This tour is designed to showcase the Persian folklore music and performance rituals over 14 days of travelling down the tourist’s classical path in six major cities. In every city, you will see and learn about Iranian cultural music and theatre themes besides catching the must-see cultural highlights. You also experience several cultural activities which are all driven with the base theme of the tour in company with local artisans and craftspeople. You will enjoy live traditional music and participate in the most indigenous forms of theatre in Iran in this exceptional tour.
• Hands-on educational workshops conducted by locals
• A lot of activities related to the traditional and folk music rituals of Iran
• Getting exposed to cultural performances, music rituals and sounds of the ancient land of Persia daily
• Witness Persian ‘’Pahlevani’’ rituals performance (Heroic ancient sport)
• Witness ‘’Ta’zieh’’, the only theatrical religious performance of Muslims in Iran
• Sounds of pastoral and farming music in non-touristic regions
• Attend a traditional instrument-making workshop
Visit 10 UNESCO-world heritage sites and cultural heritages
Visit tens of tangible and intangible national heritages and cultural ceremonies
Participate in local activities like handicraft and cooking workshops, traditions and customs
Watch, participate and play in several Iranian time-honoured performances
Experience religions’ rituals, spiritual pray songs and modern music of Iran
Trip to the southern style of music interwoven with sea and fisher songs
From the ancient civilization of Iran to the post-Islamic era, storytelling, religious ceremonial gatherings and even sporting events have all been complemented with poetry and music. Music is deeply rooted in the culture of Iranians, from mystic poems cited by Hafez and Rumi (Molana) to the sounds raised from Islamic monuments such as Adan from mosques.
In the most populous city of Iran, we are aiming to explore contemporary Iranian theatre and modern music having an eye on the ancient history of performance and music in the country. We will watch a theatre in one of the contemporary theatre halls of Tehran which own ideal visual and performance elements. After the performance, we get a chance to hang out with the crew backstage to have a chat.
Don’t bombard you with too many cliché sightseeing or touristic museums as this tour is different from other travel programs you might have before. Take your journey to the Iranian National Museum to see the oldest discovered samples and historical documents of Iranian music and performance rituals. Come across an intact form of street performance that remained the same in the past 100 years ago called Maáreke-Giri. Very similar to busking all around the world. It consists of juggling, magic, comedy and many other forms of appealing street art. Be prepared to get asked to join the buskers to participate in assisting or performing.
Leaving Tehran and passing by a white desert lake, we reach the central desert area. You may ponder about shaping the civilization in desert lands like thousands of years ago. You may think about the Persian Garden being designed on bare soil.
Kashan highlights the best traditional architecture in central deserted areas of Iran. We get to visit and explore some of the famous historical residential houses. Then we head to the old public Hammam (Bathhouse) to know about rituals and bath ceremonies and watch a live performance of these ancient rituals in the bathhouse. Kashan has been one of the big producers of silk fabric for the last 300 years in the gold time of the Silk Road. It’s worth visiting one of the old workshops still using the old machinery for weaving, especially If you experience weaving silk with the old machine.
In the afternoon, we will witness a performance in Zoor-Khaneh. A combination of dance and sports movements is mingled with mysticism and religion. If excitement takes over you, join the performers on stage. Watch the traditional musical performance in the puppet museum of Kashan and unravel your inner child by creating a folkloric puppet in your residential dwelling.
Start the 4th day by visiting the UNESCO-listed Garden. Before comparing it with the famous flower gardens of Holland, remember it is located amidst the desert lands. Get familiar with the vantage of the Iranian style of garden design and learn about the knowledge of building World Heritage Iranian Qanat in the well-preserved Fin Garden.
We continue to explore an intangible World Heritage of Iran in the old stores under the brick vaults of the bazaar. Experience the different procedures of making the Iranian carpet; Wool dyeing, drawing the design and patterns, and finally the old technique of weaving colourful yarns for the rug. Congrats, now you know how to do the miracle of the Iranian carpet.
We are getting to know about the most solemn form of traditional theatre in Iran, which is the only existing example of dramatic Islamic performance. Ta’zieh or Shabih-Khani is a religious opera considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Ta’zieh indicates the passion of the 3rd Imam of Shia Muslims in the battle of Karbala. Watch Tazieh in one of Kashan’s religious architectural landmarks.
We say farewell to Kashan on day five and hit the mountainous road to Isfahan which has been the capital more than any other city in Iran. The Iranian National music is what we are going to experience here.
We will have a unique visit to the Isfahan Music Museum to know Iranian music instruments and folkloric music from different regions of Iran. Because it is in the central area of the country that a significant part of Iranian ethnic and traditional music has been formed. In the end, we are privileged to watch a live folkloric performance by local artists.
Isfahan owns the largest Armenian community in Iran. The Armenian quarter of Isfahan named New Jolfa which offers a beautiful cathedral and its museum close to the Music Museum which is worth visiting.
Watch the pattern of the world at Naqsh- e Jahan Square, a UNESCO-listed site until midday of the 6th day. Visit the Safavid palatial building, Ali Qapu, the royal family mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and the masterpiece of Islamic architecture, (Imam) Shah Mosque which faces the square. Passing through the arcades of the Qaysariyeh bazaar we go to a workshop to experience Isfahani designing and fabric (cloth) first-hand. This art is referred to as Calico work and named Qalamkar fabric in Persian. Through drawing and painting traditional patterns on cloth. Create your first piece of souvenir.
