According to UNESCO, the old town of Yazd ( Iran ) is one of the oldest historical centers in the world and a perfect example of the historical and cultural wealth of the region.
Almost all of the structures there – including the Qajar houses, which are up to 2000 years old – are made of sun-dried clay and make for a tan skyline dominated by the badgirs, the ancient wind towers that soar into the desert sky from almost every roof.
Because of the high walls, the residential areas of the old town often appear deserted. The old town is criss-crossed by narrow and labyrinthine kuches (streets) that zigzag through the old sea of houses. It’s best to just let yourself drift and get lost in the countless courtyards and alleys.
It is also highly recommended to get up on one of the rooftops to get a view of the city and see the desert stretching around Yazd.
Amir Chakhmakh Mosque
The beautiful Amir Chakhmakh Mosque should not be confused with the complex of the same name. But she gets up near him.
Mosque Barkhordar Mosque was dedicated to Haj Mohammad Taghi Barkhordar (1940-1979), an industrialist and a pioneer of Iranian industrialization. Apart from the mosque, a street and a district in Yazd are also named after him.
Masjed-e Jameh (Friday Mosque)
Yazd’s imposing assembly mosque dates back to the 14th century and is a fine example of Persian mosaic art and architecture. The mosque has two minarets, which are the tallest in Iran. The façade of the portal is also striking: it is decorated all over with mainly blue tiles. In the mosque itself, a wonderful sahn spreads out, a courtyard with arcades. The Masjed-e Jameh also has an altar chamber decorated with faience mosaics. The mosque is so famous in Iran that it is even featured on the face of the Iranian 200 rial banknote.
The Zoroastrian fire temple is located on Ayatollah Kashani Street and is visited by Zoroastrians from all over the world. The fire inside the temple is said to have been burning continuously since the year 470. It can be seen through a window in the entrance hall. Above the entrance is the Fravahar symbol, the sign of the Zoroastrians.
Dakhmeh-ye Zartoshtiyun ( Towers of Silence )
The Towers of Silence are two Zoroastrian burial sites located south of and just outside of Yazd. In them, earlier, the dead were not buried, but rather “displayed” in such a way that the vultures cleanly removed the bones from the flesh. This type of burial followed the Zoroastrian belief in the purity of the elements. Disused since the 1960s, the towers are open to visitors (admission is free) and are situated in a quiet, hilly area on two smaller mountains.
You can reach the Towers of Silence either by bus from Ayatollah Kashani Street or by taking an inexpensive taxi ride from the center of the city (journey time around 10 minutes). You should plan at least an hour for a visit and take plenty of water with you, because the towers rise in a desert-like area.
Other Zoroastrian Structures
At the foot of the two hills on which the Towers of Silence are located are other Zoroastrian structures, none of which are used anymore. These include a waterless well, a water cistern and two smaller badgirs (wind towers).
Museum in the Fire Temple
In the Fire Temple (Ateshkadeh) on Ayatollah Kaschani Street, you can see a small exhibition that naturally deals with Zoroastrianism.
The Vazari Museum just next to the Masjed-e Jameh offers free Farsi lessons given by a friendly and English speaking teacher who is also happy to show you around the museum and give great insights into the great Iranian culture.
Water Museum (Yazd Water Museum)
In 2000 the Water Museum of Yazd opened. It features tanks for storing drinking water as well as historical technology related to water. The information on the Canat system of water distribution is particularly interesting.
Bagh-e Dolat Abad
The Bagh-e Dolat Abad is a beautiful garden complex that once belonged to the residence of the Persian ruler Karim Khan Zand. The garden was laid out in 1750 and consists of a small pavilion, the interior of which is particularly worth seeing because of the latticework and stained glass. The pavilion also includes the tallest Badgir in Iran. It reaches a full 33 meters into the sky and dates from the 1960s. A small café in the park sweetens pleasant breaks.
The entrance to the park is at the western end of Shahid Raja’i Street.
Shahid Sadoughi University of Medicine and Health
This medically oriented university is located in the center of Yazd and has been in existence since 1983. The university offers degrees in 24 fields and works with nine hospitals.
University of Yazd
Founded in 1988, Yazd University consists of five faculties and teaches humanities and natural sciences. About 7,300 students are currently enrolled at it. The faculty of architecture, which primarily deals with Persian construction methods, is particularly interesting.
In addition to the two universities listed here, there are also the following universities, colleges and colleges in Yazd and the immediate vicinity:
Imam Java University College
Islamic Azad University Yazd
Payame Noor University
Yazd Institutes of Higher Education
Yazd Sampad Information Center
Yazd Science and Technology Park
University of Jame Elmi-Karbordi