It’s not a secret. Iran’s climate is dry. Considering its location, one should expect long hot summers and cool short-lived winters. Would you be interested to know which part is the driest? If you knew, would you willingly visit it?
If your answer is ‘No’, you’d be missing out on a unique, maybe even peculiar, Iranian city known as Yazd.
Yazd, sometimes spelled as Yezd, is arguably the driest city in Iran. Located smack in the middle of the country, it thrives where two deserts meet. To find it on the map, all you have to do is search for Iran and point at its center.
Yazd is not the easiest of cities to reach, but when it comes to geography, it won the jackpot.
Because of its location, Yazd remained largely untouched by the battles and wars ancient Persia went through. As a result, it’s local culture stayed alive and it kept a strong influence over Yazd up to this day.
Interestingly enough, Yazd also means “God”. An auspicious sign don’t you think? Could it be Yazd was shielded by the heavens? Maybe.
But whether it was divine intervention or purely geographical luck, modern-day Yazd has cultural, architecture, and gastronomic treasures to offer its visitors:
Active Practice of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest religions. It predates Islam, Christianity, and Gnosticism. It’s an ancient religion believing in “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.” When Islam started to dominate ancient Persia, Yazd held on to their religion. The people paid a levy to keep their practice going.
Today, Zoroastrianism is not as strong as it was before. But in Yazd, its faithfuls has definitely kept the ‘fire’ burning.
Fire is the ultimate symbol of Zoroastrianism. It stands for purity, wisdom and truth. In Yazd, the holiest of fires is held at the Atashkadeh-e Yazd fire temple. It’s one of the only nine fire temples that hold the most sacred fire of Zoroastrianism in the world. The other eight are in India.
Fortunately, the fire temple is open to visitors. Although it was only built in 1934, the fire that burns within is ancient. Transferred from Aradakan, this fire is believed to have been ablaze since 470 ACE.
Do you have a sweet tooth? Yazd is the perfect city to indulge. It’s know for the famous Persian Cotton Candy called pashmak. Not far from the colorful cotton candy kids go gaga for at amusement parks here in the US, pashmak is the elevated version of it. Often dusted with ground pistachios, pashmak is usually paired with fruits, pastries, ice cream and other desserts.
Aside from Pashmak, Yazd is home to traditional Persian confectionaries. If you want to sample baklava, bamie, quince, and gaz, Yazd will give you your fill.
In theory, living in a desert sounds harsh. But Yazd will teach you that there’s beauty in it. Once you see it’s earthen allure you’ll understand why. Book a tour with us now so you can tick off Iran from your travel bucket list. Trust us, it’s worth it.