Iran in Pictures
Iran is one of my favorite places to travel—and to take photographs. The people I’ve met there are some of the most hospitable I’ve ever encountered, the landscapes are diverse and stunning, and the monuments are gorgeous. There is absolutely nothing to worry about when visiting Iran: I feel extremely safe traveling there, even around some of the most remote areas of the country. Looking back over my Iran sightseeing pictures, I’ve selected a small number to share that capture some of what makes the country so special.
New friends at the iconic archaeological site Persepolis, near Shiraz—a place locals visit, too!
The beautiful Agha Bozorg Mosque, built in the late 18th century and located in Kashan, almost midway between Esfahan and Tehran.
Persepolis, capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE), where the earliest ruins date back to 515 BCE. What a wonderful place to visit! I have been there multiple times and never get tired of seeing it.
Dancers I encountered in far eastern Iran, close to the Afghan border.
Trekking to Alam-Kuh, the second-highest mountain in Iran. It’s a great trek, and I had the trail all to myself!
An old hammam that has been transformed into a restaurant in the UNESCO-acclaimed town of Yazd.
An artisan at work in the Esfahan bazaar.
I discovered these cavernous salt mines last year while driving down from the Caspian Sea after a visit to the desert. I always like to look for something new in the places I go, and if you have a good guide something new always appears.
A look inside the best teahouse in the Esfahan bazaar.
Mountains in the Eastern Kurdistan region of northwest Iran.
I came across these Baloch children while traveling in the arid and mountainous Balochistan region of Iran. Baloch people account for about two percent of Iran’s population. They practice Islam and are predominantly Sunni. There is a Baloch tradition of mothers singing lullabies to their children, which has been important in passing on knowledge from generation to generation.
Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Esfahan, also referred to as Shah Square or Imam Square. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is another place I never miss on every visit to Iran. Some of the most breathtaking beauty of Iran is right here in this square!
A mural painting in the Hasht Behesht, an elegantly decorated palace and pavilion in Esfahan whose name translates to “the Eight Heavens” in Persian. It was built in the 17th century by order of Suleiman I, the eighth shah of Iran’s Safavid Empire.
Merchant in northern Iran.
The Lut Desert (or Dasht-e Lut), in southeastern Iran, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2016) and one of the world’s driest and hottest places. It’s a salt desert basin 300 miles long and 200 miles wide where the land surface temperature has reached 159.3 degrees Fahrenheit—the hottest recorded on the planet.
Inside the sensational Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Esfahan.
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Vassi Koutsaftis is one of our best-loved and most-experienced leaders. He has been traveling in Asia for more than 35 years and has been leading treks since 1986. He has been named Best Cultural Guide by Outside magazine and Top Travel Specialist for Tibet by Condé Nast Traveler. More of his photography can be found on his photography website.
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