Takht-e Soleiman

An interesting, if expensive, way to visit the Takht-e Soleiman ruins is by chartering a taxi from Zanjan (US$80 for a full day with stops) and asking to be dropped off in Takab or Bijar. Once past the mining town of Dandy, the route passes some truly timeless villages. Shikhlar, 20km from Dandy, is dramatically backed by the pyramidal peak of Tozludagh (Dusty Mountain). Qaravolkhana, 20km further (10km before Takht-e Soleiman), has particularly picturesque mud-brick homes rising between spindly trees and a green, igloo-shaped shrine at its southern end. Rolling grasslands offer great hikes and the possible ascent of Mt Belqeis, topped by the fragmentary ruins of a Sassanid line-of-sight fortress.

A cheaper option is to take the direct Zanjan–Takab bus (10.30am), which uses the Qam Cheqay road to arrive in Takab in time to hire a taxi to Takht-e Soleiman ($18 return).