole however, ALL Iranians are extremely friendly and hospitable. Taghe Bostan on the other hand was a shambles, the pavement is all up and the pond is being changed into a sort of small lake and as it seemed they were creating a sort of moat in front of the reliefs, which can still be seen, though. This contrary to the Bisotun inscriptions which are invisible because of a large scaffold in front of it, nothing whatsoever to be seen! So don't waste your time on the latter at all!
Enjoy your visit, it is a fantastic country! We luckily still have some weeks left here in Iran!
Nov 6, 2012 12:55 AM
I recommend you to see the castle in Rayne close to Kerman as Bam castle is completely destroyed by an earth quake. There is nothing much to see in Kerman though.
I definitely recommend you to visit Yazd. For me it is a must-must see.
Not sure about Ardabil (just passed through) or Tabriz (did not find it that interesting). Maybe better go to Kashan. and definitely Isfahan and Shiraz.
There is an interesting castle close to Rasht - Rud-khan Castle (also Rood-khan Castle).
But if I had only 11 days, i would make a circle Tehran - Kashan - Yazd - Shiraz/Persepolis - Isfahan - Tehran, and see some stuff around those cities. I would skip on the north. Distances are quite big in Iran, and travelling takes a lot of time or effort (you get tired from overnight travel).
See more pics of:
Rayen castle - http://www.travelphotoreport.com/2012/10/18/castle-rayen-arg-e-bam/
Yazd - http://www.travelphotoreport.com/2012/10/24/yazd-magical-city-desert/
Money exchange (where and how) - http://www.travelphotoreport.com/2012/10/16/where-how-to-exchange-money-in-iran/
Useful info about Iran - http://www.travelphotoreport.com/2012/11/05/travel-report-first-time-visitor-guide-iran/
More read about Iran - http://www.travelphotoreport.com/category/middle-east/iran/
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Nov 6, 2012 8:37 PM
3Thanks a lot everyone. Based on the posts we have decided to skip Bam-Kerman, which will give us some breathing time between site-hopping. May be next time!
Yazd is certainly on our itinerary.
Last year we had been to Armenia, so this time we wanted to viist a few Armenian churches from the other side of the border - St Thaddeus and St Stepanos, both UNESCO world heritage sites - and Tabriz appears to be the nearest big city from these places, although we understand it will be cold out there. So we plan to do 2 day trips to these sites.
We are planning to travel by air between the major cities, so hopefully it will not be too hectic nor tiring.
Nov 18, 2012 10:40 AM
4Good decision to skip Bam and Kerman for this time.
Suggestions to concentrate on Esfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd are highly relevant. It is also my best recommandation.
But since you seem to be very motivated by the armenian churches, I would suggest the following circuit in order to maximize your time.
Day 1: Tabriz -> Qare Kelisa (St-Thaddeus) -> St Stephanos / Jolfa
Day 2: Jolfa -> Aras valley -> Kaleybar -> Ahar -> Ardabil.
Day 3: Ardabil in the morning, then back to Tabriz, then -> Zanjan.
Day 4: Zanjan -> Soltaniyeh -> Qazvin -> Tehran.
There is a small road between St Thaddeus and St Stephanos, but I don't know how confortable it is by winter. Such a circuit requires private transportation, at least for day 1 and day 2. You will have to check road conditions around Ahar which may have suffered from the 2012 earthquake.
The Aras valley is very scenic, one of the best experience (with the Ouramanat valley) I had during my 2011 trip in Iran.
Not that much things to be seen in Ardabil, but the shia Safi-od-Din shrine is a must. Better than Soltaniyeh if you have too choose.
P.S.: more on the armenian culture in Iran with:
- 3 different churches in Esfahan (including Kelisa Vank), in the New Jolfa area,
- bishop seat and Kelisa Maryam in Tabriz,
- a former church in Ardabil (now a Zurkhaneh),
- a small church in Qazvin,
- a restaurant in Tehran famous for its wine ;-)
PS2: you will be very very frustrated by spending so few time in Shiraz and Esfahan. A very good reason to come back ;-)
Nov 18, 2012 10:47 PM
Nov 22, 2012 3:44 AM
6Enjoy your trip, and take warm cloothes for the Northwestern Iran at that period of the year.
For your information, I was able to go from Kaleybar to Tabriz on 1 day by my own, mainly by shared transportation:
- Kaleybar -> Eskanlu, early by savari (= shared taxi)
- Eskanlu -> Khudaferin, by savari
- Khudaferin -> Ushtebin by a private charter.
- back to Ushtebin junction, end of private charter.
- Ushtebin Junction -> Jolfa by a private car, stopped by the road policement.
- visit of St Stephanos through a private taxi.
- Jolfa -> Marand -> Tabriz by savari, arriving just for sunset
If necessary, I can provide you cost and approximate timing.
Khoda Hafez (= "God keep you safe" in farsi)
Dec 9, 2012 11:56 PM
Just returned to India from a fantastic 10-day trip to Iran.
We did not visit Bam/Ardabil/Soltaniyeh. Frankly, after visiting the beautiful Lotfallah mosque in Esfahan, we were not impressed by any other mosque.
We were able to cover both St. Thaddeus and St. Stepanos in 1-day from Tabriz. We went Tabriz-Jolfa-St. Stepanos-Aras valley-St. Thaddeus-Marand-Tabriz. Loved both the churches, and we considered this and Esfahan as the highlight of our trip.
We did not cover Dzordzor. Many people were not aware of this church. Only later we found that it is around 30 kms from Maku.
Luckily, although cold, it was sunny on the day we visited these places, and it was a very scenic route along the Iran-Azerbaijan border.
Apr 21, 2013 1:15 PM
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