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Explore Northwest Iran in Company with Shahsevan Nomads

Explore Northwest Iran in Company with Shahsevan Nomads

Northwest of Iran and Shahsevan nomads | Live a couple of days with Shahsevan nomads in Sabalan Mountain

2 Days and 1 night
Experience Region


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Take part in the most authentic lifestyle experience Iran has to offer: join for two days one of Iran's most interesting nomad tribes, the Shahsevan, for their annual migration. Sleep under a tent, ride horses and camels, take care of the flock and eat fresh dairy. to feel what it's like to be a shepherd. By the end of the day, merge into the stories of the tribe's achievements under the sounds of traditional instruments. In the green pastures of northwestern Iran, discover the unique culture, traditions, and history of the Shahsevan nomads while enjoying the best of Nature, from fascinating landscapes to hot springs and waterfalls.

What you experience
  • Living with a nomad family in green hillside of Sabalan mountain

  • Learning about the history of Shahsevan nomads in Iran

  • Discovering the unique culture and customs of the Shahsevan tribe

  • Cooking traditional meals and tasting fresh dairies products

  • Hiking in the Sabalan Mountain Range to find waterfalls and hot springs

  • Visiting the UNESCO listed site of Sheikh Safi al-Din Shrine ensemble, knowing about Sufi mysticism in Ardabil

Available On
Jun 1st
Jun 2nd
Jun 3rd
Jun 4th
Jun 5th
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Location & Paths
  • Meals: 2 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Accommodation: 1 night in "Alachiq", a traditional nomad tent
  • Transportation: To and back from Ardabil attractions, nomad quarter and mentioned locations in two day itinerary
  • Other Services: English spoken nomad guide, drinking water, snacks, herbal tea, sleeping sheet( traditional blanket and pillow), communal camping restroom and bathroom in settlement
  • Not included: Visa and travel insurance, international and domestic flights ,Tips (Optional), extra services not indicated in the itinerary, Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary, entry fee of not stipulated monuments, Cost of medical immunizations, phone calls
  • Warm clothes
  • Appropriate Shoes for trekking
  • Sunscreen and cap

Few visitors know how important nomads are to Iran's culture and history. At the end of the 20th century, there were almost 100 different tribes in every part of Iran, cultivating their own lifestyle and customs. Northwestern Iran is home to the Shahsevan nomads, a tribal group of Azeri languages which played an important role in defending Iran's borders. For more than a hundred years, they have kept their traditional nomadic pastoral way of life, migrating between winter pastures (Muqan plain) and summer quarters (Sabalan mountain range).

sabalan range and Shahsevan nomads of Iran
The scenic beauty of the Sabalan region in Ardabil, Hanie Rahmati | TasteIran​​

On the road of the green pastures

Share a small piece of living in the footsteps of the Sabalan or Savalan(Pronunciation among local people) Mountain, Iran's 3rd highest peak. On the hillsides of Sabalan, along with all members of the tribe, their sheep, cows, chickens, as well as their tents. Keep your eyes wide open to discover delicate flowers and medicinal plants that are collected by the nomads from the skirt of marvellous nature and be the one who tastes delicious honey in a traditional beekeeping farm.

Living among nomads, you have the chance to eat tasty local foods cooked with fresh and seasonal ingredients, such as the traditional nourishing Ash which is a type of Iranian soup. Do you fancy some fresh milk, butter, yoghurt or cheese? Learn how to milk the cow and sheep to prepare the most delicious dairy, and eat them right away with a warm flatbread baked in a traditional oven.

Shahsevan nomads keep cows as their herd in Sabalan
Cows are the main flock of Shahsevan nomads in Northwest Iran, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

Discover the traditions and history of nomads

By taking care of the flocks and making dairy products, you've come to discover the main economic resources of the Shahsevan pastoral tribe. By the end of the day, it's time to get more familiar with the community's life and customs. Set camp in the valley of the Sabalan beside the round domed tent, your astonishing room for the night. Enjoy some rest and each other's company, by playing ancient folk games with kids and adults. Join the women of the tribe to learn knitting Kilim, a colourful and intricate flat-women rug, and one of their most beautiful handicrafts. At nightfall, gather to listen to the unique folkloric music and appreciate the dances of nomads: It's an introduction to a world of poetry, transmitted over generations as an oral heritage. It carries mystic tales as well as the true histories of the Shahsevan tribe.

Natural hot spa near nomad camp at heights of Sabalan mountain
Natural hot spa near nomad camp at heights of Sabalan mountain, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

From the hot springs of the mountain to the mystic Persian arts of World Heritage Sites

No other way of life is closer to nature than nomads'. Living peacefully with their animals, they fully respect the gorgeous environment that is their home, leaving no trace behind them. In return, they enjoy the best nature has to offer. Through your hike in the green plains of Sabalan, visit sculpted gorges and canyons, make your way through hidden waterfalls, and enjoy more than 30 hot springs a few of which are wild or indoor hot water complexes, which exist near Yaylaq.

Shahsevan nomad women have special outfit
Every part of the nomad women's dress has a unique name and wisdom, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

Along with splendid natural sites, Ardabil also has major historical and archaeological sites which can complete your understanding of the region. In Ardabil city, you can visit the shining Sheikh Safi Al-Din Shrine, a Sufi mausoleum, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Witness Its stunning blue tiles mosaics and the brilliant masterpieces of Persian and Islamic artworks recall the story of the birth of the Safavid Dynasty. At Shahr-e Yeri's historical site, visit plenty of carved stones and strangely sculpted statues, dating back to the first and second millennium B.C.

ancient temple of Shahar Yeri, Ardabil
Stone guardsmen of Shahar Yeri in Meshkin shahr, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

Brief Itinerary

Day1: Start your journey at 7 in the morning with breakfast at a cosy cafe in Ardabil and visit the city highlights including cultural attractions, traditional bazaar and crafts. After exploration of Ardabil, have a delicious Ardabili lunch and head toward Sardabeh village to capture the untapped nature and beekeeping to be ready to join Shahsevan's beautiful home area. Being treated with natural herbal tea which nomads picked from the hillsides of Sabalan mountain and getting to know the nomad family, step by step feel to try the taste of being in the atmosphere by milking goat and sheep, making butter from milk and baking bread to complete your feast of Yogurt soup (Ash-e Dough). Listen to the folk songs of the tribe and take your day to the end under the shiny sky overhead of Alachiq tents.

Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili ensemble and shrine in Ardabil
Sheikh Safi shrine and ensemble in Ardabil, a UNESCO World Heritage, Amin Karimi | TasteIran

Day2: Open your eyes to surrounding green plains and the sound of the flock, get yourself pampered with delectable fresh dairies for breakfast and then feed livestock if you like. Playing traditional games, knowing about handicrafts and costumes of nomads, accompanying herder and trips in nature are only a few adventures you are going to have today. After a local lunch, you may rest for a while before the big discovery in the hillside and get familiar with the medicinal plants of this area on a trek. It's then time for the memorable experience of a natural hot spa in nature to deposit the taste of this tour in your memory.

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