After sunset, we are going to watch the Iranian Naqqali or Pardeh-Khani, the old dramatic form of storytelling in a teahouse. Tea houses used to be places of gatherings and social interactions. Narrators have been narrating epic, religious and love stories there. Naqqali is registered on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
After having dinner, we go to the open-space concert being held every night under the arches of the Khaju Bridge, which is the beating heart of the city. It is an Isfahani ritual to gather under the bridge to sing folk songs. Feel free to join in singing any songs from your country.
Off the big cities and modern structures, we will get to witness the connection between animals and human beings with their surrounding environment in a desert village on day 7 of the tour. Coming across the Varzaneh, you will see plenty of pigeon houses of 15-meter-long capable of hosting more than 1000 pigeons. They used to be a sustainable method for making the best fertilizer for farming in the area. Then it is time for knowing a nomadic agricultural way of pumping water to the fields through an ox-well complex. There we witness how the water is taken out without the need for water pumping machines by the farmer singing to the ox. We then encounter a camel mill to see how the old system of grinding wheat is working by a camel. After all, we will meet the desert of Varzaneh with high sand dunes and try riding camels and picnic by the fire.
Day 8 is a closer look at one of the oldest active religions in the history of Iran, Zoroastrianism. Yazd province possesses a considerable majority of Iranian Zoroastrians. We are going to visit the most important religious centres of Zoroastrians such as the Fire temple, Tower of Silence in a village nearby the city of Yazd and participate in the prayer ceremony and get to hear the worship songs of the Zoroastrian priest and listen to the old Lullabies sung by local Zoroastrian women.
Start the 9th day by exploring the adobe city of Yazd. In the maze of covered earth-coloured alleys and uninterrupted landscapes of roofs topped with the Garden of Badgirs. In the afternoon, we return to the rocky village of Taft to join the Zoroastrians’ ceremonial events. Baking a special bread in our homestay which has a religious story behind it.
we leave the central parts down to the Saadat-Shahr village on day 10, to feel the nomadic life of the Qashqai tribe. Let’s learn about Iranian nomads’ culture and make a venture deep into its roots of it through music, performance and cultural activities. If you be lucky enough, we will join an original wedding feast in a nomadic style. In the traditional lodge, you can try the colourful customs of nomads, bake fresh bread over the bonfire, make local puppets, dance and get to know tribal songs and venerable instruments which are used in nomads' different ceremonies. Sleep in a cosy homestay under the starry sky of Fars plains in Saadatshahr.
Embrace the pomposity of the Persian Empire from the 1000-year-old capital of Achaemenids in Persepolis. Travel to the power and glory of Persia engraved on Naqsh- e Rostam rocky mausoleum. On day 11 follow the footsteps of the rise and fall of Persia at the foot of Rahmat Mountain. Leaving all the glory of ancient civilization behind, hit the road to catch the poem city of Shiraz.
Shiraz, the city of love and poetry. We are going to delve into the vibrant relationship between poetry and Persian culture within 2 days in Shiraz. Besides visiting the must-see highlights of Shiraz, we come across a bazaar and a Miniature art studio to see the Persian poetry and literature through the lenses of illustrative art. While in the birth city of the most famous Iranian poets, we pay a visit to the tomb of Hafez. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the venerable German writer, was inspired by a translation of Hafez's poem that changed his life at the age of 65.
We’ve got a surprise for the 11th night, an Iranian gathering for dinner with the taste of poems and literature and exceptional performance of Shirazi folk songs named “Shirazi Vasunak”. There is no better way to experience the connection between lyrics, music and Iranian culture than at a local home and residents.
On the morning of the 12th day of the tour, we hit the road to the coastal city of Bushehr. Unlike the other cities we’ve visited so far, we get to feel the southern culture and observe the musical taste that has been developed and shaped locally by the influence of fishermen's melodies and work songs in the Persian Gulf.
Here our playground is local cafés in the narrow alleyways where the melody, rhythm and crowd singing participation in the evening time is going to trigger your excitement.
The last but not least event of our tour is the melody of sea waves getting mingled with the cry of seagulls when we are wandering around the city to enjoy the unique architecture and spirit of Bushehr on day 13. Visiting the workshop in Bushehr which builds a gigantic art must be the highlight of your trip. This human miracle named Lenj, whose building skill becomes one of the UNESCO- intangible World Heritages.
On the last day of the tour, before getting to the airport for our flight back to Tehran, we will visit the coastline of the Persian Gulf and stop by the local cafes to sip the last drop of the southern melody. Once onboard, flashbacks of your memories and experiences will take over your daydreaming, and the sounds of Persia shall forever remain in your heart.
Day1: Arrival in Tehran, Tehran sightseeing, overnight in Tehran
Day2: Tehran sightseeing, overnight in Tehran
Day3: Tehran to Kashan, Kashan sightseeing and experiences, overnight in Kashan
Day4: Kashan hangout and experiences, overnight in Kashan
Day5: Kashan to Isfahan, Isfahan excursion, overnight in Isfahan
Day6: Isfahan music and performance touring, overnight in Isfahan
Day7: Isfahan to Varzaneh, Varzaneh sightseeing, overnight in Varzaneh
Day8: Varzaneh to Taft village, Zoroastrian tour, overnight in Taft
Day9: Taft to Yazd, Yazd landmarks, return to Taft and participate in the Zoroastrian ceremonies, overnight in Taft
Day10: Taft to Saadat Shahr, Nomad lifestyle, overnight in Saadat Shahr
Day11: Saadat Shahr to Shiraz, visit Persepolis, Shiraz sightseeing, overnight in Shiraz
Day 12: Shiraz excursion and experiences, riding to Bushehr at noon, overnight in Bushehr
Day13: Bushehr sightseeing, southern music experience, overnight in Bushehr
Day 14: Bushehr to Tehran by flight, end of the tour