Welcome to Birjand
A logical stop if you're making the long cross-desert drive between Mashhad and Kerman via the Kaluts, Birjand is the capital of South Khorasan province, known for saffron, barberry and especially annab (jujube fruit, considered a herbal remedy for coughs and colds). In winter, snowtopped mountains give Birjand's southern flank an impressive backdrop, while to the north, assorted ridges and triangular geological protuberances create a contrastingly desert feel. The sprawling city hasn't done a great job at preserving its once fascinating old mud-brick buildings, but the fortress has been restored, there are a few notable historic buildings and the Akhbarieh Garden is Unesco-listed (though once you visit you might ask why).
Birjand is also a possible launch-point for visits to Forg, Boshrooyeh and the towering sand dunes of Rigi Yalan (tour only).